10 Ways to Say “I Love You”

A quick note: A gracious Veteran’s Day to all who have served.  This post has nothing to do with veterans, but I figured I could at least give a shout out!  Now, on to the post!

This may come as a shock to some of you, but relationships are hard.  Getting two (or more; it happens) people close together for a long period of time is bound to result in friction.  And just like any other situation where friction can occur, the best way to prevent damage is by lubrication.  Oil for engines, water for joints, grease for hinges; things that move need to have a countermeasure for friction.

In relationships, there is no better lubricant than affection.  Of course, if you do the same thing over and over again, it can start to seem insincere.  So it’s important to mix things up and find new and different ways to tell your partner that you love them.

To that end, here are 10 ways to say “I love you” that don’t actually include the phrase.

Make the Coffee

Or tea.  Or lunch.  Or whatever it is you want to do.  Basically, participate in the routine together.  If one partner is laying in bed while the other makes breakfast every morning, it can start to feel less like a relationship and more like a service job.  Taking the opportunity to share in the routine can shake loose affection.  If you are the one who stays in bed, get up early tomorrow to start breakfast for your partner!

Do the Dishes

Or any chore.  If the above gesture was about giving something to show affection, this one is more about doing something.  If you know that your wife hates a dirty floor, go ahead and run a vacuum.  If it’s the sink, do the dishes!  This tells your partner that you know what they value, and that you are invested in their happiness!

Send a Meaningless Text

Sending a text that isn’t connected to any specific task can do more for your relationship than you might expect.  People tend to have a pretty dull view of being in long term relationships.

Pictured: A dull view of being in a long term relationship.

Hopefully this isn’t the case in your relationship, but it can be really easy to fall into the trap of only talking to each other when there is a need to be met.  Share a funny incident from work, or talk about a cute puppy you saw.  These are the moments that build relationships, not what you need from the grocery store.

Puppies may or may not be better at showing affection than coffee.  Here’s a good compromise.

Look Them in the Eye

Eye contact is communication 101.  It lets the person with whom you’re speaking know that you are paying attention.  While not every conversation absolutely requires you to look into your partners eye, there are plenty of conversations that are made better with a healthy dose of prolonged eye contact.


Bo Burnham in what

Hold Their Hand

Remember when you first started dating, and handholding was a big deal?  It still is.  It’s a gentle, intimate way to show your partner that you are with them, and that you want to hold onto them.  Physical contact releases a hormone called Oxytocin that promotes bonding between partners.  So hold your partners hand, touch their knee, and just be physically affectionate in general!

Compliment Them

Seriously though, who doesn’t like to hear something nice?  This doesn’t have to be hard.  Just say you like something about them.

Study Them

Remember when you and your partner were just getting to know each other, and every conversation was about getting to know every little thing about them?  You could just talk for hours and hours, and every few minutes you learned something new; and you treasured each of those tidbits because they were helping you fall more in love.

Unfortunately, many of us fall into the trap of studying our partners like we study in school: Once the test passes, the information goes by the wayside because you don’t need it anymore.  Well, relationships aren’t freshman biology, there isn’t a test to study for; it’s a constant learning process.  So keep learning!

Tell Them When You’re Upset

This is probably the hardest one on this list.  You would be surprised how few people feel comfortable sharing with their partner when they are feeling something that is not happy.  Real love exists whether you feel happy, sad, mad, scared, hurt, or flabbergasted.  Our emotions do not dictate our lovability; and to be honest, I would call it a pretty good metric for how healthy your relationship is if your partner is able to empathize with you when you’re upset.

Share a Secret With Them

If you are in a relationship with someone, it is not an unreasonable assumption that you trust them to a certain extent.  Trust, like anything else, is not something that is ever “done.”  It’s a process, and the more you are able to share with your partner, the more love will grow between you.

Trust Them

Continuing on from the last point, sharing secrets and being emotionally vulnerable requires a certain level of trust.  Although it is generally assumed that our partners are trustworthy, it is important to make sure that they can be trusted with your secrets.  Trustworthiness is proven over time, and it is up to you to keep up with whether or not someone has proven themselves trustworthy.  The final way to say “I love you” without actually saying it is simply to give your partner the opportunity to earn your trust.  Start small, and build it up with purpose.

So there you go!  10 ways to say “I love you” that don’t actually involve saying “I love you.”  You may also notice that nowhere in there did I mention buying Maseratis or spending thousands of dollars on flowers.  Heck, none of these require money at all…I wonder what the implications of that might be…

What are some ways that you like to hear that your partner loves you?  If you enjoyed reading, please feel free to leave a comment!  As always, like and share if you liked it and want to share!


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