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How to Respond to I Love You Without Saying it Back

Someone said they love you. Great! But, not so great if you don’t feel the same. Here’s how to respond to I love you without saying it back.

how to respond to i love you

Knowing how to respond to I love you isn’t always as easy as saying it back.

Love is a very complicated thing. It seems so easy in the movies. We grow up thinking we’ll find that special someone, tell them we love them, they’ll say it back, and happily ever after.

The truth is that it’s not always that simple. Sometimes we don’t feel the same. Sometimes we’re scared to admit how we feel. Maybe you’re not ready. Or you just don’t feel the same.

Knowing how to respond to I love you without saying it back is key when that time comes. Whether you want to say it, aren’t ready, or just don’t feel that way, knowing how to respond to I love you can make things a whole lot easier.

You don’t want to hurt this person. You may not want to end things either. But you don’t want to say the wrong thing and mess up your entire relationship. [Read: Saying I love you too soon can be bad]

Saying I love you is always different

Not everyone will fall in love as quickly as others. Some people are confident in their feelings and trust themselves. Those people can say I love you quickly and feel great about it. Others may have those feelings deep down but can’t come out and say those three words.

None of these timelines mean the love is any less real or intense. Everyone has a past that has caused them some sort of hesitation about knowing how to respond to I love you, no matter how they truly feel.

Whether you take longer to feel those feelings sort to admit them, all the ways you can say I love you and respond to it are valid. Don’t let society tell you that there is anything wrong with you because you take things at your own pace.

Everybody is different. And if you are someone that takes their time, you may run into a situation where your partner confesses their love, but you can’t say it back. If that’s the case, you might want to know how to respond to I love you without saying it back. Hopefully, you learn how to do that today. [Read: How long does it take to really fall in love]

How to respond to I love you without say it back

Just because you don’t love them at that moment doesn’t mean you never will. It simply means that, at that time, you don’t feel it. Sometimes you need more time to fall in love with someone or to feel comfortable saying it.

If you’ve ever been in this situation before, you know how awkward and uncomfortable it can be. You don’t want to hurt them, but you need to be true to yourself.

How can you balance being honest and possibly hurting someone? It takes some good communication, but it can be done. Luckily, we have everything you’ll need so you’ll know how to respond to I love you the next time someone confesses their feelings. [Read: 12 signs it is time to admit how you feel]

1. Smile and be appreciative

I know it can be a little scary when this happens, but it’s still a great thing. This person loves you. They enjoy you so much they have completely fallen for you. That’s something to be happy about. As long as you still want to be with this person, this isn’t something to be upset about.

Even if you don’t feel the same way just yet, you still care about them. Learning how to respond to love you without panicking but with your actual emotions at that moment is key. The fact that they’ve fallen for you should make you smile. So show them that by responding with a big smile and appreciating that they have given you their love. [Read: How to show your appreciation for someone]

2. Tell them how happy that makes you

You can even just say, “That makes me so happy!” It’s really that simple. It might not be the words back, but it’ll be enough to make them realize that you’re happy with their love. And it is better than saying thank you.

You can even take it a little further by explaining why it makes you so happy. Tell them just how much joy you get out of them loving you. They’ll be happy that they caused you that much joy. [Read: How to be blissfully happy in a relationship]

3. Give them a hug and a kiss

Sometimes words don’t even need to be said in response to love you. You can just show them your appreciation by giving them a kiss and a hug. You can even do this in combination with some other tips. The Bachelor franchise has nailed this down to a science, so if you’re not sure how, watch some episodes to see a prime example.

The point of this is to secure their confession with intimacy. It might not be verbal confirmation of your feelings, but they’ll love being close to you and take this as a good sign, even if not what they were hoping for. The physical intimacy can help them feel at ease with you not saying it back. [Read: 22 steps to the perfect kiss]

4. Tell them how much you care about them

What messes most people up when they don’t know how to respond to I love you is that they don’t clarify that they still care about the person. By not saying I love you back, they assume you don’t have feelings for them when that likely isn’t the case.

You have to tell them you care about them deeply. You may not be able to say it back right now, but that doesn’t mean you never will. Show them this. Let them know that you have strong feelings for them and this confession only strengthens them. [Read: 11 sweet and intimate ways to show how much you care]

5. Tell them you’re so lucky to have them in your life

This is very important. If you do have strong feelings for them and are genuinely happy to have them in your life, say it. Tell them that your life is better with them in it.

If you gloss over this part, it’ll leave them insecure and upset. You don’t want them worrying about ending things, so make sure they know that you are grateful for them. Learning how to respond to love you even if you don’t love them back right now should be about your truth, not just avoiding those words.

