I used to say "I love you" to him a lot. Then I eventually wised up as to exactly how much that was bothering him. I switched over to "Buffer error," because "I love you" was still the first thing that wanted to come out my mouth, but it made him uncomfortable, so I couldn't say it, but if I didn't say it, all the things behind it that I meant to say would be unsaid. But "Buffer error" meant "I love you but I can't say it because it makes you uncomfortable but I love you anyway," so I said that. And he understood.
Now I don't say either of those. Not to him. He's heard them before, but somehow he's missed out on the nuances of what love, from me, really means. So I find other ways.
In one of the lightning_war fic-bits, jus_ad_bellum talks about marriage. "I don't think people marry each other in front of an altar once and for all; I think they do it every day."
Little by little, I choose Darkside, and I continue to choose him, and I continue to find the words to illustrate to him what it means when I love him.
He apologized for talking to inanimate objects, more or less, tonight. This morning's e-mail's special encoding of I love you was: "I may not be an inanimate object, but I am more than happy to listen to whatever you have to say. Even if it's not to me."