Motherhood

How Often Do You Say “I Love You” to Your Loved Ones?

I read something fascinating the other day…

Videos of children and college students saying “I love you” to their parents have gone viral in China.

“Are you drunk?” one parent responded. Another father replied, “I am going to a meeting, so cut the crap.”

In China, parents and children don’t typically swap the phrase “I love you,” according to sociologists. Last year China Daily asked people if they said “I love you” to their relatives. “I have never said ‘I love you’ to my family, and I don’t think I will in the future,” one 56-year-old said. “Saying it aloud is embarrassing for me.”

(If you’re from China, I’m really curious to hear if you agree with this!)

Meanwhile, on the other side of the ocean, I can’t seem to stop. I tell Toby and Anton that I love them every five seconds, and with Alex, I tell him I love him daily—and, if I’m being totally honest, I also often ask him “Do you love me?” which is so lame and needy but cannot be helped!

I’m curious: How often do you say “I love you” to your loved ones? And what nationality are you? Do you think your culture/upbringing affects your answer? Would you like to say it more, or do you think saying it too much cheapens it? I’d love to hear…

P.S. Motherhood around the world, and have you ever said “I love you” first?

(Photo of Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward. Thanks to Kristin for sending me this Business Insider article)

  1. Mrs Darcy says...

    I’m a complete introvert, so saying “I love you”, feels awkward and embarrassing. I think if I ‘m pressed to, I might choke on it, coming out of my mouth, it’s that hard for me to verbalize. But that doesn’t mean I don’t love my friends and family, I do .. Just saying it, like Seinfeld says, “that’s a pretty big matzah ball hanging out there”, and I can’t help but overthink it, so it doesn’t come out at all. If really pressed into a corner, I might choke out a, “love you too”, but saying “I love you” is not something I spontaneously do. I try to let my actions say it instead, and hope for the best.

  2. Abby says...

    I say it to my grown children, my 3 grandsons, my mother, all of my relatives and my friends whenever I see them. I always have. Even before I became ill and disabled I said it. I was brought up that way. You tell the people you care about that you love them. They could walk out that door and in 5 minutes be killed in a car wreck or something else. None of us know when that time when come. I just want the last words I say to anyone I care about to be I love you!

  3. I’m first generation Chinese German and my parents never said “I love you” till I moved out for college. And even since then it was just a few times. I don’t really mind since I find it kinda uncomfortable… When my mom told me the first time it sounded quite needy and usually she is really strong so that really confused me. Anyways I think the Chinese “I love you” is much stronger and usually ppl just say “I like you” meaning “I love you”.

    When I was in secondary school at a certain age my german friends started to hug and say “I love you” which made me feel kinda jumpy…

    I’m only ok with my boyfriend telling me “I love you” and i can say it to him as well. But between friends I only say it when I haven’t seen someone for a long time and am about to take my leave.

  4. I wish to speak…..but chinese culture just dont do that….feel awkward.

  5. I say it all the time. I always say it when I part from my family or boyfriend. It may sound morbid, but I’m always thinking in the back of my mind, what if something happened to either of us, I want the last thing I said to be that I love them. Even if we’re fighting, I always say it. Maybe it does cheapen its meaning, but I can’t help it. Colorado, USA

  6. I say it all the time. I always say it when I part from my family or boyfriend. It may sound morbid, but I’m always thinking in the back of my mind, what if something happened to either of us, I want the last thing I said to be that I love them. Even if we’re fighting, I always say it. Maybe it does cheapen its meaning, but I can’t help it. Colorado, USA

    • Abby says...

      I feel the same way Ashley.

  7. I say “I love you” all the time. To my family, to girlfriends, to my husband, and my dog.
    My husband often asks me “Do you love me?” and I’m curious, Joanna, why you do that too? If you’re saying “I love you” to someone multiple times per day, then why be “needy” and ask the question? I’m just trying to figure out why he asks me this.

