Words of love so soft and tender won't win a girls heart anymore
December 8, 2011 10:04 AM   Subscribe

Tell me some really touching, emotional, and meaningful ways someone has told (not shown) you they love you and how much they care about you without just saying "I love you".

The words "I love you" are very powerful and meaningful on their own, without question. My partner and I tell each other "I love you" many times a day and we mean it every time we say it. However I am worried that it is starting to sound stale or less meaningful simply because we say it so much. (Yes, we could make a concerted effort to say it less so that it retains its emotional punch but I think that is sad and not a nice option because I like saying (and hearing) those words.)
Basically, I am looking for other ways to tell him how much he means to me without just saying "I love you". I'd also love to hear some examples of things that someone has said to you that made you weak in the knees and made you fall in love with them a little more, even if it was very situation specific and not something I could use myself. For example, we have a thing where we say "I love you like ________" and fill in the blank with whatever random thing we think of (Classics have been "an ear of corn", "an octopus", "an asteroid", and "like Ke$ha misses her self respect"), but I'd like to have some aces up my sleeve for when a situation warrants something extra.
posted by gwenlister to Human Relations (91 answers total) 107 users marked this as a favorite
I love you more than there are stars in the sky.

(damnit...just got teary-eyed over an ex who would say that.)
posted by noxetlux at 10:09 AM on December 8, 2011

"I feel like a teenager about you lately."
posted by jbickers at 10:11 AM on December 8, 2011 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Two lessons:

"Mrs. Savage: What's the matter, Fairy May?
Fairy: Nothing. It's just that no one has said they loved me this live-long day.
Mrs. Savage: Why yes, they have, Fairy.
Fairy: Oh, no they haven't. I've been waiting.
Mrs. Savage: I heard Florence say it at the dinner table.
Fairy: Did she?
Florence: Did I?
Mrs. Savage: She said, Don't eat too fast, Fairy.
Fairy: Was that saying she loved me?
Mrs. Savage: Of course. People say it when they say, "Take an umbrella, it's raining" - or "Hurry back" - or even "Watch out, you'll break your neck." There're hundreds of ways of wording it - you just have to listen for it, my dear." -The Curious Savage


"That day, she was amazed to discover that when he was saying "As you wish", what he meant was, "I love you." And even more amazing was the day she realized she truly loved him back. " - The Princess bride
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 10:13 AM on December 8, 2011 [55 favorites]

After one of my hardest days ever I came home and my girlfriend had pressed my slacks for the next day.

She did it because she knew I had a giant set of lesson plans due the next day and wasn't going to sleep that night.

Yeah, makes me happy just thinking about how much she cares.
posted by JimmyJames at 10:15 AM on December 8, 2011 [4 favorites]

For me it's doing things that show how well he knows me and cares about making my life better. One instance that comes to mind was when I was in a pouty, irritable mood about something and rather than trying to talk me out of it he came into the living room, turned on the stereo, and started up The Little Mermaid soundtrack. I don't even know why that CD is in my house (we are in our 30s and don't have children), but he knew it would crack me up and pull me out of my funk.
posted by something something at 10:16 AM on December 8, 2011 [3 favorites]

Best answer: My boyfriend's the strong silent type. He's loving but more actions than words.


Right after our first actual date (we were already friends for a few months):

Me: "No pressure- you can still date other people if you want to."

Him: "I have no interest in doing that."

Followed two weeks later by:

"I made you a key to my apartment."
posted by devymetal at 10:17 AM on December 8, 2011 [16 favorites]

"I cannot wait to plan our future together."
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 10:26 AM on December 8, 2011

Ah, guys? I just wanted to echo something the OP said:

"has told (not shown) you they love you"

So actions may speak louder than words, but this question is specifically looking for words, not actions.

One thing to look to are your in-jokes as a couple. One ex and I, very early on in our relationship, started using "two point four" as an I-love-you, because <3 is a heart, which means love, and 2.4 < 3, so obviously 2.4 is love. It was stupid and twee but it was a reminder that not only were we in loooove, but it was our love and not that generic emotion that other people also feel.
posted by Tomorrowful at 10:27 AM on December 8, 2011 [7 favorites]

We say an abbreviated version of "I love you"* in place of the full thing when it's more a greeting or salutation-- i.e. he's running out the door in the morning, over texts, etc.

We still get to say it, but the "real thing" retains its punch.

