The sentence is:「『恋』じゃないかもしれないけど 『愛』ならあるよ」

I tried looking up the difference between 恋 and 愛 , but I feel like I still don't have a complete grasp over it.

A temporary translation I have is: "I might not be in love, but maybe I can learn to love you." I got it from the idea that 愛 focuses more on the person who is the object of your love, while 恋 is more on the feelings you have for the person.

If anyone could help me with my lacking understanding, I'd really appreciate it. Thank you!

  • 1
    「子どもへの愛」 sounds normal, but 「子どもへの恋」 is, at best, questionable. This may give you an idea on the difference between the two type of "love"
    – binom
    Commented Mar 3, 2018 at 0:18

2 Answers 2


In this context, 恋 refers to that romantic passion which is unstable and uncontrollable. It's something you may suddenly fall in, but typically 恋 doesn't last for more than a year or two. 愛 is love you gradually and steadily develop over years, usually after a period of 恋. Basically 愛 is the same kind of love you give to your parents and siblings.

This sentence definitely says there is already 愛. So depending on the context, it can be translated like this:

I may not be in love with you (any more), but I love you anyway.
I have never fallen in love with him, but I love him (not as a romantic partner but as a family member).

For example, a marriage via omiai may not start with romantic 恋, but a husband and a wife are expected to establish 愛 anyway.

See: Love in the air: 愛x恋 {あい vs こい}

  • 恋 is loving someone causing excitement. When you meet a beautiful, tender woman, you will 恋をする. The feeling you love her is 愛. Love in “I love her so much!” is 愛.
    – Yamacure
    Commented Aug 16, 2019 at 15:13

Typically, 恋 is the feeling or state of emotion in the beginning of relationships or even before relationships start. It's like a honeymoon period. 愛 is something you develop in a committed relationship.

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