Tell me you love me, or show me you love me

I’m sure we’re all familiar with the phrase “Actions speak louder than words”, but does this apply to expressing Love towards, or for, someone?

To some, saying the word love can be difficult and they may not use the word loosely at all. Others throw the word around like it’s a beaded necklace in New Orleans during Mardi Gras.

When it comes to relationships (dating, boyfriends/girlfriends, fiances, husbands/wives, etc.) we seem to put a lot of stock into saying “I love you”, particularly saying it for the first time.

But what about all of the times after that? How much stock are put into those words all of the following times?

On the opposite end of this are people who regularly “prove” their love in actions. It could be small items like making dinner, giving a random gift, rubbing shoulders, etc. It could also be something more significant like supporting them during hard times (death in the family), going “out of your way” to make them feel better, standing up for them against a family member or friend.

Does saying “I love you” every day mean more than putting the “proof in the pudding” and showing someone how much you love them?

Do you believe one of these speaks louder than the other? Is there an even balance? When is it better to tell someone you love them and when is it better to show it to them? (if one is necessarily better than the other in a particular situation)

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13 thoughts on “Tell me you love me, or show me you love me

  1. lilredbmw says:

    [Actions speak louder than words, for sure! I know people who say, “I love you” as if they are saying goodbye and it has no real meaning for them. They just say it to say it. There has to be meaning behind it or it doesn’t really need to be said. I would take a heartfelt dinner or any other effort of love over the three words that mean nothing with out meaning behind it.

  2. BreckEffect says:

    [I agree that it needs to be a bit of both. Some people have a harder time saying the words, and it doesn’t mean they don’t feel it, but it’s just a little more difficult for them to express their emotions verbally. People like that do tend to show how they feel with actions, so it’s important to be looking at both things.

    I’m a verbal person, most of the time. Once I feel that I love someone, I don’t have a problem saying it. I also say I love you to my friends, but that’s a little different – we do a lot of “love ya,” which is cute but doesn’t have anywhere the same kind of meaning for me as saying “I love you” to a significant other. Which, I guess it shouldn’t. And clearly I should stop writing now, thanks.

  3. theattack says:

    [I think there has to be a balance. When my boyfriend supports me during hard times, or does something sweet for me, I know he loves me. But in between those things, I still need an occasional reminder. We only say it about once every two weeks, so that we know we really mean it when we say it. But being supported isn’t enough during times when everything is going great. I put a lot of value into words because they add some clarity and define what certain actions mean.

  4. Maracuya says:

    [I think there should be both. My boyfriend and I are long-distance, so he can’t make me dinner or rub my shoulders most of the time. However, we do exchange little random gifts and he spends a lot of quality time with me on the phone, playing video games and watching movies. We also say I love you, and every day. It took us quite a long time to say it though (over a year) and we just became more comfortable with it over time. It could also be that because we’re separated by distance and can’t always *show* it that we say it a lot.

    Also, this is kind of stupid, but one of the reasons I say I love you everyday is because I’m afraid one of us will get in a car accident or something and I always want the last words I say to him to be, “I love you.” (And not, “Later,” “Pick up some bread,” or “Have a good day at work” even though I realistically know even if I *don’t* say it, I know he still loves me.)

  5. Happy Pants says:

    [My issue is that when you say “I love you” all the time, it kind of loses its meaning a bit. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you *don’t* love that person, but saying it becomes an afterthought, a habit. I’d rather someone show me he loves me with words *and* actions rather than just telling me.

    Plus, I’ve found we use the word “love” pretty liberally nowadays. I mean, I love chocolate, I love my down comforter, I love my bright green Chucks, I love Ethiopian food. But I don’t want to have sex with or be in a relationship with any of those things.

    Well, maybe the Ethiopian food.

  6. Kier says:

    [Every time I tell my girlfriend “I love you,” they are the three most meaningful words that have ever left my mouth. I try to show her that I love her in other ways as well, but when I flat out say: “You know what hon’? I fucking love you.” I still get the same shiver that runs up and down my spine that I got when I first said it 3 years ago.

    Now it could be different for others, but for me, saying it every day doesn’t cheapen it at all. If anything, it makes the security that you each feel in the relationship even stronger because you think: “Wow this person really is crazy about me.”

    One time while we were having sex, I just totally stopped her and said that. “You know something baby? I love you.” She looked right into my eyes and said “Aww, sweetie, I love you too.”

