Love Means Never Having to Say You’re Sorry???

I was 13 years old in 1970 when the movie Love Story, starring Ryan O’Neal and Ali MacGraw, was shown in theaters across the country. It was a smashing hit with audiences and received seven Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress and Best Director. It won an Oscar for Francis Lai's Original Music Score.

I cried at the end of the movie when the heroine died. I sat at the piano for hours playing the haunting, sad melody, and singing the beautiful lyrics to the theme song.

Even though I was a young teenager who had never experienced love – numerous crushes and fantasies don’t count – I understood how deeply in love the two lead characters were and how devoted they were to each other.

But I never understood the famous line from the movie that people still quote.

“Love means never having to say you’re sorry.”

It didn’t make sense to me then. It doesn’t make sense to me 40 years later.

I suppose you could argue the point that if someone knows how much you love them, they should assume you’re sorry when you’ve wronged or hurt them.

Nope. Nada. I don’t buy it.

It’s just the opposite. Love means wanting to make sure things are right between you. Love means wanting to tell someone you’re sorry. And the person wronged? They need to hear it.

Telling someone you’re sorry isn’t exclusive to your spouse or significant other. I strongly believe in parents apologizing to their children, as well as friends making amends.

Some time ago, one of my daughters confronted me. I wasn’t prepared to hear her relay through tears how I’d hurt and embarrassed her by something I’d said in the presence of family friends. That wasn’t an easy conversation for her to initiate. My heart broke when I realized how my words had affected her. But she was right. And I was wrong. I hadn’t meant to hurt her, but I did. I told her I was sorry for being so careless. The result was healing and a peace of mind for both of us.

Love means ALWAYS having to say you’re sorry . . .



  1. I couldn't agree more! I also loved that movie, but never saying your sorry seems to me the earmark of a rather shallow relationship. We're all human and make mistakes and we need to continually repent and express how sorry we are to keep the channels open, between us and other humans and between us and our God.

  2. Amen,Diane!

    Thanks for visiting. :)

  3. My mom, who recently passed, used to say "Love means never having to say you're sorry" all the time. The first time I heard it all I could think was "what?" I think if you love someone you would feel the need to say you are sorry. I suppose if a person just uses people, but wants to be thought of as a "loving" soul, then the saying fits. It never made sense to me and never will.

  4. Hi Chris,

    I'm sorry about your mom's passing . . .

    I agree with you. I think when you wrong anyone - but especially someone you love - it's important to say you're sorry.

    It's important for you and the other person. Sometimes forgiveness can't come until there is an expression of heartfelt regret.

  5. Anonymous8:04 PM

    What it means is if you love someone you will never do anything to hurt them ;therefore you never have to say I'm sorry. If you never hurt someone you love you never have to say you're sorry.

  6. Hi Anonymous!

    Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

    You expressed an interesting view. I understand what you're saying. But reality is, it's impossible to "never" hurt someone you love. At some point, it will happen - whether it's intentional or not.

    It's actually much easier to hurt the one you love than a person you don't know as well. What you say and do affects a loved one sooo much more than someone you just met off the street.

  7. Anonymous4:06 AM

    Anonymous is right. The goal is not to do something that could cause hurt. If you love someone then every action you make is with that person you love in mind. And the beautiful thing about this statement is that this kind of effort is effortless. Avoiding the things that could cause hurt is like breathing ... It's something you do autonomously.

    Having said that ... Nobody ever gets to this point right off the bat. A love like this is the pinnacle of love so it is not easily or always achieved in a relationship but when a love like this is there ... Life is so much more beautiful.

  8. Bill from Portsmouth8:05 PM

    I believe the point of the lyric is that, when you love someone, you don't need them to say sorry, because you love them,faults and all... unconditionally! You are happy to forgive them quickly lest you waste precious time, or risk spoiling the relationship by focusing on small imperfections - which we all have - but which become so insignificant when you are in Love!

  9. Anonymous5:16 PM

    Just because someone loves you, it's crazy to think that when you've been hurt, a simple "I'm sorry" isn't needed. It's cold and hurtful to not acknowledge the other person's pain.
    People are human and we unintentional hurt those we love. Saying "I am sorry" just acknowledges the partner's pain. Without that acknowledgment, the relationship deteriorates.
    Trust me: that's happening to my 19 year relationship....going down the drain....

  10. Anonymous10:44 PM

    Actually, it may vary upon the way people look at it. Or, it could be that some people just do not fully understand the inner meaning of the quote. 'Love means never having to say you're sorry' might actually mean that when two people hurt each other after a fight or disagreement over something in which they have a tough time sorting out, either one of them (or both)of them bolts out the door or simply walks away; meanwhile, one of them goes searching for the other. however, after some period of time, they find one another. one of them tries to tell the other person how truly sorry he (or she)is but at some particular point, the other person sitting there, might not really need that person's apology, not because she thinks it would be rude to not ask for an apology from that someone but when the person who came up to her and said to her: "I'm sorry", for the way he acted towards her, or whatever his shortcomings might be, later on shows that he would accept that what he had done before was a terrible mistake and that he would say that he really cares for that person, indicating that he really wants to either continue his (or her) relationship with that person like he has always did. when the other says "Love means never having to say you're sorry", might, however, simply indicate that not only does that person forgive him but also that he or she'll continue to love that other person like how they've always loved another. So, "never having to say you're sorry" doesn't always mean you don't get to apologize everytime you hurt someone emotionally. It means that once you realize that you have made a big boo-boo in terms of either hurting the person or chasing away the person you really care about, you contemplate seriously on your shortcoming(s) and after sometime, you find that person somewhere, regardless where, sitting there, crying, though not really crying, but just a bit, or just sitting there, you go over to that person and try to come as clean as you can towards that person but telling her or him, or them, that you're sorry for what you have said or did to them as well as for the way you acted upon them. At some point, however, that person might not even necessarily ask for an apology, because he or she already knows that you two both really care for one another.
    Family relationaships can produce similar ties as well. when the parent and child get into an arguement over something, it is usually the child that breaks the ties with the parent. months or years later, they reconcile, the parent eventually becomes the person to apologize to his or her child for the way he or she treated his or her son or daughter. At some particular point, however, the child wouldn't necessarily need the parent's apology because that doesn't mean that they do not love each other at all and never really want to see each other again. They do love each other and shall always love one another, regardless.

    Forgiveness and pure & eternal love.


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