The "L" word

Love.  What a powerful word that is.  A coworker and I were having a convorsation about my new relationship, and he asked, "Have you thrown out the 'L' word yet?"

My answer? "Are you crazy?! Of course not!" His response was simple.  Why? 

In his eyes, he didn't know what came before.  A relationship or Love, because what is the point of being in a relationship if you're not in love?  The convorsation continued on to well, how can you know if you're in Love with the person if you're not in a relationship first?  I think a lot of girls and women confuse Love with a deep admiration. 

I had a boyfriend in high school who told me he loved me after a week of dating.
I laughed in his face.

It took my last serious boyfriend and I four months to say those words. Looking back, I'm not even sure that was Love, or just lust on steroids. 

To the girls who throw the word around like it's nothing: be careful with it.  It's okay if you do love someone, but on the other hand, how do you know? I know there isn't going to be a street sign that just plops down in front of you when it happens, and it's not going to hit you like a ton of bricks, but how can you be sure if you haven't even decided you'll commit to that one person?  How can you be sure that you can even stand that person for extended periods of time if you don't make that commitment first?

It boggles my mind a bit.

Granted, what is Love, exactly?  By defenition it's a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person.  To me, it's doing anything and everything for that person, without them even asking.  Taking a bullet for them because you care about them that much that you'd rather they live and you die.

Now, I haven't felt that way about anyone except my family.  Even then, I know I'd definitely do it for my brothers.  No questions asked.  Instead of Love, how about Care?  People throw love around way too much anyways.

What about:
I care for you
I care if you get fat
I care that you went to the concert without me.
I care that you had dinner with your ex girlfriend.

It's understood better than Love.  I care about him, just like he cares about me.  For now?
I'm in haclavon with that.