I was listening to her talk. She was emotional and I could see the tears welling up in her eyes. She said, “And I said I love you to him. And it was a big deal – because that changes something inside.”
I sat quietly and thought about all the times that I have loved a woman but either wouldn’t or couldn’t say the words. I remember all the times when passionate women would sit across from me baring their souls. Laying it all on the line. Giving me their trust and faith and vulnerability. And I am self-aware enough to know how I made them feel. Small and unimportant. I know by not reciprocating that it made them feel alone. I know I made them feel like they were the only one in the relationship. Because no one likes to say I love you and not hear it back. But I have been this guy more times than I’m willing to admit.
But last night, I realized why.
When that woman said, “Because that changes something inside.” She was right. I realized that it wasn’t that I didn’t love these women – I loved them all. But I never said it back because I wasn’t ready to allow that change in myself. Meaning, either I knew I couldn’t love them the way they needed or I couldn’t be committed in ways they deserved. And I always thought it was even worse to give those women a false sense of security and hope. But if you’re reading this and you think it applies to you – it was NEVER because I didn’t love you. It was my fear of not being able to live up to your expectations. It was my fear of change that stopped me from saying those words. And yes, while they may just be “words,” they’re powerful words. Words that movies, books, and songs have based upon since the beginning of time. So yes, I know the power of those words. I know they would have allowed women in my life that exhale of contentment. And while I would have loved to have given it to them, I knew that meant there would be a verbal and emotional agreement that I couldn’t live up to. So that’s why I sat silent. Because I wasn’t the man they believed I could be. Or maybe I was, but I just wasn’t yet ready to change inside.