I Love You: A Vocalized Pause

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[Image: A person holding a gigantic red heart that covers their face. All you can see of them is their lower torso and their arms, enfolding the heart.]

Vocalized pauses are breaks in verbal communications that interrupt your thoughts. Vocalized pauses are identified as fillers such as: “ahh…, and…, uhh…, and umm…”

We all know I’ve told people that I loved them for all kinds of horrible reasons. But lately, I’ve been stopping myself from saying it and realizing just how much of a filler I had been using it as. It’s my first time being a relationship in over a year and now, whenever signing off, whenever expressing happiness, comfort, solidarity, or any other strong emotion, I keep finding myself thinking it and wanting to text it or say it. And why?

It’s early in the relationship and even if I was sure of my feelings, which I’m not, it wouldn’t be appropriate to spring this on my partner so early. Logically, I know all of this, so why does my bastard brain keep wanting to say it? And not just say it, but say it so often?

As for anyone who thinks that this is just my emotions breaking through and my heart proclaiming its true feelings despite my hesitation, please just stop. If this past year has taught me anything, it’s that I’m not a tortured romantic who gets carried away by love. It’s that I’m a mentally ill person with very poor impulse control and entirely too much writing output.

It occurred to me that my willingness to proclaim my love was little more than a space filler in conversation. I was saying it in an perfunctory manner like a common greeting. The acknowledgement of this just made me sad. The next time I tell someone I love them in a romantic context, it’s not going to be because there was a long pause in conversation.