Q. I have boyfriend and we have been together for almost two months now. He has never wanted to say "I love you". He says that it is not necessary to say something like that, the important things are the proof. I can understand that.. But I see another couple saying "luv U" to each other and it makes me think whether he really loves me. What do you think I should do??
A. The problem with many relationships is that they involve people who are mismatched in their emotional needs. Some people tend to show their love through material things, buying gifts constantly for their soulmates. Some show that love through doing things for their loved ones, pampering them and being overly protective. Some prefer to say it with words of reassurance and some just take that love for granted and do very little about it. If you get someone who takes love for granted matched with someone who prefers to hear it, soon enough at least one person will start to believe that the other doesn't really love them because they are not experiencing love in a way that is meaningful to them. I think this could be happening to you, but the short time span could also be a problem.
There are no hard and fast rules about when people show their true emotions to each other, but if the person seems reluctant to say 'I love you', it could be down to one or more of the following factors.
1. He/she does not really feel that love enough to express it, and so prefers to stay silent while being loving in other ways.
2. Not enough time has elapsed for the friendship to develop and so the person might believe making such a pledge would not be appropriate yet. There could be a feeling of discomfort around saying anything too loving too early.
3. Fear of what saying those three magic words could do to the relationship, either progress it too fast, or create new expectations around commitment, which either person might not be prepared to fulfil or address.
4. Inexperience of relationships, and fear, in expressing one's self easily and openly.
5. He simply doesn't love you.
Many people do not take relationships as they come or allow them to unfold slowly in their way. They often fret and worry about what will happen in the end, where the friendship is going and whether the person they meet is their long term partner. All that anxiety helps to kill some friendships before they have even begun, as people tend to worry about a future that might never develop instead of just enjoying the present and letting the friendship decide its course. Hence why lovers might be reluctant to say how they feel as they try to control its progress.
By the way, watching what other couples do is not the way to gauge your own relationship because they could be acting in a superficial manner, for public show, with little else behind it. The only people to focus on are yourselves. Have a look at those 'important things' he mentioned and see if you accept them as enough 'proof' of his love. But you cannot make people say things they really don't feel or which makes them feel uncomfortable to express just because you want to hear them. Perhaps having a talk with him, to tell him how you feel and to see his reaction might be a good step.
The bottom line is that if you love this person and you wish to hear him say he loves you and he doesn't (because it has to be spontaneous), he could be the wrong person for you because it won't get any better. He will be constantly withholding his feelings while you feel constantly frustrated at not hearing them. If he doesn't really love you, that could also be difficult to assess. At some time you really need to ask yourself that if he is not being really open with you, is he what you truly desire, or are you trying to make him fit your expectations? Only you have the answer.
©Elaine Sihera (Ms CYPRAH) 2011
Emotional Health and People Management Consultant
"Respect and love begin with the self. If we have none, how can we give away any?"