a man and a woman showing affection for each other holding hands

6 Ways to Say I Love You in Russian, Plus Pet Names for Your Loved Ones

Are you trying to improve your Russian language skills? 

From experience, dating or finding romance is one of the best ways to do that!

Here I share a few different ways to say “I love you” in Russian that will help you express your love for your Russian-speaking special someone.


“I Love You” and Other Affectionate Phrases in Russian

1. Она мне нравится (I like her)

If you’re not at the stage of directly expressing your feelings yet, the phrase “…мне нравится” (…is pleasing to me) can be used to indicate both preference and romantic feelings. 

For example, it can be used to express a liking for a certain food, a general liking for a person or feelings of attraction toward someone.

Someone might ask:

“Она тебе нравится?” (Do you like her?)

“Да, она милая.” (Yes, she’s sweet).

Since “Мне нравится” can be used as a generic statement that implies nothing more than a platonic association and feelings of attraction, it can be difficult to differentiate between the two meanings.

Just like in English though, you’d be able to tell if you’re being friend-zoned or if someone actually takes interest in you by looking at the context.

Also be aware that this is a phrase to be used while talking about the object of your affection with someone else. If you’re ready to tell the person you like directly, you can say, “Ты мне нравишься,” which is “I like you.”

2. Я тебя люблю (I love you)

Quite simply, if you’d like to convey your love for another person this is what you want to say. This is the clearest and most direct way to express it. 

You can choose to change the word order and say “Я люблю тебя,” but there’s no significant difference in the meaning.

Some Russians prefer to emphasize the last word in a sentence, thus “Я тебя люблю” may be preferred.

3. Я тоже тебя люблю (I love you, too)

Hopefully, if you’re ever in the position where someone tells you they love you, you’ll reciprocate the feeling. If that’s the case, use this sentence.

But once you’ve been in a relationship for a while and want to emphasize the depth of your feelings and devotion, you might want to consider using some of the next few phrases!

4. Я тебя обожаю (I adore you)

As you’d expect, this is a rather serious declaration, and if used incorrectly can sound a bit obsessive, so think carefully before using it.

Saying it too early might be like saying “I love you” on the first date in English.

5. Я не могу без тебя жить (I can’t live without you)

What a cute phrase!

But be careful—don’t let its adorableness deceive you. While in English we might think this sounds like a cheesy phrase any lovebirds would say, Russians take it a bit more seriously.

Similar to “Я тебя обожаю,” this is a significant comment and shouldn’t be used too early in a relationship.

6. Я люблю тебя всем сердцем (I love you from the bottom of my heart)

Perhaps even deeper than the previous two, this is a rather serious phrase and shouldn’t be used lightly. It literally means, “I love you with my whole heart.”

It’s probably better to wait until you regularly tell your partner “Я тебя люблю” before taking it to the next level with this saying.

Pet Names for Your Loved One in Russian

As is common in other languages, Russians have a number of special nicknames they use to address their loved ones. Some of the most common pet names include:

Russians also like to use the names of animals for their romantic partners, such as:

Just like any other language, Russian has a few nuances that can make it difficult to understand someone’s true intent behind the saying. 

One of the best ways to become familiar with the cultural nuances is by watching movies and other forms of entertainment in Russian.

Not only can you learn loads about the culture, but you can also learn tons of new vocabulary and grammar.

fluentu logo

FluentU is a language learning program that helps you with just that. It uses authentic video content, such as commercials and music videos, so you can see the new words in context.

i love you in russian

There are also features such as interactive subtitles and personalized quizzes, which will help you remember all that you’ve learned.


So there you have it! I wish you success with your Russian-speaking love!

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