*Not sharing it for a reason. Make your own so it's special.
posted by charmcityblues at 10:29 AM on December 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: My wife of 28 years has a very high pressure job and spends long hours daily at her work ...I am by contrast retired and do not see her for long stretches of each day. When she leaves home on Friday, she often turns to me and says: "At least we will be together for the whole weekend very soon." 28 years of marriage. And that melts my heart.
posted by Postroad at 10:37 AM on December 8, 2011 [30 favorites]

Best answer: The other day an acquaintance commented on how my SO and I seemed like such a well-matched couple, and he grabbed me, kissed me on the cheek, and told her, "I adore Neely like no one else on earth," which totally knocked my socks off. I find the word "adore" really charming.
posted by Neely O'Hara at 10:37 AM on December 8, 2011 [12 favorites]

Best answer: "Ear of corn"? Sounds like a little humor is OK too. Here's one from my husband, who has a talent for mangling the English language inadvertently: one time, without realizing his epic grammar fail, he told me "I love you a very lot". Cracked me right up and his puzzled innocent-puppy expression went straight to my heart. It's become a standard phrase for us over the years.
posted by Quietgal at 10:38 AM on December 8, 2011 [3 favorites]

Best answer: When doing something totally mundane: "All I want is to keep doing this with you forever"
posted by jessamyn at 10:39 AM on December 8, 2011 [17 favorites]

Like the abominable snowman loves his wittle bunny wabbit
Like Mr. T loves gold chains and pitying fools.

posted by specialagentwebb at 10:41 AM on December 8, 2011 [2 favorites]

"Hey." - Husband

"Yeah?" - Wife. Looks up from what she'd doing and gives husband full attention.

"Love you." - Husband

"Love you too." - Grins and goes back to what she was doing.

This works either way. The point being when we are saying the "Real thing" we make sure we have (and give) each other our full attention.

I also have a ritual with my Niece and Nephew

Which starts with me saying "I love you this much." and holding out my arms wide.

Then then go well "I love you around the world."
then it goes on each topping out the other
Well I love you to the Moon
Well I love you to the stars
Well I love you to infinity
Well I love you to infinity plus infinity
Well I love you more.

The last line "I love you more." has become such a bond between me and my niece & nephew that we race to be the first one to say it when hanging up from talking on the phone and I sign cards, emails to them that way. It has even become something my husband and I say to each other, as just a little tender way to show just how much love we have.

OK sorry that's such a long post but hope that's the sort of thing you were looking for.
posted by wwax at 10:45 AM on December 8, 2011 [2 favorites]

My husband quit his job and moved to the other side of the world for me (I wanted to move for my career, but also because I just always wanted to move overseas). Hard to argue with that one!

He also looks after me in lots of little (and not so little) ways. Makes my lunch every day, irons my favourite shirt if I leave it out, cleans the bath when I've been complaining my back is sore so that I can use it the next day, goes shoe shopping with me, gets up and feeds the cats every morning before I get up. All of those things make me feel loved and nurtured. Some people, particularly older people, find it weird that he does more of the domestic stuff than I do, the lunch thing in particular. But I know plenty of women who cook for their husbands and make lunches for them too without thinking anything of it, and he likes making food and I don't so screw them.
posted by shelleycat at 10:45 AM on December 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: The first movie my ex and watched together was "Love & Sex." It was our first relationship with anyone for the both of us, so when the time came for the big L word, we started off saying "I cheese sandwich you." This phrase, with every food you can think of ("I puff pastry you," "I oso bucco you") became standard for I love you in our early years. It was pretty disgustingly cute and always made me happy ...damn I miss him!
posted by Eudaimonia at 10:48 AM on December 8, 2011 [4 favorites]

"I don't know what I would do without you."
posted by drlith at 10:49 AM on December 8, 2011

Ug, missed the told rather than shown part. But really, we don't go for words a great deal. The main ones that express love between us are a heartfelt "thank you" after the taking care of stuff above. Also sometimes, when I'm feeling it, I tell him how I just really like him, and like being with him. Not just all the hormones ardenaline goopy bonding love stuff that kind of hangs around anyway, but actually just really like hanging out or whatever together. He seems to appreciate it.
posted by shelleycat at 10:50 AM on December 8, 2011

"I am crazy about you." It is special to me because it is what teradude would say when we were first dating and were BONKERS for each other but weren't saying "I love you" yet. Squee!
posted by teragram at 10:52 AM on December 8, 2011

I used to say to an ex "You are cuter than a bug's ear. In fact, you are cuter than the whole bug." That seemed to have the desired effect. Although, to be fair, we are exes.
posted by GenjiandProust at 10:52 AM on December 8, 2011 [2 favorites]

You mean the world to me.
posted by hazyjane at 10:56 AM on December 8, 2011

"I love you bigger than an atom" - now, clearly an atom is a tiny and wee thing and not terribly prepossessing as a symobol of love. However, the reasoning is that everything in the whole universe is made of atoms (and smaller things too, I know, but humour me), so an atom is therefore the biggest and best and most important thing anywhere at any time and will exist before we knew each other and will go on after we're dead and dust. What finer declaration could there possibly be?
posted by Martha My Dear Prudence at 10:57 AM on December 8, 2011 [3 favorites]

Best answer: We definitely do love each other a lot (she's moving in with me soon, and I couldn't be happier about that) but one thing we like to do sometimes is to go for understatement.

