Dear Wendy: “Should I Ask Him Directly If He Loves Me?”

By boyfriend and I have been together two years. About six months ago, I finally said “I love you,” deciding that if I didn’t say it first he never would. I am still waiting for him to say it back and I’m rather conflicted about the whole thing. First, we are very happy despite some bumps we hit early in the relationship. When I met him, he was completely emotionally unavailable and he has taken incredible steps toward being a better partner for me — changes that I had never even dared to ask for since you and so many others have always said “You can’t change him!” I think he does love me, because he has gone from being that commitment-phobe to telling me that, “I will stay with you until you tell me to go.” I know that he deeply values me the way he has never valued anyone before.

However, when we were in our rocky phase, he outright told me that as much as he cared about me, he would probably never be in love with me — because he didn’t even think he was capable of love. (We broke up after that.) Since getting back together, I have been afraid to bring up the “love” topic directly, because while all signs point to him loving me, I am so afraid that he will tell me that he doesn’t LOVE me, still doesn’t really know what love is, etc. etc. My friends tell me that if I’m happy, don’t rock the boat, but it does nag at me sometimes.

Should I ask him directly? Tell him I’d like to hear it back (I’ve said it many times with no response)? Or just leave well enough alone? I don’t even need him to say, “I love you.” I just need to hear out loud, just once, that he does. — Waiting for the L-Word

Wow, your boyfriend outright told you he didn’t think he would ever love you and now you’re wondering how long you’ll have to wait until he tells you he does? When someone reveals something about himself, believe him! Your boyfriend basically told you that he either doesn’t believe in love or doesn’t believe you’re the person he’s going to fall in love with. By getting back with him, you basically said, “I understand you may never love me, but I’m willing to be with you anyway.” So, if that’s not the truth — if staying with him is contingent on him loving you — on saying it as well as showing it — regardless of how happy you are with him and how nice he is to you, you absolutely need to talk to him about his feelings. And if turns out he still doesn’t love you, still doesn’t believe in love or believe he’ll ever love you, MOA. MOA if what you want is a partner who will truly love you, because if this guy says that isn’t him, you’re just wasting your time by staying in this relationship.

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