Three little words.
How hard can it be to spit them out?
But he acts like they’re some sort of curse.
Like saying them will ruin EVERYTHING.
So you’re left waiting, biding your time, being patient…
All the while cursing men for being so bone-headed.
It seems so black and white:
Saying, “I love you,” is good. It moves the relationship forward. It solidifies your love.
Not saying it is bad. It’s stingy and mean-spirited. It means he’s toying with you.
But are there other reasons he might not be saying, “I love you”?
Reasons that might be somewhat … legitimate?
His Love Isn’t Your Love
Annette said, “I love you,” to everyone. She signed off her emails, “Love ya!” She loved her friends, she loved her neighbors, and most of all she loved Bill.
But Bill wasn’t a lovey-dovey kind of guy.
He liked most people, but he wouldn’t say he loved most people. For him, love had a very special and limited meaning. It was a formal declaration. When you said it to a woman, it meant you were promising commitment for life.
And he wasn’t ready for that yet. He wanted to be with Annette, but he wasn’t sure he wanted marriage. He didn’t want to say, “I love you,” because he didn’t want to lead her on.
>> Do you know what those three little words mean to your guy?
He Never Heard It Growing Up
Lucia didn’t meet her husband’s family until they were 3 months out from the wedding. She didn’t need to. She knew the man he was. He’d risen from a difficult childhood to achieve a life his parents could have never dreamed of for him.
She knew his father had been cold. She knew the relationship between his parents had been resentful and controlling. But she also knew that no one’s past defined them. He had chosen a different path. He wasn’t going to make the same mistakes they did.
Which is why she was so surprised when her husband struggled with displays of affection. It wasn’t just telling her, “I love you,” that stumped him. It was saying that to their kids.
Watching his family, she began to understand. They never talked about love. It was all about duty, show, formal politeness. They weren’t affectionate. She wasn’t sure any of them really liked one another.
She gained new respect for how hard her husband had worked to overcome that legacy. Yes, it was hard for him to say he loved them. But he was trying.
>> Do you know if your guy heard those three little words growing up?
He Speaks a Different Love Language
Gabriella’s boyfriend was always bringing her things she didn’t want.
Flowers he’d nicked from a vacant lot. Plums from his mother’s tree. Trinkets he’d been convinced to buy from a roadside seller.
She was frustrated. She’d told him to stop, and he kept doing it.
It wasn’t until her mother told her that her father had done the same thing that she understood.
For some men, actions speak louder than words.
They don’t put much store in what’s been said. They look at a person’s behavior to see the truth.
Gabriella’s boyfriend was proving his love to her, over and over again, by bringing her gifts. To him, that proved his love more clearly than any words.
Gift-giving is one of 5 love languages, or ways people express their love. Acts of service, quality time, physical touch, and words of affirmation are the other four.
>> Do you know what love language your guy speaks?
It Changes Everything
Danielle didn’t know if she should dump Derek or wait him out.
They’d been dating for four months. They’d been together constantly. But Derek was very careful not to say anything about his feelings.
Was he playing her? Danielle didn’t know.
She was ready to say, “I love you,” if Derek was. But she was smart enough to know that he had to say it first. Bringing up the L-word too soon was the kiss of death to a budding relationship.
Danielle might have been surprised to know that much the same thing was going through Derek’s mind.
He really liked Danielle, and he thought their relationship had potential.
But he’d dated enough to know that talking about love just screwed things up. The minute you said, “I love you,” you planted expectations in a woman’s mind. She started asking where the ring was. Everything changed, and he didn’t want them to change. He liked things just the way they were.
For Derek, not saying, “I love you,” was giving their relationship the best chance of turning into something real.
For Danielle, not saying, “I love you,” was playing games.
>> Do you know what your guy thinks will happen if you declare your love?
Now that you know why he might not be saying he loves you…
Does it give you any ideas on how you could talk to him about what those words mean to you?
Let us know in the comments.