"I like you."
"I like you, too!"

It makes us both smile.
posted by emelenjr at 10:58 AM on December 8, 2011 [5 favorites]

When we wake up on a Sunday morning, I ask, "What do YOU want to do today?"
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:59 AM on December 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

He says to me, "Hey, Guess what?" I say, "I love you too."

It's abbreviated. The whole thing goes like this:

"Hey, Guess what?"


"I love you."

"I love you too."

Sometimes I think he has something to tell me and I say "what?" It's just a cute game that started with my little girl. Now he does it too. I love it like my lungs love air.

Sometimes my little girl and I say this: I start it by saying "I love you alllll..." and then she chimes in on the all and we both say "the way to the moon...and back" We whisper the word "back." It's from the book "I love you THIS much."
posted by Yellow at 11:00 AM on December 8, 2011 [2 favorites]

You can write little notes and leave them in places where your partner will find them or send a text message with a heart or write I love you in the steam from the shower or send a love email. My husband is silly (admittedly) but sometimes he yells "love attack" and runs across the room and hugs me.
posted by bananafish at 11:01 AM on December 8, 2011 [15 favorites]

Best answer: In a playful mood once, after Mr. Adams had told me "I love you," I asked him "How much?" He thought for a moment and then said, "Why, I'd even use your wet toothbrush!"
posted by Oriole Adams at 11:02 AM on December 8, 2011 [12 favorites]

In the (brilliant) television show Peep Show, Jez tells a love interest, "I would eat my own fingers just to look at your face." He's so earnest about it and I found it touching, though that was likely not the intent.
posted by easy, lucky, free at 11:05 AM on December 8, 2011 [6 favorites]

I think playfulness is the key - but maybe that's just me and most of the people who answered this.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 11:12 AM on December 8, 2011

Mine calls me "beloved." Gets me every time.
posted by ottereroticist at 11:14 AM on December 8, 2011 [2 favorites]

Best answer: "I'm so lucky."

[as he's falling asleep]: "I can't wait to wake up again to hang out with you."

[as he's falling asleep]: "I miss you!"
posted by Pax at 11:29 AM on December 8, 2011 [14 favorites]

Upon further thought, we do say plain vanilla things like:
You are the best person I know
See, that's what I love about you - you do noble/brave/thoughtful things like (whatever he just did or I just heard about)
posted by Lesser Shrew at 11:30 AM on December 8, 2011

Best answer: From a marriage of two introverts so YMMV, but my partner and I tell each other "Being with you is better than being alone," which is pretty much the ultimate compliment for me. I'm not really a people person and I need lots of self time to recharge my batteries and so on. I like being by myself and being unselfconscious and relaxed. But being with her is like... I get to have all the benefits of being truly myself while also being with this awesome person. I don't have to be "on" the way I do in public, but it's not like we're an echo chamber for each other, either. It's just... I say that I don't like people, but she's not people. Sometimes we say that, too - "You're not people." Which means "You're better than people."
posted by marginaliana at 11:33 AM on December 8, 2011 [34 favorites]

I tell my SO he's my lobster. He doesn't like lobster, so I'm his lasagna. :)
posted by blurker at 11:34 AM on December 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

My guy and I sing to each other words of love and random things. We've taken to sending each other love snippets via HeyTell. There's nothing like hearing him singsong he loves me in a ridiculous falsetto tone. We laugh and laugh about it when replaying them. It's glorious to love and be loved!
posted by loquat at 11:37 AM on December 8, 2011

Sometimes my little girl and I say this: I start it by saying "I love you alllll..." and then she chimes in on the all and we both say "the way to the moon...and back" We whisper the word "back." It's from the book "I love you THIS much."

This is actually from the book Guess How Much I Love You. But it's very, very sweet regardless!
posted by cider at 11:37 AM on December 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

"I'm blistening"

Which means "I'm not really catching what you're saying because as you're talking I'm just thinking about how blissfully happy you make me."

Of course, there's also "I'm lustening" -- which means, well, you can guess.
posted by vitabellosi at 11:40 AM on December 8, 2011 [8 favorites]

"You make my face hurt," from smiling so much when I'm around him.
posted by bookdragoness at 11:42 AM on December 8, 2011 [2 favorites]

- Sometimes my boyfriend will just stop what he's doing, cup my face in the palm of his hand, tilt my head so I'm looking up into his face, and he says "There's the girl that I love." It gets me every time.

- I am a big fan of pet names. I am not going to say any specifics because they would probably be disturbing to most people, but we enjoy the names we have together.

- "You're made of all the things I didn't even know I needed before I met you."

