Maybe We Stop Using the Word “Love” So Much

Alecia Kennedy
5 min readMar 26, 2022

Unless we’re willing to give up a kidney

Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash

I am currently in a period of transition and mourning. A very important relationship of mine just ended and I’m trying to make sense of how I feel, why it ended, and what I can do differently next time. I’m trying to understand how I could have felt so safe, so understood, and so loved in this relationship and yet have it end for reasons that do not make a lot of sense to me.

To be perfectly honest, I knew for the last six months or so that changes were ahead. I was watching and waiting to see how things played out while trying to have the patience to allow my boyfriend to work through things in his own mind. However, even though I knew the end was probably on the horizon, part of me thought we’d be able to work it out because I just couldn’t imagine walking away from a healthy, happy relationship. The end, while not unexpected, felt unnecessary. There were no fights, no accusations, not a lot of tears. Just the letting go of a dream and a deep feeling of rejection (on my part).

As I ruminate on the past year and eight months of our relationship, I try to find the moments where I let my guard down and started to believe that this time, finally, I would find the person who would love me for all that I am and truly want to build a life with me. I thought we had found true love, not lust, not infatuation, not fondness, not just companionship, but a connection that could honestly be called love.

When I started to feel the urge to say “I love you” to my boyfriend just three months into our relationship, I bit my tongue and held out longer. I knew from past experience that I needed to be sure, that words were important, and that a feeling of electricity and affection are not the same as love. I even wrote a story about when not to say those three words based on my past, failed relationships when I was contemplating telling him I loved him. As it turned out, he said it first and I enthusiastically responded. It felt good to finally voice my truth.

The problem is, even though I identified in that story when you shouldn’t say I love you — I didn’t exactly give advice for when you should. I really didn’t have that figured out yet. And I think we should be crystal-clear on that point, because if you are like me, you…

Alecia Kennedy