No phrase in relationships is considered as important and profound as this: “I love you.” But it doesn’t always fit, it doesn’t come easily across all people’s lips – and if it is said too lightly and too often, it loses exactly this magic effect and meaning quite soon.
But you can also express your deep feelings in a different way, with a declaration of love that is adapted to the situation and less kitschy. Often you probably even do that! You are just not aware of the meaning behind such sentences.
And often you may not even see your partner declaring his love to you, only in other words and gestures. That’s why we have compiled and explained the corresponding replacement sentences here for you!
What does he really mean when he says “I love you”?
One. “I’ll do it for you.”
It could also say, “Would you like me to post this letter for you?” Or, “You want me to fix your tire for you?” Or, “Don’t get up. I’ll get breakfast.” (Careful with: “I’ll do your tax return for you!”)
Doesn’t that sound confettily romantic? It’s not, but the content is even more important for a relationship. It’s about the idea of doing something not self-evident for someone else because this person is close to your heart. Of course, nobody has to earn love or do things for it that he or she doesn’t want to do. But when people are there for each other in this way, it weighs more heavily than saying “I love you” a thousand times.
That’s what he means by “Take care of yourself”.
Two. “Have a good time.”
To love is also to let go. No matter how close and intimate your relationship is, you and your counterpart sometimes need distance and breaks from each other to experience yourself alone or with others. This works all the better if you both know that the person at home is not resentful or anxious and jealous waiting for your return.
It is just as important to give each other space as it is to be there for each other. Granting this freedom generously, without ulterior motives and with a smile is a sign of love and trust. (And yes, this is also true if you are secretly looking forward to netflixing a pot of ice cream alone).
Of course you like to be whispered “I love you” – just not every 5 minutes. © Jacob Lund / Shutterstock.com
3. “Get in, we’re going to Paris!”
Sure, this spontaneous tour is a cliché on wheels. But it’s the idea that counts, and that in itself is a declaration of love! And hardly anything connects as much as such little adventures and everyday escapes.
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Four. “Hold me.”
Trust and closeness are great. But many people hardly use the opportunity to demand both directly because they fear to “cling” too much. This is nonsense! After all, that’s your favourite person, he’s there for that kind of thing – and he certainly doesn’t mind, no matter what the situation. (Okay, unless you say that every 3 minutes, or he’s just trying to put on his socks while standing, while the neighbours are watching through the window. Or both.)
It’s not just what someone says, it’s what they do. Like hugging. You can ask for that out loud! © Jacob Lund / Shutterstock.com
Five. “I totally understand your frustration…”
Empathy is important in all situations, but especially in a relationship. Being able to empathize with the other person’s feelings and to signal understanding to them creates an unbeatable sense of unity.
Even if you can’t really understand or don’t want someone crying because a football team loses, you know that person well enough and have enough of your own comparable experiences to suffer a little. To show him that helps and comforts him.
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6. “but you gotta pull yourself together.
Understanding is awesome. But it’s all the more important that you also tell him the madness of some of his impulses and whims from time to time, so that he doesn’t take off completely or get tangled up in the dense undergrowth of his confused male soul.
Of course, he won’t like it the first moment you tell him. But in the long run he will be grateful to you for pulling him together in some of his weakest moments. For example, if he thinks he has to quit because his boss (rightly) criticized him. Or when he wants to get a portrait of a player tattooed on his cheek because he won a football match.
Okay. Of course, there are times when it would be inappropriate to say, “I’ll fix your bike for you.” © Jacob Lund / Shutterstock.com
7. “You’re just wonderful!”
An “I love you” sounds great. But even an “I commend you” has its moments. I’m sure you’ve heard many times you shouldn’t tell someone what you love them for. This is also true in so far as you don’t want to give the impression that love is over when he no longer does this or that.
But of course you can tell him that you admire or love something about him – or simply celebrate him as a person. I’m sure he’ll do the same with you – and you know how great that feels. Every honest compliment is a declaration of love.
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8. “You can do it, I believe in you!”
This support and backing may be normal in a relationship. But to say this explicitly on the day of an important exam or task strengthens the back and can give wings.
Nine. “Oh, whatever, everybody stupid, next time it’ll work.”
Just as important as your support is the ability to catch up if something goes wrong. Or also and especially if something goes wrong several times. So you say: “I don’t only love you when you are strong and successful. I love you all the time.” There’s no love declaration more beautiful than that.
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Whether you say “I love you” or you praise, comfort and celebrate him: the most important thing in a relationship is that you talk to each other at all – …with love and honesty. Sentences like this one are the special candy in every couple communication.