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    I know how you feel. My last serious relationship never made it the ‘I love yous’. I felt like I was heading that way but as I’d never been there before, I was very cautious about letting myself fully get into it without ascertaining his feelings too. He very bluntly told me that he was having a great time with me but ‘wouldn’t let himself fall in love’ – the reason was that he’d be moving away back to his home country a year later and didn’t want to get into all that. I realised how cold and clinical that was, and that I didn’t want to be with someone who ‘wouldn’t let himself’ fall in love. I wanted to be irresistable and for him to not be able to help his feelings! Now with the second guy (who did eventually open himself to that), I was willing to wait, because I knew his reluctance stemmed from his own fears and past experiences. Guy number one however was purely just not up for feeling that way about me. And the fact it was a decision for him told me everything I needed to know. I broke up with him so that I could be free to meet someone capable of actually loving me.

    It was the hardest break up I’ve gone through. I actually grieved that relationship on and off for over 2 years (we were only together 6 months!!) I occasionally wondered if I should have waited, and given him more time to realise how awesome I was so that he couldn’t help falling in love with me, but I knew in my heart that he wasn’t right for me. And despite the many tears shed, and the sadness and horribleness (new word!) of that break-up, one thing I could always hold on to was that I had acted with respect to myself because I knew in my heart that I deserved and wanted more than a guy who ‘wouldn’t let himself’ fall in love.

    Now I don’t know your guy, and I couldn’t say if he is more like my guy 1 or guy 2 (or in a whole new category of his own!). But I think you will know if you listen to your heart. Love isn’t always as straightforward as films and novels make out, and I think there are definitely occasions where patience is required. I think the biggest test for that is basically: are you happy to be patient? Are you enjoying this relationship, and getting to know this person enough that you can justify being in the relationship without hearing those words said to you? Is what the two of you have bringing you happiness and joy on a day-to-day basis? How long could you keep going with things as they are without having him confirm his love? If you could glimpse 3 years into the future, and see that he still hadn’t said it to you, would you feel awful about wasting time with someone who wasn’t on the same page as you? Etc…

    One thing for sure, there is nothing needy about wanting to be loved by your partner. Respect yourself. Trust yourself. Be brave to communicate your needs and wants and fears and dreams with this man. If he is the one for you, he will grow through this and take that leap. If he isn’t, it will hurt like hell, but you WILL move forwards and eventually he will become just one part of your history (always so much easier to say that to someone else than hear it for yourself though…).


    Thanks a lot for your replies. So I just got home (where he’d prepared dinner), and said that we need to talk about the Instagram stuff, and he said “but I deleted it – it’s not on my phone any more”. Turns out, he made his profile ‘private’ so that people couldn’t find it online, and then he deleted the app. He said that although he had some fun with it, it wasn’t worth keeping if it would be a point of contention in our relationship. I think he genuinely sees why I was bothered – I told him that it made me feel disrespected and upset/angry. We both got a bit awkward, I cried, we both apologised. Hopefully that’s it now.

    I think this was a genuine case of thoughtlessness rather than anything more sinister going on behind my back. Thanks a lot for being a sounding board when I needed it. It did give me the courage to bring the topic up this evening!


    I’m sure you are far from being classed as elderly! 🙂

    Nice pics go on FB… on Instagram the only ones that make it are the ones without me on them. There are many pics from events we have been at together, where lovely pictures of the two of us have been taken.. but they are never shared. I have asked outright for him to share some (e.g. a nice one of us at a friends wedding the other week…) despite agreeing, he never posted it – but he did share one of him with the groom and two of his best mates.

    It’s escalated now as he is now ignoring my request to ‘follow’ his profile and has made it private. So now I can’t see what he’s posting and have been completely excluded. Meanwhile, in the last couple of weeks he has posted comments like “perfect woman!” and “wow” and emoticons with heart-eyes on pictures of complete strangers. You wouldn’t think he was in his mid thirties would you?? As I said before, apart from this one issue he really is a lovely and thoughtful guy so I hate to realise how awful this looks.

    Typing all this out has made me realise however that this behaviour is really not displaying a level of respect and care for me that I expect. I may not have tackled it perfectly with my fear of conflict etc but I definitely think I have a right to be pissed off about this. It may be *only* a social media account, but it’s what it represents and says about how he is treating me. I think I’m feeling fired up enough to bring it up whatever now. He needs to know that I’m not a push-over. Being great everywhere else in our relationship is not an excuse to act like a thoughtless idiot on this occasion!


