I've got a theory. Affectionate words only work when the other person wants to hear them. If they don't, then it causes a big embarrassing mess for both parties. You'd think that with all the hate in the world, we could use all the good words that we can get our hands on, but that's not the case. You've got to be very careful with words, they're incredibly powerful.
This is true in many situations: You share your feelings for a friend of yours who doesn't or can't reciprocate. Or you say "I love you" to your significant other in order to try to reaffirm a shaky relationship, only to find out that it leads to the conversation where the relationship ends. Of course, this kind of thing can change. For a long time, I had trouble telling members of my own family that I love them, but not now. And in keeping with my theory, I think that had almost as much to do with their not being ready to hear the words as it did with my inability to vocalize them.
People are in love with fantasy of love more than actual love, be it platonic or sexual. They want to be loved, but only by certain people. Those they've chosen as worthy. Unfortunately the list of people who want to love you and the list of people you want to love you don't usually match up.
No that's not quite it. Perhaps, as with kisses, it's the anticipation that is the best part. Most kisses at least, I've had a few that kicked the shit out of the anticipation. Believing that she loves you and waiting for the words, makes the words all that more satisfying when they do come. The pleasure comes not just from being loved, but also from being right. I should try to find some psychology papers to back me up.
There is a an amazingly poignant, slow-burn emotion related to unrequited love, if you've ever had the chance to experience it, you know what I mean. And ain't it always the ones who are already taken that you find you have the best chemistry with, while available partners are ultimately unappealing. See.. lists don't match up.
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