- Or, in the middle of doing an incredibly boring/mundane task: "This is the most fun I've ever had [bleaching the grout], 'cause I'm doing it with you."

- "I don't believe in the idea of soulmates. But the two of us are a pretty good argument in favor of the concept."

- [sudden random tickling attack] "I LOVE YOU! THIS IS ME LOVING YOU RIGHT NOW!"
posted by kataclysm at 11:55 AM on December 8, 2011 [15 favorites]

My parents used to sign notes with "1-4-3." Those are the numbers of letters in the words " I love you."

I used to use the infinity symbol, or maybe say lines from songs.
posted by maurreen at 12:06 PM on December 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

I once broke into song, using a certain appendage of mr.likeso's as a microphone.
It proved a bonding experience.
posted by likeso at 12:20 PM on December 8, 2011 [3 favorites]

Best answer: "You're my favorite human being on the planet" (my husband says this almost every day)

"You make my life perfect. I want you to make the rest of my life perfect." (when he proposed)
posted by desjardins at 12:23 PM on December 8, 2011 [3 favorites]

My husband and I started our relationship long-distance, and we talked on the phone every night. It's been 2.5 years since we shacked up, but sometimes when we lie in bed we talk to each other as if we're still on the phone. "I'm just lying here wishing I was next to you." "We'll be together so soon." Lots of times we just say, "So soon, honey." There were lots of things we wished would hapen "so soon," and now that we've gotten some of those things we don't want to lose the memory of hoping.

He invented the word "pinkly" to describe the way I get when I'm a little cute, a little shy, but smiling so my cheeks hurt (and get, you know, pink). He's the only one who's allowed to declare it; sometimes I'll ask him, and he'll say, "Not quite," or "Maybe a little." But then we'll be out somewhere, or lying in bed, and he'll lean over and say, "You are tonight," and I know exactly what he means. And then I get even more pinkly :)

I like to tell him how companionable he makes me feel. We spent a long time calling each other "partners" and being happy about that. Having a companion reminds me that I have a best friend and partner wrapped up in one, and that I enjoy all the times I spend with him.

My parents (mother in particular) used the ASL sign: palm forward, extending your pinky and index fingers and thumb. It forms the letters I, L and Y.
posted by Madamina at 12:25 PM on December 8, 2011

Also, we play a game:

Him : "I love you more than anything in the world."

Me: "Do you love me more than ____? How about ____? Well, how about ____? Do you love me more than that?," ramping up to his absolute favorite thing in the world, upon which he'll stop and pontificate, then say "YES."
posted by desjardins at 12:26 PM on December 8, 2011

Best answer: My auntie tells me that I am her 'MAD', which she tells me stands for "my adopted daughter". She is my maternal auntie and she has been there for me without fail ever since my mother passed away over 20 years ago.
posted by koahiatamadl at 12:29 PM on December 8, 2011 [3 favorites]

And no, she't not formally adopted me but she and my uncle treat me like on of their children.
posted by koahiatamadl at 12:30 PM on December 8, 2011

I will say to MrsShawnString "elephant shoes" and her response is "with socks" to see just the mouth movements it looks like "i love you".

"the socks" is because it sounds silly.
posted by ShawnString at 12:34 PM on December 8, 2011 [2 favorites]

Best answer: My first job after high school was as a receptionist for an electronics manufacturing company. One of the engineers, Bill, was a very soft spoken and extremely intelligent man. He was the type to smile and say hello and then fade into his daily routine.

One day his wife called to speak with him. I misspoke when I transferred her call by saying, "Your life is on the phone" rather than "Your wife is on the phone". I giggled a little and told him that I meant to say "your wife". Bill (who wasn't the type to chat) actually laughed a bit, too, and said, "That's okay, my wife is my life". He was so genuine and sweet when he said it that I completely melted. I decided right then that that was the type of relationship I wanted to have.

The company closed shortly thereafter, but I never forgot what Bill said.

About a decade passed then low and behold, he and his family stopped in the restaurant I where I was working. I made sure I got his table and re-introduced myself. He pretended to remember me and introduced me to his family.

When they were leaving, I pulled his wife aside and told her about the phone call and how sweetly her husband spoke of her. To this day, it's still one of the most romantic things I've witnessed.

Years later, I met a man who is about as different from Bill as a man could possibly be. But, I'm very blessed that my husband shares Bill's sentimentality. "you are my life"
posted by blista at 12:36 PM on December 8, 2011 [18 favorites]

You have to see the Joe Rogan comedy bit about this!
posted by coolsara at 12:49 PM on December 8, 2011

Best answer: "I think I'm going to keep you around."

