There comes a point in relationships, apparently, when people break the L barrier: one party says it to the other, the other replies, and from then on, it’s safe to vocalize. “Phew. We did it. We’re on the same page.” Every phone call from then on ends with it; you can use the short-hand “L-” as a term of endearment. You float on clouds or something.
Or so I hear.
I’ve never been in such a relationship, which isn’t to say I haven’t said it, or thought it. Or even been the recipient of L, although I doubt the genuineness of the only times I’ve been told it. I’d like to believe L means more than what those declarations amounted to.
But I’ve spent far more time wondering about what it means to “L” than actually using the term with ease and comfort, at least with men.
With family & friends, L is second nature. I always say it at the end of phone calls. I don’t think about what it feels like to L; I think about how I can actually L. What’s _so_ different with a man? Obviously, we think there’s something, or crossing the L barrier wouldn’t have the significance it does in popular culture.
Is there a significance in real life?
I think there is. I would like to hear it, and be free to say it. I think there’s a deeper sense of safety and commitment implied.
I don’t care too much about the heightened feelings it implies, at least in popular culture; I’m not one to throw around a good solid word like L to describe emotion, and I’m skeptical of most emotion-based declarations of L (see above). Show me the L, I say. What does your L do?
When wondering about whether I L or not, my internal buzzer tends to go off when I find myself biting back the words that seem more natural to end conversations, the words I use so easily with family or dear friends. Why the change? I don’t know. Emotions and commitments don’t come with thermometers. Do I feel differently? Do I want more for them, or of them? Am I willing to give more than I was before? No, not really. But even so, something in me becomes newly ready to acknowledge what is probably a preexisting state.
Despite being a good feminist, something in me wants to say it only with the addition of “too” at the end. And so, the words are bitten back, and instead, a question fills the space. Is this also a reality for the other — a preexisting state they simply are not yet ready to acknowledge? Or does the other require something more, some progress or change, to warrant the L?
If so, does that say anything about me?
Assuming you’re not an emotion-driven person who throws it out like candy -
What does it take to break the L barrier?