The First Thing To Do If He Says He's Not "In Love" With You

You deserve everything you want out of a relationship — not just the scraps he's willing to give you.

Last updated on Dec 25, 2023

Woman sitting down looking out Brooke Cagle | Unsplash

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 teeny 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 plans — "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.

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???



RELATED: If He Stopped Doing These 12 Things, Chances Are He's Falling Out Of Love


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 do know what that means. "I love you but I'm not IN love with you" translates to "It's over."

Most men hate to disappoint women — especially ones 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 easily.


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 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, that you do have control over your actions. So what should you do?

RELATED: What I Realized When He Told Me He's Not 'In Love' With Me

Let's find out using this very relevant reader question as an example:


"Dear Paige, What does it mean when he says that he Loves You but he's not "in love" with you? When he calls every day but says he doesn't want a relationship? When he tells you that you are an extremely important person to him but never makes time to spend with you? Does it just all mean that you're an idiot to believe him?" —Vanessa

Hi Vanessa,

Of course, you're not an idiot.

However, you are setting yourself up for pain and disappointment if you don't see your man's words and actions for what they are: His escape plan. But give yourself some credit here... your intuition is right on. In your heart, you know this to be true. If you truly took everything he said at face value, you wouldn't have written to me.


So I know this will be painful, but let's face the truth right now (we'll do it together). Like ripping off a Band-Aid, it will hurt less if you do it quickly.

We've already discussed your first question at the beginning of today's dish: "I love you but I'm not in love with you" means that he's breaking up with you. I'm sure he does care about you a great deal, but it doesn't mean that there's hope to mend your relationship. You'll be much better off if you come to terms with the fact that it's over.

As I mentioned a moment ago, although you don't have control over what he says, you do have control over what you do. You say that "he calls every day but says he doesn't want a relationship." Although the saying goes that "actions speak louder than words," even though he's calling you, it just doesn't get any louder or clearer than "I don't want a relationship."



If you want a relationship, then you have a choice. Do not take his phone calls. I know it's tough because you miss him, but staying in contact with him will not change his mind and make him want to get back together.


RELATED: 20 Signs The Relationship Is Over For Him (Because He's Over You)

Here are some reasons why he might be calling (all are selfish, btw):

  • He wants the option of hooking up with you when he feels like it (No thank you! Getting intimate with your ex will only confuse you, hurt you, and keep you from healing your heart and moving on to someone who does want a relationship.)
  • He misses you and still wants to be able to talk to you (Sorry, pal... Your amazing conversation skills are reserved for the lucky guy you're in a relationship with!)
  • He wants to date other people but keep in touch with you in case he realizes that he made a mistake and wants you back. (No way! He had his chance with you and if he wasn't sure, well, too bad! You're nobody's second choice.)

So cut him off now and start focusing on taking care of you. And to address your last question about the fact that he says you're an important person in his life but never spends any time with you — well, Vanessa... let me turn this around and ask you: When someone is an important person in your life, you want to spend as much time as possible with them, right? Even if you're busy with work or school or other obligations, you make time to see them, don't you?


Well, I'm sorry to say it, but it sounds to me like this guy is just blowing smoke.

My best advice is to stop focusing on him — what he's thinking, what he wants, what his actions mean — and begin to put the focus where it belongs: YOU.

You deserve everything you want out of a relationship. You do not have to settle for scraps from a man who is incapable of spending time with you and committing to you exclusively. 

And if you are willing to do some challenging work to look within yourself to learn the lessons from your breakup, you will heal your heart, have the strength to move on, and build a real relationship with a wonderful man who is completely, utterly IN LOVE with YOU!


RELATED: Don't Ignore These Signs He Doesn’t Want A Relationship With You

Paige Parker is an author and the founder of Dating Without Drama. She teaches women to improve their self-esteem and better understand men so they can find and keep a loving relationship.