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..
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There is a difference, in my opinion, between loving someone and being IN love with someone. I think that saying "I love you" often means "I'm in love with you", but it does not necessarily mean "I'm in love with you".
For example, sometimes a person will say to their partner, "I love you, but I'm not IN love with you". To me that means that you still love them---you care deeply about them, about their happiness, well-being, etc., but the way you feel about them has changed. You no longer want to spend your life with them, for example. Maybe one, or both of you have changed, maybe you've drifted apart, maybe something negative happened in your relationship that you cannot recover from, etc.
Similarly, you describe continuing to love someone even after the relationship has ended---but obviously you are no longer IN love with that person. I would, however, make a distinction here: I was in a 5 year relationship with my first love. It's been about 7 years since we've broken up. I feel like I still "love him", in a sense, but the truth is that I love who he was and what we shared together. I cannot say that I love *him* because I don't know him anymore. People change---he's probably not the same person that I loved all those years ago. Regardless, he will always have a very special place in my heart.
"Do you say I love you in every relationship you've had, only some, none..?"
"Do you plan on only falling in love once?"
I've had two long-term relationships. I've loved and been in love with both of these men, and said so to them. I wouldn't say "I love you" in every relationship---I only say it if I genuinely feel that I do love the other person. It just so happens that I've fallen in love with both people that I've had relationships with (and these relationships have both been long-term relationships). I don't plan on falling in love again, but I have no idea what the future holds.