Here’s a fascinating question that we received from one of our newsletter subscribers and we are fairly certain that the question has come up for many other people in their relationships.
Our subscriber asked…
“Can you say ‘I love you’ too much? How can I make my partner believe that you can not overuse the ‘I love you’ term. He says if we say it too often, it will become meaningless.”
We’ve heard this question more than once and our answer may surprise you…
First of all, we all come to our relationships with different past experiences, expectations and desires. Even though it may seem that the person we fall in love with is just like us, in so many ways (that usually surface after you’ve been together for quite awhile) they are so different.
The differences usually arise from our past experiences and how our role models (including our parents) conducted their lives and their relationships.
Our newsletter subscriber is with a person who has a different idea of what the “I love you” term means and how to use.
So can you overuse the term “I love you” ?
According to this man and probably many others, yes you can.
Does that mean that she doesn’t get her needs met and she just has to put up with his ways?
Of course not.
Before we give some pointers about this situation, we’d like to give another possible explanation for these differences.
In neuro-linguistic programming (NLP), people are described to take in information and learn in three different ways…
Although we each take in information in all of these ways, most of us have one dominant way.
What does this have to do with our topic?
Plenty and here’s why…
Our newsletter subscriber may be an auditory learner (she may like to hear information) and her partner may prefer to get and give information in one of the two other ways. He may prefer demonstrations of love as opposed to saying it or he may prefer written notes of love.
We’re just throwing this idea out for you to consider that we all don’t like to receive and give information in the same ways–just as some people prefer to use email to contact people and others prefer to use the telephone.
There are many different reasons why someone may not want someone telling them “I Love You” all the time and here are a couple…
If someone doesn’t want to overuse the “I Love You” phrase, it could be that they have witnessed other people in their life saying they love someone and then seeing them doing or saying things that weren’t acts of kindness
It could also be that they witnessed people saying “I love you” in a way that seemed insincere or trite. They may have done this in the past or saw it done and they don’t want to repeat it.
Here some love advice and suggestions if you are facing this kind of difference between you and a loved one (or for that matter, any one in your life)…
1. Listen, truly listen, to how your partner wants to be loved. If he/she doesn’t want to talk about the topic, pay attention to how the person shows love for you. Understand why your partner has that view.
Kelly’s (one of our coaching clients) husband loved her by “doing” things around the house for her and by fixing things. He also sent her cards and flowers but saying “I love you” to her wasn’t tops on his list. Kelly began opening more to him in ways that showed him she loved him. She began giving him her full attention when he talked with her and by doing that they became closer. And yes, she did feel more loved even though he didn’t say it much more often than he had before.
2. Make sure that actions are in alignment with words. So often people say “I love you” and then in the next moment, do or say something that indicates something far different from love. They may not even realize that they are doing it.
Some people grew up in a family that made cutting, sarcastic remarks and it’s become a habit for them to do it also. They don’t even know that they are doing it–but the other person always does. If a person has witnessed or experienced “I love you” being followed by mean-spirited words or actions, they of course will be wary of using the term.
So make sure that loving actions follow this phrase of endearment.
3. If your partner is wary of using this phrase (for whatever reason), what are some other ways that you enjoy being loved? Do you like foot rubs, someone to help with household chores or the kids, or maybe an evening a week or a month of pampering?
Tell your partner other ways that you’d like to be loved because saying “I love you”–while it can be special–is not the only way to express love.
Whether you have this challenge in your relationship or not–we invite you to express genuine love for one another in many different ways and explore what’s possible. Make sure that your words and your actions are in alignment as you move through your day toward creating the life that you want.