You have to tell them you’re lucky they’re in your life. You can even mention something about feeling lucky they are in love with you.

6. Let them know how much you appreciate them

Appreciation is really all someone wants. If you can’t say I love you back in response to them saying it, make sure they know you aren’t just ignoring them or overlooking this. This is a big moment for them and let them know you appreciate them and their vulnerability and don’t take it lightly. Even though they may not like that you didn’t say it back, they’ll feel better knowing how you do feel.

You can even say something along the lines of, “I know I can’t say the same right now, but I appreciate you in my life, and I love how honest you are right now.” This is enough to make them realize that you still care about them and their feelings. [Read: 16 ways to really show your appreciation]

7. Ask them why they love you

This might seem a little odd, but hear me out. When your significant other tells you they love you, ask them why. This isn’t a test. But, getting an answer to this can make you feel more confident in your feelings.

Maybe you do love them but have some lingering trust issues. Knowing why they love you and what they see in you could be enough to let you know you are safe to say it to them. [Read: 25 reasons to love someone]

8. Tell them where you are

Just because you’re not saying I love you back at the moment doesn’t mean you’ll never feel the same. Make sure they know that you’re on the road to feeling that way. Let them know if you don’t know how you feel or if you do feel the same but aren’t ready to say it.

If you know why you’re hesitant, let them know that too. You don’t have to respond to I love you with the same words, but if you offer them vulnerability in return, they will know that you are on your way.

This keeps hope alive and lets them know that you will say it when you are comfortable. [Read: 19 sure signs you’re falling in love]

9. Flirt back

This is actually a really great way to respond if you’re looking to change the subject or take the attention away from your response. This wouldn’t be the best way to respond to I love you, but it can work. This has to be done in a flirtatious manner to avoid offending them.

They will still worry why you didn’t say it back, but saying something like, “Aw, I love me too,” or “well, of course, you do.” It will keep things light. [Read: Cute ways to say I love you]

10. Keep it simple

Saying something like, “I’m so glad,” might seem lackluster, but if it’s genuine, that is what is most important. If you are freaked out or scared, don’t say this, but be honest if you are happy to hear it.

If you’re a little worried about them confessing their feelings and you say this, it’ll come across as very awkward. You have to mean it. So long as you have a huge smile and kiss them, this is a great way to respond to I love you.

11. The Han Solo

If you’re familiar with Star Wars, this is a great way to respond to I love you and doesn’t really involve the idea of not saying it back. It is a bit cocky, but if your partner knows this scene, they will appreciate it.

When they say I love you, respond with, “I know.” It may seem rude, but if you are flirty about it, it will go over well. [Read: 60 most romantic movies ever made]

12. Don’t pause for too long

You could be in shock with someone says I love you. That is fair. But, making them wait too long for a response is torture. Even if you don’t know what to say or how you feel, let them know you need a second because you were taken off guard.

Don’t just sit in silence in response to I love you. That will never turn out well.

13. Cuddle

Body language can be a lot more telling than words. Even in the instance of someone saying I love you. Instead of having a verbal way to respond to I love you, cuddle them. Pull them into you and just lay there. This level of intimacy can say a lot more than you think. [Read: A guide on the best ways to cuddle]

14. Assure them

If you are hesitant to say the words because of your past, assure them that you aren’t saying it back for reasons outside of them. Let them know they’ve done nothing wrong. Make sure they know you want them around and feel that way but are scared to say the words, but you will eventually.

Don’t say this just to make them feel good though. You have to mean it. the worst thing you can do when someone says I love you and you don’t want to say it back is to lie.

15. Don’t say I love you unless you mean it

This happens more often than you might think. You want to please them. You may even want to feel it back, because boy, wouldn’t life be easier if you loved them too? Well, don’t do that.

You can’t manufacture emotions or fake it until you make it. Never say those words unless you mean them.

15. Let them down easy

If you are completely thrown, take a deep breath and be honest. If you don’t love them back, you have to tell them. Whether you want to end things because you are clearly on different pages or not, you need to make sure they understand you aren’t on the road to love.

You don’t want them waiting around and worrying while you figure out your feelings, especially if you already know how you feel. They don’t deserve to suffer while you figure out what way to respond to I love you. Let them know you’re flattered, but just aren’t in that place and don’t see yourself getting there. Again, you can watch The Bachelor or The Bachelorette for some key examples of how to do this.

 [Read: When should you say “I love you” for the first time?]

I know how hard it can be when someone says they love you, but you’re just not ready to say it back. Hopefully, today you learned how to respond to I love you when you just don’t feel the same.

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The editorial team of LovePanky comprises relationship experts and real-life experts that share their experiences and life lessons. If you want the best love ad...