The Difference Between I Love You And I’m In Love With You


While ‘loving’ was the proof of being in love, the actions you took to show that you’re in love, the things you do out of love. But as I grew up, I realized that there was a difference.


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For the longest time, I couldn’t tell the difference between “I love you” and “I’m in love with you”. To me, they were synonymous. At some point, they even became mutually exclusive; one being unable to exist without the other but being able to stand on its own once birthed. And for a while, I was convinced I had it all figured out. I thought being ‘in love’ was the encompassing of the emotion you felt and only you can feel; your 2am and 3pm thoughts of this person that had you believing in happy ever after, how (s)he made you feel…complete.

While ‘loving’ was the proof of being in love, the actions you took to show that you’re in love, the things you do out of love. But as I grew up, I realized that there was a difference. I don’t know how I knew, maybe it was the sense of injustice in me at the fact that I’d say “I love you” to a random superman that saves my iPhone from making acquaintance with the floor as I trip and still utter the same three words to the girl of my dreams that made me desperate to believe that I had it wrong and I knew if I ever was going to have my own happily ever after, I had to find the true meaning behind those two phrases.

Fast-forward 4 girlfriends, 2 flings in 6 years, I knew a couple of things for certain; a lot of people thought like a younger version of me, that being in love and loving were synonymous but I you can’t blame them. The line that separates the two is thinner than the veil that covers the bride enroute the alter. I also knew that of my Ex’s, I was only in love with one, the rest, I loved but I still didn’t have the words to describe this difference that was as clear as watching a 1080p video on a 17” laptop.

Then I met her and it hit me harder than the wrecking ball that hit Miley.

Allow me to use an example to differentiate between ‘loving’ and ‘being in love’.

I love reading novels, I love watching high-school drama/romance movies like ‘A Cinderella Story’, I f**king love milk! But here’s the thing, if a freak EMP detonates and wipes every movie from every database everywhere, all books spontaneously combust because of a reaction between the air and their pages and all cows suddenly stop producing milk (Breast milk doesn’t count), I would be sad for a while, but afterwards, I’d dust off my shoulders and keep on living, nothing spoil. I’d find a new hobby, a new genre of movie to love and I’d find a new addiction (pizza, maybe).

But if I was in love with the things I mentioned earlier, there is no way I’d be able to shrug it off and keep moving forward. I’d find a way to recall all the words of every novel and rewrite them, I’d find Hillary Duff and make her act another movie, I’d turn into a crazy scientist and start working on experiments to give me milk-producing cows.

What people don’t know is that loving, by nature, is conditional. You love the way (s)he makes you feel, how (s)he laughs, how (s)he always seems to get you, even at your worst. You love that (s)he can tell when you’re angry and when you’re just snappy because you’re hungry. (S)he is simply amazing but…what happens when (s)he changes? What happens when (s)he can’t  seem to tolerate your mood swings anymore, when (s) can’t ‘accept you for you’ and keeps trying to change you? What happens to the love then? The fact that the things I ‘love’ are no more didn’t change me. Life as I know it still goes on, I’d find replacements.

Being in love is however much more…scary and beautiful. Because you don’t love something about the person but you are in love with the person himself/herself. You have come to realize what makes him/her tick, what drives him, what eggs him on and you love him still. Not his mannerism or how he makes your mind and body respond to his touch but the sum total of everything and none of those things at the same time. If this is lost, there is no replacing it ‘cos part of you is lost in that love.

Loving someone can lead to falling in love with that person but they are not the same thing. The latter transcends the former by a long shot and I think Jamie McGuire figured out the difference, that’s why he said;

“I knew the second I met you that there was something about you I needed. Turns out it wasn’t something about you at all. It was just you”

He loved her first, then he fell in love with her.

This is what I genuinely think. How ‘bout you?


  1. priscilla Joy
    You’re so right! There’s a difference between “I love you” and “I’m in love with you”.

