My dear, my bonding partner, I'm so in connection with you.

When it comes to relationships that last, forget the L word.

Much more meaningful are the A, B and C words: Attachment, Bonding, Connection.

What you want to hear from your partner on Valentine's Day or any other day is not necessarily "I love you."

What you really want to hear is "I'm deeply attached to you."

True romantic love is an attachment bond, similar to the love parents and children have for each other, says Dr. Sue Johnson in her book, Love Sense: The Revolutionary New Science of Romantic Relationships.

"Securely attached couples have this connection and emotional flow," explains the Ottawa couples therapist and developer of Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy.

"They turn towards each other, tune in, open up, and reach for other person. They can self-disclose and respond to the other person. Sometimes one leads and the other follows, sometimes it's the other way around."

If love is the word of choice to express that connection, that's fine, too.

But if it's just lust and sexual chemistry without the context of emotional bonding, suggests Johnson, then the words "I love you" are not worth much.

She acknowledges that expressing and feeling profound attachment to someone else isn't always easy. It can make us feel dependent and vulnerable.

Especially since we're told that "adults are supposed to be independent and if they're not, they're weak and pathetic."

That's always been true to some extent for men. More recently, women too were encouraged, by the feminist movement, to be self-reliant and not to feel the need for a man in their lives.

Johnson has strong words about that.

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