I Love You, And…

relationship communication tipsBut seems like a benign enough word. It’s not though. At least not in every circumstance. One that is a particular annoyance for me is:

I am sorry, but…

Immediately following “but” is inevitably a defense or deflection rather than accepting responsibility. For example:

  • I am sorry, but you shouldn’t have started it.
  • I am sorry, but you misunderstood what I was saying.

The biggest offense to me with the use of “but” in communicating is:

I love you, but…

To me, it is a sign I am in a relationship with someone who does not love me unconditionally. Does that sound silly? Read these examples before deciding:

  • I love you, but I wish you didn’t wear that dress when we are out with friends.
  • I love you, but you drive me crazy when you do XX.

It might only be my sensitivity to the use of “but” in these two examples. However, I have been in a long-term relationship with one man who refused to accept responsibility for his actions and another who loved me conditionally. Both were ultimately unfulfilling, sad experiences in my life which might have led to me being hyper sensitive to the use of “but” when communicating. This seems a better way to communicate:

  • I love you, and you drive me crazy sometimes.
  • I am sorry, and I will try to do a better job communicating next time so that we don’t have future misunderstandings.

Sean and I have discussed my aversion to I-love-you-but statements. I have explained to him we are in an I-love-you-and kind of relationship, which feels wonderful. Never accepting to be like anyone else, and always surprising me with his capacity to love, he has come up with his own use of “I love you and” in a sentence. Sean’s look like this:

  • I love you, and you are beautiful.
  • I love you, and you make me happy.
  • I love you, and you are the most amazing cook.
  • I love you, and you inspire me.

I have explained to Sean, being self aware as I am, his I-love-you-and statements should look like this:

  • I love you, and you drive me crazy wanting to plan our day the minute your eyes open.
  • I love you, and you talk non-stop before we have even had a chance to caffeinate you for the day.
  • I love you, and your incessant talk of baseball during hockey season frustrates me.

While I have had one man in my life excel at uttering I-love-you-but statements and now having a man who fails in an adorable way at I-love-you-and statements, I can say the latter is much preferred. And always makes me smile.

What words are relationship hot buttons for you?

Please share!


6 responses to “I Love You, And…”

  1. This is excellent! I need to do this with one of my sons. He love him AND he drives me crazy. I think I’ve been using the word “but”, knowing that that means conditional love, but not knowing how to change it. I’m using “and” from now on. Thank you so much for this!!!

  2. SeanD

    I love you, and your incessant talk of baseball during hockey season frustrates me.

    AND thank you. I really liked that one!

  3. Great post! My husband and I tend to go for “I love you. I would like for XX to happen.” You know, I love you as a separate statement from the complaint or request. I can deal with that, because I might hate it when he leaves his dirty socks all over his side of the bedroom, but it doesn’t affect how much I love him at all.

    One of the things that drives me crazy is when I say, “want to watch a movie?” and he says, “yeah, but you pick. I don’t care what we watch.” Then I say, “how about X or Y?” and he says, “nah, I don’t want to watch those. Got any other ideas?” — this kind of thing can go on until neither of us cares to watch a movie at all. It’s one of my irritations… but I can be just as guilty.

    1. Naked Girl in a Dress

      We all have the little annoyances, don’t we? As long as love isn’t conditional, it works just fine.

  4. Sometimes we just skip the “I love you” part & go straight to the part after “but”. That one doesn’t work so well either.

    1. Naked Girl in a Dress

      You are so funny Vinny!