  8. I say it so often I constantly remind my husband that I mean it & am not just saying it as matter of course. But alongside the words I have trained my kids to couple I Love You with hugs and kisses, and the other night without any prompting from me the three of them (5, 3, 21mo) had a joint hugging/kissing/I love you moment before bedtime! I was teary with pride. I am Cuban-American and come very an extremely affectionate family.(My husband is American with conservative Prostestant roots and I am happy to report that after 15 years of infecting them with my effortless shows of affection they finally hug and say I love you when saying goodbye in person!)

  9. I say it so often I constantly remind my husband that I mean it & am not just saying it as matter of course. But alongside the words I have trained my kids to couple I Love You with hugs and kisses, and the other night without any prompting from me the three of them (5, 3, 21mo) had a joint hugging/kissing/I love you moment before bedtime! I was teary with pride. I am Cuban-American and come very an extremely affectionate family.(My husband is American with conservative Prostestant roots and I am happy to report that after 15 years of infecting them with my effortless shows of affection they finally hug and say I love you when saying goodbye in person!)

  10. I say I love to you my fiance all the time. I can’t end a phone conversation with my family or fiance without saying I love you and hearing their response. The weird thing is, I’ve never felt comfortable saying it to my close friends, even though I care deeply about them! It just has never felt right to me.

  11. There is a line after which saying “I love you” loosing meaning. My husband and I say “I love you” every night after saying “good night”. That is a special moment for us to end the day with. Same ritual with the kids. It makes me cringe every time I hear people ending their phone conversation with “I love you” when it equals “Bye”. This is different from when you talk with your loved ones on the phone once in a while. In that case, again, it comes out as genuine and conveys the real thing.

  12. My husband estimates that we each say it at least a dozen times a day. (I love him so damn much!)

  13. My husband and I say it so often, I think it has kind of lost its initial power, in a way. But I think that would be inevitable, and it’s the moments that they show us how much they love us by their actions and choices that make my heart swell at least. :)
    I plan on saying it to my future kids as much as possible, aka every 10 minutes :)

    We also make it a habit to say I love you before we bring up a negative thing, such as “I love you, but sometimes you do this…” Just to confirm that they know no matter how they mess up, they’ll still be loved.

  14. I’m Chinese-Canadian, and I NEVER say “I love you” to my parents! I can’t imagine ever doing it! But everyone in my family knows that deep down we all love each other :)

  15. I’m from the US and I say it each and every time I hang up or part ways with one of my family members and even sometimes friends.

    My husband and I saw it to each other multiple times a day.

    My husband’s father did’t say I love to him as a child and it made my husband sad so I happened to mention it to my father in law once- and after that he gave my husband a big hug and told him he loved him. Several months later my father in law past away and that “I love you” was and still is very dear to my husbands heart.

    You never know when the last time you’re going to speak to a loved one- so make sure you take the opportunity to tell them you love them every time you have a chance, you don’t want to have regrets!

  16. Funny you should ask, as I’ve been recently struggling with this. I am Mexican-American. My family is loud, and always in each other’s business – love fills every room in our house. But we don’t tell each other that we love each other, we just know. In fact, it takes me some effort to tell romantic partners that I love them. Love, in my life, has always been implied, not spoken of. One of my New Year resolutions was to start telling the people that I love that I love them. Let me tell you: it is HARD.

  17. my dad once dated a girl briefly that told him her father never once said he loved her. my dad was completely appalled by that. he made a vow to tell his children he loved them every single day. my dad has four daughters and was a rockstar at telling me he loved me every. single. day. growing up. he would always ask “lauren, have i told you today that i loved you?” no matter what my answer was, he would always say he loved me. i tell my husband i love him multiple times a day! and i always end phone conversations with my family by saying i love you.