    Jeannine – what a great comment. I’m so glad that you were able to turn your own life around and post this helpful advice from your own experience. I hope it really helps Iwontshare to hear from others who have been there and managed to get through it.


    Thank you both for your replies 🙂

    Inky, to answer your questions…
    1) His following seems to be mostly attractive women… I don’t think he has a purpose or ‘theme’ per se, its just random moments from his life. No idea what makes an photo ‘Instagram-worthy’ but a lot are of things that make him look good.
    2) Maybe… 🙂
    3) Yes I understand that, hence trying to be understanding… but shouldn’t there be a point where that doesn’t matter to him/gets boring? I mean, he’s NOT a single guy any more. If he keeps up an area where he is, surely that will be detrimental to the relationship? Plus, it’s not like he’ll lose a great cartoon career by coming clean about me 😉
    4) I do feel like he should ‘get over it’ but I guess that’s what I’m having difficulty in expressing… 🙂

    Chris – your post made me well up a little. You’re right. All my life I have had to fight being too much of a people pleaser. I have struggled in overcoming the feeling that I always need to be nice and happy (one friend once angrily yelled at me I wasn’t ‘bloody Pollyanna’ which hurt me to my core but demonstrates the persona I had!) – though I do much better with embracing my negative side these days, it is still sometimes uncomfortable for me, and I think particularly in the romantic relationship (my first serious relationship), it is hard to accept that someone could want to stay with me if I dare to display negative emotions like anger, sadness, jealousy. I think your advice is good and I have been working up to having a conversation with him – I just want to get the timing right. Really appreciate your insights 🙂


    Hi Lost 🙂

    When I got with my boyfriend at the age of 27, I’d never properly been in love before. I’d dated, and I’d come close to loving a couple of guys, but for various reasons, I’d never gone the whole way. Partly out of self-protection, partly out of fear… then when I got with my boyfriend, everything felt so different to previous relationships. Things just flowed. I never had space to doubt him. After a few months, I found myself whispering ‘I love you’ while he slept, just to get used to the feelings and the words. Finally, I plucked up the courage to tell him. I wasn’t sure at that point how he felt – I just knew that things were good between us, and if anything were to happen and I hadn’t told him, I would feel awful. So with several false starts, and feeling pretty sick, I finally told him.

    So up to that point, I guess I was similar to your bf in the scenario. And my point is – just because I’d never been in love with someone before, didn’t mean it was impossible to fall in love with my bf. I think some people take longer to let themselves open up to the vulnerability that comes with those words and emotions. It doesn’t mean we don’t feel things, or that we’re automatons!

    Now, here’s the fun part. Having finally got up the nerve to ‘expose’ my love for my boyfriend. I got the awful ‘Thanks – you’re great too’ – or something to that effect. My boyfriend wasn’t ready to say it back. And as a few months went by, it struck me that he was pretty damaged from his divorce. We ended up having a serious discussion about it when I built up the courage to realise that, much as I loved him, it was soul destroying being with someone who didn’t feel the same way back. I basically told him that I understood he had fears and had been hurt before, but that if he couldn’t allow himself to be vulnerable and open up to me, our relationship was doomed. We both got a bit tearful and he told me that he was having a great time with me, and really didn’t want things to end, but that he wasn’t ready or able to say ‘I love you’ yet – and wasn’t sure when/if he would be. I thought it over and decided that at that point in time, if I ended things there and then, I would be forever kicking myself over what could have been if I’d given him time. Our relationship was great in every other way, so I gave myself a time limit. I would wait a few more months and see if anything changed. At that point, if he was still afraid to open up and love again, I would honour myself by ending things and moving on to free myself up for someone who could love open-heartedly.

    I focused on the positives in the relationship, made sure we enjoyed each other, had fun, talked about important things. And a few months later I finally got an ‘I love you’. When he did say it, it meant even more to me, because I knew how much he’d had to open himself up to get to that point. These days we can both say ‘I love you’ and our relationship continues to get stronger. FYI, his first ‘I love you’ came after over a year of us being together – I guess many people wouldn’t have stuck around so long, perhaps my own issues with saying it gave me a bit more empathy!