Works better the longer you've been together.
posted by Kabanos at 12:57 PM on December 8, 2011 [7 favorites]

"You're my favourite"
"Your favourite what?"
"My favourite everything."
posted by arcticwoman at 1:03 PM on December 8, 2011 [7 favorites]

Well, we like "I love you as big as the sky; to the moon and back; and all the sugar that ever was, is right now, and ever will be."
posted by peagood at 1:07 PM on December 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

Once, my husband and I spent an afternoon shopping for hats. I talked him into one that he would never have chosen for himself. I thought he looked cute in it. And even though friends ribbed him for wearing an "old man hat," he'd still wear it for me.

We were living in Tokyo at the time and about to move to New York. I had to leave a few months before him to get a job so that I could sponsor his visa. I wasn't much of a crier then, but I was miserable as we parted ways at the airport. I got on the plane, sat at my window seat and looked at the terminal as the plane was pulling out. And that's when I spotted him: standing on the observation deck, a tiny figure waving the "old man hat" over his head like a flag. He didn't know if I was even sitting on that side of the plane or if I'd even be looking out the window at that time. But there he was, frantically waving like an island castaway.

The memory of that moment is enough to make me stop being mad at him when we've argued.

We also say "I love you" multiple times a day, and it doesn't lose its meaning. And we have similar things that other people have posted here ("Guess what?" and "I love you more than [cheese]," and our own version of "blistening"). But a lot of it is also physical affection--holding hands (neither of us were big on hand-holding before this relationship), scratching heads, touching necks, ears, etc. We wave to each other out the window when one of us has to leave the apartment before the other one. We sing songs when we're cooking, changing the lyrics to fit each other's names in. There's a whole bunch of "I love you" things we do and say, and it's pretty disgusting. We try to hold back in public.
posted by zerbinetta at 1:26 PM on December 8, 2011 [5 favorites]

Best answer: Dating back to when Mr. Arkham worked at a bakery thrift store:

"Do you loaf me?
"A whole loaf or half a loaf."
"A whole loaf."
"With raisins and cinnamon swirl?"

Also when we're doing something particularly nerdy:

"If we weren't together, we would be making two other people miserable right now."
posted by JoanArkham at 1:27 PM on December 8, 2011 [13 favorites]

there was a FPP about this
posted by shothotbot at 2:03 PM on December 8, 2011

Instead of telling me to be careful or whatnot, my boyfriend likes to say, "I ain't got no Jabeses to spare!"
(He got it from his dad, for whom "I got no sons to spare!" was the likely equivalent of "I love you.")

posted by jabes at 2:33 PM on December 8, 2011 [4 favorites]

A hug or hand squeeze along with the quiet declaration, "This one."
posted by vytae at 2:54 PM on December 8, 2011 [7 favorites]

"you're my favourite favourite"
as in, the most favourite thing of all things considered as favourites)

"olive juice!"
because the lip movements read as "I love you"

Also for the "I love you like ______" we say "I love you like a mouse loves rice!" which is the translation of a lyric of a really popular and lyrically hilarious mandarin song during the time we first met doing language study in Beijing

We also sign off emails/ say "Oxes!" or "Cows" which refers to oxoxoxo = hugs and kisses
posted by kitkatcathy at 3:14 PM on December 8, 2011

"You make me happy. you know?"
posted by Cocodrillo at 3:26 PM on December 8, 2011

My ex used to write little mini love haikus/letters on the sticky notes on the Dashboard of my Mac. I wouldn't notice them for weeks, until I needed to know some currency conversion or use the calculator.
posted by iamkimiam at 3:31 PM on December 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

Words can be used in other ways than being said. The power of the written "I love you" is strong!

When we were living apart for a few months while moving cross country and he came to visit, he left a note in the medicine cabinet that just said "I love you!". (It moved with us and resides in our new medicine cabinet.)

We share a drop-box folder for easy access to documents. He'll occasionally leave .txt files in there named Youresopretty.txt or HaveIeverToldYou.txt (when you open that one up, it says "that I love you?" inside).

Seeing a gchatted "i love you" during my work day can make the whole day brighter.

There's also saying things in front of other people, instead of always just in private.
In front of our friends and family, he'll sometimes say, "Isn't she ADORABLE?" and hug me. PDA FTW!
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 4:52 PM on December 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

Instead of just saying "I love you", my husband will say things like "I love the way your eyes crinkle around the edges when you smile" or "I love how comfy you look in pyjamas." I've been trying to do the same thing back -- if I get an onrush of lovey feelings for him, I try to pinpoint exactly what brought them on so I can mention specifics. That keeps it feeling fresh!

"I love how you make faces about what's going on in the book while you're reading."
"I love how easily you laugh when you're happy."
"I love how good you are at playing with the cats."

Sometimes we'll also ask one another, "Are you still real?" to which the usual answer is, "Still yours." It conveys pretty well how incredibly fucking lucky we feel to have found one another.
posted by kitarra at 4:56 PM on December 8, 2011 [10 favorites]

We tap or squeeze each other three times (for I, Love, You). The response, of course, is four of the same in reply.

