He says, "I Love You", you recoil from his words! What does he mean? Where to now with those words, do I say it back? What do I mean when I say it? The meaning that comes along with these words is often so loaded with trauma or obligation, we feel sucked back down into a path that we never knew we were trying to avoid.
Being in love, would mean holding a context for love, the feeling, but not actually have to do anything because of it. How healing would that be?! Most of us have experienced love being conditional. And often if we have tested it, we have found that it comes with conditions.
For me, growing up...I got the message that love was eating what someone else had provided because they loved me and if I was to show I loved them, then I ate it. Those words, when you do something, don't you love me...used as manipulation to do something for someone else. Because you did love them, you do love them and if the meaning of not doing something for them means that you don't love them. Then you need to rectify that. But where are the boundaries in this, where is acceptance of the other person? We have to be very careful how we use our words and most importantly how the use of our children's unconditional love be skewed to change the behaviour and then their cognitive dissonance to balance and make sense of the world in which they are trying to survive.
I often think of the saying, "If you love something/someone, set it free, if it comes back it is yours, if it doesn't, it never was." And even that saying sounds freeing and possessive at the same time.