    I guess the moral of this is: love can be a scary thing for some people – especially ones who, like your BF, have been through traumatic events and lots of disruption in their life. I think sometimes, the withholding of love can itself be a subconscious test of whether the person you’re with is really a constant in your life, or if they will be put off by you not being in the same place (a dangerous test and not one I’m endorsing but perhaps comes into play sometimes). If everything else about your relationship is good right now, and you and your bf can talk in depth about your hopes/dreams etc, you would probably feel awful walking away from that. And there is no reason to right now. But I think it’s important to give yourself a limit of when that might no longer be feasible. You cannot indefinitely put your love and dreams into someone who cannot meet you on the same page. I also think it is worth having a conversation with your BF about this. He needs to know that this is important to you. He needs to decide if it’s something he wants to work on or not. And you need to be brave enough to mean it when you tell yourself (and him if needed) that you will have to walk away if he can’t offer you what you want/need emotionally.

    Good luck!


    I’m so sorry to hear what you are going through. I have seen people close to me battling with depression and I know that it is a horrible place to be. I can only imagine how it must feel when it goes on for so long and you feel like all hope is lost.

    You say that you have tried numerous ways of dealing with this, so I guess it’s fair to assume that I can’t utter any magic words which will suddenly change everything for you. One thing I do know though, your worst part “I don’t know what I want” – that’s my worst part too. I have a degree, a Master’s degree and a fairly good life by all accounts, and yet I’m feeling in complete limbo right now, not sure what my next step should be, unsure of myself, and feeling increasingly fragile. I think though, a surprising number of people (especially in their late twenties – I’m 28) are feeling this way. Society places a lot of pressure on us all to be living the perfect life, in the perfect body, and knowing exactly what we want and going out to get it. Real life isn’t that clear cut. My Mum used to say a phrase that has occasionally comforted me through these moments “Everybody’s bluffing” – I think there’s definitely some truth in that. As for seeking approval – our society is built on that these days: celebrity culture, Facebook likes, Instagram likes/comments… everyone seems to be needing reassurance that they are being a successful human. I’m not saying that to belittle your issues, but to highlight that perhaps you’re not so different from everyone else as you think.

    I know you may not believe me when I say it, but you are NOT a burden on humanity, and you are NOT a waste of resources. You came into this planet the same way as everyone else – someone gave birth to you and you battled your way through those vulnerable early years, to be an adult today. You deserve the same as everyone else. Some people are lucky to seem to be holding things together more successfully, but really, that doesn’t matter – and I say that as much for myself to hear as for you! We are each here living our own journeys on this planet.

    I’m interested to hear that you don’t think you deserve happiness, love or fun. I’m not sure that those things need moral values placing on them. They just *are* – they are little moments that make the tapestry of life worth living – we don’t earn them, same as we don’t deserve sadness, loneliness or dislike. They are moments linked to emotions and interactions, they spring up of their own accord. 🙂

    We all have negative talkers in our heads – I think that some people’s are more vocal than others. But I think, if we hunt for it, most of us have at least a little seed of hope in there too. A little positive voice seeking to be heard. I don’t think that negative and positive thoughts are ‘wrong’ or ‘right’ per se (again placing moral values!) – they just are. Your negative voice might not be *wrong* – although you give it an awful lot of power by saying that – but it might not be the only way to think about yourself.

    As for ever getting better… truthfully I suppose no-one is able to answer that for you. You have obviously gone through years of feeling this way and that must be frustrating and tiring. What I do think is hopeful is that you are still searching for ways to overcome this. That seed of hope inside you is still rooted in and refusing to believe that this is it. Maybe it’s time to try encouraging that hope. Maybe try telling that negative talker in your head that actually, it might not really be a true representation of who you are and what you want out of life. And just because you have spent your teenage and early-mid twenties feeling like sh*t, doesn’t mean that that has to be it. You are the master of your own destiny. The pills, counselling, self-help books etc haven’t worked (yet!) but perhaps you weren’t ready to let them. Take a leap of faith in yourself. Dare to believe that you are really ready to rise above this and live the life you want to be living. And you might not immediately have all the answers (I’d like to meet someone who did!), but you might realise that the journey and the uncertainty, and the bumps and twists in the path can be fun in their own way – and yes, sometimes frustrating too!

    I wish you all the best 🙂

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