  18. Oh my gosh. I think I begin and end every single interaction I have with my children with some version of “I love you.” Each of my kids has their own little song about how much Mommy loves them, and they are subjected to it constantly. The bigger kids even sing to the littles. The 2 1/2 y.o. says it even when she’s mad… “I love you, you jerk!” LOL. I also say it to the rest of my family and closest friends whenever we part or get off the phone.

  19. My parents are both CCKs (Crazy Christian Koreans) and I cannot tell you how many times they will say “Jesus Loves you ” to me. How many times have they said I love you? Probably under 10- lions share probably when I was an infant, when I graduated from high school, college graduation and my wedding day.

  20. I can’t imagine not saying i love you. I tell my dog probably 50 times a day. My boyfriend even tells his best friend that he loves him when they get off the phone. He would kill me if he knew I was telling you this!!

  21. I am a Brazilian, down here we say TE AMO (which means I Love You in portuguese) very often, specially with my mum and my 2 sisters, they both live in Canada and I believe missing them makes me say i love you to them more often, basically every time we talk to each other or write each other.
    However, because in Brazil male chauvinism is very strong, usually men are not very good at saying i love you very often, it’s getting better but there is still a long way to go. xoxo

  22. My husband is Chinese and his parents and him NEVER say “i love you” to each other. Meanwhile my midwestern family says it every 5 seconds and they say it to Jon who has grown to love the warm embrace it makes him feel. I would love to tell my inlaws that I love them bc luckily enough I do…but it seems that maybe it wouldn’t be well received.

  23. My husband is Chinese and his parents and him NEVER say “i love you” to each other. Meanwhile my midwestern family says it every 5 seconds and they say it to Jon who has grown to love the warm embrace it makes him feel. I would love to tell my inlaws that I love them bc luckily enough I do…but it seems that maybe it wouldn’t be well received.

  24. I say it all the time to my husband. His family says it all the time each other. My sister and I started saying within the last 5 years or so (and it’s normal for us now)! My mom has said it a few times that last couple of years and my dad to me–I remember it once! We are a super tight-knit family, but we just don’t say that a lot. My German friend says that it’s just weird in her culture to say it (unless you’re married to the person or something). She says it to her American girlfriends only!

  25. In my family, we don’t say ‘I love you’ regularly. We really only say it when one part or the other of us is going on a trip. By extension, my husband and I are the same way. If one of us is traveling without the other, then we say I love you. I think we just always figure that the other person knows I love them. Otherwise, I wouldn’t spend so much time together. We are American and sailed over shortly after the Mayflower, so I think it is more about upbringing than culture.

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  27. Yesterday we said it a a hundred million times , just because we are so in love right now.

  28. Great question :) I’m English but don’t mind saying it all the time.

    I say it to my mum everytime we talk on the phone or say goodbye in person.
    To my boyfriend, I say it everytime I think it which is very frenquently (gahh that sounds so cheesy now I’ve written it down!)

  29. In our family, we didn’t grow up saying “I Love you” all the time. We actually feel quite sheepish when we say it (like to my brother who I have to admit, I’m not close to). But my husband and I say it all the time to each other. I’ll probably bring up my kids (when I have them) saying it to us too.

  30. I’m Canadian and my husband is Japanese. I say it to my family and close friends all the time. We say it to each other probably every day at some point. But he doesn’t say it to his parents or friends. He says it would feel weird to suddenly start, since he has never said it or heard it before. He thinks it’s very sweet that I say it to my family though, and sometimes wishes he could say it to his.

  31. B says...

    My husband and I say it several times a day. It’s wonderful! My previous partner would only say it on special occasions. So I can say from experience that hearing it all the time is so much better and more loving than hearing it twice a year.

  32. JH says...

    I’m 1st-generation Chinese, and can relate to the never saying “I love you.” My family and I never said it to each other and it’s not a big deal. I don’t think it implies a lack of love, and I don’t feel any less loved. We’ve just expressed it in different ways (e.g. Mom/Dad waking up and de-icing/heating up the car for you while you get ready for school/work, paying for college, home cooked meals, etc.).

