Those Three Words

CN: Allusion to past emotional abuse and suicidal ideation

I rarely tell my partners that I love them.

Well, that’s not true.  I rarely tell them uninitiated.  It’s easy for me to say “I love you, too,” sincere yet mechanical, in response to “I love you.”  Once a relationship reaches the point where “I love you” is a thing we’re saying to each other, that exchange becomes commonplace: the affirming background hum of two people who care deeply for one another.  It’s easy enough that just having my love for a person on my mind when a totally different person, jokingly or accidentally, tells me they love me is sometimes enough to bring it out.  The mortification that follows is rarely worth the laugh.

But starting that trade is much harder.

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Those Three Words