Other Words for Love: How They Add Meaning
Always a Place for "I Love You"
Sometimes “I love you” has different meanings for the person who says it and the person who hears it.
Hidden motives and over-eager interpretations can lead to a lifetime of regrets. The practice of using other words for love lessens the chances of dilemmas and promotes honesty both in the lover’s speech and the response.
There will always be a place for an honest “I love you” in the relationship. However, the six selected synonyms below add meaning and clarity. Lovers who do not hear them have the right to ask questions instead of guessing what the other person means.
The six words in the first column form the basis for the discussion which follows. Read through the article, then review the other words for love in the middle column and the opposite words in the right end column.
Other Words Which Mean Love and Other Words Which Do Not
Words and Phrases Which Also Mean Love
Words and Phrases Which Never Mean Love
enjoy, pleased with, find irresistible
dislike, disgusted with
respect, consider important, cherish
abuse, exploit, manipulate
care for, encourage, cooperate with
bear with imperfections
believe in, confide in, count on
admire, approve, celebrate, honor
"I'll like you for always" Decal
Some people consider love a stage beyond like, but like has a permanent place in the love relationship.
Here’s a true story, except for the names. John says that he loves Maria, and he likes her best friend Marianne. He compliments Marianne for her talents, her knowledge and her wit. He looks forward to their conversations including the laughter which is missing when he is in Maria’s company.
When Maria complains that Marianne enjoys her boyfriend more than she does, John reveals that Marianne is the kind of girl he really wants. Meanwhile, he says “I love you” to Maria because the more he says so, the more she satisfies his physical desires.
Take time to like and be liked for qualities other than sexual attraction. If in doubt, ask “What do you like about me (besides my physical heritage)?”
The value you place on another person gives a clue as to how you expect to be valued. So what would it mean if you say, “I value you?”
If you borrow the analogy of merchandise value, would that be “dollar store value” among items that are overstocked, falling onto the floor, available for shoppers to pick up and fondle, and put back on the shelf?
Or would that be “jewelry store value” where there is a security guard at the door, the jewel is kept under lock and key, to be admired but not fondled at will, to be brought out for a closer view only to the customer who asks permission?
Realize that the value you place on yourself determines whether you will be cherished and protected, or abused.
Love Poems by Keats, Emily Dickinson and Other Poets
The true-love relationship brings out the best in each other. If arguments, competitions, stresses and frustrations, are the norms instead of the exceptions in the premarital love relationship, why invest anymore of yourself?
It makes one happy to hear an energetic “I support you.” Individuals who say it are interested in the other person’s goals. They commit to helping each other succeed. They know that mutual support depends on mutual cooperation.
So what happens to supportive love when a female college graduate needs sick leave before she even starts her first job, because she is pregnant and penniless? More often than not, the relationship also ends here. Be sure to discuss the future, and solicit support. Support also means cooperation when one is wise enough to say “No.”
“I accept you” usually means “I love you despite the limitations which I acknowledge that you have.” It makes the other person know that his or her imperfections will not become excuses for verbal or mental abuse, for rejection or humiliation. There will be no pressure to become like anyone else; only assistance to improve where there is willingness to do so.
Statements like the following suggest conditional acceptance:
- “I love you, but you need to lose a number of inches from your waist.”
- “. . . but you need to grow your hair as long as your sister’s.”
- “. . . but you need to bring your cooking up to par with my mother’s.”
True love is unconditional and so is acceptance when used as another word for love.
"I trust you. Do you trust me?"
Insecurity often demonstrates itself in the love relationship as lack of trust. Eventually, it translates into the desire for control, and the other person is required to give constant updates on whereabouts, activities, cell phone calls made and received, and so on. Every move or lack of movement becomes a reason for suspicion.
Suggest professional help if necessary and stand back.
“Do you trust me?” is a valid question, and it deserves a straightforward answer. However, because it more pleasant to receive assurances than to request them, it would be great for lovers to occasionally offer “I trust you.”
Whenever misunderstandings or preconceived notions create doubt, deal with the distractions in the true spirit of love. Establish trust as a standard in the relationship and commit to maintaining it.
Statements which convey a feeling of pride and joy should be forthcoming without solicitation, especially when there are obvious reasons.
- “I feel happy just because I am with you.”
- “I’m proud to have you as my partner.”
- “I applaud you for knowing how to love me.”
These expressions underscore value in the individual and satisfaction with the relationship. Self-worth dictates that lovers take the time to establish these sentiments as basic meanings of love, before committing heart, soul and body in response to an “I love you” which may be just slang.
Use these other words sometimes in place of the word love and proceed cautiously.
I Love You: Do You Love Me?
Insert Each Word In Place of Love
Insert the six words on the right (one at a time) into the sentence, "I -------- you." Answer the following four questions each time.
- Does your lover ever use this word in statements to you?
- If he or she used that word, would you believe it based on the way you interact with each other?
- Does the word describe what you feel toward your lover?
- Do you ever use this word in statements to your lover?
If you can answer all four questions in the affirmative, with the insertion of each of the six words, you may have a love relationship you can nurture. Wholehearted love includes all these meanings. Use the synonyms sometimes to help you validate what you really feel. Listen for them to help you decide if you have the kind of love you deserve.
© 2014 Dora Isaac Weithers
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