    However, I married white dude and we say it to each other and our dog-son daily. :-)

  33. I am Chinese and grew up mostly in China but live in California now. My mom’s side of the family is more verbally affectionate, so my mom and grandpa say “wo ai ni” (i love you in Mandarin Chinese) pretty often – not on a daily basis though, more on days when I’m feeling down, and with my grandpa, after each time I call him. :) I’ve never heard my dad said i love you even though i know he adores me. He’d make fun of us if he heard me and my mom say that to each other, too. Silly guy lol. I also say i love you with all my Chinese-American/Chinese-Canadian family, and they always say it back.

    My husband, who is also Chinese, finds it REALLY REALLY HARD to say i love you out loud. He’s never said it to his family or anyone he dated before me. I’m still trying to get him to say it back, so far I’ve only succeeded once… He actually said “I love you too” one time when he was drunk, HA!

  34. Great article. I say it a million times a day. You got to. :) My 18 month old little boy, Max just started answering me with squeals (not words) just little squeals so, I’ll say “I love you, do you love momma?” And sure enough I get a little happy squeal :) Makes me feel so good every time.

  35. Great article. I say it a million times a day. You got to. :) My 18 month old little boy, Max just started answering me with squeals (not words) just little squeals so, I’ll say “I love you, do you love momma?” And sure enough I get a little happy squeal :) Makes me feel so good every time.

  36. Lu says...

    every day, every chance i get. to my husband, pups, parents, friends (and to a few coworkers even if i substitute “i really appreciate you” to keep it from being weird sometimes). i also express my love by cooking for people every chance i get. :-)

  37. I’m Brazilian and I say it to my English husband every day. He always says it back – it wasn’t so at the beginning of our relationship. Can’t be overused. Who doesn’t want to go back in time and say it to someone they lost?

  38. I say it ALL. THE. TIME! Especially now that I have a little one. Growing up, my dad made it a point to tell my brother and me he loved us at least once a day, because his own father never said it. It was so reassuring to hear him say it (and to know how much he meant it)! I don’t mind for a minute letting my loved ones know just how loved and chosen they are! Even a casual “Love you!” is meaningful if it comes from an authentic place. Those little moments add up.

  39. At least 1 time per hour!And I ask a lot too!!(I’m Greek)

  40. In Italian too there are two different way to say I love you: ‘ti amo’ is very romantic so it’s not usually used among friends and family, speaking with them we use ‘ti voglio bene’ instead. I say ‘ti voglio bene’ all the time to my children, I said very often to my parents and my sister too, to say ti amo would really seems out of place. To my husband I say ‘miluju ti’ because he’s Czech :).

  41. I don’t say “I love you” very often to my family. I believe that in the Netherlands it’s just normal that way. We know that we love each other, so we don’t have to say it.
    But I do say it a LOT to my boyfriend, and I also have this bad habit of asking him ‘Do you love me?’.

  42. My Fella and I just discussed this after I read this post. We agreed that, on average, we tell each other we love each other on average 6-12 times a day. We also often ask “who loves you” to the other, and we always respond “you do.” We’ve known each other 11 years and have been dating for almost two. We don’t say it to each other because the phrase has become meaningless or flippant, but because we just really DO, and can’t keep it in.

  43. Im Chinese and I was born in the US. I consider myself to be affectionate in my relationships, but I surely didnt learn that from my parents. I have never heard anyone in my family say “i love you” to another person. I think in Chinese culture, its more about showing your love rather than saying it. Ive never said it to my parents and they have never said it to me.

  44. I say it all the time, to my parents, my brothers, my friends and my dog. And the thing is that i always mean it.

  45. I say it every time I say goodbye to my parents or my brother. I don’t think there’s such a thing as saying it too often! Spread the love!

