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Expressing love verbally

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  • #106063
    Flora Rose
    Participant

    Hello and thank you for your time and input. In my current relationship, which is going on 11 months, I feel like I do not know how my boyfriend feels about me. He has never expressed his feelings verbally anyway, which in my past relationships, has always come naturally from both sides. He is very giving and attentive. So based on his actions, it seems he cares deeply for me. He recently however is starting to show those tell tale signs of beginning to take the relationship/me for granted. He hasn’t even told me he loves me yet (or any other words of how he feels), so how could he already be moving into the ‘taking things for granted’ phase? It hurts me greatly because it makes me feel like every relationship is inevitably doomed. Or maybe my expectations are just too high? I want so badly for him to express his feelings for me, but I DO NOT want to have to ask for this in my relationship. I feel like this is something that should be given and so therefore if I have to ask, it doesn’t even count. I am beginning to lose faith and feel like I am now putting up walls to protect my heart.

    I can take however he feels, but I need to know what that is in order to decide if investing more of myself into this relationship is worth my time. I mean, of course I will be sad if he does not feel the same way I feel about him, which is in love. When he asked me “where I was with everything” a while back I exclaimed that I was crazy about him, to which he said nothing about the way he feels about me. This is after I explained how hard it was for me to be vulnerable. I also explained that it seemed like he had walls up too. I am trying my best to let my walls down, but I don’t really feel like he is letting your walls down. I don’t know what to do, but feel like my walls are creeping back up while I patiently wait for him to decide to be vulnerable with me.

    I don’t want to be the one driving everything. I was the one who asked him to date me exclusively and I feel like if he isn’t really concerned with how I feel about him or where things are going, then I don’t want to be either. I’m cool with wherever he stands, I just need to know where that is so I can choose what is best for me.

    Do I confront him? I’m afraid if I do confront him and he tells me how he feels, I will resent him because I had to ask him. Or should I just move on and accept that I am not getting what I want and I can’t force him to be something he’s not? I want him to tell me he loves me. Why is this so important to me? I feel like a total loser.

    #106064
    anita
    Participant

    Dear florarose:

    I think you should not confront him and you should not leave him. Neither.

    You may be misunderstanding his verbal silence regarding his feelings for you. You think it may be that he doesn’t love you but that doesn’t … sound like the reason.

    Let’s say that as your boyfriend was growing up, his mother (and I am guessing, for the sake of giving you an example of a possibility) used to beat him up, slapping his face, hitting him on the head and when she was done, she told him: “I love you so much, this is why I hit you, I love you so much. There is fire in my heart for you, fire of love…”

    In that example, you can see why he would decide in his heart to never say “I love you” to anyone, and never say firey love words to anyone. Not his fault- the association between abuse and “I love you” was made in his brain without his choosing.

    If I was you, i would learn more about him: how was his childhood? is relationship with his parents? Does he express love verbally to other people?? This is the third option (first is confrontingt and second is leaving, the two options you mentioned).

    Please post again with your thoughts and feelings.

    anita

    #106069
    Flora Rose
    Participant

    Yes, you make a great point Anita. Perhaps there is a good reason why he cannot express himself verbally. I’ll have to give some good thought on how to discern if this might be the reason he is holding back and also on how to approach him about this.

    To be honest, I don’t know that I can be with someone who cannot express their emotions in a verbal way. I understand if this doesn’t come naturally to him or is difficult, but if I’m honest with myself, this is something I need in a relationship and if it isn’t something he’s offering, I’m not sure this is the right relationship for me.

    #106072
    anita
    Participant

    Dear florarose:

    I think I understand your position. It is probably worth a try on your part though: to discuss this very thing with him. It means so much to you so you owe it to yourself to approach him about this before you give up on the relationship.

    Tell him in a non accusatory way that you need to hear him express his feelings for you, honestly, the way he really feel, that it is important, very important for you that he expresses his feelings verbally. Present it like that and hear what he says. Take it from there: if he does not respons, that means he is not concerned with your needs, with what is so important to you.

    If he is concerned, he will express that concern somehow. You can ask him, simply ask him, if it is difficult for him to express his feelings verbally, and if he says it is, ask him to tell you why he thinks that is.

    Also: did you notice if he expresses his feelings verbally, affectionate feelings to other people, family members, maybe?

    anita

    #106079
    Flora Rose
    Participant

    Thank you again Anita. You have some good advice. Sometimes it just helps to speak these worries outloud to the world to help construct your feelings and how to express them. I really appreciate all your kind words and ideas on how to move forward.

    #106080
    Rock Banana
    Participant

    People are not psychic and he is not going to magically change his ways because you wish he would.

    Furthermore wishing he were doing something different but not telling him what it is is just going to create stress for you.

    There’s no reason why he “should” be doing anything. You can talk about the kind of relationship you want to create though.

    An alternative to discussing what you want to create with him is going first. Verbalizing your feelings and see if he reciprocates. But only by talking to him about this are you actually going to get anywhere, because expecting him to do something without letting him know what it is just does not make sense.