    That’s one of the most emotional moments in my life. I don’t know why, but her response was just so beautiful that it made me cry. I’m not ashamed to say that either. It was just that beautiful.

  7. MitziM. says:

    [I’ve never been an extra sappy person and long goodbyes, “I love you”, meaningfully staring into each others eyes, and lots and lots of cuddling are things I’ve never really been okay with. That being said, I show my boyfriend that I love him by letting him tell me.

    He’s an emotional type of guy and I’m his first serious girlfriend, it makes him feel good to have someone to say I love you to. He’s always doing things that back up his claim, too, but he likes to say it and so I’ve trained myself to like to hear it.

    I think on a more broad scale, though, showing is always better than telling. If someone is saying they love you constantly, but isn’t making any effort to make you happy, it’s probably time to tell them to stop telling and start showing. On the opposite end, if someone is constantly doing things for you and making every effort to keep you happy, but rarely saying they love you, I don’t see any reason to chastise them.

    “You had better stop doing all these nice things and start saying I love you or we’re through!” Seems like something no sane person would say.

  8. Missy says:

    [I definitely like both, though I’ve never been big on dropping “I love you” on a regular basis, because, in my experience, it does start to lose its luster when it becomes automatic/expected. Not saying it all of the time doesn’t mean you don’t still feel it, but I definitely take more stock in it when it’s not tossed around like Mardi Gras beads (I REALLY like your metaphor).

    Gestures, in my opinion, are an awesome way to express love for someone. It takes more thought and effort and shows the person you love that you’re thinking of them, and going out of your way to make their lives a little bit better.

    Not to call anyone out, but a certain someone left a gift of chicken soup, OJ and medicine at my house while I was ridiculously sick and stuck at work. I had the most miserable day, but coming home to that totally brightened my mood. I definitely felt the love!

  9. Kelly says:

    [If you don’t show someone you love them then “I love you.” is just words. I think showing it without ever saying can work if your feelings are clear to your partner but saying without showing it is meaningless.

  10. MargieCharles says:

    [I’m much more of an actions person. Someone can swear up and down that they love me, but unless they’re consistently showing me that with their behavior and actions, it doesn’t mean much.

    Which isn’t to say I need some grand display of affection. I much prefer the small things that build up, that just let you know that someone cares about you and is thinking about you. Luckily, my boyfriend is one of those people who loves doing the little things. Even when it’s just something small, like when he gets home from work and stopped to get me my favorite candy on his way home because he thought I’d like some, it just makes me stop and think how lucky I am.

    And the bigger proclamations of love just make me feel awkward. I don’t need him to give me some speech on why he loves me. For me at least, sometimes I feel like when saying “I love you” becomes so routine that you don’t think about the meaning behind it, it doesn’t mean as much to me. Instead of habitually saying at the end of every phone conversation (like I do with my parents) we’re more sporadic and spontaneous with it. I like to say it after a random hug, after sex, when we wake up in the morning, on the phone if I haven’t seen him in a while. I guess I like it better when it’s somewhat unpredictable?

    Now all of this is making me feel all mushy and realize how awesome my boyfriend is. I’m going to have to blow him the next time I see him.

  11. EricaSwagger says:

    [As others have said, it’s nice to have both. My boyfriend is more of a “shower” than a “teller” where I’m a pretty good balance. Sometimes, despite all the things he does and how he treats me, I still find myself wondering why he hasn’t said “I love you” in a while. I say it, but I’m not going to say it first every time, because that’s almost worse than not hearing it at all. It’s like he’s just obligated to say it back because of precedent.

    The main thing is… I need to be reminded sometimes. I need to hear him SAY it sometimes, because it feels good to hear the words. Sometimes people get into a rhythm and it feels normal. If my boyfriend keeps doing things for me that show he cares, but never says I love you, how do I know if he loves me, or if he’s just gotten into the habit of doing those things for me?

  12. resullins says:

    [Q wakes me up every morning before he leaves and tells me he loves me, gives me a kiss, and tucks me back in.

    It’s the little tiny things that really show me what he thinks.

  13. Solstice says:

    [It should definitely be both. I want to hear it, but if you’re saying it every day, or every time you get off the phone with each other, then it does become a bit routine. So I want to know by the way he does certain things to me, for me, and/or with me.

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