  46. American here. I like to say it a lot, especially to my children- my husband prefers to “save” it to give it more meaning, but it is always the last thing I say to my family before I get off the phone with them or say goodbye. I lost loved ones unexpectedly as a child and began the habit then. I want to know it’s the last thing I said.

  47. My family is English – my Mum’s side is definitely not into saying ‘I love you’, but my Dad’s side is. I am very much into it, but my husband and girls… not so much.

    Now I’ve worked out why – in my immediate family we’ve all done the questionnaires in the books ‘The 5 Love Languages’ and ‘The 5 Love Languages for Teenagers’, and it works out that ‘words of affirmation’ and ‘physical touch’ are the ways that I feel loved, whereas ‘acts of service’, ‘quality time’ and ‘receiving gifts’ are the biggies for my husband and girls. So while culture can be a factor, I really think it depends on the person.

    I highly recommend reading those books, by the way! They’ve helped us realise how we can best show love to others (I’m getting more ‘I love you, Mum’ comments and hugs than before, because the girls now know how important it is for me!)

  48. I say I love you very often, to family members (when leaving a get together or hanging up the phone), my husband (every morning before we go to work if not more), and my friends (when I won’t see them for a while), my students (when they need reminding that I am on their side) – pretty much if I realize I love someone, I tell them. I get it from my mom, who said she realized at some point that it might be the last time you ever see someone and you should tell them you love them – I think she regretted not saying it to her dad more.

  49. K says...

    To my husband: all the time, several times a day (although, he has always been MORE apt to say it first — even though I said it to HIM for the very very first time).

    To my parents: very rarely. It feels almost like it belongs at the end of a phone call or something, but it would be SO awkward to do it out of no where. Even with my mom, who I’m very close with! I’d say it and I bet she’d respond with “ooookay. Bye”

    but strangely, to my in-laws: every time we hang up the phone or part ways, even if we’re at their house and we’re going to bed. And my husband wont NOT say it, even if they forget or something… i’ll be going to hang up the phone and he’ll be like “l-lov… LOVE YOUUUU!”

  50. “…and with Alex, I tell him I love him daily—and, if I’m being totally honest, I also often ask him “Do you love me?” which is so lame and needy but cannot be helped!” You are perfectly adorable!!

  51. I am a Chinese-born-Canadian with parents who immigrated to Canada when they were in their mid to late 20s.

    The funny thing is I can totally relate to the comments that opened your article. I’ll go up to my mom sometimes on random days I feel pangs of nostalgia and hug her and say “I love you” (albeit awkwardly) and she won’t hug me back but put a puzzled expression on her face and say “…what’s wrong?”

    I never say “I love you” to my father, nor to my sister who I am relatively close with. It’s almost an unspoken understanding that “Obviously I love you, I feed you and encourage you and support you”. But there is definitely the “weakness” associated with it too.

    On the other hand, I have no problem saying it, in terms of comfort, to my significant other or to my friends and other family (like cousins). I say it to my really close female cousin every time we talk.

    I do feel like saying it too often cheapens it. I make sure I really feel the love welling up inside me before I have to blurt out that I love someone (which is quite often anyway). Just saying it as a passing comment or a quick goodbye is not something I do.

  52. could it be that in Chinese they have a different way to express affection in a parent/child relationship? I live in Norway with my Norwegian husband and our daughter (I am American). Here, lovers say “Jeg elsker deg” to each other, referring to romantic love, while “Jeg er glad i deg” is used more often between parents and children, and even between romantic partners. The “glad i deg” statement translates to love, but to me it will always sound weaker.

  53. very interesting! We say I love you a ton in my family (we’re Nicaraguan). But my grandma who lived with us our whole lives never said I love you and was not affectionate AT ALL! She did, however, show her love in a big way in other ways so we never had doubts. :) She’s my mom’s mom, and I think my mom probably became more affectionate over the years through being with my dad, who is also Nicaraguan and very affectionate. :) My husband and I say it at least once a day, and we say it with his family every time we talk. We have lots of love to give!

