We may or may not have touched upon this before.
I have very strong feelings about the phrase I Love You, in the sense that I think it is FUCKING STUPID AND OVER-HYPED.
I understand that we have all grown up on Friends and Scrubs and other horrible things that have made us think that I Love You is some kind of monumental life-altering utterance, but it isn't. It's just words. Non-mattering words.
The feelings behind the words matter, of course, but...
HERE IS WHAT I AM GETTING AT.
I literally cannot remember a time when I have said I Love You out loud to a human boy (which is where my sexual interest mostly lies), but it doesn't mean that I didn't love them or have feelings for them or whatever.
I have a lot of feelings but because some of them are stuck behind a wall of fear, panic and self-loathing, it may not always be obvious.
People express themselves in different ways. NUANCE.
"You're being a dick", for example, is just the most wonderfully underrated expression of affection when it's said by someone who's sticking around.
THINK FOR A SECOND ABOUT WHAT THAT MEANS.
It means that even AT YOUR WORST, someone still thinks you're a solid investment.
And then there are the little things.
Like, "here's some toast to keep you alive, because that's important to me." Or, "I've caught this spider but I promise I won't wave it in your face because I know how you get."
Maybe, "I'm going to watch this thing because it's important to you and I will try my best to be diplomatic even when it is stupid." Or, "look, I'm going to offer you the last biscuit even though I really want it."
Also if you offer someone the last biscuit and they don't take it, THAT may be a lovely and beautiful gesture.
So, you might have a moment where I Love You is a thing that it makes sense to say aloud, but you are doing yourself a disservice if you will accept nothing less or if you think, even for a second, that the words are what matter. You don't need to hear it. You need the other bits.