In Italy, you have two options to say "I love you", I'll try to translate them the best I can:
- I love you (Ti amo.)
- I want you to be ok (Ti voglio bene.)
The fact is that in English, both ti amo and ti voglio bene are translated as I love you. But in Italian, there are lot of differences:
I love you is used to express love for another person which is, or you want her/him to be, your girlfriend/boyfriend.
I want you to be ok is used to express still something love-related but just a little bit less love-related (It's hard to say it). I want you to be OK is used by parents to their sons/daughters or vice versa or by a friend to another friend.
I do watch some TV shows in English and I find that sometimes two friends tell each other I love you and they just go back to their jobs (= I want you to be ok) and sometimes one of them says I love you and the other understands that he/she wants her/him to be his/her girlfriend/boyfriend and that it's love-related (= I love you). Why?