  54. I think I tell each kid ‘i love you’ like 100 times a day. My husband probably 3-4 times :)

  55. I say it all the time, such a habit. But, I do truly mean it!
    I am from MN.

  56. I am Spanish: I love to say “I love you” to my family. They say it too, but I am the one who say it the most. Sometimes I feel like I have to say it first so they will say it back.

    I say “I love you” constantly to my boyfriend. He is Irish and he say it to me all the time as well.

    My mum family (with Mexican origines) say it often. My dad family is a very traditional Castillian family with French origines, they do not say “I love you” or cry in public… But I say it often to them, so at the end I make them say it back :)

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  58. i constantly tell my husband i love him. i just love saying it out loud. also, every morning, i text both of my parents “have a wonderful day, i love you.” they’ve grown so used to it they call to see if i’m ok if they haven’t gotten a text from me!

  59. I’m a Chinese-born Indonesian.. and this is one of those things that make the great divide in the Western and Eastern cultures. It’s just weird to say ‘I love you’ on a day-to-day basis. I don’t think I’ve ever said it to any one of my family members except on paper, like in a greeting card or in a text message.

    I attended college in the States and a couple of times, this has came into the topic with my friends from other parts of Asia. Most of them find it quite odd as well …

    I don’t know why exactly and I don’t think anybody really knows, but I feel that we fear what we will sound like. It’s almost as if we’re saying it because we want something.. In Mandarin Chinese, “wo ai ni” is often referred to the romantic partners instead of familial relationships or friends, even though like in English it can be just for anyone.

    Still can’t figure out why :/

  60. I tell my husband daily and my family members and close friends before I hang up the phone. I’m American.

  61. I am from Taiwan, and my parents have never told me they loved me, although it’s expressed in a myriad of other ways everyday. It’s just way too strong to express verbally! Even to my siblings the words don’t come easy… it’s just not in our family culture. I have no problem saying I love you to my boyfriend, though.

  62. I am mexican and when I was growing up te amo (which means I love you) was never said, we used te quiero (which means I care for you) and it was used very rarely. After my father died (I was 21) my mother started using it more. I live in the states now and my husband and I say I love you all the time and I think that if I have children I will tell them that I love them everyday. Why keep your feelings? One day it might be too late.

  63. I am American and I say I love you several times a day…even to my dog! I also use it informally. A stranger helped me get my car out of a snowbank yesterday and I said, “Ah, I love you! You made my day” In fact, now that you mention it…I probably say “I love you” every single time I end a conversation with my family, close girlfriends and my boyfriend. If I didn’t say it/hear it, I would think something was wrong and vice versa!

  64. I am Latvian and I very rarely say “I love you”, it was never said in my family until my aunt and uncle moved to the UK where they got used to saying it. To me these words are too special to be said on a regular basis here and there. Latvians prefer to keep most of their feelings private but that does not lessen the strength of these feelings and they are implied by works not words. I like this attitude because when someone says “I love you” – it is special. :)

  65. I say it many times a day to my husband. I say it to my dad every time I get off the phone. I didn’t do it as much when I was younger. However, when my Ex-husband’s mother died suddenly and the last time he had a chance to talk to her.. he wouldn’t get on the phone because he was too busy (the day she died)… I was reminded that you never know when the last time you speak to someone will be.. make sure they know you care!

  66. I have a general rule, or maybe more of guideline for myself: if you think something nice about someone, you should tell them. I realized I often thought- oh he’s good at that, or her hair looks lovely, but I didn’t actually say it. And why not? I feel so happy when someone tells me.

    And the same goes with saying I love you- I say it when I think it. Which happens to be often. Especially with my husband.

    Culture does probably somewhat dictate these things though. I’m American.

