Originally Posted by Sereia
'I love you' *a lot*. I say it to my daughter probably 50 times a day. My husband a few and my lover usually when I see him.
I think it's different in the parent-child relationship. With the obvious exceptions, you're pretty much born loving your mom, and she loves you as soon as she finds out about you. So there's never this "is it too soon? Will she say it back?" pressure. Moms don't even expect you to say it back every time... you're a kid. Kids are too busy being interested in toys and games and friends to think about things like love. Saying it back, with kids, is usually more from training than sincere, original intention.
My mom always opens her e-mails with "Hi Daughter! I love you so much!" I didn't used to bother returning it, and then I figured "well, I DO love my mom, it's not like it costs me anything to tell her so." So I started opening mine "Hi Mom! I love you!" and the first time I did it, she was over the moon. "It makes me so happy when you 'say' you love me in your e-mails! Thank you so much! You're the best daughter in the world!" And right away I was like "wow, that was so easy, and made her so happy and cost me nothing but 11 keystrokes. Considering how many thousands I spend here, hardly something to complain about."
Similarly, it takes like 1.6 seconds to say. Maybe you think it's overused, maybe you don't want to say it just to say it... but if there's someone in your life who will appreciate it, why make a big stink about it? It costs you virtually nothing and can bring a smile to someone's face. So if you think showing it is enough, and someone who matters says it isn't, then just say it and shut up about it. I think it's dumb to go so far as refusing to say it because of some social analysis, to the point where you're hurting your loved ones with your obstinance.