    This paragraph may relate to your situation, it may not, but just in case: Do you actually love yourself? Are you ok with or without his love? Here’s the thing: you want him to verbalize how much he loves you. Is this so you feel good about yourself – if so, how about you work on no longer needing his expressions of love to validate your sense of self, and become independently worthy, without needing him to keep reaffirming the way he feels about you. The reason I say this is because any good feelings you get from him telling you how much he loves you are created by your own thinking anyway. You can prove this very easily: every time somebody says they love you, they may well be lying, but if you believe them you’ll still feel good. Equally somebody could say they love you and mean it and you not believe them, in which case you won’t feel good. Therefore, the only thing that is creating these good feelings for you when somebody says they love you, is the THOUGHT in your mind that they love you, which could mean in your mind that you are OK, or they are acting the way they “should”, or whatever. If you think through what you’ve just read, you’ll quickly come to realize only thoughts can create this feeling for you, not what somebody else actually feels, thinks or says, which means believing you need somebody to keep telling you that they love you, so that you can keep building up your sense of self through their validation, is a potentially pointless and dangerous exercise.

    Either way, stop expecting him to be doing things and not letting him know what they are, in fact stop expecting things full stop, it is a complete waste of energy and will make you unhappy. Instead, think about what kind of relationship you want to create with him, let him know what that is and whether he’s willing to do that with you, if not then maybe this isn’t the relationship for you, if so then sounds like you’ve got a better deal than you did when you were wanting other people to change and unwilling to change yourself. Instead of trying to change everybody else, have a think about changing the way you see things and do things yourself! 😮

    • This reply was modified 5 years, 3 months ago by Rock Banana.
    #106096
    Flora Rose
    Participant

    Thank you so much for your thoughtful response Rock Banana. I agree wholeheartedly that people are not psychic and therefore in relationships we need to ask for and create what we want. I also totally agree that wishing he were doing something but not telling him what it is is could create stress.

    I think that’s why my initial questions was whether to confront him/talk about how I am feeling or move on. I never stated or thought that he ‘should’ do anything in the relationship. It’s a matter of my needs, not what he should or shouldn’t be doing. I do have expectations and needs in my relationship, and perhaps you are correct that they would best be met by my talking with him about them. That said, I’d have to disagree with the idea of having no expectations. Having expectations of those people we are in relationships is healthy and normal. It’s a matter of realistic expectations and the ability to effectively communicate these. I also am not expecting him to change, which I why I said I’d be a-okay with moving on if he isn’t able to meet that need which is important to me.

    I appreciate your sentiment that perhaps my need for open expression of feelings in a relationship has more to do with self worth and I would have to disagree in my particular case. That does not describe me. I am not looking for a constant reaffirmation of someone loving me to feel good about myself. In fact, I have been single most of my adult life and have never looked to a man to bolster my self worth. I am looking for openness and general ability to freely discuss feelings, about each other, but about things in general too.

    #106097
    Rock Banana
    Participant

    Awesome stuff florarose. What a cool conversation this is – and what a difference 4 hours can make (the way you are speaking about this has totally changed)! You seem like a great person and show a lot of insight here. Thanks for your response – I made a few guesses which I knew might be wrong in this case. Thanks for considering our input here and already starting to process it and try it out.

    Back in your original post … “I feel like this is something that should be given and so therefore if I have to ask, it doesn’t even count”

    But look at you now! : “I never stated or thought that he ‘should’ do anything in the relationship.”

    The way you see this and think about this has already clearly started to change and evolve … you are already leaving the thought trap you had found yourself stuck in. Keep going!

    And … instead of expectations … how about agreements?

    • This reply was modified 5 years, 3 months ago by Rock Banana.
    #106101
    Flora Rose
    Participant

    You are so right Rock Banana. I did say ‘should’ didn’t I? It is amazing how a few hours can make things seem different. I guess perspective is everything sometimes. I sincerely appreciate your insights. I hope to have the courage to bring all of this up with him and more importantly the strength to walk away if this relationship does not end up being one that can meet my needs of the open expression we have been discussing. I like the idea of agreements. I think that’s important. I hope to better outline for myself what types of agreements I would be looking for in a specific way. Things to think about for sure.

    Thanks again!

    #106104
    Rock Banana
    Participant

    It is amazing how a few hours can make things seem different. I guess perspective is everything sometimes. I sincerely appreciate your insights.

    Absolutely. They are your insights – and the insight that perspective is everything is a huge one.

    I hope to have the courage to bring all of this up with him and more importantly the strength to walk away if this relationship does not end up being one that can meet my needs of the open expression we have been discussing.

    Do you hope to have the courage and the strength … or are you going to have the courage and the strength? And … what needs to happen in order for you to have the courage and the strength like that?

    #106114
    anita
    Participant

    Dear florarose:

    If you do have a conversation/s with him about your valid need for him to express his feelings for you verbally, and you get a new insight, or not, please post again here. I would like to find out how your relationship develops (evolves or not).

    Best wishes to you:

    anita

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