Everyone likes to hear those three magical words. They make you feel special, wanted, important, and loved. But is there a thing as saying ‘I love you’ too much?
What happens when you say ‘I love you’ too much in a relationship?
People often say ‘I love you’ in a relationship when they feel and mean it. The hearer of these words can usually tell when they are meant and when they’re not. The hearer is expected to reciprocate by saying those words and meaning them.
Ideally, both partners should mean and feel it when they declare their love for each other verbally. But there’s more to the story. When you focus on the mental states of the speaker and the hearer of those words, you realize how complicated it can quickly get.
Is saying ‘I love you’ too much bad?
People know that you can’t feel strong emotions all the time. Emotions fluctuate. They rise and fall like ocean waves. When you’re in love, you may constantly feel the need to declare your love for your partner. You mean it, and you feel it.
Your partner reciprocates because they mean it and feel it too.
But they’re intuitively aware that you can’t feel strong emotions all the time. So, saying ‘I love you’ too much, even if you mean and feel it, can come across as insincere.
It also puts the hearer under pressure to reciprocate. Sure, they may love you, but they may not be feeling what you’re feeling in the moment. They may not feel the need to say it.
Hence, they’re forced to say ‘I love you’ back even when they don’t feel it. It doesn’t mean they don’t love you. It means they don’t feel much love right now. They don’t feel it enough to say it back. Their current mental state is different than yours.
Compare this to moments when you both feel it and say it. You both mean it. There’s no pressure of any kind. It comes out naturally.
Another problem with saying ‘I love you’ too much is that it can quickly become a routine. When something becomes a routine, we take it for granted.
When you get a new phone, you value it highly. You’re careful not to break or drop it. A few months later, you throw it around and drop it often. You don’t value it as much.
In psychology, getting used to things this way is called habituation. It happens with everything, including the words you like to hear. The more you have something, the less you value it. In contrast, the scarcer something is, the more you appreciate it.
At the same time, you don’t want to keep those words so scarce that your partner feels unloved or has doubts about the relationship. You have to hit that sweet spot between saying it rarely versus saying it too often.
Why does someone say ‘I love you’ too much?
What drives someone to say ‘I love you’ constantly?
Other than feeling the need to say it, following are possible reasons for this behavior:
1. Seeking reassurance
People feel insecure in relationships from time to time. Saying ‘I love you’ too much can be a way to seek reassurance that your partner loves you too. When your partner says it back, you feel more secure in the relationship.
When you’re afraid of losing your partner, you may say ‘I love you’ often to reel your partner back in. Your partner may have done something that made you feel jealous. Saying ‘I love you’ too much, in this case, is a way to grab their hand and pull them back to you figuratively.
Similarly, clingy partners say ‘I love you’ often. It’s the anxiety of losing their partner that makes them say it more than love.
People know it feels good to hear those three magical words. So, your partner may try to make you feel good by saying those words. They may do this because they have bad news for you and want to take the edge off. Or because they feel guilty and want you to lessen the punishment.
People don’t value FREE!
People like free stuff, but they don’t value it. I’ve downloaded plenty of PDFs on my computer for free from here and there on the internet. I hardly look at them. But the books I buy, I read. When you pay for stuff, you have more skin in the game. You want to make your financial sacrifice worthwhile.
Similarly, saying ‘I love you’ freely and too much reduces its value. It’s no longer powerful and magical. To keep it magical, you must ensure that it hits hard when you say it.
The simple rule to remember is to say it when you feel it. Since we don’t feel strong emotions 24/7, this will automatically ensure that you don’t oversay it. Saying it when you both feel it is much better but it’s not always easy to gauge your partner’s emotional state.
To keep those magical three words magical, you have to say them unexpectedly and in creative ways. Avoid turning declaring your love into a routine.
Scarcity = value (Real-life example)
I have a friend on Facebook who’s very intelligent. He constantly criticizes my posts. I would’ve dismissed him as some hater, but I didn’t because his critiques were thoughtful. I hardly got any validation from him, and I thought I didn’t care about his validation at all.
But boy, was I wrong!
He praised one of my posts for the first time, and let me tell you- that hit hard. Like really hard! I was shocked. I thought I didn’t care if he liked or didn’t like my stuff. But I enjoyed his validation. Why?
It’s because he made his validation so rare. In fact, invalidation or criticizing was his default. I hated my mind for loving the validation. It was embarrassing. But the mind wants what it wants and loves what it loves.
Now, I’m not suggesting you invalidate your partner. Some dating gurus preach that. It can’t work unless your partner respects you in some way. Remember, I considered my Facebook friend intelligent. That’s a big reason why his invalidation-invalidation-invalidation-validation sequence worked.
Had I dismissed him as some dumb hater, I don’t think I would have cared about his validation at all.
Hi, I’m Hanan Parvez (MBA, MA Psychology), founder and author of PsychMechanics. PsychMechanics has been featured in Forbes, Business Insider, Reader’s Digest, and Entrepreneur. Feel free to contact me if you have a query.