You Don’t Have to Say “I Love You” to Say “I Love You”
Respect to Troye Sivan for the title, which are lyrics from his song “For Him.” Regardless of which side you butter your bread on, that’s an excellent song to dedicate to someone you love, by the way. Sometimes, “I love you” sounds a little cliché, a bit trite. You want to say more while still imparting the same sentiment. That’s cool; I got you.
1. “I want to be around you.”
Letting someone know that you genuinely want to spend time with them unquestionably says “I love you.” Free time is always at a premium, particularly once you begin to adult in earnest. You have to carefully mete out your free time as if it’s a free sample at Costco. It’s often more valuable than money, at least if you’re in love.
2. “I got you.”
Props to Jax Teller, without whom this paraphrase would not be possible. Having a lover’s back is everything. It means you’ll be there no matter what. You’re offering a shoulder to cry on, an ear to listen, a ride, a word of advice, a hug—anything. No matter the circumstances or situation, you’re there. You got this.
3. “You’re my person.”
This one goes out to Grey and Yang, Meredith and Cristina, the purest and most beautiful example of soul mates ever broadcast on television. Your person is the person you trust the most. It might be a romantic partner or a platonic one, but this is who you call to share the good and bad news. Your person is your emergency contact in every sense of the phrase.
4. “You give me butterflies.”
Being with someone for a while can sometimes lead to complacency. It’s important to keep the home fires burning, as they say. Tell your lover that she or he still causes an explosion of butterflies in your stomach. Don’t hide the fact that they beat their gossamer wings against your rib cage every single time bae gazes in your direction or walks into a room.
5. “From this life to the next.”
Once upon a time, the late, great Heath Ledger was on an odd little show called “Roar,” in which he uttered this phrase. Make it part of your secret couple code and murmur it to your partner in lieu of “I love you.” It more than implies the emotion; it goes a step further to suggest that your love will endure because it’s so all-encompassing.
6. “Waking up next to you is my favorite part of the day.”
It’s easy to start taking your partner for granted. At the very least, you get used to the things that used to give you a thrill—such as waking up as you spoon your lover. How long has it been since you enjoyed seeing the person you adore first thing in the morning? If it’s been too long to remember, then you’re overdue. Remind your special someone how much you love to open your eyes and see that precious face.
7. “Every time we kiss, I taste our future.”
Want to make each kiss even more meaningful? Whisper this statement in your lover’s ear the next time you’re cuddled close. Better still, surprise your partner with a kiss and murmur it in passing. Let it sit and simmer for a while. That’s a swoon-worthy declaration of love—so don’t you dare say it unless you mean it.
8. “I can’t remember what life was like without you.”
Five months, five years, seven of them, eleven—when you’re with someone you love, time passes differently. Your lover gets tangled in your life so profoundly that you can’t even picture a life—or a world—without her or him in it. You don’t want to remember, either; you never want to imagine a world without your person in it.
9. “You’re my lobster.”
With respect to “Friends,” telling someone that she or he is your lobster is loving in a more practical way. It’s like giving someone a potato instead of a rose because a potato is useful. The author has no clue whether lobsters do, indeed, mate for life, but “Friends” fans and Phoebe lovers will still appreciate the reference and understand the sentiment.
10. “I’m lost in you.”
You should never genuinely lose yourself in another person. In other words, don’t lose your identity for anyone else. Sweet nothings and romantic promises are all about the drama and poetry, however. Besides, wrapped up in your lover’s arms, making out or making love, you do lose yourself. Both of you do.
11. “I’m proud of you.”
Your partner needs to know that you feel this way. It’s a shame that we say “I’m proud of you” even less than we say “I love you.” Everyone needs that validation, though, and it means the world coming from someone you love and whose opinion you value.
Loving someone isn’t a magic phrase. After all, it’s easy to say “I love you.” That’s only three syllables. How do you say “I love you” without saying it? More importantly, how do you show your love?