We also make up ridiculous "roses are red, violets are blue" verses and text or e-mail them.

We've been known to pass the same "I love you!" note back and forth for months, hiding it in shoes, pockets, cars, guitar cases, books, drawers, lunch, etc.
posted by Occula at 5:00 PM on December 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

My husband often tells me "I have some love for you."
posted by that's how you get ants at 5:52 PM on December 8, 2011 [2 favorites]

Best answer: We were harassing the cat one day, and cracking up at her response (her meow sounds like what Patty and/or Selma would sound like if they were cats), when suddenly he stopped and very seriously said "You're my best friend in the whole world." Now we say it to each other all the time.

Whenever we hear something "romantic" from the 80's (like Forever Young or I Melt With You), I ask him if he would go to to the prom with me.

And on Valentine's Day we say "Happy Tuesday" (or whatever day it is) because we decided a long time ago that every day that we're together is Valentine's day.

that last one... boy we really sound very cutesy. No wonder people roll their eyes at us!
posted by dogmom at 6:40 PM on December 8, 2011 [7 favorites]

Ok, this is very silly compared to the outpouring of sweetness in this thread ... but my partners and I have started saying "Ri ruv rooooooo" like the famed Mishka. Howling it at each other over Skype or over the phone always gives me the warm fuzzies.

Also, relating to my most recent partner how Mommie Dearest said I should give him the boot? "And of course I said 'No no no no no no no no!'"
posted by Devika at 6:52 PM on December 8, 2011

Rawr is I Love You in dinosaur!

My partner and I call each other "matey", which then leads to a whole bunch of parrot-squawking and pirate puns.

The Velveteen Rabbit section about being real brought my friend to tears.
posted by divabat at 6:56 PM on December 8, 2011

"You are so beautiful."
posted by tomboko at 8:38 PM on December 8, 2011

"I'm twitterpated over you." (Bambi reference)
posted by sideofwry at 10:15 PM on December 8, 2011

I started learning Python a week ago, and my husband was excited because he luuuurves Python. While I was asking him a question, he did some stuff in the Mac terminal to answer me, and then he got a big smile and told me to hold on a second. He typed something, then he told me to type his name. He had made an alias for his name that would display "I love you" whenever I type it.

My eyes welled up with tears; it struck me as terribly sweet and very like him. So it was "I love you" but a pretty unique way of saying it. I can also type "import nattie" in the Python shell and get more sweet stuff.

If I had to analyze why it was so sweet, I would say it was a bunch of reasons: it was pretty unique to him so it wasn't typical; he was helping me with something I was interested in so it was personalized; he was being encouraging; there are fewer people in the world that would understand that than "I love you" normally so it felt more special; it's something I can keep with me and type if I feel bad or get frustrated, etc. There's probably more reasons, that's just the ones that first come to mind.
posted by Nattie at 12:24 AM on December 9, 2011 [11 favorites]

Oh, hah, I dunno how I didn't think of this earlier, but we also say, "I LOVE YOU WITH AAAAALL MY FEET." It's not like a foot fetish reference or anything else sexual, it's just a weird thing to say.
posted by Nattie at 1:40 AM on December 9, 2011

My husband suffers from shyness which is problematic at times. It means he can't call utility companies or cancel personal (non-friend) appointments. I had to call someone for something and they gave me problems about my husband not calling. I reported this to him once, irritated.

He said in a light, quiet voice "Don't you know? I can't do anything without you."
posted by Ms. Moonlight at 1:48 AM on December 9, 2011 [2 favorites]

We like trying to trick each other into thinking we are saying words of love. When mouthed across the room, "Elephant" looks just I love you. "I love YouTube" is an excellent fake of I love you too. And so on... The sneakier the statement the better!
posted by teststrip at 3:53 AM on December 9, 2011

My husband has thing... He says "I love you," and I say, "Oh yeah? How much?" and he answers something like "Do you know how many pixels are on this page?" (if he's on the computer, for example), and then, "Do you know how many pixels are on all the pages of all the websites of all the internet? And then, now imagine all the pixels on all the pages of all the websites that will ever be on all the internet. I love you more than that."

It's always something different; sometimes it has to do with something he is doing, or maybe something we read about or watched, or something that is going on in our lives, often in a really funny way. I try to play this game too, but I'm not as good at it as he is. My specialty is excruciatingly embarrassing pet names.
posted by taz at 3:56 AM on December 9, 2011

Before I finally got up the courage to tell my boyfriend that I loved him, we were both sort of trying to say it without saying it. He told me on more than one occasion, "I think you hung the stars." That one still comes up now and then.

