A long time ago, I wrote a journal entry called “Love is Not Enough”. It was focusing on the idea that when you find love, you tend to stop caring. You tend to stop showing. You tend to just say “I love you” and think that is all that is needed to keep a future going. But to me it was about the idea that when you finally say “I love you” that is the beginning of the relationship, the turning point in which you have finally obtained part of the “dream”, LOVE, Career, Riches… or so defined by society.

So to me, saying “I love you” is the beginning of the relationship, not the end. 

Tristan POPE

But until just recently I didn’t know why… 

I just had a conversation with my girlfriend over the past week, and we are extremely communicative with one another. She tends to say I love you to me more than I to her, as I have a subconscious aversion to it as do the French.

Source: https://www.bbc.com/travel/article/20210613-why-the-french-rarely-say-i-love-you

That being said I am still from America and I still have a need to say it and like to hear it back. But check out this conversation we had.

And so here I am, writing chapter II to my “infamous” “Love is not enough” article. The article I shared with every potential girlfriend I ever met, but didn’t understand why, until now.

That article alone, make some sense, but it is missing the center of the puzzle, the heart of it all!

Tristan Pope

It isn’t that Love itself is not enough but it is how we express it. Saying “I love you” covers too much. Is too much of a blanket for all our feelings and thoughts that we may feel subconsciously insecure to share, or introverted to express. I love you, is for lack of a better term, a safety blanket from actually having to express your feelings. So over time, you continue to say I love you, you even change the inflection of how you say it:

I love you.

I LOVE YOU

I LOVE you, SO MUCH.

Maybe you scream it, maybe you whisper it, maybe you just say it as you hang up the phone. But only the person saying “I love you” knows WHY they said it. And the worst part, is it becomes so normal to just say “I love you” that perhaps over time it loses all meaning, and it is as similar as hello, talk later, or even goodbye: three things “I love you” should never mean.

But if you break down the “I love you” and say what it is that you are feeling at that moment in time rather than just blanketing it in this ambiguous phrase, I think we have finally figured out what “I love you” means. The ambiguous definition of LOVE, comes down to the simplest thing: what you are feeling at the moment you say it.

“I Love you” (Right now you are making feel very comfortable and cared for)

“I Love you” (Your eyes are sparkling in the moonlight and I find them beautiful)

“I Love you” (You listened to my words, and made me feel heard)

“I Love you” (I will miss you when I get in this Taxi to go home)

“I Love you” (Have a good day at work, but also know I will be thinking of you)

When “I love you” just means (have a good day at work) then we are in trouble.

Tristan Pope

This causes “I love you” and its actual meaning to become distilled to nothing more than a string of words, that society tells us to say in order to “be in love”. But being in love and continuing to love are two very different things. Now I understand why the French don’t say it. The more you say it, instead of actually expressing your feelings, the less it means, the more it loses its impact, and the more we brush it off as “just a thing to say at the end of a sentence”, similar to the use of punctuation. That is not what anyone should feel when they hear or say I love you to one another. 

So perhaps, the best way to say “I love you” and to make sure “Love IS enough”, is to say what caused you to feel the need to say “I love you” in the first place, and skip the generic “How was your day?” “Good, you?” “Good” generic application to something very important to making your significant other understand why you do indeed love them.

Me and mine have been doing it more and it feels amazing to hear the actual reasons why they are motivated to say such a powerful statement such as “I love you” instead of actually hearing “I love you”. I would say, “I love you” made the moment feel less loving, where as the reason behind it, truly warms the heart and helps to build communication and reasoning behind the love for one another. This also helps you both to understand each others motivations a bit more as well.

So, I think, after all these years… Love actually is enough… as long as you don’t forget to express why you wanted to say “I love you” to the person you love in the first place.

Tristan Pope

As your relationship grows, and the “love” grows in your relationship, as difficult as it may be or as uncomfortable as it may feel to communicate the meaning behind “I love you” itself, perhaps your partner will appreciate and feel more “love” from knowing why, in that moment, you wanted to say “I love you” by communicating the actual meaning behind the elusive and often cliché phrase “I love you”. Perhaps, societies emphasis on the phrase itself, is actually distilling the long term joy and growth a relationship can benefit from actually hearing what it is, in those moments, that makes you “love” someone.