What does "I Love You" mean to you? Does it mean the same as "I am IN love with you"?

What does "I love you" mean to you? I don't mean what you say to your parents, a sibling or a friend, I mean the romantic I am in love with you kind. For me when I say I love you in a relationship it means I am IN love with them and that at this point in time I wouldn't want to live my life without them, I would do anything for them... I say 'at this point in time' because sometimes one partner falls out of love and the other, is forced to find new love even though they saw themselves never leaving their first love. I believe that love never dies, it can fade, but I believe once someone has worked their way into your heart enough for you to love them they never leave, even after a breakup, if 10 years go by & you get married and have a new family you will always have memories of your past love, they won't be as strong, they will pale in comparison to your new found happiness because you are living with the feeling of your new love where as the old love is merely faded memories, but you will always have a fondness for them. It's not like a person youve merely dated that once you stop seeing them, and time passes you get completely over them... that seems impossible with love. It permanently marks your heart.

With that said my question is is I love you the same as I am in love with you? I'm not talking about the feeling (b/c I do believe there is a difference between loving someone and being in love with them) I'm talking about the 3 little words, when YOU say I love you (romantically) does it mean I am IN love with you? Does it mean you can't bare the thought of them leaving your life? Or do you just think its merely the next step from "i like you" so you say it to progress the relationship? Do you say I love you in every relationship youve had, only some, none..? I have always been hesitant to say I love you because I feel like saying it sort of means "spend forever with me" so I have not said it every relationship since I haven't been in love with every person I've been in a relationship with. Do you plan on only falling in love once? (exceptions being those that are polyamorous) Because if falling in love means you want to spend your life with them doesn't that mean you would only plan on falling in love once? Tho I know this isn't always how it happens... I am asking all these questions because "I love you" seems to get thrown around so easily and quickly in relationships and I wonder if I'm missing something, am I giving it too much weight? Am I wrong in feeling like I've only really planned on saying I love you (as a means of saying I am in love with you) once?

I don't say ILY in romantic relationships like I do a friendship because I think it can muddy the waters too much, I prefer to keep its meaning clear, when I say it I want it to mean something I don't want it to be watered down because I've thrown it around so much and so easily..
What does "I Love You" mean to you? Does it mean the same as "I am IN love with you"?
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