Hi! I'll be glad to be of help with this issue.
I can imagine how confusing this situation must be for you. Men and women use language often in very different ways. In fact, there's a wonderful book called The 5 Love Languages that is a real classic. You'll see on Amazon that almost a thousand people have commented how wonderful it is. It isn't really about language between men and women, but it does touch on it. The book that really deals with the different use of language is Men are from Mars Women are from Venus. It's a real classic that's about 40 years old by now or close.
My point to you is that I can understand why you might be left confused by what he said. But in the language of men, as much as the actual words he uses, we need to consider whether he acts in accordance with his words. Because what he says is really very sweet IF his behavior is indeed loving. See how it works with men?
He said I love you. That is beautiful and capped off a whimsical statement. But it's only beautiful if he acts in a loving way. From what you write, I have a feeling he is a loving boyfriend. You've been together for 3 years and he says he feels he now understands you. That's a lot for a man to admit.
So, again, when it comes to what a man says, you have to see if his actions match his words. If they do, then you enjoy it and feel good: he affirmed his love for you. That's great.
Okay, I wish you the very best!
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