It’s your six-month anniversary and you’re convinced that you couldn’t have found a better guy. He has great morals, knows how to talk about his feelings and showers you with gifts regularly. To celebrate your anniversary, you hold each other close while watching “The Vow” and follow it up with a romantic dinner at your favorite Italian bistro. He surprises you with a horse and carriage ride through the park. You feel like you’re walking on air. And then he whispers, those three words into your ear.
“I love you.”
Everything is perfect … except that you don’t love him back.
Maybe it’s too early in the relationship to tell. Or maybe you’re waiting to see if he can survive a weekend with your family. Whatever the reason, you’re sure you are not ready to say the “L” word. What’s a girl to do?
Whatever you do, don’t lie. Remember, eventually you’ll have to determine whether or not this is someone you could ever love. Nothing is worse than giving false hope to a person that you don’t see a future with. You’ll only end up wasting your time and his. But in the meantime, Prince Charming is gazing into your eyes awaiting your response. The way I see it you have five options:
1. Give him the cold hard truth. Explain to him that while you appreciate his amorous confession, you are not ready to say it back yet.
Why it works: You may break his heart, but it’s much easier to face the pain of unrequited love than it is to face the pain of learning that the love you shared was a lie. Deception is never the answer. Honesty is a much easier pill to swallow.
2. Give him hope. Tell him that you’re falling in love with him too. Falling being the operative word.
Why it works: It’s not a lie because you probably do feel strongly, but it doesn’t mislead him into thinking you are in love yet. If anything, it provides hope that love is not too far behind. It shows you are committed to the relationship and that you may soon be joining him in Loveland.
3. Express shock and awe. Say something like, “That’s so sweet. You’re going to make me cry. I am so happy I found you.” Whatever it is, make sure it’s genuine.
Why it works: You haven’t told him you love him or given much hope for love in the near future, but you have made it clear that you are receptive to his love. It will surely take away from his embarrassment, if nothing else.
4. Highlight the positive. Tell him what an amazing guy he is and how much you’ve been enjoying the relationship so far and what your future together has to hold.
Why it works: Focusing on the positives of your relationship and all the things you adore about him is the next best thing to saying you love him back. Highlight how the relationship makes you feel and why you appreciate him as much as you can. It will definitely lessen the blow and let him know that even though you don’t love him, you love being with him and don’t want things to end.
5. Actions speak loudest. Say nothing and give him a very passionate kiss. Then make plans for the next date.
Why it works: It may not be the best way to handle it long term, but at least it buys you some time to figure out what you will say in the event he tells you again, which he probably will. It’s definitely perfect if you’re the type who has trouble thinking on her feet. Besides, how many men do you know who would complain about a good, body tingling, tongue down?