How difficult is it to say “I love you”?

It is very easy as a parent to focus all your attention on the younger generation. It takes a lot of effort to get young children ready for school or nursery and to ensure they are fed, not to mention ferrying them around their various clubs and activities. I am sometimes so busy that I forget I am a child myself. This has been bought home to me twice over recent days as I have been asked by total strangers when I last muttered the words “I love you” to my extended family, in particular my father and mother.

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How often do you tell your parents you love them? Go on, be honest. .. (pic credit: Ali Yahya on Unsplash).

I’m going to answer that question with a question. Forget about me and answer it yourself: When did you last tell your mother or father that you loved them?

Perhaps it was earlier today? Yesterday? A fortnight ago? Maybe it’s never happened.

Okay, okay, I’ve dodged the question long enough. Buckle up, I’ll now answer it myself.

When it comes to my mother, I have openly expressed affection and I have muttered those words, but I could count the occasions on the fingers of one hand. When it comes to male members of my family, especially older members, well, maybe we should move swiftly on?

The truth is, I don’t want to feel like that. It actually makes me fell quite sad because there are things I would like to say but it’s simply not the done thing.

In my case, I am both a child and stepchild. It won’t be the same for every stepchild, but for me, it makes expressing emotion a little more complicated. For instance, is it correct for me to express love for a blood relative and not a step-relative or vice versa? It can make me feel disloyal if I express something to a family member I lived and grew up with, as opposed to one I didn’t. Even as an adult being a stepchild is complex, arguably more so.

How open you are depends, I think, on your generation and what your family is like. I consider myself part of a transitional generation. I would hope people of my age, mid-thirties to mid-forties, are more open and willing to express their emotions. No, not quite as much as those in their twenties, but we’re in a better place than our own parents.

My hope is for the future. I hope my children are willing to tell Mrs Adams and I they both that love us, but also when we have hurt and upset them. I don’t want them growing up like me and many of my age with words left unsaid because it breaks a bizarre social taboo and isn’t considered the done thing…..just because.

What’s your experience? Do you tell your mother and father you love them? Is it the done thing in your family? Are you like me, with words left unsaid because expressing yourself just isn’t expected? Please do catch up with me on social media where you’ll find me on all the main channels as @dadbloguk or leave a comment below.

DIY Daddy

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12 Comments

  1. November 7, 2018 / 7:12 am

    This is such a sensitive subject, I will be brutally honest I never tell my mother I love you. Even though I do. I pretty sure you will understand why but my mother has never really told me she loves me. Fast forward and I tell my own children all the time I love them. I’m not sure I will ever tell my own mum I love you, too much Hurt from my childhood to be that open it runs very deep. Very thought provoking post

  2. November 7, 2018 / 8:27 pm

    We’re quite open with our emotions in my family. I never say goodbye to my mother without telling her I love her and the same goes with my siblings, my husband and my children. Hubby’s family isn’t quite as openly affectionate as mine but the words I love you are still said and heard regularly. I can imagine being a stepchild brings slightly more complicated scenarios. I’m from a blended family myself but have half-siblings rather than step-siblings.

    • John Adams
      Author
      November 10, 2018 / 7:59 am

      Oh I wish my extended family were more open like yours. Your husbands’s family sounds less reserved than my gang! Yes, being a step child definitely has an impact but again, every family is different.

  3. November 9, 2018 / 10:07 am

    I guess it depends on who you are saying it to, love has many different forms, love for partner, children and pets are all love #thatfridaylinky@_karendennis

    • John Adams
      Author
      November 10, 2018 / 7:56 am

      Love does indeed come in many different forms and this should be kept in mind. I’d also hate to live in a world where you were expected to tell everyone you loved them all the time. Just a little more emotion, however, wouldn’t go amiss.

  4. November 9, 2018 / 1:42 pm

    So, kids – always.
    Mum – often.
    Dad – not once in memory (although it is true I do, of course)

    • John Adams
      Author
      November 10, 2018 / 7:55 am

      This makes total sense. isn’t it, though, sad that dear old dad often gets left out of the picture?

  5. November 9, 2018 / 6:25 pm

    Honestly, no!!! Both my parents are long gone, but I think those three words just sound so corny. To my wife, yes, but even then, not often!!! I believe I show my children how much I care in other ways, and in how I am with them.

    • John Adams
      Author
      November 10, 2018 / 7:54 am

      Enda, I think you are one of many. The sad fact for me is that I wish my extended family were more open about their emotions. I think there’s a lot that goes unsaid.

  6. November 10, 2018 / 8:28 am

    Popping back Thank you for linking to #Thatfridaylinky please come back next week

  7. November 15, 2018 / 9:27 am

    I used to tell my parents regularly that I loved them but, it was only when my dad was diagnosed with cancer last year (he is clear now) that I realised I had gotten out of the habit – it kickstarted my determination to start saying it again. I ring them once a fortnight and try to make sure I say it at the end of each phonecall. It felt weird at first but now it’s second nature #blogcrush

    • John Adams
      Author
      November 16, 2018 / 1:39 pm

      Wow, fascinating how it sometimes takes a big life event to make you realise these things. Glad to hear your dad is now in the clear. Must have been a tough time for your family.