I love you… I hate those words.

I hate those words.

As soon as they get introduced you can kiss every other compliment goodbye. Up until the point that someone decides it time for that word there is so much else to say. You find every word possible to tell someone how gorgeous, brilliant, awesome and amazing you think they are. You find every way possible to make them know you are crazy about them, every word possible to tell them how fantastic you make them feel.

Then that word comes.

And it comes with the promise of everything. The first time you hear it your heart soars, you know that in that instant you are loved and that everything you are feeling is reciprocated. In that instant there need be no other words spoken, there is no greater compliment. But that feeling of ease, that contentment, is confined to that moment and the next moment is precisely where it all starts to fall apart.

Because from that moment it’s all you’ll ever hear again.

There is no more “you make me happy,” or “you’re so freakin’ awesome.” Instead of saying “you’re beautiful,” you say “I love you” as though those three words are a synonym for every compliment and every feeling ever known, and the majority may disagree with me here, but those missing words are a sure-fire catalyst for heartache.

Here are the issues as I see them.

Firstly and perhaps foremost is the protean nature of the heart. Emotions are not set in stone; they are tousled daily by outside influences and the ever-changing internal tides that set our path. As more of your true self is exposed and as time passes you are left wondering if those words are spoken merely because the speaker believes that is what is expected. In many instances those words stop being a message from the heart, and instead become vague ritual. I am not saying this is always the case, for the most part “I love you” is a message from the deepest places of the soul, but the ritualising of those words is something that does happen, and how do you know if it has?

This feeling is perhaps exacerbated by the fact that in the absence of those missing words, you start to forget that you are beautiful, you wonder if you do make them happy and you begin to wonder, as new facets of your personality are revealed, if you are worthy of their love or even if you are loveable.

Another issue that presents itself once the “I love you” starts to flow is this – rarely do two people share the same idea of what love is.

Think of it this way, if you tell someone they are pretty and amazing, that person knows that you think they are pretty and amazing. Tell someone you love them, and who knows what depths you speak of. Do you mean you can’t live without them, that they are in your thoughts twenty-four-seven, that they are the moon and sun and stars? Are you saying that they compare to your love of chocolate? Or do your feelings lie somewhere between the two?

In an attempt to demonstrate I googled “definition of love” and here is what I came up with from dictionary.com – two different versions of the word, one of them with twenty-eight different definitions. I didn’t even have to research any other sites; I got all twenty-eight definitions from ONE entry.

Now I’m not expecting you to read all these, I just wanted to prove a point (yeah, that’s what I do…) and I think I need say no more on that particular subject because the vast variety of definitions below make my point quite obvious. 

  1. a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person.
  2. a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection, as for a parent, child, or friend.  
  3. sexual passion or desire.
  4. a person toward whom love is felt; beloved person; sweetheart.  
  5. (used in direct address as a term of endearment, affection, or the like): Would you like to see a movie, love?
  6. a love affair; an intensely amorous incident; amour.
  7. sexual intercourse; copulation.  
  8. ( initial capital letter ) a personification of sexual affection, as Eros or Cupid.
  9. affectionate concern for the well-being of others: the love of one’s neighbor.
  10. strong predilection, enthusiasm, or liking for anything: her love of books.
  11. the object or thing so liked: The theater was her great love.  
  12. the benevolent affection of god for His creatures, or the reverent affection due from them to God.
  13. Chiefly Tennis . a score of zero; nothing.
  14. a word formerly used in communications to represent the letter L.
  15. –verb (used with object)
  16. to have love or affection for: All her pupils love her.
  17. to have a profoundly tender, passionate affection for (another person).
  18. to have a strong liking for; take great pleasure in: to love music.
  19. to need or require; benefit greatly from: Plants love sunlight.
  20. to embrace and kiss (someone), as a lover.
  21. to have sexual intercourse with.  
  22. to have love or affection for another person; be in love.
  23. love up, to hug and cuddle: She loves him up every chance she gets.  
  24. out of affection or liking; for pleasure.
  25. without compensation; gratuitously: He took care of the poor for love. 
  26. in love, infused with or feeling deep affection or passion: a youth always in love.
  27. in love with, feeling deep affection or passion for (a person, idea, occupation, etc.); enamored of: in love with the girl next door; in love with one’s work.
  28. to embrace and kiss as lovers.

And of course, in true ‘me’ form, even as I have written the two issues that I intended to another fifty have suddenly arisen, like when “I love you” is used as an excuse, “You know I love you, I didn’t mean it like that,” or when it is used as a consolation, “don’t cry baby, I love you,” or when it is used as a pain reliever, “You know I love you, but it ain’t working no more.” There are just so many reasons to not want to hear that phrase.

Please don’t think I’m against the word at all, I’m merely against the consequences to ones emotions once it starts getting used. If it didn’t make so much of the other stuff disappear, if there were never any chance of it being ritualised, if the depth of the word is shared, if it never got used for any other reason but to express love, then there is nothing wrong with it at all. I use it myself in fact.

But this is just my interpretation, those who know me, will understand that this whole thought process makes no sense in the real world, and those who don’t, well take this on board…

If you’re going to say ‘I love you’, no matter how many times you have said it before, feel it. Say it, but reach deep within yourself and pull it from your heart, not from somewhere in your frontal lobe.


~ by Alissa Anderton on July 8, 2010.

9 Responses to “I love you… I hate those words.”

  1. So very true Lis….I tend to agree with you a lot here.

    And another great blog!! 🙂

  2. lol .. good post ..