    I’ve loved a few people in my life, being doing without them wasn’t difficult at all. On the other hand, I’ve never been in love

  2. Nosa
    OOOOOKAY, Great Post.

    But I think you have the two terms mixed in your explanation.(SOMEONE BACK ME UP)

    First off, I don’t like or agree with your use of inanimate objects in your analogy, because books don’t evolve, Milk never tastes different. The Godfather that was written over 40 years ago is still the same book. These things don’t change, the underlying story stays the same for these inanimate objects.

    and then it’s possible to move on from something that no longer exists, because the possibility of getting it back stops existing also, but what if “A Cinderella Story” was wiped from the earth and it was then rebooted starring Ini Edo and Jim Iyke OR Lupita Nyongo and Chiwetel Ejiofor, What then.

    I love the post but I think you switched the two terms, unless you tell me that God didn’t love the world, He was in love with the world.

    Being in love is that honeymoon phase of a relationship, like an emotional high where you just can’t get enough of that person, and well.

    and what you said about loving being conditional, come on!!! You loved a dynamic i.e the way she made you feel, made you smile, how she gets you. “THE WAY OR HOW” that’s a dynamic and it changes, Now it’s us change it and say, you loved her because she made you smile, because she made you laugh, because she got you, what then happens when she upsets you, or annoys the shit out of you.

    There is a difference between loving the dynamic of a relationship and loving the person giving off those dynamics, because dynamics changes, the person doesn’t.

    Falling in love leads to loving someone, and the latter transcends the former because you can fall out of love but when you really love someone, you never stop loving that person because it would require you to stop loving a part of yourself.

    First time This hit me in the face was in TVD, when Rebecca held Stefan and Elena hostage and compelled Elena to say how she felt about Stefan, and she said: “I Love Stefan but I’m not in love with him”, That was I realized that they were distinct concepts.

    Like i said, great post, just a switch up in concepts,

    Unless you want to tell me that God didn’t love the world, that he is in love with the world instead

    1. ButterflyMind
      I agree with Nosa here. Love transcends being in love. If the dynamics of our relationship changed, I’d still love a person– but I stopped loving them because the dynamic changed, then it means I never really loved them in the first place; I was just loving an idea of them.
      But like the OP said, you can start loving someone you are in love with because of the way they make you feel. If that feeling went away, or perhaps they become undeserving because they’ve hurt you, then you must decide whether or not to keep loving them.

      TVD is one of the realest series I’ve watched on TV. I love how I portrays life like it is, and not just aim to give adrenaline kicks and entertainment.

      Btw Nosa, you should update your blog often 🙂 Love your writing.

    2. Cavey
      Dear Nosa,
      I love it when i can get a response from you. Its my way of knowing if i did an okay job.
      Thanks for your view, its greatly appreciated and it made me reevaluate somethings but the thing is, my stance still remains.
      I’d start from the last FFT. God did/does love the world and wasn’t/isn’t in love with it for one simple reason. He IS love! So he can’t be IN Himself cos thats who He is by nature. Kinda like telling water to make you damp. It can’t ‘cos its already wet.
      Secondly, i think its being IN love and not loving that allows for the dynamism of the person and not the relationship that keeps the love. I’m an engineer so I’d explain like i can. ‘Love’ is the ignition that starts the engine, its the spark that cause combustion and brings the engine to life but the gas, keeps the engine running. Thats what being in love is to me.
      But I’m still open to understanding what they all mean. This is just what i think
    3. Angel😋😋😋
      Well I understand what you mean, but honestly I think everyone has a different conception of being in love and loving someone I feel like when’s you love someone you won’t just wipe it off if they’ve disappeared 👻 it would take time and a few crying sessions to get over losing you love for instance I loved my father I wasn’t but I never love with him in love isn’t More of a romantic relationship when’s my father died I didn’t just brush it off and be ok with it and i loved him thinking about it being in love and loving Theresa a lot of different ways you can think of it I don’t think that there will ever really be on every explanation to love or in love, love is just so complex and huge 🤗 I honestly think both of you have a compelling explanation but everyone think she different about it love is a puzzle and everyone has a different conception I think a few things are different about my opinion and both of yours for the definition of love and in love
  3. Anita
    I agree with Nosa too. Love is the “Oga” of being in love. Being in love has something to do with the emotional side of us… That desire… That want we feel for someone (plus the love in genuine cases). Sometimes these emotions fade or go down and you have to have just love to be able to keep strong.
  4. Vee
    Ok here’s what I think:: LOVE is the concept!..TO LOVE=LOVING=The ACT!…Being in LOVE=a state of mind=a feeling!

