I did the math last night. I've been in love with Gary 41 years. He has said "I love you" almost every one of those days, even on most of the days we've fought. Even if you take off the six months we were on the outs, that's still over fourteen thousand times (14,785).
Mom didn't start saying "I love you," until I was in college. I don't remember Jerry saying it, and my stepdad certainly never did.
But Gary's so swamped me in an avalanche of "I love yous" that if anyone else were to ever say it, I couldn't hear it from underneath the avalanche. Much less feel it. Much less to begin a new life and a new count starting at one.