Ask anyone who has ever been enmeshed in romantic love and they’ll likely tell you it can be an amazing and very tricky state to navigate. Telling someone you love them is no minor deal. That one, simple phrase could change your and your partner’s lives forever — for better or for worse. Some people have experienced some brutal responses to confessing their love for someone, and have been brave enough to share their stories with the world. We’ve collected the best (ahem…worst) I love you responses, so get ready to cringe right our of your heart-broken skin.

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If one person is not in the same boat as the other when it comes to saying the L-word, the couple can find themselves in a pretty sticky situation if one of them still decides to tell the other how they feel. But sadly, we’re really not sure if there are any “correct” I love you responses to use in order to avoid hurting someone’s feelings if you’re not ready to commit to love. When it comes to love, honesty really might be the best policy.

Unfortunately, all too often someone in the equation gets hurt — some more so than others.

But thankfully, there are loads of us in this world who are ready to building them back up again with kind words and reassurance.

Thanks for sharing your pain, everyone. You’re all truly the biggest of sports.

1. “I used to love you, too.”

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This is like a Nicholas Sparks movie except so much sadder.

When it comes to I love you responses, this one cuts deep. One Redditor sympathized: “I think yours is the worst. It has that, ‘what if…?’ with regret and disappointment all wrapped together.”

To which the initial poster responded: “Yeah, it was devastating. Before leaving me she had told me that she’d stopped loving me after our daughter died and she was going to leave. The death had had the opposite effect on me and I’d felt that the only way I could get through it was together with her. It was a very hard time in my life.”

2. Getting crushed by your crush.

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Another Reddit user was a bit brutal in response:

“Well…let’s be honest…you told a crush you loved them.”

Skylinx then replied, “I don’t know what the hell I was expecting…really…” Hey, it was high school. Love and like are basically the same thing. But, to be fair, “Please don’t say that” is basically the same thing as saying “shhh.” Not nice!

3. Is that…it?

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Someone else followed up by saying that the only thing worse than receiving a response of “Ok” to “I love you” is just getting a “K.” There’s no bouncing back from either, truth be told. Let’s hope that this was at least an in-person conversation so they couldn’t just ghost after sending such a searing response.

4. Sure. Cool.

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byu/Everbeab from discussion
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Sure, bye.

We’re not sure if this response is the reason why they’re this person’s “ex,” but it sounds like this slip up may have been a deciding factor. Another Reddit user commented, “Yeaaaah, I did the same thing. Ex broke out the ‘I love you’ and I kinda just stammered out a ‘that’s nice.'” Oof, that’s honestly even worse.

5. “What do you want me to say?”

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No and no!

We didn’t think it could get much worse than, ‘What do you want me to say to that? ‘but wow…it did. People commented, “I feel sick just reading that” and, “Dude, that’s messed up. I’m sorry to hear that.” Honestly, “messed up” doesn’t even begin to cover it. We’re glad this Reddit user dodged that bullet.

6. “Sorry.”

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This response really depends on the punctuation, right?

If it’s “Sorry.” with a period, then that’s really not great. But if it’s “Sorry?” with a question mark, then perhaps the person simply didn’t hear you. In that case, you can either repeat your “I love you,” or just pretend you said, “I love shoes. I love your shoes. They’re awesome.”

7. This “sorry” is even worse.

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Ouch.

Another Redditor, “speaking from a painful experience,” pointed out that the ex-girlfriend is actually doing this person a favor. “She could’ve been giving you false hope, but she doesn’t, hope will ruin you, you’ll be slave to the idea of you being together, kill hope my friend, you’re never going to be back together again.” The truth really hurts.

8. “You’re such a good friend.”

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Hello from the friend zone.

This is when you have received official confirmation that you’re swimming in the deep end of the friend zone. “I hope I find somebody who’s as good to me as you are” is basically the same as saying, “I love…how you treat me, but not you as a person. Does that make sense?” And, no. It doesn’t. We’re upset.

9. Oh, um… So, you don’t even like me then?

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byu/Everbeab from discussion
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Yikes.

“Damn I’m getting second-hand heartbroken,” one Redditor commented. Same here. Obviously, these two people were on completely different pages. We have a feeling that living arrangement didn’t last for that much longer after this conversation.

10. Cute, but also, ow.

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Just…kidding?

This is a cute and fun exchange between loving partners, but imagine getting an “I like you” back to your “I love you.” We shiver at the thought. Some other Reddit users wrote that they receive similar I love you responses from their partners as well. “My girlfriend and I usually say ‘I tolerate your presence’ or ‘you’re ok,'” one user wrote. Another commented, “My boyfriend and I always say ‘thats cool’ or ‘I guess you’re okay’ when the other says I love you. People give us weird looks.”

11. When the read receipts are on and nobody is home.

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These have to be the absolute worst I love you responses ever — in fact, it’s worse than not getting a response at all. You know the person has seen your confession of love and yet…they choose to ignore it. Perhaps this goes to show that one should never admit how they feel over text, because you never know when you’ll be left on “read.”

12. You’re wrong, actually.

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byu/Everbeab from discussion
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Ugh.

This is a great way to make someone feel awful for a) saying “I love you” to someone who doesn’t feel the same way, and b) now having to rethink and second guess one’s own thoughts and emotions. Talk about killing two birds with one stone in a really bad way. What’s even worse is that several Reddit users commented that they strongly related to this response.

13. Is this from a movie?

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We can’t imagine how this Reddit user must have felt.

We can’t quite tell if this response is just super insulting or something a brooding romantic lead would say to their overly eager partner in a movie. It’s borderline poetic…in a sad way. We wish the person who commented this shared how they reacted because this one is leaving us at a loss for words.

14. “Aww…thanks.”

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One Redditor posted that “Aww…thanks” would be one of the worst I love you responses to receive after admitting one’s feelings. And this user admitted that they actually used this line on a would-be significant other. They call it one of their “more cringe-worthy moment,” but honestly, we would be just as flustered in that scenario.

15. Bring it in, pal.

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Although it may have been “the wrong thing to do,” the “very awkward hug” seemingly worked out for this Reddit user. Perhaps words aren’t always the necessary go-to response to “I love you.” Maybe that awkward hug was something much more meaningful to this user’s husband. To each their own.

16. “We shouldn’t talk anymore.”

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When you’re thinking love and the other person is thinking about someone else, that’s when the relationship really goes south. Talk about feeling the vibe totally wrong. “Congratulations on finding my biggest fear,” one Redditor responded. There’s truly nothing salvageable from this response.

17. “P.S. I love you”

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byu/Everbeab from discussion
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We’d like to finish up with one of the more awkward I love you responses because it gives us hope that even if we mess something up, there’s still hope! Sure, this back-and-forth was just a huge misunderstanding, and yeah, this could have gotten really awkward (and probably was in the moment). But wow — when stuff like that works out, it makes for a great story.

Buck up — there’s enough love out there for everyone. We know it.

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