How do you respond to "I love you" when it's not mutual?

Okay - the subject line pretty much sums it up, but I am wondering what do you do/say when someone (you’re involved with romantically) tells you they love you, and the feeling isn’t mutual? Is there anything more awkward? :eek: I don’t think my response of “aaaawwwww, that’s so sweet” and a hug went over very well :frowning:

Well, there are two ways to go here. One is to exploit to the hilt this other person’s feelings for you, and to see what you extract from their devotion in terms of their time, resources, work, material goods and money. This is the policy operated by some people in this life, and it does have its merits. You could get a lot of stuff and slave labour out of this person more or less risk-free. Some people behave like this routinely.

The other is to be honest, say what you believe and believe what you say. Tact, care and consideration go a long way.

While it can seem cold to the person who has said it, I’ve just said “thank you.”

What more can one say?

I’m gonna go with “thank you” as well.

And Mom and Dad would be so proud of me too!

Actually, I think the problem was that he was expecting me to reciprocate, but at least I didn’t lie which would have made things worst in the long run. “Thank you” does seem to be the best one can do in the situation I guess.

I said “Thank you” too, and I meant it, but… eek. It was awkward.

The worst, however, was my boyfriend in one of his previous relationships. After three weeks of dating a girl with whom he set out to stay casual with, she informed him she loved him. His response?

“Uhmm… okay.”

Say, “I’m sorry.”

Speak from experience? Who, me?

I’ve said, “oh…” a few times (yeah I’m a dork), cause I can’t say it if I don’t mean it.

I think I may have even said what you said. “Thank you” sounds kinda weird, like you guys just made a impersonal transaction or something. :smiley:

Guess we’re not much help, are we?

Usually the response I get is “Your hour’s almost up. If you want me to stay, it’ll be another $200.”

“Thank you” is totally inappropriate, since it implies the other person has done you some favor. I usually just give him a kiss, and he doesn’t seem to notice that I haven’t reciprocated.

Oh, yes he did notice. Believe me.

There’s no simple, tactful way around it. Just be honest:

“I’m flattered that you feel that way about me and I’d love to say the same to you, but I don’t feel ready yet, and I’d feel like dirt if I said those words without truly meaning them. Please give me a little time and please try not to be hurt.”

Then give him a nice hug/kiss to soften the blow.

The “awwwwwwwww” thing is probably the worst response you can give, because not only are you failing to reciprocate your partner’s love, but you’re trivializing it as well! No offence, because I did exactly the same thing once, and I felt terrible about it. I still remember the stunned look on her face, as if I’d just slapped her. I’d give anything to do that little scene over again…

“Thank you” doesn’t make sense in this situation. Thank you for what, exactly?
And of course, people saying “I love you” are hoping you will reciprocate (or they’re attempting to manipulate you, or they’re too immature…in these two cases, their love isn’t really an issue.
And I agre with Soda : of course, they are going to notice you didn’t reciprocated. They’re awaiting your response with anguish…
The best choice (apart the exploitation proposed by ianzin) is of course to be honest. And things like “I don’t feel ready” or “give me a little time” aren’t honest, either, except if you actually think you’re about to fall in love, or have already very strong feelings but still are hesitating.

OK. What I meant is that the kiss seems to distract him momentarily, softening the blow. I’ve been in that situation too many times. I’m sure that once I said “I know.” Sounds pretty bad. I’ve learned to head this things off - if you sense an unwanted tender moment coming on, start talking about something you saw on TV.

Say something more along the lines of “Thank you for feeling that way.” That way it doesn’t sound like a shell-shocked “uh, thanks”, but it also conveys that you don’t feel the same way.

I’m also going to throw in that a conversation like that ought to prompt the ‘define the relationship’ conversation. (ugh ugh ugh)

-sic, who is SOOOOOOO glad to be married and not deal with this stuff anymore.

“I know”?

What, noEmpire Strikes Back fans?:smiley:

Devilman Palmer took the words right out of my mouth. I agree with him completely.

“Wow! I love me too!” :slight_smile:

A male friend of mine said he used to keep a tube sock in the car for this purpose. Just thought I’d pass on that handy tip.

You mean aside from the feeling of panic and the sudden urge to run in Brownian Circles like a chicken with it’s head cut off?

I’ve said ‘I know’ and ‘that’s nice’ a couple of times but that did not go over very well. At least I manfully resisted my first impulse to get up and run like the hounds of hell were baying at my heels. Trying to handle her hurt feelings at not being able to respond in kind can take a lot of skill!