We have a serious problem with "I love you." We've over-bundled it. "I love you" really means the following things:
1) I love you.
2) I want our relationship to be more serious.
3) I want you to say you love me. Now.
4) If I said this too early, I might be a crazy person.
What started out as a simple, sweet statement of feelings has turned into a demand, an event, a gamble, and a clusterfuck. That's not always a bad thing; sometimes you need a gauntlet to throw down to move a relationship along. But other times you just wanted to convey your affection and instead accidentally said "I'm obsessed with you, marry me." We need a word or phrase that expresses the feeling of love and nothing else, with no uncomfortable expectations laid on the other person.
"I like you" is good, but you can say that on the day you meet, and it's tough to intensify to express how your "like" has grown and deepened over months of shared experiences. "I really like you, I mean I really really like you" is inadequate for people over the age of sixteen.
"I love you, but I'm not in love with you" is terrible. Sounds like a breakup and frequently is.
"I loke you." There. Fixed it. That means it's okay if you don't love (or even loke) me back, and it's okay if we don't move in together next week. I just wanted to let you know, I care about you and you give me the warmfuzzies. That's all.
God damn, even my fake word sounds passive-aggressive as hell.