The song performed by The Contours (made popular in modern times by the movie Dirty Dancing) with the same name as this article title is much easier to dance to than when the awkward moment comes where someone you care about asks it of you. One minute the two of you are sitting across from one another at a Mexican restaurant sharing cheese dip – and with 4 little words, “Do you love me” you might find yourself suddenly feeling like the salsa is just a little too hot for comfort. As you clear your throat in preparation to answer the entire destiny of the relationship can hang in the balance.
For the lucky ones in life, this question comes at the perfect time. Your partner asks you if you love them and your heart does an immediately flip because you have been waiting for the “L” word to rear its head for quite some time. Yes, yes, YES – you love them, and thank God, they love you to? This day or night now becomes a reason for celebration and the two of you are ordering Margaritas completely excited about the fact that the two of you are on the same page when it comes to love.
But what if the question comes too soon? What if someone asks you if you love them, and you aren’t quite sure? Do you say simply, “No?” Is, “I don’t know,” an appropriate response? Or what about the ever awkward response of “Why, do you love me?” Is caring for someone immensely, love?
Love is a strange emotion and one that cannot easily be put into words. As much as has been written about love since the beginning of man and woman – no two people actually feel it the same way. The etymology of the word ‘love’ is one that is ingrained in religious roots. Long before people fell in love, love was an emotion that was so pure and highly enlightened that it was only something humans could feel for their God, and that their God could feel for them in return. It definitely wasn’t something that lowly humans ever tried to obtain for another human being – let alone one they have been dating for only a few short months. Today, the word love is as popular as McDonalds French fries. Everyone from hormonal pre-teens to the elderly, to every musician on the planet is ‘in love, or ‘falling in love’ with someone or something. We love a lot, sometimes for only short periods of time and far more often than our predecessors. Even worse, today’s version of love can be short lived.
When you are put on the spot with the “Do you love me” question – it can be difficult to answer if you aren’t quite sure what you feel. For many people, the sheer mention of this word reveals that it is time to rethink the relationship. While you may enjoy being with this particular person – you aren’t ready to commit to love yet. And for someone who loves you – this can hurt. A lot.
The best advice is if you don’t know what to say – then you probably don’t love, love, love this person. At least not in the way that you think you should. Any hesitation – whether caused by pride, ego, or even confusion – might mean that you don’t know for sure. And realize that once you tell someone you love them – the standard of the relationship changes drastically. Love changes everything, as you know it. For this reason, it is important to be honest and true to yourself when answering rather than worried that you are going to hurt someone’s feelings. It might even be appropriate to tell the person asking you that you will have to answer them on another day, so that you have time to think through your answer. After all, how fair of a question is “Do you love me” anyways?
Oftentimes one may claim love, while another doesn’t – simply because the two people have different definitions of the word. It might not mean that the actual feelings shared in the relationship are different. Some people are generally more cautious when throwing out words like love than others are. Tons of people have been bitten by the love word bug, only to find that the sting was more than they can bear – so they become intimidated by admissions of love. They may feel it, but they sure aren’t going to be premature in throwing love out there. Other people fall in love almost as often as they buy new shoes.
One of the wrong responses is to be rhetorical. Don’t answer a question with another question. That’s immature, and only confuses the issue at hand. You aren’t in grade school anymore – trying to see if someone ‘likes’ you first before you decide to admit you ‘like’ them too. Either you do or you don’t. If you don’t – it doesn’t mean you never will, it just means that the time has not come for you yet.
Of course, you should also know that the “Do you love me” question can come when the other person is the one contemplating the relationship. Perhaps things aren’t working out as well as they imagined or planned, and they are just curious about you are feeling. Women are famous for asking men, “Do you love me,” right before they bolt. They do this because they know that men get all fidgety when love is on the line, and they can soothe their conscious by blaming their escape on his refusal to say yes. Or maybe, they use this question as a way to open the door to the breakup conversation. So, this is something definitely to look out for. Once a woman starts questioning whether you love her – the end could be in sight.
In the end, only YOU and YOU alone can give an honest and credible answer. And the best thing to do is just that. It isn’t fair to play with another persons emotions, and it is important for people to know where the relationship stands. If its love – say so. If not, admit that you aren’t there yet.