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I have seen many cases where people in love say, "I am sorry I love you." It might be due to my poor English, but I couldn't really understand what it meant. Could you please explain what it could mean?

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5  
Often when you go up to kiss someone, you accidentally step on their toes. – Mitch Oct 12 '12 at 16:45
    
EL&U is for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts; love questions are not followed. – user19148 Oct 12 '12 at 16:48
    
@Mitch, thanks but it still puzzles me. Carlo_R, I think this is a English Language Usage Question. Right? I just wondered what could be the real meaning(s) of this. – gt_ebuddy Oct 12 '12 at 16:52
    
I even did Google search : google.com/search?q=real+meaning+of+i+am+sorry+i+love+you , which lead me nowhere. – gt_ebuddy Oct 12 '12 at 16:54
1  
Could you give us some examples of where you've seen this usage? I've never heard it before and can only imagine its appearance in obscure contexts ("You broke my heart. I'm so sorry that I love you.") – JAM Oct 12 '12 at 17:24
up vote 2 down vote accepted

It depends heavily on the punctuation, and the context.

"I am sorry I love you"

means, "I love you, but, for some unstated reason, I'm sorry that I do."

On the other hand,

"I am sorry; I love you."

means I'm sorry about something, but I want to let you know that I love you.

Note that "sorry" has at least two possible meanings here. In English, "I'm sorry" can be roughly equivalent to "I apologize." Also, "sorry" can be used to express woe or regret.

So, absent more context (and punctuation, maybe), there's no way to know for sure what it means. But leading candidates would include:

  • I regret loving you (perhaps you broke my heart)
  • I apologize for loving you (I know I said we'd remain just friends, but, somehow, I fell in love with you instead)
  • I'm sorry, and I love you (oops! I forgot your birthday – but I still love you!)
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2  
Whenever I've heard this phrase, it's meant the last version you've posted: "I am sorry [for something]. I love you." – Roddy of the Frozen Peas Oct 12 '12 at 18:03
    
thanks! that was helpful. – gt_ebuddy Oct 12 '12 at 18:43

First of all, "I'm sorry I love you" is the name of very popular Korean drama. And this drama is one of my favourite dramas. Before I watched it I thought that they are telling this sentence because they regret their feelings. But at the end I understand something different. Until the last episode, we never hear this sentence.

Before explaining to you what I understood, let me tell you the story a little bit. The main character is about to die. We all know this in the first episode. He will die. He fell in love with a girl. This girl commits suicide at the end. She sees suicide as a choice not a crime or anything bad. She thinks she will do something for the first time for herself. She never makes a decidion on her own and she lives her all life for everyone else.

Anyway, while we are watching this movie, the man wants to leave her. Because he will die and he doestn't want to upset her. And that moment the girl write this sentence on the mirror. I think that means, you want me to go but I am sorry, I couldnt do that because I love you. That's why she commits suicide at the end. She tells us -- the people that watch the movie -- I think this is a choice. I am telling you why I am sorry. But I love. And the man says this sentence too. Normally some people think what he did to her is not acceptable. Because she is driving crazy due to her love. But the man did not leave her even though he knew that she will be alone after his death. And he justify himself this sentence. I am sorry for doing this but I love you. That is not my choice.

I hope I can explain my thought clearly. What I understand is this. I can not leave you because I love you. I hope it helps.

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@ Sema Kir I edited your answer to make it easier to read. Mainly, I split your one long paragraph into 4 shorter ones. I also worked a little bit on the grammar. If you don't like what I did, just change it back. It is your answer! One thing is not clear: Is the man going to die because he has a fatal illness? – ab2 Feb 22 at 17:01
    
@ab2 I was about to edit the post, but I am not sure if it's worth it. The question should have been closed IMHO. – Rathony Feb 22 at 17:02
    
@Rathony Sometimes I can't stop myself. – ab2 Feb 22 at 17:05
    
@ab2 Yeap. I know how much you try to help learners. That's what I don't have. :-) – Rathony Feb 22 at 17:06

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