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“I love you” is overused and overrated—use these 15 phrases instead

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“I love you” can be a tricky thing to say for some.

Others use it so much that it loses its meaning.

The thing with love is that it’s almost impossible to define properly. Which makes it a kind of mushy and imprecise in my mind.

Maybe you like to say “I love you” and to hear it back. Or maybe you cringe every time it is said.

Either way, we can all agree that there are some better alternative ways to express your true feelings for someone.

Phrases such as…

1. I am grateful to have you in my life.

Gratitude is a far more concrete emotion than love. When you are grateful for something, you are glad to have it in your life.

And I guarantee you that telling someone how grateful you are for their presence in your life will leave them with a big smile on their face and a sense of appreciation in their heart.

2. You are the most important person in my life.

When you can say this will complete honesty, it means an awful lot.

For the other person to know that they are more important to you than anyone else is validation of your commitment to them.

One small caveat: if, like me, you have children (either with this person or with someone else), it’s 100% okay to joke a little about how those kids come first but the other person is a very close second!

3. I cherish the time we get to spend together.

Shared experiences—of any kind—are what make relationships so special.

So, it makes sense to highlight how much you enjoy spending time with the other person, right?

The word “cherish” is perfect for this. It means you value that time greatly and wish there were more of it.

4. I am devoted to you.

Devotion means so many things. It means you are loyal to someone. It means you are dedicated to them. It means you are willing to give of yourself to them.

Devotion also invokes elements of purpose and meaning. After all, you devote yourself to things that you are passionate about and that resonate deeply with you.

To say you are devoted to someone, then, is a major statement of how much you care.

5. You inspire me to be a better person.

Inspiration is a coveted thing. When we are inspired by something, we grow in energy and determination.

So, to tell someone they inspire you to be a better person is a way of saying that they give you more belief in yourself and they lift you up.

I’d like to inspire others—wouldn’t you?

6. I appreciate everything you do for me/us.

Who doesn’t like to feel that the effort they put into something is valued? That they are not being taken for granted?

Making clear how much you appreciate the things someone does for you, for the two of you as a unit, or for your family and household, is sure to make them feel seen and their efforts recognized.

7. I feel lucky to have you by my side.

You hit the jackpot on a casino machine, you feel lucky. You win the top prize on the lottery, you feel lucky. You hit every green light on your way to work, you feel lucky.

But perhaps the biggest stroke of luck you’ll ever have is meeting someone special with whom you can share your life.

Don’t let them forget it.

8. You make my world a brighter place.

Life can be pretty hard at times. And it can feel rather grey and dreary too.

So, to know that their presence brings a little brightness and joy into your life will make some lucky person feel happy and important.

If you’re into cheesy one-liners, throw a little “you’re my sunshine” into the mix now and then. Or not, it’s up to you.

9. You are the best thing that has ever happened to me.

Wow, the best! Really?!

How awesome would it be to hear that of all the things a person has ever experienced, you are top of the list?

So why not tell someone this? It’ll make them feel so incredibly special.

10. I truly value your presence in my life.

Have you ever noticed how presence and presents sound the same? And how both are nice to receive?

To tell someone that you value their presence in your life is to affirm just how much you enjoy their companionship and appreciate their support.

It will confirm to them just how much they matter to you.

11. You’re the gift that keeps on giving.

Speaking of presents…

If you think about it, the phrase “gift that keeps on giving” implies that you are continuously grateful for them and the things they do.

It is full of dynamism and says that you don’t just value them now and then, but that you value them always.

12. I feel closer to you than anyone I have ever met.

Closeness implies intimacy. If you say that you feel closer to this person than anyone else, you are hinting at the intensity of your feelings.

You are also inferring that you feel more able to be yourself around them than anyone else. The level of intimacy and connection you feel is off the charts.

13. You mean the world to me.

Meaning is something every human being longs for. So, to tell someone that they mean the world to you is like saying that they bring meaning into your life.

And not just a little bit of meaning—a whole boatload of the stuff.

What a wonderful thing to hear.

14. You are so _____, and I love that about you.

The word “love” is still a great word that is full of meaning. But when you give that love some context, it can feel a lot more real.

When you make a point to highlight something that you love about the other person, you are reminding them of a quality they possess that they should feel proud of.

And making someone feel pride in themselves is a wonderful thing.

15. I can’t put into words how much you mean to me.

I mean, come on. It’s something quite extraordinary to express how indescribable your feelings for someone are.

The implied message is that no words do justice to how important they are, how much you value and appreciate them, and, yes, even how much you love them.

Some things just can’t be spoken out loud, only felt.

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About The Author

Steve Phillips-Waller is the founder and editor of A Conscious Rethink. He has written extensively on the topics of life, relationships, and mental health for more than 8 years.