I think it's true that we're capable of giving and giving and giving love, without any real limit. We love our families (in theory) and it's assumed that it doesn't matter how many of them there are, we love them all... that love comes in limitless supply. When we get hurt in love, we might pull back or be upset and feel that we have no more love to give... but in most cases we somehow manage to find someone or something worth loving again, and the bottomless fountain of love continues flowing.
For this reason, I don't usually find any difficulty telling someone that I love them. I don't need to wait until I feel like I want to marry them (as if that were an option) and I don't need for there to be some major event to identify the exact moment. It's as simple for me as thinking "like" just doesn't apply anymore. That we've surpassed that... we're beyond it... it just feels dumb to say because you mean more to me than that.
At the same time, I don't feel that love lasts forever. If I love you now, I'm not saying that I will love you forever. I'm saying that right now our lives have crossed, and that you mean a lot to me, in this moment... but I can't deny my reality that says that in the same way that we've grown together, we could grow apart, and in that same way, my love can fade. Perhaps it will never happen, and that would be incredible and enriching to my life... and no matter what I would probably always have the memory of love... but if the love fades, it will probably never come back... that intense moment that meant so much, while still meaning a lot, has simply passed. None the less, at that moment, when I say "I love you", I truly feel that I do... and I hope neither of us holds the unpredictability of life against the other, either before, after, or if it ever happens.
So, while I've been thinking about it for the past couple of weeks, I told someone this weekend that I loved them. I care about their happiness, both when we're together and when we're apart. I care about how I contribute to that happiness, and I care about the things that they do independent of me in their persuit of happiness. At the same time, it doesn't to me mean that I want to marry them... that I feel like it's going to last forever... or that I've decided they're "the one" for me. It doesn't mean that I want anything to change... or that I really feel any differently or want to behave any differently than we did before I (we) said it... it's just me saying that I like them more than to say I "like" them. Yes, it could be over tomorrow. No, I can't handle them all the time. No, I don't want to get married. No, I can't even say I want to be "boyfriends". But I more than "like" him... so I do think I "love" him.
(I can see someone that might say this sounds cheap or logical which might devalue the concept of love... trust me... it doesn't... it's the need for linearity, logic, and language that cheapen it. The real thing feels and means much more than these things allow.)
This whole thing has taught me one thing though. Despite having this unlimited supply of love to give, I'm finding myself only able to give my love to one person at a time. I enjoy being able to have my liberties when I desire them, but those fleeting moments of fun have no impact on who has my heart. It's as though there's a siphon of love flowing out of me that only has one endpoint... yes, the barrel may be bottomless, but there's still only one outlet. I won't say that I hope it flows this direction forever, nor will I say that I even want it to... but for the moment, I like the direction it's going, and I like the way the person it's going to is treating it.