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Three words every woman wants to hear.


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Old 9th December 2010, 2:15 AM   #1
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When he can't say "I love you"

I've been seeing my steady for roughly 8 months, and have known them for about a little over a year. We rarely argue, and he seems to be ok with letting me lead the pace of things. He's fine with 'going with the flow' when it comes to making plans, what to do, and about our level of intimacy. He's pretty much left the ball in my court. I generally feel cared about, but started to wonder about whether he had any significant feelings for me after all this time.

The other day, while we were talking, I asked him if he loved me (big mistake?) and said that I loved him. He was honest, and said "no"--that's a word he only plans to use when he's decided he wants to "spend the rest of his life" with someone. I then asked if he was "in love" with me. Again, no--it's only a word he plans to use for being sure about marriage. I later (in tears by this time) asked if he thought he could ever fall in love with me... and he said he wasn't sure, this being his first relationship (he doesn't know what that level of certainty feels like), but that he cares for me deeply.

ok. I admit to feeling pretty crushed and discouraged right now. I want to eventually understand where he's coming from, and I DON'T want to put pressure on him to say anything he can't stand behind. But on the other hand, I can't help but feel a lot of pain when I look at him or talk to him now--as if there's a huge gap in where we are at in this relationship: I feel like I care more about this relationship than he does, that I'm more invested while he's still uncertain. Though, I know he's a good person and deserves a chance (and that love is patient), I can't help but feel a sense of loss and sadness. He cried when I suggested breaking up for a while (I thought some time apart would help me get over this disappointment); this suggests that while he can't say "I love you," he must have some significant feelings?

What's the skinny on guys and the "L" word?

Any signs of hope?

Last edited by khria; 9th December 2010 at 2:39 AM..
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Old 9th December 2010, 2:52 AM   #2
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You don't say how old you are, but after knowing him for that long, you are entitled to at least know if you are wasting your time or if there is some potential here. Knowing if he loves you is a fair question at your stage.

He is entitled to feel the way he does just as you are entitled to feel the way you do. It does not mean that he doesn't love you, just that he is not comfortable expressing it at this time or that he is confused or naive about relationships. However, he is being a bit rigid in saying that he will only use the word "love" or "in love" for when he knows he will be marrying the person or that he cannot even tell you if he could ever fall in love with you. He will never get to the stage of marriage with that attitude.

Do you know what kind of relationship his parents have? Is he a perfectionist or afraid of rejection?

Quote:
Originally Posted by khria View Post
I can't help but feel a sense of loss and sadness. He cried when I suggested breaking up for a while (I thought some time apart would help me get over this disappointment); this suggests that while he can't say he must have some significant feelings?
I think you did the right thing by suggesting breaking up for a while. (Not saying you should break up)

Since this is his first relationship, he probably won't recongize his love for you until he also feels a sense of loss and sadness. When you suggested breaking up for a while, his crying is a signal that he started to feel that sense of loss and sadness.

This might be a situation where you might want to carefully take a step back just slightly. But, not to play games, but so that he can feel the sense of loss and sadness. Tell him that you need to think about whether you want to continue on in a relationship with him if this is how he feels. And then take a few days to really think things over yourself. Once he feels that sense of loss and sadness a little more hopefully he will truly recognize his feelings.
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Old 9th December 2010, 3:10 AM   #3
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Westrock,

We are both past our late 20s, so pretty on in terms of years, and we both see dating as a way of meeting potential longterm/marriage partners. I don't know a lot about his family situation growing up; worth finding out.

Thanks so much for your thoughtful and compassionate response. I appreciate it, and think you're right that taking some time to place some distance and think things over is important. This feels a lot like being midway between being together and breaking up--the indecision is really confusing and painful.

Last edited by khria; 9th December 2010 at 3:23 AM..
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Old 9th December 2010, 3:37 AM   #4
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for a moment i thought you were gonna say, "pull my finger."
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Old 9th December 2010, 8:16 AM   #5
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I sort of understand his feeling about "I love you" though they are far from typical.

I think the thing you have to ask him is if he sees you two getting married, how likely it is and when he could see that happening.

Now he might say "I think you're the one, but I'm not quite there yet." Or he might say "I have no idea."

Either way, you have to think about what you want and need.

If after 8 months he has no idea whether or not you're the one, I think it is pretty unlikely he will ever get there, but he obviously has some barriers with I love you. Getting some idea of where he thinks you two are will give you a better idea of where things stand.
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Old 9th December 2010, 10:39 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by khria View Post
I've been seeing my steady for roughly 8 months, and have known them for about a little over a year. We rarely argue, and he seems to be ok with letting me lead the pace of things. He's fine with 'going with the flow' when it comes to making plans, what to do, and about our level of intimacy. He's pretty much left the ball in my court. I generally feel cared about, but started to wonder about whether he had any significant feelings for me after all this time.

The other day, while we were talking, I asked him if he loved me (big mistake?) and said that I loved him. He was honest, and said "no"--that's a word he only plans to use when he's decided he wants to "spend the rest of his life" with someone. I then asked if he was "in love" with me. Again, no--it's only a word he plans to use for being sure about marriage. I later (in tears by this time) asked if he thought he could ever fall in love with me... and he said he wasn't sure, this being his first relationship (he doesn't know what that level of certainty feels like), but that he cares for me deeply.

ok. I admit to feeling pretty crushed and discouraged right now. I want to eventually understand where he's coming from, and I DON'T want to put pressure on him to say anything he can't stand behind. But on the other hand, I can't help but feel a lot of pain when I look at him or talk to him now--as if there's a huge gap in where we are at in this relationship: I feel like I care more about this relationship than he does, that I'm more invested while he's still uncertain. Though, I know he's a good person and deserves a chance (and that love is patient), I can't help but feel a sense of loss and sadness. He cried when I suggested breaking up for a while (I thought some time apart would help me get over this disappointment); this suggests that while he can't say "I love you," he must have some significant feelings?

What's the skinny on guys and the "L" word?

Any signs of hope?
Are you sure you love him? Sometimes some people just blurt it out and dont think much about it while others can weight it pretty big and are more discreet when it comes to expressing it,like him, he might associate the word "love" with big promise and long commitment and he doesnt want to be the man who cant keep his "word"once he says it.In that sense, no one can be 100% sure on "love".Do you want someone who just says it regardless of how much they really mean it?To give you some perspective,when it comes to love,i dont blieve in words.I've had a guy told me he's in love with him and that he loved me and they turned out to be one of worst lies i've ever heard.So maybe it's not important what he chooses to tell you but rather what he does.Do you feel loved and cared by him?If you do, then it doesnt matter whether he says it or not.Maybe he has a different way of showing love and affection,maybe he's loving you in his own way..probably even without knowing it himself.. just consider that before you make the judgement.
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Old 9th December 2010, 2:17 PM   #7
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Thatgirl,
thanks for your comments. I kind of felt the same way: if someone hasn't come to some kind of decision after that long, I'm not sure 'more' time together will really solve anything.

Mellisa,
thanks for reminding me that people have other ways of expressing this emotion. And 'saying' it definitely is no guarantee that it's sincere, or that things will last, or that that person is the right one. I definitely feel like he cares about me, and if I was using *his* definition of 'love,' I wouldn't be ready to say it to him either.

'Love' to me does not equal marriage-ready! It's more like, a deep caring about someone else, and a commitment to making things work with the hopes of being with that person in the long-run. Wanting to help them, be there for them. The semantics of this stuff is ... complicated.

One thing I'm learning is that people just have different understandings of the word, and perhaps this is to account for the big differences between men and women when it comes to this...
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