We also bastardize ee cummings' I Like My Body When It Is With Your Body. One time he walked over and pressed his nekkid butt agains mine, saying, "I like my booty when it is with your booty. " Now it's become shorthand for "I love you "
posted by coppermoss at 6:10 AM on December 9, 2011 [3 favorites]

Best answer: She left a post-it-note on my mirror one day that said "I ache w/o you." I've kept it on my mirror for three years now. Something about the romantic gesture plus the dorky contraction of "without" just makes me happy.

Whenever she gets a minute alone in my office, she leaves me post-it-notes in my drawers, on my keyboard, on my chair, all over the place with little messages like "I'm in your office and I'm thinking of you (fondly, that is)", "Who sat in my chair!? (It's all outta wack)" "You work too much." and other little comments. I've saved them all.
posted by arcticwoman at 8:36 AM on December 9, 2011 [2 favorites]

He says to me often, "has anyone told you that you're the most (insert beautiful, loved, best thing that's happened to them) today?" I never know what to say back because it makes me feel so loved I want to cry and it takes every bit of energy I have to remain composed.
posted by Yellow at 8:37 AM on December 9, 2011

Best answer: devymetal's partner is like mine. I spent a long time holding him at arm's length emotionally when we first got together because I'd just been burned badly with the last guy and wasn't down with lots of bonding and weight and all that. And I would say so, casually and seriously (in retrospect I almost feel bad about it), and my now-husband would always reply calmly and patiently with something to the effect of "Ok, I understand that, but I'm just going to be waiting here happily for if you change your mind, because I want to be close and don't mind waiting for you to be comfortable with me too." He never made any bones about how into me he was even when I was all like "this might just be a fling, I am wary of getting attached, please stay a few feet away" and he managed that without being creepy or aggressive. And after we got engaged I was like "I can't believe you asked me, and I said yes, I thought you knew I was too conflicted generally" and he was real matter-of-fact like "Well I've known I wanted to marry you for a long time, you know, and I sensed recently you'd begun having a change of heart, and I was waiting and hoping for that, for you to see it'd be ok." So much of our relationship has been him patiently and lovingly waiting for me to see what he already did (right away) about us. There's never any sort of passive aggressive emotional blackmailing or pressure or holding it over me either. Just patient cheerful love.

Some other random stuff: light texts. One recently when I packed him a lunch with turkey curry patties was just "I like eating your food." followed a few minutes later with "So good." Also, from a diary entry about a month ago: R's such a sweetheart. He made a point to tell me one of his coworkers told him today that his lunch always smells good and that he responded to her with "Yep, my wife is awesome." Aw. and I forget why but I had to thank him once for doing something for me last-minute and also ask him to do something else with me and he texted me at work with "I'd love to and you usurped no time--it was nothing." And when he was reading a book I gave him when we first got together: "I had trouble not crying at the end of [book] today at lunch." You know, just, "I'm thinking of you and I want to help in any way I can" sort of stuff.

More diary entry: When I started to cry lying down in bed in the dark so my eyes pooled with salt water and puffed up like dropsy, and unraveled the self-doubt and regret and displaced wonder, the fear and panic and sadness that I was lost, and he did it again, said it quiet, said "You may not believe me, or you may think I'm just saying it, but I'm not: I believe in you. I do." and then when I told him he might never be able to have a standard normal life if he sticks with me until the end, no kids or house or I don't know what, and he said, with a sweet naive-seeming earnestness, "I love you more than any of those possibilities or things." Ah.

Sending him the text the next day in the afternoon sunshine, "Thank you for believing in me." Him calling while I was at the Home Improvement store, big warehouse steel girded walls like vaults that echo, just to tell me he loved me, too. As well. Better.

another: I'm standing at the sink after dinner and R comes up behind me and ambushes me in a hug and randomly starts belting out "Can't Live if Living is Without You." I'm all "are you making fun of Harry Nilsson?!" (we sing songs we both agree are awful all the time to amuse each other) and indignant he's like "no! I'm singing it because it's true, it's how I feel about you!" (P.S. where did that come from??) and I giggle and ask if he's doing the Mariah Carey version (if you know of Robert's kamikaze karaoke song stylings, you know why I'd ask; the crazier the range, the better) and he says "no! This is the [last name]version." Haha.

was doing the good ol' Bust Lounge commiserating bragging about sexytimes years ago and i tacked at the end: Just to throw something sweet and not horny in the mix, since maybe this all sounds like we're only into sex with each other: We're getting married next year, and I can be a toxic doubtful worrying woman sometimes, and one such time when I was like, "How will this ever work out? Just practically, statistics and all I mean..." he simply stated, "I know it will." And I said, "But how can you be sure? How do you know?!" and he replied, "Because I know how much I love you."