  3. I have to disagree with your whole train of thought here. People don’t generally just throw the words..”I love you” around loosely. I mean, do you ever walk up to a stranger in the street; a shop assistant or someone you work with and say “I love you”? Of course you don’t, but you do compliment them on their hair, their clothes, their ‘awesome mood’ etc. When I say I love you to my husband, kids or family members…I mean it and those three words mean a lot more than a passing comment that anyone can say to you, eg ‘you’re cool!’ You provide the various definitions of the word love. Have you ever looked up the word ‘HATE!’ I don’t think you would ever say that you hate those three words; if you were someone that has NEVER found love. To hear the words “I love you” should make you feel truly blessed in life.

    • Thanks for your opinion Mary, and I do appreciate where you’re coming from. They are very potent words, I love you, and in the beginning, they are perhaps the most powerful words you can use. However it is no the stranger in the street to whom I was referring whenI wrote this. I was thinking about people who have said it so often to someone, that they have stopped thinking about what it means.

      Have you ever looked at your child and thought, “my god, you are just about the most amazing little thing I have ever seen, and everything about you is beautiful,” yet instead you rolled the entire sentence into those three words, because they basically say everything you are thinking… but how does the person hearing your “I love you” realise that you are thinking those thoughts?All they hear are those three words, and in some instances, they might never get to hear that someone thinks they are the most amazing thing in the entire world.

      Anyway my point was not made as a generalisation, I do know that for most people “I love you” is always meant with utmost passion, and as long as the other stuff is not forgotten, that is perfect.

      (and yes, I do agree that HATE is perhaps a little harsh, but I am a woman of extremes, and I tend to use extreme words to explain just about everything… it has got me in to trouble in the past, but I don’t think I’ll stop just yet!)

  4. Thanks for your reply. I am glad that you appreciate that most people say “I love you” with utmost passion. I have been married for more than 10 years and I know that when my husband tells me that he loves me (as he does often), that I am the ONLY woman he is saying those fantastic three little words to. I am confident in myself and our relationship that the way in which he is always there for me; the little things he does, whether it be bring home a nice bottle of wine for tea, empty the dishwasher or just grab my hand while we are sitting watching t.v on the couch…who really needs to hear anything more from that person than “I love you”? How do you know Alissa that the person who is telling you that he loves you, has stopped thinking about what it means? Do you tell your partner that you love him, or do you go out of you way every day to tell him that he is fantastic, a great person , totally awesome etc?

    • Hey Mary,
      My response to your question is… no one ever can know can they?? That’s why it’s nice to be told. I personally do know that my husband still thinks all those things, because he tells me… we have made it standard practice in our house to say everything on our mind.

      Although my husband did make a very valid point on this topic… he said, “It’s better to be told I love you, that be told nothing at all.” And I do agree.

      It does sound like you have a fantastic husband Mary, and for some people doing things for them is even better than the words… Have you ever read “The five love languages” by Dr Gary Chapman? It explains the difference between the people who need words, acts, gifts or physical touch… I think I feel another blog subject coming on….

  5. I lost someone very dear to me some years back who always said “I love you” and yes it did seem sometimes like a ritual. When this person was gone you really miss those words more than anything.
    Life gets so busy and sometimes its all you have time to say or hear. I miss those words more than anything because I know no matter how ritualised they may have become I always needed to hear them (now i cant).
    Yes i agree the first time your hear it is the best but what follows is the togetherness, the bond and the partnership that is really the unspoken love that if you loose you miss the most.

    And before I finish rambelling on – thoughts from the frontal lobe are real thoughts (The frontal lobe contains most of the dopamine-sensitive neurons in the cerebral cortex. The dopamine system is associated with reward, attention, long-term memory, planning, and drive).
    These thoughts are instictive; yes, but there is real honest truth in these thoughts.
    It seems you have exausted the definition but not looked inside yourself to really define what love really is (true love).

  6. wow, again i have such a different perspective than others. all i can think about is
    when as a big group of teenagers we plyed this game and you sit on chairs in a circle and the person in the niddle has to go up to one of the ones in the circle and without tickling or anything similar ask that person ‘honey if you love me give me a smile” the person has to answer without smiling and says ‘ honey, i love you but i just cant smile’ if the person smiles they are in the middle of the circle. as i said different thoughts.

  7. ok so you have discussed it a little in your blog but im going to expand a bit. last night i was in bed going to sleep and the whole ‘i love you’ thing occurred. and thats just fine and dandy. but my thoughts somehow ventured over to ‘yes you love me and i love you but the way i lvoe you is not the way you love me’. then i kept thinking some more. i dont love anyone the way they most probably love me. 99% of this is because these people simply dont understand the way i love them. the other % is i may not have told them or explained correctly to them. i have fried\nd swho i know love me and they should know i love them but it has never been said by either of us. i was talking to a friend chortly after mothers day when i was in perth and my mum in QLD and hesaid about my call to my mum, “did you tell your mum you love her?” and i hadnt. so he basically made me call my mum just to tell her i loved her. so many people i love differently and so many might not even care about my love for them in any way. and then we move onto the fact of someone tells me i love you and all i do is all for you, you are all that i think about etc. but i might see them do something that i believe doesnt fit with their description of loving me as i believed they had explained it.
    i think in the end it scomes down to when i was 14 and i asked my favourite aunt what love is. she said ‘love is a very hard thing’

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