Can someone really mean “I love you” when they say it before or the beginning of a romantic relationship? If to love someone means that you completely accept someone as they are, then yes. If you really know someone before you are in a relationship or at the beginning of one. I do want to add a few disclaimers though:
– Love is a mutual thing. Even though you really do ‘love’ them, if they don’t feel the same, then the relationship does not fall under love
– Love at first sight cannot coexist with my statement. Because you cannot know everything about someone just by looking at them. “Love at first sight” tends to be a physical attraction that eventually becomes love; although there are times when you meet someone doing an activity that attracts you. For example: someone is at a charity event and you see into their character through noticing them do that- still that is not love, for you only know (or think you know) one aspect of that person
– I do firmly believe that the statement has lost a lot of its meaning to people for the over- and dishonest- use of it. Chances are, when you were in high school and you said it, you probably did not mean it in this sense.
– The love I’ve been talking about in this post is not bound to romantic relationships; it is the basis of all successful relationships. And to be honest the only difference between friendships and romances are physical attraction and possibly a closer connection.