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?