Dangerous Compassions

saying I love you to men

forest defender

Hello, how are you doing?  I had a realization yesterday.  It was that saying I love you to men is almost always a bad idea.

Wow, I thought if I felt love or was doing love, I was supposed to say it.  Clarity is usually an important thing, right?  Wrong!  Saying I love you to men is more often than not calamitous.


There is a cliche that men aren’t good at emotions; rhey can do anger and jealousy, but not really talk about them.  I thought that was a vast overstatement, and it was rude to men.

Now I think–some men can put a framework in place such as non-violent communication, hippie parlance, or something they learned in AA or therapy maybe?  But emotions are mostly like torture.  To a lot of people.  Needing to feel them, talk about them, explain anything related to feelings, hear about others’ feelings?  No way.


I think of the last man I said I love you too.  He didn’t feel it in his body like a happy thing.  I think he felt it like danger.  He was like–oh no, Laura-Marie loves me.  What does she want?  What am I responsible for now?

He knew himself enough to know he was not up for the task of loving me back how I was loving him.  So he turned this amazing skillful gift into an overture of obligation.  He didn’t see the love as a blessing.  It was something too big to carry.

Yikes.  I did not mean it like guilt.  But it’s true I need things.  Suddenly I felt stuck.  So I am supposed to love and pretend I’m not loving?  It feels like a bad place, where nothing I do is right.

collapse example

Then another man I said I love you to–it ruined our whole relationship.  He didn’t want to love or be loved.  Seemed like he misunderstood the whole thing.  He thought I was saying I wanted to be with him, and the friendship was ruined.  That was really depressing, to have it collapse based on a misunderstanding.

He just wanted to be casual friends forever.  But we were emailing every day.  Daily contact does not feel casual.

If there’s no love, what’s the point?  We had totally different friendship desires.  It’s fine if there’s no love at the beginning.  But after a year or two, what are you even showing up for?

thank you

Feels a lot like my need to say thank you.  It’s not that a thank you is required.  Intense caring cherish-feelings well up in me, and I need to say I love you.  So I say it.

But who wants to hear they are loved?  Who can hear it as it is?  Simple, generous, beautiful.  A desire to connect–a large hunk of emotional resources.  A useful feeling we can do so much with, if we choose to: something to build relationship and trust on.  What just about everyone is looking for, I thought.

To be loved by a bright, creative, curious, paying attention person is the best.  What else are you looking for?


Now I have the resolution that I will not say I love you to men unless I have to.  It’s just a whole lot of heartache.

Women and enbies can want to hear we are loved.  When I say I love you to people who are not men, it’s often well-received.

I will love men in secret.  I will direct love to non-men as much as possible and wish for easy reciprocity that doesn’t turn into a confusing messy problem.

love forest defenders

By Laura-Marie

Good at listening to the noise until it makes sense.

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