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The True Meaning of I Love You (and 9 Ways to Interpret it)

If you could travel the world and ask any stranger off the street what love means, you would more than likely never get the same answer twice. Love is a noun - it’s an emotion. Love is a verb - loving someone is a choice, an action. Love is an adjective - a love song, a love story. For some, love is waking up every day next to their soulmate. 


To others, love is the way your pet runs to greet you at the door after a long day of work. Some people find love in fleeting connections over drinks, or even a look shared in public transit. 


Different Meanings of Love


Telling someone you love them can have countless implications depending on the context in which it’s said. The first time you tell someone you’ve been dating you love them, it can turn the relationship on its head! 


When your best friend calls you crying because they’ve had their heart broken, I love you is a promise that you’ll be there when they need you. I love you can be the last words of a long goodbye, or a thank you for an unexpected surprise. 


Love in Other Languages


You may love your parents, your boyfriend, and your best friend all at once, but you love them all very differently. Most languages have multiple words that all mean love, each with a subtle difference from the next. 


According to The World Economic Forum, there are 14 different types of love that can be found in the world languages. 

14 Types of Love


What Does I Love You as a Person Mean?


When you tell someone you love them as a person, you’re implying you love who they are at their core: their values, their characteristics, all of the things that make them who they are, but it is understood that love does not translate romantically.


I love you as a person can mean that they may love you, but are not necesarily in love with you. 


What is the Difference Between Love You and I Love You?


The phrases love you and I love you don’t seem so different, but sometimes, something as simple as an ‘I’ can make a big difference. A girl who is in love with a guy can be hurt to receive a ‘love you’ as a response to her ‘I love you so much’. 


A guy may feel alarmed to hear ‘I love you’ from someone he’s been dating for a few months. Saying I love you is emphasizing that you deeply adore them, whereas love you can be a simple way to end a conversation. 


Learn more about the differences between I love you and Love you using this article: 7 Differences Between Love You & I Love You


What Love Means to Guys and What it Means to Girls


In today’s world, it seems that for the most part, a girl’s love is unconditional. When a girl loves someone, they do whatever it takes to make a relationship work, and they don’t falter when their partner slips up. 


To girls, love means having a best friend who supports you in your goals. Many times, in a guy’s world, love is different. To a guy, love means that you like the same things that they like, you listen to their problems and are understanding when they make a mistake, and that you fit in well with their world. 


When a girl hears ‘I love you’ they hear that they are worthy, accepted, and safe with that person. When a guy hears ‘I love you’, they hear that they are respected and have someone dedicated to them unconditionally. 


What Questions to Ask to See if He Loves You


A great way for a girl to truly know how a guy feels about her is to ask ‘what do you love about me?’. If they can tell you they love qualities specific to you this means they see you as an individual and love you for it. If they’re only able to name the very obvious things like your looks, it may be a sign they don’t value you for who you are. 


Along with this open-ended question, this article on the DinaColada blog shares 5 other ways to see how a guy truly feels about you: 5 Sure-Fire Signs a Guy Really Likes You


What Does I Love You Mean in a Relationship?


When it comes to long-term relationships, love can be a word with many different uses. A quick ‘love you’ with a peck before leaving for work, hearing an apologetic ‘i love you’ after an intense argument, or a warm ‘i love you’ following a fit of laughter, all technically mean the same thing, so what’s the difference? 


In a lasting relationship, every day you wake up and make the conscious choice to love this person. Even when they snore, even when they leave the cupboards open, but especially when they have a cup of warm coffee waiting for you in the morning. 

What Does I Love You Mean to a Guy?


When a guy tells you he loves you in a casual setting, he might be saying that he has fun with you, that he enjoys your company, and that he feels comfortable with you. 


If a guy tells you he loves you after a serious conversation or during an emotional time, he is telling you that he feels safe with you and that he appreciates you.


So, What Does I Love You Mean After All?


Love has always been and may always be a concept that nobody can fully understand, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth finding out what love means to you. Love should be fulfilling, safe, and authentic. 


Take note when a guy tells you ‘I love you’ versus throwing out the casual ‘love you’, make sure to define what love means to you, and recognize what it may mean to him. First and foremost, take the time to learn to love yourself so that you know the best way how. 

Use this quiz to find out the best ways to make yourself happy on a journey to self-love: What Makes You Happy? [Quiz to get some Good Good Lovin']

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