I have a hunch the new boyfriend is going to drop the "I love you" bomb this weekend. I'm psyched. Trouble is: I don't know if I believe him, and therefore don't know how to best respond.
I'm crazy about this fella, but have my doubts about his romantic sincerity for good reason (see this link
for background). However he's been nothing but attentive/romantic/wonderful to me the last couple weeks, leading up to him hinting on the phone that this weekend "there's something I want to tell you about us that I've only just realized, but I want to wait until we're face to face to make it special."
Here's where we enter the muddy waters of self-defense mechanisms and neurosis: the last time I allowed myself to really fall in love with someone, I got seriously hurt/emotionally crippled from it. My last boyfriend swore up and down that he was in love with me, convinced me to embark on a grand romantic adventure together-- and then cheated on me a few months later. And to add insult to injury: he then said he realized never ACTUALLY was in love with me, he just fooled himself into thinking it because we were so compatible as a couple and because he just craved the high romance aspect of it all-- but not actually me as a person. Which totally did a number on my perception of my ability to be loved since he knew me better than anyone else, etc, etc... Whatever. I realize it happens all the time.
So because of that I've been very careful about maintaining an equal power dynamic, at least on the surface, with this new boyfriend. I am incredibly self-sufficient, not needy, would never drop the "L" word first. I've been doing my best to be smart in this relationship and not get carried away just because I irrationally feel like I could be with this guy for the rest of my life. Because even though I'm head over heels for him, I don't 100% trust him or know him extremely well, even though we've been together for about 4 months.
So I guess my question is, when he says "I love you" this weekend, should I:
A. Respond (truthfully) "I love you too." And then spend the next few weeks cringing, secretly waiting for him to take it back.
B. Say "You really don't have to say that, if you're not sure. You want to take a few weeks to think about it and then get back to me on it?"
C. "I feel like I could love you too-- but I have been hurt in the past and it's made it very hard for me to open up that way. So please don't say it unless you really mean it."
D. "Thank you, you're lovely." ...And then tell him I love him whenever I feel safe doing so, even if it's not until weeks and weeks later.
I realize I'm crazy and over-thinking it. I'm just trying not to screw this up, or screw myself over again, in the exact same way I did before. (For what it's worth, I haven't told him about the ex. He doesn't know how damaged I am.)