Okay, this is going to be one of the most personal situations I’ve ever shared on my blog. But I’m seriously unable to come to my own conclusion and I need feedback from both men and women. I’ve been reading articles and forums and blogs on the subject in an effort to find something close to personal truth. Alas, here I am, hoping someone out there will be able to explain things in a way I can accept and apply to my life so I can move past this issue.
First, a little background. Dimples (the nickname I gave my boyfriend for blogging purposes) hasn’t had too many serious relationships. Ours is only his second. He’s 34 years old, never married, no children. He told me on our third date he’s never been in love, and he’s never told a woman he loves her, other than his mum and dog. So in his defense, I knew from the beginning he had some sort of issue with relationships and love. But who doesn’t, right? He once told me he didn’t think love was necessary for a successful marriage. He said respect was more important.
We’ve dated for a year. We did have a three week “break” in there when we agreed to split because things felt off between us. I initiated the break up. It was mainly because…well, that’s not really relevant right now. After three weeks, we talked and we decided to give it another try. My point is, we’ve been dating for nearly a year. His actions, for the most part, probably about 75% of the time, show me he cares a lot about me.
For instance, my daughter and I stay over at his house a few nights a week and he stays with us once a week. I’ve met his family and he’s met mine (a little more than just met them, eh, Dimples? *winks*). He’s dropped “when we live together…” during our conversations. He’s also told me before that he sees no reason why we’d break up. He left work to take me to the hospital when I was sick in March (Who knew? Vertigo isn’t just a movie.) and he stayed with me 90% of the time I was in there. When we’re laying on the couch watching a movie, he’ll notice my bare feet and cover them up with his blanket. He offers to help me with everything, even to the point of driving me crazy, but I love that about him, and I appreciate it every time he helps me with something despite my protests not to.
Neither of us is really romantic or anything. I appreciate romance but I don’t require it in a relationship. I think romance is just an easy way to show someone how much they mean to you. When you’re the recipient of romantic gestures, it feels fabulous! But we’ve never been like that with each other. Unless you count the numerous times he’s surprised me with Susie Qs? Simple pleasures 🙂 I know I restrain my romantic side with him simply because I know he’s not a romantic person. I’m stalling. What was I saying? Oh yeah, I see signs that he does in fact care about me and my daughter. They’re not usually huge, flashing signs, but they are there. Or am I assigning meaning where there isn’t any?
Right. Moving along then to the reason I’m writing today–I told Dimples I loved him on Saturday for the first time. Should I include the date? Or would that girlify me too much? HA!
We’d had a fabulous weekend together. Lots of fun activities, lots of laughter, and lots of mind-blowing . . . conversation. Double HA! It was about 3:00 AM, he gave me a good night kiss, and I perpetuated a private joke we had going that night. He laughed. I felt very content and in the moment so I went with my heart and said, “Hey, just for the record, I love you.” Where the eff my head was at, I have no idea, but it’s lucky I can’t fire its ass for letting my heart fly solo at that particular moment. I thought I’d vomit as soon as the last word was out of my mouth, but luckily, I didn’t.
He responded with “Awww!” and kissed me. We snuggled together.
Everything was cool for about 90 seconds then, breaking the heaviest silence I’d ever felt, he dropped a bomb. “I feel like such an ass.”
“Why?” I asked even though I knew exactly where he was going.
“Because I can’t say it back.”
Ouch! Yep, my worst fear realized. We talked a little more. He tried to explain his position, “It’s not that I don’t love you…I just want to be really sure before I say it…I care a lot about you,” and so on. Then he fell asleep. I couldn’t sleep. [CORRECTION on 9/17/09 at 12:57 AM: Dimples informed me that he was, in fact, not asleep, but awake and unable to sleep just like me. In my loyalty to accuracy, I felt compelled to add this tidbit of information.]
When he woke up the next day, there was something different between us. We both sensed it. I felt so . . . alone and very stupid. I tend to over-think things and all I kept asking myself was, “How can he not know if he loves me or not? If he’s unsure how he feels about me, then there’s really no stability in our relationship, right?” He had plans to go to a soccer game that day, which he kept. I was a wreck all day long. I cried for the majority of it, wondering if I’d wasted my time (and heart) on someone who didn’t love me. By the end of Sunday night, I couldn’t take it anymore. I had to have some answers. I called him and I requested he come over so we could talk.
The talk went well. I was able to hold back most of my tears. I don’t know if our talk was productive but I felt like we were both hearing the other person’s position and caring what the other person had to say. I love that he’s a calm listener. I asked him direct questions to which he responded with direct answers. I asked him:
- If he was serious about me
- If he wanted to live together someday in the near future
- If he had strong feelings for me
All of which he answered “yes” and his face looked so genuine and sincere. His body language told me he wasn’t lying. He apologized over and over for hurting me. He said he wished he could say it back. I believed him and I told him so. There was one thing he said though that is still confusing me. When I asked him if he wants to be with me or break up, he replied, “I don’t want to hurt you. I want to be with you but I don’t want you to be hurting all the time.” Does that mean he never expects to be able to tell me he loves me?
I told him I forgave him for the hurt. I told him I would do my best to look forward and not concentrate on the fact that he can’t tell me he loves me. Gawd, writing that feels like someone’s pinching my heart and at the same time covering my mouth so I can’t breathe. He agreed to give me the reassurance I need in other ways since the whole “I love you” thing is off the table. But I haven’t seen him since Monday morning. I haven’t talked to him since then either. We’ve only texted and nothing from him that gives me the impression he misses me or wants to see me. I had to ask him yesterday if he wanted to get together before Friday. He said he was thinking Thursday but he didn’t give me anything concrete.
It feels like I’m getting the cold shoulder and I don’t know if he’s distancing himself or what. Yep, I might drown in all this reassurance. Sorry. I get sarcastic when I’m hurt. It’s a flaw, one of many. Perhaps I’m just over-thinking again since the pain is so near the surface. *sighs*
How do I get past this?
Is it okay that he cannot tell me he loves me?
Do I have to hear the words “I love you” to know someone loves me? Or do I only have to pay attention to their actions in order to determine their true feelings and intentions?
Which of the following is true?
If a guy is doing one thing and saying another, always believe what he’s doing.
If a guy says he can’t tell you he loves you, it’s because he doesn’t love you.
I guess if I knew he loved me, and he just couldn’t vocalize it, then I would feel pretty damn secure in our relationship. But if he absolutely does not love me, I want to freakin’ know. I’m afraid he won’t tell me the truth about his feelings until he’s ready to break up with me. You know, have his cake and eat it too type of situation.
Welp, I did it. I wrote it all out for the world (and Dimples) to read. Thank you to anyone who actually read my entire post. And an extra special “thank you” to anyone who not only read it but didn’t point and laugh. I hope I didn’t sound irrational or unreasonable. I just needed to vent. I have no idea what to do.
The fact is I do love him.
So what would you do?