I love you but I’m not in love with you

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Back when I was in college I was friends with this Hungarian woman who was still learning to master the English language. She was here on a gymnastics scholarship, and aside from her team mates, she didn’t know very many people or have much of a life outside of the gym. We had a few classes together, and soon were hanging out and building a friendship. I developed a harmless crush on her, because…well….she was a Hungarian gymnast. However, she was also twenty years my junior so I was fairly certain she saw me more as a father figure than a romantic partner.

One night after going out for dinner, we were walking back to my truck when she took my hand and told me she was in love with me. She had never shown anything to suggest these feelings prior to this moment so naturally I was a little confused. We climbed into my truck and I asked her to repeat herself. She snuggled into me and again told me she was in love with me. Now, I knew I wasn’t in love with her. I wasn’t even sure I knew what love was, but I also knew what it’s like to put yourself out there and be rejected. I cared about this person and didn’t want her to feel pain over my emotional atrophy, so I did the only think I could think to do in that situation…I tried to kiss her (did I mention she was a Hungarian gymnast?).

This is when things turned from bad to worse.

She gasped, recoiled, and I’m pretty sure she would have blew into a rape whistle if she had one with her.

“What are you doing?!” She yelled.

“You just said you’re in love with me,” I protested.

“Yeah, but not like that!” She yelled and tried to get out of the car.

I was finally able to calm her down enough to stop kicking the shit out of my shins and talk to me. I explained to her how here in America, there is a very big difference between telling someone that you love them, and telling someone that you’re in love with them.

“That’s really stupid,” she said and I agreed.

She then told me it was also stupid for me to try to kiss her just because I couldn’t think of anything else to say, and I agreed with this also.

It’s such a tiny little word; in.

The dictionary says it can be used as a preposition, an adverb, an adjective or a noun.

I started thinking about all these common sentences that use the word ‘in’ differently, and how strongly most of these sentences hit us on an emotional level.


I’m in.

Is it in?

What’s in it for me?

Keep in touch.

I believe in you.

He went in place of me.

I gave in.

Stabbed in the back.

He was in critical condition.


One of the many definitions the dictionary has for this word is; “used to indicate inclusion within something abstract or immaterial.” That’s pretty serious. You would think it would be a great, big complicated word to prevent people from using it so casually.

If I want to download the newest version of ITunes, I’m supposed to read a four page legal document which I will never be able to fully understand. What kinds of wavers and forms do we have sign in order to find love? What about to get married?

I jest of course, but if I can get punched in the head because a woman and I can’t agree on the meaning of the word ‘in’, Imagine how much trouble we could get into by saying ‘I do’.

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