This post originally appeared on Reductress.com.
Romance has never been easy. And no matter who's playing, at some point they'll be faced with saying those three little words that often leave you vulnerable, unsure, and possibly invested. Here are a few phrases that sound enough like "I love you" that they'll let you reciprocate some appreciation for your partner without trapping you in a world of honest companionship.
"We go well together." Just like baseball and hot dogs or Kevin Federline and hot dogs, you two are compatible! It's a nice sentiment that keeps you miles away from the L-word. This makes your partner feel somewhat compatible with you while allowing you to stick with words you could easily apply to a dipping sauce.
"You're always here!" is a good way to get around any genuine expression of feeling, as long as you say it with a half-smile. While this may sound like something loving, you're actually just stating a fact. Acknowledging their presence keeps them mildly satisfied, and you in the clear!
"You can finish my sandwich." This lets you substitute giving them your affection and commitment for the remainders of a Monte Cristo. You'd only share your food with someone you truly care about, right? Let them be the judge of that while you scarf down a delicious serving of non-commitment and emotional distancing.
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"God, YOU!" Two single syllable words that imply your feelings for your partner are too complex to articulate. Coupled with a nice shoulder-squeeze or a cold, indifferent hug, this move allows you to get away with the number of letters you'd find in a cheap telegram. Said the wrong way, it could sound like you're cursing the universe for giving your brother Leukemia, so inflection is everything here.
"Sshhhh." Alas, human language doesn't do justice to what you two have together. Only the silence of two human hearts melding can come close to representing your bond. Throw this extended shushing sound their way and you create the illusion of an unspoken togetherness. It lets them feel loved and lets you finish this episode of The Newsroom.
"Want another hand job?" It just works.
"I Caribou!" This one just phonetically sounds like 'I love you. And kinda only works while camping.
Use these seven get-out-of-emotional-corner free cards, cause sooner or later you'll have to show some sign of affection...and that's amore than you asked for!