You're dating a guy and from what you can tell, things seem to be going well. Ok, fine, if you MUST admit it, you have a few teensy doubts...
* He's spending a lot less time with you than he used to (e.g. your regular Saturday night date has been replaced with guys' night out.)
* He's not as affectionate with you as he was in the beginning.
* Whenever you ask him about future plans (e.g. "Have you checked your calendar to see if you can make it to my cousin Sheila's wedding with me next month?") he dodges the question.
* Sure, there are a few more red flags but you don't want to get into it.
More from YourTango: 10 Post-Breakup Decisions You're Sure to Regret
This is bumming you out. Still, you're pretty shocked when he sits you down and says, "We have to talk." (Especially because he NEVER wants to "talk.") Then he says those dreaded ten words: "I love you, but I'm not IN love with you."
You feel like you've been hit on the head with a frying pan.
Ummmm...what??? What exactly does THAT mean???
Now I've seen this time and time again -- with my girlfriends and the women who write me with their dating dilemmas: When a woman senses that there is major trouble in her relationship, she has the amazing ability to grasp at straws -- mostly by making excuses for her man -- to try to keep things together. "Well, hey. It's not the end of the world. We can work through this," she thinks. "After all, he does LOVE me! He's just [distracted with work / got a lot on his mind / been feeling a little depressed lately / got issues with his mother / insert your convenient excuse here]. I just need to help him fall back IN LOVE with me. Now how do I do that?"
The thing is, deep down, we all really do KNOW what that means. "I love you but I'm not IN love with you" means "It's over."
Most men hate to disappoint women -- especially one they care about. And ALL men hate to see women cry. It makes them feel utterly helpless, panicked, and desperate to find the closest exit. Which is why they've come up with this confusing line, in the hopes of letting you down easy. It's one of several lines men use when they know they need to end a relationship but don't want to hurt you (truthfully, sometimes WE use these on men too, don't we?)
* "It's not you, it's me."
* "I just need some time to sort out my own issues."
* "I've been so hurt in the past; I just don't know if I'm capable of being in a relationship."
* "I want you in my life, we just can't be exclusive."
I could go on... Now if you find yourself faced with this awkward conversation, unfortunately you have no control over what your guy SAYS. The good news is, you DO have control over YOUR ACTIONS. So what SHOULD you do? Let's find out using this very relevant reader question as an example:
More from YourTango: Stop Sabotaging That New Relationship: 4 Tips for a Drama-Free Courtship
More Juicy Content From YourTango: