He hasn't said he loves me yet. Should I stay or should I go?
This week I got the following question .....
Q: I’ve been dating my boyfriend for over a year now and he still hasn’t told me he loves me. What do I do? I’m not sure if I should be the one to say it first. I feel like at this point he’ll just be saying it because he thinks he has to. Not because he actually does. I’ve thought about breaking up with him but I can’t bring myself to do that either. Is there some way I can let him know I’m not willing to wait forever?
A: Firstly you are not alone on this one, so don’t despair.
12 months is a long time to be dating someone for some and not so long for others. When you’re under 25, 12 months is still regarded as very early days, especially by guys as they like to take their time and enjoy the dating journey. It’s when we get past 30, that 12 months seems like you’ve given a real investment of your time and therefore you want acknowledgement that the relationship really is going somewhere.
Women are very emotional beings and we tend to fall in love between our ears and that’s why hearing words of affirmation, such as I LOVE YOU is a reinforcement of how he feels about you. You have to remember though, that men are very practical creatures and so he might have already shown his levels of affection for you, but in his own love language, which is possibly by doing things for you that he wouldn’t ordinarily do for others.
For example, men don’t tend to use the phone lots, but they do make exceptions to hold long conversation or text dialogues when they really like someone. So, this can be seen as he’s really in to you. Further along down the relationship journey, he might be making thoughtful gestures like stocking the fridge with things he knows you will like for when you are at his place. Book your favorite restaurant; cook your favorite meal etc. Or he might do things for you where he puts himself out more, all because he really likes you. He might give you quality time, which us ladies tend to feel, is the norm, but for him he’s giving you his ‘me time’, to create ‘us time’. He might be someone who buys gift to show affection instead or he could be a very tactile creature and therefore he’s very touchy feely with you.
So, why am I telling all this? The reason is, that we all have our own love language and possibly yours is affirmation. Maybe you like to give and receive acknowledgement, but your partner might fall in to one of the above categories and shows his levels of interest in a slightly different way. Therefore, you can’t just write him off as someone who doesn’t love you, just because he’s not communicating with you in a style that you are most familiar with. I would suggest taking a step back and thinking whether he shows you care and affection in another way first.
If you really feel the need to hear what he’s thinking, then remember that men aren’t naturally gushy creatures and just like women, they don’t want to step in to that vulnerable space and put their heart on the line where it could get crushed. Therefore, you might well need to create a safe space where he can be open with you about his feelings and that means you will need to initiate a conversation in a natural way. Don’t start with we need to talk, I need to speak with you about something, or I’ve been wanting to say something for a while now as this immediately sounds negative and that a bomb is about to be dropped as the natural reaction will be to listen defensively.
You can have a non-confrontational chat that’s dropped in amongst free flowing conversation, something along the lines of… (insert name here) I can’t believe we’ve been together for 12 months now, the time has just flown by and I love every minute that we get to spend together. The more I know you, the more I find myself falling for you and I just want to thank you for being the most kind, caring, considerate (or use whichever descriptive words best suit him) boyfriend. See how this works in terms of showing open emotions towards him and whether he responds in kind.
If you want to say that you love him, because that’s how you feel deep down inside then say it , but don’t expect to hear it in return. If that’s how he’s feeling too, then he will say it when he’s ready. If it’s immediate reciprocation, you will know from his tone and body language whether it’s being said with sincerity.
My parting advice is to give him space where he’s not being judged or backed in to a corner to share his feelings with you. You might just be surprised at the end result.
If you’re still feeling uneasy even after being open with him, then we can have a chat and I can let you know for certain whether he’s really in to you by asking you specific questions.
If this scenario resonates with you, or you are finding yourself questioning whether to stay or go in a relationship, a quick chat with me could be all you need to give you clarity and peace of mind you're looking for. Please do not hesitate to get in touch.
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To your dating success,