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Why can't I say I love him?

(23 Posts)
ANewDoll Sun 13-May-12 23:26:31

I divorced my ex in 2010 after nearly 40 years together because of his inappropriate relationship with OW.

I started dating someone earlier this year who I had known as an acquaintance since the summer of 2010. We get on very well; he is caring, kind and considerate and in the last few months, has made me realise how loveless and empty my marriage had been. I love the companionship and fun we now have and am quite content.

But.......he is totally and completely besotted with me and has told me that he is in love with me and loves me. I believe I am in love with him too but I just am unable to say iit although everything I do demonstrates it. Is it because after the betrayal of my XH, my defences have come up? Is it because it is all too raw and emotional? Can someone who has gone through this please advise as I feel that I am being unfair and unkind? Or is this normal and I just have to be patient?

peppapiglet Sun 13-May-12 23:43:41

i understand what you mean. you are holding back and if he is crowding you are less likely to say it. when you properly feel it inside you will say it. dont put yourself under any pressure, love takes time and grows. you are not being unfair or unkind, you cannot force love, you are being true to yourself by not saying it yet.. you are still deciding. I think it is a process, you are questioning it which maybe is a part of the process of falling in love. I have been with someone completely "besotted" etc and questioned it so early, that person would not back off and eventually i didnt get to the love stage although i felt it a little at first. I think for now take it as it comes, you say you are content and enjoying it, just go with that, but also look out for warning signals and red flags and be careful not to get hurt. Because after so long with your exH if you split with this man you do end up grieving again.
but for now, enjoy and relax smile i think

peppapiglet Sun 13-May-12 23:50:07

a relate councellor said to me when he tells you he loves you, you can explain gently you are not quite there yet (in a positive way), hopefully he will adjust and go at your pace. unfortunately that didnt happen with me which is the reason i didnt fall in love, i was crowded, overpowered and overwhelmed

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 14-May-12 06:05:07

You don't have to say 'I love you' or feel guilting or unkind for not saying it. Actions speak far louder than words and if you behave with each other in a loving way, that should be enough. Someone who is 'besotted' can be quite hard work and sadly, IME, I've found the ones constantly expressing devotion are often suspect. Enjoy his company and tell him so but never feel obliged to say something you don't mean. Good luck

ANewDoll Mon 14-May-12 08:43:16

Thank you for your very helpful advice and good wishes.

I certainly do not feel "crowded, overpowered and overwhelmed", Peppa. I have a very full on job and certainly have not dropped my friends or other interests because of this relationship. He understands that all those things are important to me and these were, in fact, the only things which kept me going during the dark days of 2010 / 2011.

"Besotted" was probably the wrong choice of word on my part, Cogito, and I do not feel any pressure from him to actually say that I love him or that I am in love with him. I know that he is secure in the knowledge that my actions do speak louder than words. And I have explained that although I am not quite on the same page as him, I suspect that I am probably only a few paragraphs behind!

He understands where I am coming from and knows that when I eventually do say those words, I will mean them. Psychologically, I think I am steering away from those words because my XH was saying them to me and OW (via secret texts and emails) up to the day I filed for divorce!

Thank you for sharing your experiences.

FateLovesTheFearless Mon 14-May-12 08:46:26

I love you is just three words. You say you show your love. That's a lot more important than saying it. And if you are showing your love he will know it. Take things at your own pace and if he gets insecure just explain that you don't want to rush anything . You will say it when you are ready.

AutumnSummers Mon 14-May-12 09:04:26

"I trust you" is a bigger compliment than "I love you" anyway because, while you always love the ones you trust, you don't always trust the ones you love stolen from FB poster

It does sound as if the relationship is intense, which can be off-putting to people itself. The fact that you're even mentioning your ex as a possible reason for this is telling of the fact that you might be putting guards up because of what he did but that isn't a bad thing. You have been hurt and this is your first serious relationship since. It's only natural that you would have your guard up.

Do you feel like your new man is scaring you off a bit?

Mumsyblouse Mon 14-May-12 09:11:58

The time will arrive, perhaps, or perhaps it won't. I wouldn't get too worried, I am not one for blurting out declarations early in a relationship, indeed I've only said those three magic words to one man in my life ever (my husband) and that was a good few months after he said it. Just be honest with him about your reasons for caution. It's fantastic you've met a companion and someone who loves you, this is a lovely story, so don't worry too much about where it is going, just enjoy the ride.

ANewDoll Mon 14-May-12 09:51:03

I am not aware that my new relationship is intense, Autumn. Because of our jobs and other interests, we are not together 24/7 but when we are together, we really enjoy each other's company and I can see us sharing a life together. I have thought seriously about your question and no, he is not scaring me off. I think I am just juggling with different waves of emotions and am still trying to work out the best ways of handling them.

XH was the only man I ever had a relationship with and that was for almost 40 years and my new man is the first relationship in almost 2 years, so in a way, my experience in these matters is very limited. I even had to post on Mumsnet earlier in the year for help on dating etiquette when I had a first date with my new man!

Peppa mentioned "warning signs and red flags" earlier on - what should I be looking out for?

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 14-May-12 10:20:34

Sometimes, excessive displays of affection are a 'red flag' because a lot of people that turn out to be nasty pieces of work will often lure in their victim that way. I don't think that applies in your case if your 'besotted' was a little overstated.

