Do you ever get the feeling men are incapable of saying three little words? It’s only eight letters in a very specific order but they can’t seem to sputter them out without some cajoling, a whole lot of prompting and even some wounded staring. Here’s the question I hear more often than you might think – does it mean he doesn’t love you if he isn’t saying it spontaneously?
The short answer is “no“. Hold on though! I promise this isn’t as bad as it sounds. There’s a perfectly reasonable explanation; one that might even sound more romantic than those three little words.
At the beginning of a relationship, especially one that could lead to something long-term, men are more inclined to be vocal about their feelings. During the early stage of your relationship, you should focus on improving your communication with each other so that you gain the confidence to express your feelings in different situations. Most men will recognise that they need to be upfront and honest about what they’re feeling or the relationship may simply fizzle out. So, this is the stage where they’ll be truthful about their emotions and some might even say those three words. They’ll likely say them as often as it takes for both parties to become secure in the relationship and enter what’s known as the long-term attachment phase. But after that? They won’t say them nearly as often, if at all.
This doesn’t mean, however, that he doesn’t really love you or doesn’t enjoy the time you’re spending with each other. You’ll be able to tell from the way he acts around you and the things you do together.
For instance, you might not completely appreciate the jokes his friends find funny, but the very fact that you are spending time with the people he is closest to is a sign that he’s serious about your relationship. Equally, if he’s often physically close to you in a non-sexual way such as cuddling while you watch a film or holding hands in the street, it’s a good bet that he’s significantly attached.
There’s a famous piece set of “rules” put forward by Dr Chapman called the 5 Love Languages. These are the ways partners express their feelings – and they’re not all verbal:
- Words of affirmation
- Acts of service
- Quality time
- Physical touch
It’s super important to have a conversation about what sort of affection you are comfortable with. Holding hands might be your cup of tea but it may seem childish to your other half. Just remember there will always be some sort of compromise that you are both happy with. If in doubt about your partner’s feelings, spend some time considering how he’s acted towards you in the past few weeks. Has he complimented you lots but neglected to mention those three words you listen out for? Has he cooked for you or made a point of putting his phone away so you can have a proper discussion about something? Non-verbal ways of saying “I love you” can be just as potent – you just need to look out for them. Fear of rejection means that many women feel that they don’t want to reveal their newfound feelings and should, in fact, be bold enough to initiate the entire process without the expectation that it will be reciprocated in the same way. If you don’t get the response you expect, don’t worry about it because you shouldn’t need a specific response to validate your relationship.
When you look at cross-cultural research of romantic relationships, you get these very striking cultural differences. So, we all know that culture, upbringing and past experiences can mould our perceptions and expectations of romantic love in terms of what we would like to hear from our partner. London is loved for being diverse and multicultural but with that comes the opportunity for us to keep learning in a non-predictive way.
So, don’t assume that because he doesn’t say the words, he doesn’t feel it. Men are annoyingly less vocal sometimes and, while it’s something many of them are working on, women might just have to interpret the clues for themselves. The words aren’t everything, but the way he treats you and behaves is.