My bf doesnt say it often. My gf says it a couple dozen times a day. Both also show it in many ways. I say it to gf, she says it back. I say it to bf, he says, mmmmm and hugs me.
Last year I dated a guy who was 62 and had never said it to anyone, he told me, including his parents, who never said it to him. So sad. After we were together a while he admitted to me that in private, he said it to his dog regularly.
Eventually he started saying it to me and I think it did him a world of good. I felt fondness for him, so sometimes said it back, even though I was not head over heels in love with him. Sadly he wasn't right for me and we broke up. I wonder if he will ever allow himself to love another?
Love withers under constraint; its very essence is liberty. It is compatible neither with envy, jealousy or fear. It is there most pure, perfect and unlimited when its votaries live in confidence, equality and unreserve.
~Percy Byshe Shelley