Bottom line is that if you've given your love freely in the past and had that trust and affection spat back in your face you're going to be very wary about going in body and soul all over again. You're going to stay a little more detached, a little more private, not wear your heart on your sleeve quite as willingly perhaps. Loving someone makes us vulnerable to being hurt... not 'abuse' necessarily, so we hold a little back. It's why our first love is often so special because, after we move on from that, we never quite sink our faith so unconditionally into someone else again. Normal. Normal. Normal.

Lovingfreedom Mon 14-May-12 10:31:32

I know the feeling. Guy I'm seeing is full of love talk too. I feel like I am as keen as he is in many ways and I'm not seeing anyone else/looking for anyone else...but I am reluctant to use the following words 'girlfriend, boyfriend, love, relationship, couple' etc. Don't know about you but I just want to enjoy it without having to label it. I'm not long out of long term, EAish relationship though so enjoying freedom and definitely not wanting to get tied down or to have the expectations of a 'relationship' or of being someone's partner, whatever they are.

Lovingfreedom Mon 14-May-12 10:33:04

Wary too of devotion/expressiveness/attentiveness being a red flag...but then again...is it just a nice guy? Difficult to tell the difference/know what to expect.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 14-May-12 10:42:55

The way you tell the difference between a genuinely nice man and an overly-devoted Jekyll/Hyde type is to keep your radar switched on and judge them by actions rather than words. If it's a ruse, they can't keep it up for long and something will always give them away. It's a question of spotting those moments, trusting your feelings, and not getting sidetracked too much by 'but he's such a nice chap the rest of the time'

Kaluki Mon 14-May-12 11:50:52

DP said it to me first (by text then out loud) and I clammed up like you. I think I felt under pressure to say it back.
Then one night, after a night out with friends I called him quite tipsy from the train to tell him I was on my way home and it just fell out of my mouth at the end of the conversation! It felt like the most natural thing to say (and the drink helped grin)
Just wait till it feels natural to say it.

dondon33 Mon 14-May-12 11:55:57

I'm not surprised your struggling after your last relationship. It's not easy to simply forget all that happened in the past, even if you are now in a happy place . Counselling could be an option for you to try and eradicate bad memories of your ex and help you move forward in dealing with emotions.

At the moment I would say you are doing nothing wrong though, this is new and if you don't feel ready to say I love you, thats ok, don't make yourself feel bad about it. If you're showing it in other ways to your DP then he will feel it even if, at the moment, he can't hear it.
Do you like him telling you? or is it making you feel uncomfortable because you can't reciprocate.
From what you have wrote it sounds like you have been honest with him and IMO he can't ask for more than that at the moment.
Maybe you could try some alternative uses of the words if your comfortable with it, instead of saying it back when he tells you, you could say.. I love how I feel in this relationship, I love how happy you make me or something similar, it's giving something but not quite the full heart on sleeve.
Good luck I wish you lots of happiness in your new relationship xx

ANewDoll Mon 14-May-12 12:45:35

Thank you for your very insightful responses and especially the advice on "red flags".

dondon, I am not uncomfortable at all about him telling me that he loves me. I have been totally honest and transparent with him and I have used exactly the same words which you suggested i.e."I love how I feel in this relationship and I now feel secure and wanted for the first time in a long time".

Kaluki, I loved your story and I can imagine myself (in a comical, bizarre moment), probably saying it while in the throes of wild passion!

Loving - I know exactly what you mean about using the words you mentioned i.e. "girlfriend, boyfriend, love, relationship, couple". I still use the phrase "stepping out" when talking to friends (to much giggling and looks of amazement)! I know, I know, just shows my age!

Thanks for all the kind wishes. I will remain vigilant but at the same time, enjoy and have the time of my life!

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 14-May-12 14:00:25

I'm reminded of my very best friend, now late sixties, determinedly single but always with a steady stream of admirers. She once told me that when they say 'I love you' she always replies 'that's nice'. Her rationale ... 'if you say it back they don't think they have to keep trying'.

Lovingfreedom Mon 14-May-12 14:05:47

lol. I think your friend has a good point there. Does seem to work. My new 'friend' keeps rocking up with flowers, chocolates, champagne, perfume etc...I can't really understand why...but I'm not complaining! Still not using the words on the banned list!

ANewDoll Mon 14-May-12 15:53:00

Cogito, your friend has a brilliant strategy equivalent to the "treat them mean and keep them keen" routine!

Loving, I have had flowers, favourite magazines / newspapers, a new corkscrew (mine had broke!), pints of milk, plenty of cuddles but no chocolates or perfume! But I am not complaining either!

Lovingfreedom Mon 14-May-12 15:55:35

ANewDoll I've had DVDs, sweets, belgian buns, storage jars (just cos he thought i'd like them!) but no corkscrew and no milk!! I might complain about that! lol. x

ANewDoll Mon 14-May-12 16:12:12

Loving, to be honest, the corkscrew was for his benefit as well as he does enjoy a glass of wine! We will have to keep in regular contact and compare lists from time to time! I do like the sound of belgian buns though - that could swing it for me!

ANewDoll Sun 07-Oct-12 21:52:27

I finally said it today!

Totally unexpected, totally unplanned. I said something to him over breakfast and ended the sentence with "And I love you"!

It felt natural and it felt good and it felt right!

And to all those out there who are experiencing the deepest despair and sadness because they have been betrayed in their relationships, hang on in there because there will be someone out there one day who will cherish and treasure you and love you. I have been there!

HappyGirlNow Sun 07-Oct-12 22:16:40

Fantastic :-) And I echo your sentiments! 4 years ago I was in the deepest despair at the end of an 11 year relationship with my cheating ex. Today? I'm ecstatically planning my wedding to the love of my life.. After heartache the good times come! grin

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