  67. In German, you would only say “I love you” (ich liebe dich) to a very serious romantic partner. It is totally weird to say that to anyone else, but you can tell them that you have love for them (ich hab’ dich Lieb). You also wouldn’t say things like “I love burritos” – love itself is reserved for the very serious emotion, everything else you like, or it pleases you (moegen, sich gefallen, etwas gernhaben). I know nothing about China or Chinese, but perhaps it’s also a linguistic convention.

  68. For me it’s almost superstitous, like if I don’t tell someone I love them then it could be the last time. I think part of that comes from losing my mom when I was in college and regretting never having certain conversations with her. I say I love you to my boyfriend, family, and close friends when I talk to them :)

  69. Growing up in Kansas (Heinz 57 mutt of Dutch, English, Swedish, Norwegian, Native American, French, etc), my family wasn’t much on saying “I love you”. I moved to NYC for work in ’96 and talked to my parents every week, but we still didn’t say it much. Then in 2001, following 9-11 and a surgery that I had 2 weeks later, it just happened, we started saying “I love you” at the end of every conversation. Reflecting now, I think it was the sudden realization of how fleeting life can be and how important it is that they know how you feel.

  70. My grandmother told me once when she was growing up (in the 30’s, on a farm, as one of 11 children) that her mother never once told her she loved her. As a result, she decided at a young age that she would tell her children that she loved them every single day. And she did!

    As a result, I grew up hearing it multiple times a day from my mom, who was always so great at telling us not only that she loved us, but what she loved about us.

    One of my favorite childhood memories is waking up in a foggy haze to my mom leaning over me in the dark, whispering, “I love you” into my ear. She was checking on me before she went to bed. I’ve always loved that she said it to me even when she thought I wasn’t listening. <3

    Now as an adult, I am of course among the camp that you can’t say it enough! There can never be too much love!

  71. My twin brother (our birthday is tomorrow) died 11 years ago. Our whole family was so grateful for how much we told each other we loved one another. We never took it for granted and we always knew (and still know). True love can’t be cheapened with repetition.

  72. When I was a child, I can remember absolutely making sure to tell my parents I loved them whenever I got out of the car to go to school, or they left the house. I was a macabre child and really afraid that if they died or something, my last words would be something other than “I love you.”

    -C

  73. My parents are from Bangladesh, but I was born in the US. My mom has always said “I love you” to me and my brother – multiple times daily. I’m 26 now living far from her and she texts it to me all the time and it’s how we end all of our phone calls and emails. My dad has recently become more comfortable expressing love verbally — I remember being so warmly surprised when he first began saying it to me. Such expression certainly isn’t necessary for me to understand my parents love me, but it’s such a lovely feeling to have sustained throughout the day, week these affirmations of their (our) love.

  74. I say it all the time to my husband, our dog, my sisters, my parents and grandmothers. I’ve come across friends that say it but it feels phony. Close friends and childhood friends, I can totally understand using the phrase. My husband’s family lacks physical and verbal affection. I’ve only heard it said once between my husband and his mother. I find it so strange! You can’t just assume someone loves you. You have to say it everyday, before its too late.

  75. I’m with you, Joanna! I say it maybe every 15 minutes to my boyfriend and when we’re being extra silly we say, “You don’t even LOVE me!” Prompting the other one to gush about how much that isn’t true.

    My parents also say it to us kids (now 31 and 29 years old) all the time. Every email, text, and phone call ends with, “I love you” and from my mom I get the occasional, “Just wanted to tell you I love you.” It’s always nice to hear and even nicer to say. <3

  76. I’m Polish and Lithuanian on my dad’s side, but don’t know much about my family history. My grandfather is gone now, so I likely never will.

    That being said, I hardly ever used to say it to my parents when I lived with them, but now that I’ve moved out, we say it all the time. I don’t end a conversation without it.

  77. I grew up in Miami and my family is from Nicaragua. We say ‘I love you’ all the time, including at the end of every phone call! I say it to my boyfriend every day. He’s from Iowa and I don’t think he grew up saying it nearly as often, but now we both say it all the time.