    You can love without being in love!
    You can be in love and hold back from loving!

    One is the action(love), the other is the feeling (being in love)

    This is why you can love unconditionally just as God has loved us!

    But you cannot be in love unconditionally!
    –just my take–

  5. brownie
    Lovely write up nd yea Nosa,what’s d name of ur blog please?? Btw; y’all ve a wonderful weekend ahead though I’ll be going to d gym to shed some of d pounds I gained consuming enough fried sallah meat 🙂
  6. Ufuoma
    I dunno if I agree with your logic or not(I was on your side, then I read Nosa’s comment and I’m on his side too).
    Absolutely in love with your bio tho….I’d never forget it. ❤
  7. noma

    I love your comments nosa..for every article I read here,i run my eyes through the comments only just to know if I can find urs..and thank goodness i’m never disappointed lol
  8. Toni

    The picture is what “I love you” sounds like to me.

    And I saw something on Pinterest, I think, that said (and I’m paraphrasing): I was asked why I love her, but I couldn’t find one specific reason. I just did.
    That’s what being in love is to me.

    “I love you” = “I’ll put your needs/interests above mine”

    “I’m in love with you” = “I feel good when I’m around or think about you”

    That’s how I see it sha.

  9. Miss Somebody
    Love is a deep affection for someone or something. Your love could be for something animate or inanimate, tangible or intangible. Love is almost never logical. To be fall in love on the other hand can be different. Its like an obsession; a state of complete oblivion to everything but that one person. Being in love can also be mixed up with infatuation but the two are not the same. One is real while the other isn’t. Being in love is beautiful and can last forever, infatuation can’t. However you can not always be in love with someone because of our human nature (humans can be annoying) but once you truly love someone it is an everlasting feeling that situations, condtions or circumstances can’t change. I learnt really early that love is a decision, an unconditional commitment to love and to have and to hold in good times and in bad times. That is why the bible says “For God so loved the world…….”, “while we were yet sinners Christ died for us”. In the beginning God decided to create man and Love man. And when man faltered that love didn’t change; he did everything to reconcile us to him. Ask couples who have been married for decades (my parents included) they would tell you they weren’t always in love with each other everyday of their years of marriage but they always, always and always loved each other every waking moment. Even when you fall in love with someone you still need to make a decision to act on that love and stay committed to the love.
  10. mojo
    Ok. I have read all these comments. And I really think, talking about which one transcends the other defeats the purpose.
    “Loving” and being “in love” are different because of the intention of whoever is saying it, as human beings we try to find our “second halves” a concept left to us since the creation of Eve for Adam. Nonetheless, we still have a space to love other people or things as the case may be.
    So I think “being in love” merely suggests that you have made a choice, that the other person is the Eve to your Adam or vice versa. But loving something is independent on Whether that is gud for you or not. You will just find a way to love it.
    Its just unfortunate that the word “love” has been made a cliché in our modern world
  11. Gbola
    Hmmm, this is a tricky post, I am learning, though ive always known there must be more to love, I can say ive loved many ppl over time but i’ve been in love with only very few.

    I think if you can do without someone in your life, then you are not in love with them. My Tots

  12. Brittney
    Here’s what I think:

    There is a very distinctive difference between “I love you” and “I am in love with you”.

    To say that “I love you” simply means that I, myself, love the very nature of ‘you’. What does that mean? I love cookies, I love the color blue and broccoli. I love that all of these things because they exist and are available to me simply BECAUSE they exist.

    Now, am I in love with broccoli? No. Why? Some days I like spinach and will happily cheat.

    To be in love with another human being is to mean more than, “hey, I appreciate your existence.” — that’s love.
    To be in love means that no matter conditions may or may not occur the love does not change.

    To be in love with broccoli is to not care about the changing conditions (too salty, under-cooked, mixed with snow peas) — I shall indulge anyway because I would rather have burnt broccoli than perfectly cooked spinach. Though the conditions have changed – the organism itself has not. The nutrients and vitamins that make up the broccoli have not necessarily been altered simply because the cooking method has.

    Yes, I compared love and to be in love with vegetables….come at me.

  13. Toyin
    This is spot on. My ex made me know the difference. He was in love with me, not my body, not an idea of me, just me. It’s absolute.

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