Monday, June 21, 2010

Why can't he say "I love you"?

Edahn,

What does it mean when a man can't say "I love you"? All the right factors are there. His actions say I love you. It has been 9 months and still nothing. I have a feeling this is an intimacy problem that goes far beyond the bounds of our relationship. I'm trying to be patient yet I feel like something is missing and it bothers me. 

Sometimes I feel insecure about it and wonder, why doesn't he love me? especially after he has told me that he has had the capacity and has loved someone else. He's expressed that he doesn't feel in love yet. How long should I wait feeling unfufilled? I always thought you know or you don't...

Freaky picture, right? I've noticed that guys say "I love you" in three situations. Situation 1: they feel really attached and passionate. They're completely swept up by their feelings and desire and label it love. I call that passionate love. Situation 2: they feel lots of intimacy (closeness and safety) with the person and want to spend their lives with that person indefinitely -- in other words, they've identified their Imago match. I call that sacred love. Situation 3: they need to say it in order to have sex with you. That's called attorney love because of the similar way a lawyer is prepared to say anything to fuck you. Your boyfriend doesn't feel any of those. 

Why? I can't tell you. Maybe he's not really available for the kind of relationship he wants. Maybe he knows intuitively that you're not a good match for each other. Maybe you're not available for the kind of relationship he wants. Maybe all of the above. I'm not in your relationship so I don't know. But you can figure it out yourself by having a tough but necessary conversation, and I'd urge you do to it tonight. Work together to figure out what's really going on in your relationship in an objective, non-defensive, painfully honest way. Where is your relationship headed? What are his reservations? What do his feelings mean? Does he know on some level that you aren't a good match? Is he just afraid to hurt you? Are you both really available to connect to one another? Has this whole relationship become much too complicated? Do you feel comfortable and satisfied with one another without having to resort to cycles of conflict and makeup?

Take the information you get and ask yourself where this relationship is headed. Is he your match? Are you his match? Will you really make each other happy? Will you end up being truly happy and joyful in each other's company? There are no certainties, just probabilities, so you'll need to take your best guess and act on it confidently. The alternative is to spend years in a dissatisfying, disorienting relationship. Don't subject yourself to that.

I know there's a lot here, so if you need to write in again, you can leave a comment under this post.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Love" conjures up a whole bunch of images - and at least 90% of them are bullshit. The word has been inundated with so much bizarre meaning in our society that being in love is very likely to cause us to feel like we've changed our very identity.

This could be due to a few reasons. One, the media tell us that love is supposed to be some sort of magical force that overcomes all obstacles. This simply isn't true, except perhaps for the case of parent->child bonds. So there's massive expectations for people who are in love. Two, these massive expectations could potentially challenge people's identities. If someone thinks of themselves as some sort of independent bachelor whose all awesome with their motorcycle, Teecate beers, and knowledge about baseball, the image of a lover is going to severely clash with that. That'd case cognitive dissonance, and that causes anxiety. Either they'd have to change themselves, or pretend like they're not in love. The latter may just be easier.

You also have to take into the factor of vulnerability. Saying that you're in love with a person is admitting a huge spot of vulnerability. It's basically saying, "hey, you can hurt me in a way that I'll probably never forget with just a few words - 'I'm leaving you'". That's scary.

Basically, it may not mean that he doesn't love you. But if he does, and he still can't say it, that in itself may be something you'll want to evaluate. As adults, we need to be honest with ourselves, especially if we're getting into a long term relationship.

Edahn said...

Nice comment. I think the main problem with the media is that it shows love as something intense and painful. That's true for the beginning stages of passionate love, but passionate love is inherently unstable. There are a lot of people who don't realize that and keep searching for that unstable form, only to get repeatedly disappointed.

Anonymous said...

attorney love ... not cool man

Anonymous said...

F*ck him. I'm just gonna focus on me : )
Edahn if were not married by the time were 40 can we just get married to share a practice, tax write offs, and share the mortgage payment? But ur gonna have to have ur own bed in another room...

Edahn said...

Part A: Awesome.
Part B: No. Maybe. Yes.