  78. Growing up we didn’t say I love you a lot in my house. I feel that as we have gotten older we have begun to say it more. Maybe we realize how much more it means now…especially since we are scattered all over the world. In my home my husband and I say I love you all the time. I definitely ask if he loves me as well. Even though I know he does it is always nice to hear it. And when my little one is cranky in the car I keep asking him if he knows that I love him…or sing classic Bollywood love songs to him and he is happy.

  79. I’m from Malaysia (Chinese). My mum says it quite often so we feel quite ok saying it. But it really depends on the family..many of my friends don’t. I guess those who are English educated feels more comfortable saying it aloud compared to those who are Chinese educated.

  80. all.the.time.
    When I hang up the phone or someone leaves the house (this includes my extended family).
    To my son and husband at regular intervals throughout the day. I can’t imagine not saying that phrase.
    When I was a kid, I recall saying it (accidentally) to a teacher because I was so used to saying it! I’m Canadian-American.

  81. Phone and visit endings 100% always say: By. I love you.

  82. By the way, reading these posts has been incredibly fascinating and educational! I’m picking up on the idea that in some languages, the phrase “I love you” can be almost sexual, so I’m beginning to understand why some cultures express love in other ways to their children and families. What a great thread you instigated, Joanna! :)

  83. It is totally cultural. My husband is Haitian American and I can’t remember the last time he told me he loves me. I can’t even remember the last time he told his mother he loved her!! LOL! We’ve been together for over a decade and his theory is that after all these years I should know by now how he feels. That would make me angry if he wasn’t the most affectionate person on the planet!! I finally realized that he is a physical lover instead of a verbal one which is good for me!!:- )

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  85. All day, every day. It feels just as nice to say it as to hear it. I’m American, and my parents raised me this way. My fiancé and his parents were not big on saying it, but I’ve turned all that around :) It’s so colossally important to say and hear.

  86. My Dad comes from a very old fashioned British family and grew up rarely hearing I love you. He was sent to bed with a hand shake and a pat on the back as a kiss goodnight wasn’t considered very “gentlemanly”! My Mum’s family is a lot more loving and so my brothers and I grew up hearing and saying it all the time.

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  88. I tell my husband I love him all the time and he tells me. We both experienced loss early on in life and I think we both feel like you should take that one second to tell someone how you really feel because you never know what could happen and you might not get the chance again. In fact, when I first realized I loved my husband (back when we were dating) there was never a thought about telling him too soon or maybe freaking him out with it. I just had this overwhelming sense that I HAD to tell him so that he’d KNOW. The worst thing is not being able tell someone how you feel and it ends up being too late. That’s the worst. You should do everything in your power not to let that happen.

  89. I say it to my kids multiple times a day. I can’t help myself. When my kids are toddlers I seem to say it even more: “I love you!” I’ll exclaim to my two-year-old. Still not enough. I say it to her a couple more times, and she’s so precious in my arms, but the words still aren’t enough. Then I give up until the next tme the feelings bubble up. I don’t know what it is, but I say it even more when my kids are really little. As they get older, somehow I feel shy saying it with such extravagant abandon (my oldest daughter is 8, and I guess I don’t say it to her as much as with my 2-and4-year-olds. Must fix that. :)).

    I’m American.

  90. I am italian and I also never said I love you to my parents nor my sister- very weird, as we are so family oriented!
    On the other hand, I say I love you to my boyfriend every night before I go to sleep and a lot of other times when i feel it. I was never ashamed of it.
    I guess I will be an I love you kind of mum with my kids but who knows?

  91. What a sensational and passionating topic ! Definetely, I am french and rarely say I love you. The only cultures im connected to is the asutralian/american culture through family and they keep saying it all the time, so as french as I am I get the sensibility to understand that yes its cool and essential to say it, because life’s short and its good to let things know.