Does he really love me?

Dear Emily,

Over the last 18 months, I finally was able to get up the nerve to kick my husband out and go through a divorce.  During the early stages of this I met a man and was generally open about where my relationship was at.  He has obviously had some sort of relationship trauma because he was extremely cautious and wanted to take things slowly…

I have been with this guy for just over a year now and things have been going rather well.  He frequently talks about “us” as a long-term kind of thing.  Here’s my issue: I really care about this guy and want to tell him “I love you.”

Now I feel like it’s past due and feel weird being the initiator. He always calls me “My love” and talks about our future but he has yet to say “I love you.”  I don’t think at this point I’m going to scare him off, but what gives?  I don’t know if he’s waiting for me to say it or if he has some issues of his own. What do you think?

Thanks! Sally

Dear Sally,

Saying “I love you” can be nerve-racking. Movies have built up the three simple words, “I love you,” into a grand event. However, the first “I love you” usually slips out at the end of a phone call, in casual conversation, or during really good sex. It doesn’t require a bouquet of flowers or violins playing in the background, and the guy definitely doesn’t have to say it first.

If you want to tell him you love him, stop obsessing about it, and just do it. Let the words come out naturally. You don’t have to sit him down and make a speech about why you love him. Just stop fighting the temptation to express your true feelings. Next time you think “I love you,” say it out loud.

See how he reacts after telling him how you feel. If he seems uncomfortable with the words, then ask him where he’s at in the relationship. Remember, if he doesn’t say the words back that doesn’t necessarily mean he doesn’t love you. Past events might have made it difficult to express and/or process his emotions. Sometimes people don’t admit their emotions because they are scared of being vulnerable again.

People express their affection in different ways, whether that means chocolate and roses or a pet name like “my love.” Because you both wanted to take it slow after past trauma, your relationship isn’t going to perfectly follow the plot line of a romantic comedy. While saying “I love you” doesn’t make your relationship more or less valid, it is important to express your emotions openly and honestly with the person you love. No need to wait for him to say it first.



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