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Sex + Relationships

Stop Saying “I Love You, But…”

I love you, but I can’t stand when you’re late.

I love you, but we’re not compatible friends. 

I love you, but I am not ready to move in with you.

We’ve all said these four words. We’ve all heard these four words. The short phrase disempowers the speaker’s message and the receiver’s stability in the relationship. In other words, this phrase sucks for everyone and has got to go. 

Following an expression of one’s deep affection for a partner, child or friend with a qualifier waters down the sincerity of those feelings. Adding the word but almost serves to make the speaker appear noble for continuing to grace the flawed person with their love after all that has happened. 

By definition, the word but is “used to introduce a phrase or clause contrasting with what has already been mentioned.” The outcome of a conversation or even relationship can hinge on those three letters.

If you love someone, you should be able to say it without placing a condition on your feelings. This is not to say that your love for everyone must be unconditional. The “can’t imagine life without you, miss you every second, to the moon and back” love I had for my ex went straight to hell when he crossed a major line. However, if whatever has happened or whatever you are feeling does not negate your love for that person, don’t add a stipulation. Don’t connect the two statements.

Your love for someone and whatever you have to say next should be able to stand alone separately. If the situation has made you question the feelings you have towards that person, let them know. Don’t say “I love you” unless you actually mean it. 

I love you. I can’t stand when you’re late.

I love you. We’re not compatible friends anymore. 

I love you. I am not ready to move in with you.

Removing that tiny contraction we so often rely on can feel awkward at first. However, your expressions of love and your subsequent statements will be more powerful and appear more sincere.  





Presley Lovins

Valdosta '20

Presley is a raging feminist studying communication and dance at Valdosta State University. City girl from Atlanta, she loves all things classic rock and is passionate about empowering women. In her free time Presley enjoys yoga, poetry and painting.
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