A related problem is when someone has difficulty telling us, "I love you." In those situations, we may look at how we are treated and if it's wonderful, we may try to live without those words. If things are going well in a relationship we may pass this over and think, "He's not good at expressing his feelings," or "I know she really loves me, she just can't say it." These are signs to proceed with caution! It isn't necessary, especially in long term relationships to always be saying, "I love you" to each other, but when it's rare or missing in the early stages there is cause for concern. Do you really want to be with someone who has that much trouble expressing their feelings? This problem does not tend to become less difficult with time.
ACTIONS MATTER MORE THAN WORDS OR FEELINGS
No matter how much someone feels like they love us, that love is really of little value if is not associated with caring, considerate and loving behavior the majority of the time. I have worked with many couples over the years where there was physical or emotional abuse. The abusive partner, if they truly love the other person, will not just say, "but I love you so much, I'm so sorry!". You should see them doing everything they possibly can to control the behavior that hurts you emotionally or physically. Are they in therapy? Have they become sober? Have they gone to their medical doctor to make sure there is nothing physical contributing to their loss of control? Have they considered medication to control their depression or hostility? Those are the behaviors that matter. Except in the cases of serious or repetitive physical abuse, no one needs to give up on a relationship easily, but ask yourself: Is my partner doing everything—and I mean everything—to bring their hurtful behavior under control. Are they greatly distressed at the unhappiness they cause you, enough that they spring in to action to correct it?
Hearing the words "I love you" feel wonderful. Without loving behavior, though, those words will never bring happiness.
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