Recently I saw an update while going through my Facebook news feed, what’s the different between “I LOVE YOU” and “I’M IN LOVE WITH YOU” and I said to myself, these phrases looks the same and they as well have different meaning and people understand and use them wrongly.

Weeks back, I had a discussion with a friend and we kind of have this argument, I told him it’s impossible to love two people and he said it’s very possible. He then asked me, if I love my mom and siblings and I answered affirmative, he then said if I love my significant other and my friends, i answered yes, he laughed and said he just proved to me it’s possible to love two or more persons.

A lot of people will agree with him, but love is very broad, yes I love my family and my significant other but what I feel for my significant other is not what I feel for my family and I love my friends. I love when we stay close to an hour on phone, gossiping. I just love how loving they all are, and that I’ve surrounded myself with such incredible people. Yes I love my friends; i don’t want to do anything romantic or sexual with them. I love my family, but I don’t want to have kids with my sisters.

Let’s go a little farther from the family and friend circle of “I LOVE YOU”

Have anybody ever said this words to you? “I love you” but “I am not in love with you”?

You are not alone because these minutes thousands of people are having the same conversation. Even i have been in such situation and i got confused myself because the statement left me floating, i don’t really know where i stand at that moment. This statement seems to be quite contradicting isn’t it? The one who said it must be insane or must have gone nuts, right? As the years go by, i gradually understand the meaning of the ambiguous statement that has been made above.

I love you comes with the condition, you might have had this conversation, with he/she: “I love you”, and the person may ask “Why do you love me”, and then you respond because you make me laugh, because you make me feel comfortable. Fast forward to weeks or months later, the jokes stop coming, and you no longer feel comfortable in the relationship, then the conversation take a 360 degree turn; I do not love you because you no longer make me laugh, you no longer make me feel comfortable. I love you is built on the foundation of condition(s) and once that fizz out, the magic is gone.


When we say, I love you to someone, that person necessarily need not be the one whom we are interested in sharing our life with. That person could be anyone from family, friends or even colleagues whom we admire and share a special bond with. All these forms suggest only platonic love without intimacy.

You can love a parent, child, friend or colleague while not being in love with that person. for instance; I love my sisters, my mom and my extended family with everything in my heart. I love spending time with them whenever I’m visiting, I love how we steals each other’s clothes from the wardrobe. By ‘I love it’, I mean it annoying sometimes, but I love them too much to really care. Yes, I love my family members, and have told them that all through my life. I love my close friends i have known most of my life. I have told them all this. BUT i will never tell them. “I am in love with you” because it signifies ROMANTIC LOVE. You may also say that you love your spouse or partner, but it’s not quite as specific as saying that you are in love with them. I love you represents the moment, it is momentous, I love you stands for the feeling for the present you,

“I am finding you so irresistible right now, your smile at present, the way you are dressed up, that I want to kiss you and I cannot stop myself in expressing my love to you”

Based on dopamine, the pair-bonding neurotransmitter that we share with all mammals. Dopamine is nature’s way of making you want to be with someone, so that; you might reproduce, and help the species survive, and you will hang around for a while to raise the little humans. For most humans, relationships shift from dopamine-based (the feeling of love) at about 3 years. After that, commitment, obligations, security, social convention, responsibility are what keep the relationship strong. I love my friends; less than my sisters, I’ll admit, but I still love them. I’d drop everything in a heartbeat if they told me they needed me. I love that they always give me a listening ears.

When I say, “I love you” it means;

  • I prioritize your needs and desires over everyone else’s and occasionally even my own.
  • To stick with someone, even when they anger you, frustrate you, or do something stupid. Even when I’m in a bad mood.
  • It means, to actively avoid other romantic entanglements, if your relationship is understood to be exclusive.

“I love you” is fairly generic this can be said between family members or even close friends. When someone says I love you, it can as well mean, you are the best person, thing, animal, place etc. I feel happy to see you and you have a special place in my life. I love many things and you are one of them.

Having known and understand what the phrase “I LOVE YOU” means, what then does the phrase I’M IN LOVE WITH YOU” means?

“In love” refers to a very strong, usually romantic, love. You would use the term in love to describe your relationship with your romantic partner. Sometimes, though, people also use this term to refer to a very strong non-romantic attachment, for example to a baby or a pet.

“I am in Love with you” is used only to express our love to that one person, with whom we want to share our life, with whom we wish to have both emotional and physical intimacy, with whom we would like to travel together as long as we live”


When someone says I am in love with you, it’s something which cannot be shunned or renounced, it is hardwired. Try saying I am in love with you to your partner next time and you can sense the passion which automatically dials up for both of you. I am in love with you is eternal. Once you have said you are in love with somebody, you are in love with their personality and character. This love is now constant and will not change with external factors. I am in love with you puts you off the pressure from confessing the love at one particular moment, this proposal has already been offered to the soul.

I am in love with you has a deeper meaning, it means;

  • I want you.
  • I want you to be mine.
  • I can’t think about my life without you.
  • I think about you all the time.

The feeling is real and genuine. I am in love with you can also mean;

  • We go along really well.
  • I feel empty when you are not around.
  • Making you happy is the sole purpose of my life.
  • You are important to me than any materialistic things.
  • You are the only person who makes me feel so elated, positive and motivate.

Being in love with someone means being, or wanting to be in a relationship with that person. Loving someone does not necessitate being in love with them. I am in love with you needs no further question and specific, in love with you means each and every little detail of you, so even if one thing wears out with time I have all the others and it will always stand the test of time.
The truth is this;

Both statements are interrelated but the only difference is that the latter is a much wider term. You may love a friend who is romantically interested in you, but when you tell your friend that you are not in love, that’s a clear indication that your feelings are not romantic. I love u also means the person loves u. But the later expresses more depth. “I’m in love with you” is generally reserved only for romantic interests. Having known these, whenever you are with your significant other, you now know the right phrase to use.



Image: Stock photo

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I’m Julia Jonathan, I write on relationships, communication and lifestyle advice. I believe there’s always room to improve no matter how incredible you think you are. If you think so too, follow me to see more inspirational stories and articles

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