Q: Hey Meredith (and readers),
I've been dating a guy for a couple months. I'll call him John. John and I dated briefly last year for a month, all good times until he dropped a bomb on me that he didn't want to be in a relationship. Not where I thought things were headed, but he was nice and sweet about it and truly apologetic and strangely enough (on my end at least) we remained friends.
We've hung out here and there, and it was always enjoyable, but I thought all he wanted out of it was my friendship since he started dating someone a few months after we split. Fast forward to a couple of months ago. Over Thanksgiving, he told me he never lost his feelings for me and he wanted us to try again. Color me surprised; I didn't see this one coming from a mile away. I was hesitant at first, but he was so genuine and sweet about it, saying he wouldn't want to start something up if he thought it was going to end quickly or badly and he truly liked me and wanted to give it another chance.
I've dated my fair share of morons, so I'm slightly guarded with my emotions (can you really blame me?) but I gave in because honestly I don't think I ever lost my feelings for him either. The problem you ask? I think I love him but it's been two months. TWO MONTHS. I'm so absolutely terrified to tell him and rush things and I'm even more scared that it's going to slip out at such an awkward moment that it won't seem genuine. I've never said those three little words before (slight technicality) but it's the little things like him offering to take care of me when I got the stomach flu (which no one has ever done before), buying me a Christmas present when he was pretty much broke, and just all the little things that make me fall for him.
So now my slightly ridiculous question. Do I just go with my feelings, potentially scaring the crud out of him and possibly wrecking a good thing, or keep it in? See where things go and see if the feeling is still there in another couple of months? Any advice would be greatly appreciated! Thanks in advance everyone! Love you! (I'm just practicing, just in case, sorry.)
– I'm Afraid It'll Slip, Boston
A: If it slips, it slips, IAIS.
But if you can control it, say other things instead.
Those three words are important, but they're actually rather vague -- especially in your case, because you've probably grown to love him as a friend over time.
Whenever you want to declare your love, try defining that love instead.
"No one has ever brought me food while I've had a stomach bug. Thank you."
"It means so much to me that you bought me a Christmas gift. You are incredibly romantic."
"I love spending time with you -- and I'm so glad we're trying this again. I'm loving every minute of it."
If this relationship continues, you'll probably need to get simple and try the old "I love you." But if you start with specific statements about how you feel, he'll understand exactly what you mean when you finally say it. I'm all for being specific.
Readers? When should she say it? Am I right about being more specific? How does their previous friendship affect her feelings? Could she love him after two months? Show the LW some love.
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Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.