Using the phrase "I love you." seems to trigger different responses in different people. While I am now comfortable (after 20 years) telling MrS I love him casually (and the "because clearly I don't love you" teasing is common between us) it actually took me 18 mos to say it to him the first time.
20 years later I halved the time with Dude - only took me 9 mos. (I wrote about that here: http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=21834
- I talk a bit in my second post in that thread about the "issues" I have with the word.) I haven't actually said it again, to him, since then. At this point I am comfortable having let him know that I return his feelings.
Originally Posted by mixer
It doesn’t seem right to tell only one of two girls that I love them. Do I then turn to the other and say “But I *really* like you, too.”?
It doesn't seem right to me
to tell someone that you love them only out of trying to be "fair and equal" - if someone said it to me after only a short time, before they even had a chance to know me that well (a process I think would take at least 6 mos - or 60 years...) I would feel it to be insincere and would be seriously put off by it.
There are plenty of things you can say to a new flame to let her know that she is special without jumping right to the "L-word" - I told Dude he was fun, sweet, special, that I liked him and cared for him, that I was happy he was in my life, etc. He would say "I love you." way before I was ready - my initial response was to stiffen and pull away. Once I was ready to hear it but before I was ready to say it - he would say "I love you." and I would say "I know" and smile and add "Thank you."
If two relationships are not at exactly the same place (which most are probably not) then why would your interactions with each person be exactly the same? And even if they ARE at the same place, the two people have different needs, preferences, and comfort levels which will modify your interactions with them. People are not legos - you can't interchange them. Personally I think it is more "fair" to interact with each person naturally and let things grow and happen as they come.
But that is just one girl's view...