I’ve been dating Josh for three months. He’s good-looking, smart, and most importantly, treats me with respect. I’ve had a tough dating and relationship history. I was engaged to a guy who never followed through with his promises and broke off the engagement. I was married to a man who cheated. I’ve been following your great advice, and I now love and respect myself so much more. Because of that, I’ve been able to slowly develop this wonderful relationship. I don’t want to mess things up. Here’s the problem: Josh has never said “I love you”. I feel that he really cares, but I’d feel so much better if I heard those words. Am I being silly or insecure? Or should I be concerned if he doesn’t say those three magic words?
Thanks so much,
Congratulations on your relationship with Josh! This sounds like your first truly healthy relationship. Do you have a reason to be concerned if he doesn't say, “I love you” after a three month courtship? It sounds like you’re ready to confess your love, but he may not be on the same page.
Please don't get caught up in the significance of those three words right now. It's far more important to watch what he does, not what he says.
If he’s calling or texting every day, taking you out several times a week, and showing you he cares deeply about you, you should feel pretty secure in your relationship. I would be more concerned if he said, “I love you” after 4 dates, and his actions did not match up. I have a client who's been dating the love of her life for a year, and he said "I love you" several months before she was ready to reciprocate. It's not because she didn't care. It had more to do with her rocky relationship history, and the importance she placed on those three words.
I have created a self-assessment for you. Take this test to know how he really feels about you (with or without those three words).
The “Does He Love Me” self-assessment
• Is he calling consistently?
• Does he take me out weekly?
• Is the relationship escalating?
• Do I feel valued?
• Does he make me feel cherished?
• Do I feel respected?
• Is he considerate, kind, and thoughtful?
If you can answer ‘yes’ to all of the questions above, he probably loves you. People express their love in many different ways; through touch, language, actions, and gifts. In Gary Chapman’s book, "The Five Love Languages", he lists the five ways of expression:
1. Words of Affirmation
2. Quality Time
3. Receiving Gifts
4. Acts of Service
5. Physical Touch
I suggest you take the love languages assessment to find out what your preferred language of expression is. It would be a great idea to ask Josh to do the same.
Understanding the way you each express love is one of the keys to accepting and embracing your partner. It takes away any anxiety that you may not be getting what you need in a relationship.
Those three words are highly overrated. They are meaningful, but so are lots of other forms of expression. Remember to watch what he does more than what he says. And make sure both of you understand each other’s love languages. You’ll be able to take a deep breath and relax into the relationship.
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