Then there's all the excised x-rated stuff. But I'm sure you don't need elaboration there, ha.
posted by ifjuly at 9:00 AM on December 9, 2011 [5 favorites]

And to reiterate OnTheLastCastle, every morning when my husband leaves for work aside from the standard kiss and love yous and all that I always, always tell him "please be careful" usually like "please be careful, it's icy today." He probably thinks I'm being a nag and maybe I am--but what I mean but am embarrassed to say is that I need him to come home in one piece because I can't bear the idea of him not, because I love him too much.
posted by ifjuly at 9:13 AM on December 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

My husband does these great impressions - not even impressions, creations - of characters. My favorite way he verbally expresses "I love you" is when we have a few minutes in the morning when we're just waking up, and he'll create a persona with accent, verbal tics and all, and crack me up with a little monologue- say, an elderly and talkative Brooklyn lady who used to be a showgirl and had awesome legs that she always compares to some Old Hollywood star that no one remembers anymore, or The Most Boring Man in the World Buys A Mattress and Has An Average Experience. Every day it's different and it's the best gift in the world, the gift of his love through storytelling. I feel like we have a little secret family of kooky characters with personal histories that only we know so well.

The most sincere thing we say began when we were just getting serious and watched that terrifying Michael Moore movie about healthcare / lack of it in America. I got sad and frightened as we watched it, and at the end of it I was huddled under a blanket on the couch and all I could say when the credits rolled was quiet, teary and insistent - both a demand and a promise - "We have to take care of each other." And now whenever we hear about someone's misfortune, read terrible news or are going through crazy and chaotic times, we find a quiet moment to privately both demand and promise: "We have to take care of each other."
posted by sestaaak at 9:53 AM on December 9, 2011 [3 favorites]

Said with a deep grin whenever I do something really awesome like kicking the collective asses off a room full of guy gamers : "that's my girl!! "

The very simple one : "*squeeze* Mine. =)"

And :

Me : jerk!! =P
him : but I'm your jerk ;)
Me : * grumble* you make it sound like that excuses everything.
Him : it totally does!!

Makes me laugh and melt every time.
posted by Hakaisha at 10:20 AM on December 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

My boyfriend got a hard on after reading a piece of my creative writing. Best "I love you" ever. :)
posted by timsneezed at 3:42 PM on December 9, 2011 [5 favorites]

Best answer: I read this joke once:

What does a mama volcano say to her baby volcano?
I lava you!

I started saying "I lava you" to my boyfriend, but now it's become "I volcano you!". At one point we probably did go "I Eyjafjallajökull you".
posted by divabat at 6:21 AM on December 10, 2011

SO & I have little emoticons we made up for when we're on chat. For RL, we say things like, "who's my number one?" and "you my favorite." Stuff like that. These words of affection also morph over time, some get introduced, some get phased out.

posted by not_on_display at 1:48 PM on December 11, 2011 [1 favorite]

The mister or I will say "I love you" to the other and the other will answer with "Ditto" or "I know". Sometimes I'll use the ASL sign to say it. Or the mister will point to his eye, pat his chest and then point at me.
posted by deborah at 12:51 AM on December 12, 2011

I once told my then girlfriend now wife "my inner child is best friends with your inner child." She loved that.

Also, instead of just saying "I love you" say "I really love how you..."

Telling them *what* you love about the other can sometimes be more illuminating than *that* you love them.
posted by Deathalicious at 8:45 AM on December 12, 2011 [1 favorite]

I was talking to a friend about his old job, which he clearly really, really loved. I asked why he stopped doing that work, and he said it required traveling, and since his wife became ill, he needed to stop traveling. That's a lot of I love you, right there.
posted by theora55 at 8:28 AM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

Fairly early in our relationship, my now-husband told me, "If I get hit by a meteor, I don't want my last thought to be 'oh, no, I haven't told Lexi I love her today!' So when I say 'Meteors!' it means 'I love you with all my heart and can't imagine my life without you.'"

Ever since then, we've been in the habit of looking at each other at randomesque times and saying "Meteors!" Over the years it's expanded: playing Wipeout XL added "Quake bombs!"; watching Paul Verhoeven's Starship Troopers added "Blaster bugs!"; reading S.M. Sterling's Dies the Fire added "Alien space bats!"; being car-free and bike-mobile on Oakland streets has added "Potholes! Knucklehead pedestrians!" It's delightfully expandable that way.

Another thing he told me early on was, "When I think of you, I get this *bing!* feeling in my heart." We now use "bing!" to mean "I love you", both verbally and via text messages.
posted by Lexica at 7:12 PM on December 14, 2011 [6 favorites]

That reminds me, maybe this is crude, but a phrase in our lexicon from years ago is "you give me a million heart boners."
posted by ifjuly at 10:47 AM on December 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

I tell Mrs A. that she is my childhood sweetheart that I had to wait until I was 22 to meet. She's shorter than me, so she's my mini-me (but we now say it too each other). There's so many ways you can say it, just let it flow.
posted by arcticseal at 6:35 PM on January 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

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