7 BEST ways to say ‘I LOVE YOU’ in Russian

Legion Media; pikisuperstar/freepik
The Russian language is rich for words to express any feelings, especially romantic ones. Here is your Valentine Day’s list of the best phrases you can tell your significant other!

1. Я люблю тебя

Not everyone likes extra wording and too ornate, complicated speeches. So the easier is often the better. The win-win option to confess your love to someone is a simple “I love you”, or Ya lyublyu tebya, as it is pronounced in Russian. 

An old way to refer to a beloved person with respect would be: Ya lyublyu vas - this is how Russian noblemen would talk about love. And as foreigners often joke, this sounds like “Yellow blue bus” in English! Just remember this weird phrase - and you’ll be the most romantic person ever!

2. Я влюблен(а)

Russians have several different “grades” of love. If you say “I love you/Я люблю тебя” too early, you’ll just be perceived as a not serious person, or the receiver of your feeling might think you’re joking or pranking them.

Ya vlyublen [v tebya] (for a male speaker) and Ya vlyublena [v tebya] (female form) is literally translated as: “I am in love [with you]”. But, this confession is not as strong as LOVE; it’s rather just an enamored person, infatuated by someone. 

3. Я тебя обожаю

This is a big and comprehensive expression of love, which means an absolute admiration by someone. “I adore you” or Ya tebya obozhayu is a very strong declaration of love, but it is more appropriate to use if you already said “I love you” before and when you are already in a relationship. 

At the same time, Ya tebya obozhayu can easily be said to a friend when they’ve cracked a good joke and made you laugh. And Ya obozhayu can be used for anything that you LOVE, from your new phone to your dog, or even just a coffee.

4. Я схожу по тебе с ума 

“I’m crazy about you”, or Ya skhozhu po tebe s uma. This phrase is probably the most difficult to pronounce, but a very nice and strong sentiment. Usually, those who aren’t ready to say “I love you” can use this phrase, because it’s without any real commitment. As we say in Russia: “To promise marrying doesn’t equal marrying” (and this is also what the title of the movie He’s Just Not That Into You is known as in Russia).

On the other side, this phrase is very appropriate and suitable for passion and sex. And yes, a person can also be crazy about jazz music or a new coat, not only a woman/man.

5. Ты мой/моя единственный/ая

You’re my only! Who doesn’t dream of hearing it? And this is translated in Russian with the phrase: Ty moy edinstvenny (to a man) and Ty moya edinstvennaya (to a woman). 

No word or phrase can express the level of love, loyalty and dedication better than this. Everything fades into the background and all the thoughts of a speaker are devoted to a single person. Can anything be a more sincere confession of love? Hardly!

6. Я готов/а на все ради тебя

“And you? What are you gonna do for love?” asks actress Natalie Portman in a Dior perfume advert. In Russia, we also consider that love is not about words, but primarily about actions. 

So saying Ya gotov na vse radi tebya (or Ya gotova na vse radi tebya if a woman says it) means you are ready to do anything for your beloved one. Another option is even stronger: Ya svernu gory radi tebya - which means I will move mountains for you. A romantic phrase, isn’t it? 

7. Я тебя никому не отдам

Besides that you’re the only one, Russians would rather promise not to let anyone else “have” you. Ya tebya nikomu ne otdam literally translates as: “I won’t give you out to anyone” and actually means that “I won’t let you go” and “I will fight for your love in the event someone else is vying for it”.

While old-fashioned ladies or gentlemen would rather appreciate this phrase, the young and free people could possibly perceive it as a kind of threat and a toxic relationship. In any case, be careful with the way you express your feelings in any country!

P.S. And don’t forget: If you give flowers to a Russian girl, there should be an odd number!!! (An even number of flowers is only acceptable at funerals in Russia...) 

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