The Difference Between “I Love You” and “I’m in Love With You”

“I love you” vs. “I'm in love with you.” Two seemingly similar phrases, both filled with endearment but still very different. While many people think that loving someone and being in love with someone are the same thing, there's some debate to that. You can feel love for a multitude of people and you can show love in many different ways. To be in love with someone is something entirely different.

These are some of the things that make being in love with someone different than loving them.


This is the first difference in these two very similar phrases. While one is strictly for romantic relationships, the other can be applied to any kind of relationship. When you tell someone that you are in love with them, that implies romantic love. You are feeling passion, lust and excitement. When you tell someone that you love them, it implies a strong endearment. This can be felt for anyone in your life. You are usually in love with your spouse, while you love family members or friends.


These two phrases are different in the vulnerability they place upon the person who utters them. When you tell someone that you are in love with them, it takes you into a more vulnerable position. To be in love with someone essential gives them the power to break your heart. You have invested a romantic passion in them, and if it is unrequited or betrayed, you're left hurting. When you tell someone you love them, there is less vulnerability in that relationship.  It is possible to still love someone who hurts you. It is nearly impossible to be in love with someone who hurts you.


The phrase “I'm in love with you” holds much more passion than a simple “I love you.” This is not to minimize loving someone at all. It is just saying that to be in love with someone is usually an immediate, passionate and exciting feeling. You are engrossed in everything about that person and cannot get enough of them. To love someone is less passionate because it does not imply the same excitement. You can love someone who you care for a great deal, but do not feel the same passion and excitement around.


Finally, these two phrases differ in their permanence. To be in love with someone does not always last. Often times, people fall out of love with someone. People may be in love with their boyfriend or girlfriend, but if the relationship ends, that feeling is gone. When you love someone, there is more permanence to that sentiment. When you tell a family member you love them, that feeling is unlikely to change. Even people who do not stay in contact or go through rough patches, they still have love for one another.

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