Other Words for Love: How They Add Meaning

Always a Place for "I Love You"

Painting by Percy Robert Craft
Painting by Percy Robert Craft | Source

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.


Vocabulary

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

Selected Synonyms
Words and Phrases Which Also Mean Love
Words and Phrases Which Never Mean Love
(1) Like
enjoy, pleased with, find irresistible
dislike, disgusted with
(2) Value
respect, consider important, cherish
abuse, exploit, manipulate
(3) Support
care for, encourage, cooperate with
neglect, undermine
(4) Accept
bear with imperfections
reject, humiliate
(5) Trust
believe in, confide in, count on
suspect, distrust
(6) Applaud
admire, approve, celebrate, honor
embarrass, condemn

Like

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)?”


Value

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

Support

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.”


Accept

“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?"

Photo by Petr Kratochvil
Photo by Petr Kratochvil | Source

Trust

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.


Applaud

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
Like
Value
Support
Accept
Trust
Applaud

Application Exercise

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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Comments 60 comments

billybuc profile image

billybuc 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

This should be required reading before marriage. :) My favorite subject, Dora...well done.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

What a kind thing to say. I appreciate you, Bill.


RachaelOhalloran profile image

RachaelOhalloran 2 years ago from United States

I know you wrote this to apply to all ages, but I wish you could publish this in every young people's magazine in the world. We always say young people have no idea what love is and this would be a good exercise for them to see if they do.

I have emailed your link to two of my granddaughters for them to read this article. Whether they do or not will be up to them, but I have had a good track record so far, so we'll see.

One, at age 21, is absolutely in love with a boy five years older than she and his only aspiration is to win a video game tournament that has a $1million first place prize. What he is going to do after that probably won't surprise me at all - live on the money and not work.

The other granddaughter is 19, has a boyfriend she's been going with for 4 years and just loves him to death. I know it is only because they are comfortable in each other's company after 4 years. They never wanted to date someone new. They live together about 1 year now, splitting the bills, but have no plans to marry. He is in college and works at 2 part time jobs - at Starbucks and at a customer service call center for a department store. She works full time at a data entry job.

This article would be an eye opener and show both of them a different way to look at their boyfriends. I don't mean to break them up, I just want them to see and test whether or not what they have is "true."

This was a great article, voted up and shared!


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Rachel thanks for sharing your granddaughter's stories, and for sharing the article with them. Yes I wrote it especially for a young female cousin of mine who seemed so promising, only to sabotage her plans (after college graduation) and her life by falling prey to a man who does not care. Hope it helps her, your granddaughters and others.


Ericdierker profile image

Ericdierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

Just great stuff to treasure and apply. I just cannot practice this real kind of love enough. We need so much more in the world, gentle reminders like this have got to help us all.

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MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Eric, thanks for your kind affirmation. Young and old alike need to be reminded of the comprehensive nature of love.


Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 2 years ago from The Beautiful South

Beautiful and deep article as usual. Love the first photo up there too! Voted up and sharing.


DDE profile image

DDE 2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

Love is such a meaningful word and you have showed me so much more about his great word.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton

this is indeed a meaningful read Msdora.. )


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Thanks, Jackie. I appreciate your encouragement.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Devika, you're right. There are so many different sentiments that this one word can express. We really need to explore it. Thanks for your input.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Thanks, Frank. I am encouraged by your kind comment.


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

This should be read by all those in a relationship, especially those contemplating marriage! Love is a lot more than just an emotion. Good words to insert to cover a wide spectrum of what love entails.

Up ++++ and away

God bless.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

God bless you too, Faith. Thank you for affirming the use of these words. I really believe lovers need to say and hear them early in the relationship and continuing.


denise.w.anderson profile image

denise.w.anderson 2 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

Even married couples would do well to ask ourselves these questions. We say "I love you" almost automatically, without really thinking about what it really means. Even after years of marriage, we need to nurture and protect our relationship for feelings of love to endure the trials of old age.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Denise, I totally agree with your observation. Thanks for your valuable input.


doctorhawkson profile image

doctorhawkson 2 years ago from Beaufort

Great hub; didn't know exactly how I felt about a girl I met a while back until I read this;


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Dr. Stanley, glad this article helped you figure out how you felt. Perhaps you experience some closure if you needed that. Thanks for sharing.

Concerning your other comment, I will check out your site but I will delete the comment since HP does not look kindly on promotions and solicitations on this site. Thanks for the information.


sheilamyers 2 years ago

I like this idea of saying more than "I love you" to the person we love. It does seem a lot better to add to the reasons we love that person. You hit on the main reason I still haven't found Mr Right. Every guy I've gotten serious with were the type to say "I love you" a lot, but after a few weeks they'd slip into what amounted to "I love you but ...". They never ran the two together, but questions like "Why don't you let your hair grow?" or "Why don't you wear a dress when we go out?" all lead to the same place ... him out of my life.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Sheila, I appreciate your comment--serious and funny at the same time. Hope I'm not too presumptuous to suggest that you point the next prospect to this article, or at least discuss the concept. Sometimes Mr Right takes the long way around. Best to you, going forward.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 2 years ago from Dallas, Texas

Oh, how I like your analogy of "value" when it comes to love. "But I LOVE him" has been the downfall of so many who are not aware of these terms you've so aptly described.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Peg, I hear that "I love him" so often coming from the lips of naïve women who don't even know what they mean. Glad you like the article. Thanks for your support.


ologsinquito profile image

ologsinquito 2 years ago from USA

There are various synonyms for "love." One that gets used often is charity, which I like better in some instances. This involves desiring someone's greater good. In a religious sense, that is eternal salvation.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Ologsinquito, I'm with you in the choice of "charity" as a synonym for love; and the meaning is really the highest good there can be for us. It will definitely be on my list of nouns. I appreciate your input.


manatita44 profile image

manatita44 2 years ago from london

Beautiful and well written article. Timely message and excellent pointers for the young and old alike .

I may visit those love poems sometime. Any book on the way?


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Manatita, thanks for your kind comment. There's always a book on the way. Am I actively working on it? That's the other question, which I hope I shall soon answer in the affirmative. Thanks for your interest.


Ann1Az2 profile image

Ann1Az2 2 years ago from Orange, Texas

Well done, MsDora! An excellent guide to go by. In my opinion, you cannot love someone sincerely without liking them. If you do, the relationship is not love. Love is self sacrificing, forgiving and giving. You can't do any of this without liking someone.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Ann, I totally agree with you. I appreciate your input.


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

I really liked this, Dora, and am passing it along to my teenager. (Cue eye roll.). You make some excellent points.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Flourish, so glad you find it useful. We'll watch to see how the teens do. Thanks for sharing.


Michael-Milec profile image

Michael-Milec 2 years ago

Oh MsDora, love in action and application as you have listed in your hub would have as powerful meaning in each and every person's life as inviting Jesus in personal as well relationship's life. A proven fact for brave ones who dare to love their " neighbor as themselves."

Voted up and beautiful.


word55 profile image

word55 2 years ago from Chicago

Good morning Ms Dora, Happy Friday! Nice break down of expressing love in other words. That was lovely and very well orchestrated. Keep up the wonderful work. Have a very blessed day and weekend :-)


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Michael, pleased to hear from you. Thanks for your very insightful comment.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Word, thank you for your very kind comment. A great weekend to you, too.


lifegate profile image

lifegate 2 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

Hi MsDora,

I voted up and across (except funny, of course). But after all that, I felt something was still missing. HP should include a "powerful" category as well because that's what this was - POWERFUL! Thank you.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Bill, thanks for making me smile. Your comment is very encouraging.


AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 2 years ago from California

Interesting and thoughtful write--and I think I might add respect to the list


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Respect is certainly important om this list. I appreciate your valuable input.


Raul Sierra profile image

Raul Sierra 2 years ago from El Paso, Texas

I discussed the exercise with my wife. We were on the patio talking until midnight. It put us in a great frame of mind.

Thank you


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Raul, your comment excites me. So pleased that the exercise has such a positive effect on you and your sweet wife. Thank you!


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 2 years ago

Love can be expressed using so many different words, it's the person's heart that makes it meaningful. I love your thoughts on this topic and how you help readers to understand the value of love.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Thanks, Teaches. Yes, true love expressions come from the heart. Thanks for your input.


Sami Hanson profile image

Sami Hanson 2 years ago from Kansas

That was such a lovely, article. It shows that you have had personal experience with both bad relationships while also recognizing your appreciation for the good ones. The points you made so clear are also things that I wish the adults my age actually understood.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Sami, thank you for your kind comment. So happy that you appreciate the article.


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 2 years ago from South Africa

Ms Dora, this is yet another perspective on love, perfectly presented by you. I am going to link this to my hub about love.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Martie Coetser, glad you like the article; thanks for the link. I appreciate your comment.


mothersofnations profile image

mothersofnations 2 years ago

Great hub! For many it may help to realize what may be missing in a relationship but for me (and I'm sure plenty of others) it helped me to realize everything I have - and yes I do use those terms and he does as well. The article definitely served as encouragement! Another must "share"! :) Thank you*


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Mothers, I certainly appreciate you! Happy for you and your spouse that you have such a beautiful relationship. Thank you for sharing.


mothersofnations profile image

mothersofnations 2 years ago

Thank you, Ms.Dora! I certainly appreciate you as well:)


Perspycacious profile image

Perspycacious 2 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

You missed one: Admire. I certainly admire where you went with this one, and the thorough thought you incorporated here. This is a truly outstanding Hub.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Thank you, Demas. "Admire is in the next column across from "Applaud," but I think it was also a good word for the primary column. I certainly appreciate your input.


Abby Campbell profile image

Abby Campbell 2 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

Beautiful hub, MsDora! :-)


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Thank you, Abby. Love by ay other name is also beautiful.


Zainab Tarawali profile image

Zainab Tarawali 2 years ago from Nation's Capital

I agree with the many of the comments - beautiful Hub and well put, Ms. Dora! Words mean so much and its just traumatic when they're misused. Please keep sharing your wisdom with us!


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Thanks, Zainab. Let's keep sharing with one another.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Thanks to my HubPages peers, this article has won the 2014 Most Beautiful Hub Award. Of course, I am grateful to God, above all.

My heart overflows with love and gratitude for my loyal supporters and all those who voted.

Going forward, I will strive to deserve the recognition and honor which you have shown to my work. I love being here among all you wonderful writers.


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

Congrats MsDora!!! This hub is amazing and I am so glad your writing won a Hubbie! We all love you, please know.

God bless you.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Thanks, Faith. I love you too, and love being among you. Wishing you a great year ahead!


rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 2 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

Love your take on these synonyms for love and truly these words add depth and meaning to love.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Rajan, thanks for your affirmation. I appreciate you.

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