Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Your Turn: “I Blurted Out ‘I Love You’ and He Ignored Me!”

In a feature I call “Your Turn,” in which you, the readers, get to answer the question, I’m presenting the following letter without commentary from me:

For the past year I have been in a great relationship, I never thought I would find someone whom I would mesh with so well. However, there is a big elephant in the room that I don’t know how to deal with. About two months ago, I told my boyfriend I loved him (I don’t have the best mental filter and I kind of blurted it out in the middle of an unrelated conversation). He didn’t respond at all — just returned to what we’d be talking about even though I am sure he heard me. Ever since, I’ve acted like I didn’t say it, and he’s acted like he didn’t hear it.I haven’t repeated the sentiment even though I am sure of how I feel. But I’m scared to say it again because his lack of response hurt … a lot. It felt like I dove into an empty pool and hit the concrete. So I would like to avoid that. I think part of why it hurt me so much was that I was pretty sure he would say it back. He’s affectionate, thoughtful and in the last two months had said things like how lucky he feels to be dating me, and how great this past year has been. Is it wrong for me to want to hear the L word? Or at least have a conversation about if he is going to ever have those type of feelings for me? — L Bomb Explosion

78 comments… add one
  • Budj

    Budj February 20, 2012, 9:15 am

    Maybe he just isn’t the type to say it and prefers action instead…but flat out ignoring it and pretending you never said it is really weird. After a year, in most cases, that should be a pretty easy thing to get over if he is as in to you as you him. Why don’t you ask him about it?

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  • avatar

    mlippart February 20, 2012, 9:20 am

    I keep thinking of that great Seinfeld episode whilst typing this (when George said it to his girlfriend, hahaha). Maybe, at the time, he felt overwhelmed and unsure of how to respond, especially if it was in the midst of an everyday type of conversation- most guys need a good warm up before they jump into the “I love you” talk. But, it seems like he is showing you everyday, in his own way, that he loves you. I agree with Budj- just ask him. If it actually turns out to be some issue with him, it’s good to know about it now. He’s probably just as nervous about saying it, at this point, as you are- maybe he’s thinking “oh crap, I didn’t respond, now I’ve missed my reciprocity window!” or something like that.

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    • avatar

      MsMisery February 20, 2012, 1:28 pm

      Yeah, there was a Sex and the City ep where Carrie said it to Mr. Big and he just kinda pretended she didn’t say it. He ended up telling her he needed to say it in his own time because his previous marriage made him afraid of commitment or something like that. I think there’s either a Seinfeld or SATC episode to cover nearly every relationship/friendship scenario.

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  • avatar

    Renee February 20, 2012, 9:33 am

    I’m no help, I could’t imagine being in a ‘great relationship’ for the past year without telling them I loved them on a regular basis. Four months max. Is this the new norm?

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    • Budj

      Budj February 20, 2012, 9:51 am

      I’d say in my past history about 6 months is it for me. By then I trust the person and feel like I know them well enough and the emotional jitters are still fluttering around enough for it to be blurted randomly…I think a year is definitely long enough to reciprocate even if it caught you off guard.

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    • avatar

      mel February 20, 2012, 9:57 am

      I don’t think there is necessarily a “norm”. Different lengths seem to work well for different people. I know that a girlfriend of mine has yet to say I love you with her boyfriend of over a year, and every time we talk relationships she says she’s happy, and I believe her when she does.

      My boyfriend and I said it in what feels like the first ten minutes, in retrospect. Realistically it was like 2 weeks, and we had known each other as friends before that… if that makes us seem less insane.

      There’s not a one-size-fits-all approach to when you say it, and it doesn’t seem to be a necessary ingredient for happiness for some people. I think there could be a “norm” with your own personal experience, though?

      You prefer 4 months max, I have a track record that suggests I say it waaaay earlier than that.

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      • avatar

        Renee February 20, 2012, 10:15 am

        My husband was on the second date, but we knew each other for six months from a part time job. Definitely on the early side, but I know that’s just as odd. Thank goodness I knew him enough not to be creepy.

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  • avatar

    Yammy February 20, 2012, 9:42 am

    I think it would be reasonable to have a conversation with him about this. It sounds like he does love you. Perhaps, as Budj has suggested, he’s psyched himself out too much to say it or something. My knee jerk reaction upon reading the title was “dump the asshole!” but he actually sounds like a decent (but maybe a bit neurotic) guy. If you know what to know what’s on his heart, ask him.

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  • avatar

    kerrycontrary February 20, 2012, 9:43 am

    Hm…I mean I think most people say I Love You by the time they’ve been together for a year. I would agree that 4-6 months is the norm. Blurting it out in the middle of a regualr conversation probably wasn’t the best idea, and maybe he didn’t even take it seriously or hear it or whatever…But maybe he’s afraid of commitment. Either way, you need to talk to him about this and see where your relationship is going and see how he feels about you. If you are looking for serious love and he isn’t it’s better to find out now. Plus, some people don’t need verbal affirmations of their partner’s feelings, but if you are someone who likes to express that then I think you would like to hear it back.

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  • Skyblossom

    Skyblossom February 20, 2012, 9:45 am

    Just ask. “Do you love me?” The worst they can say is no, or I’m not sure I’m there yet or something of that sort. Whatever it is they say to you if it isn’t an “I love you,” then ask what that means to them. They could say I’m falling for you or I love the time I spend with you or pretty much anything so if they do ask what that means to them.

    I find it hard to believe that one year into your relationship the two of you can’t communicate enough to tell each other how you feel even if you’re not totally head over heals in love you should be able to say what you are feeling. Maybe you’re both in love and afraid of being hurt? Fear itself can destroy relationships just because of the lack of ability to communicate and make yourself vulernerable.

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  • avatar

    jlyfsh February 20, 2012, 9:55 am

    I think your last question is your answer

    Or at least have a conversation about if he is going to ever have those type of feelings for me?

    I think everyone’s relationship flows in it’s own timeline. When you say I love you is when it feels right for both of you. However, after a year you should be able to have a conversation about it. If you can’t that’s a problem and you need to work on your communication. I would just start the conversation by saying something like So, remember a few months ago when I said I love you….and then go from there.

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  • avatar

    CottonTheCuteDog February 20, 2012, 9:56 am

    In May of last year I was dating my boyfriend for about 9 months at that time. I told him I was upset and I needed to talk to him. He suggested we meet for lunch. We were in a restaurant and I said, “you know, we are older and I don’t really want to continue a relationship if it isn’t progressing forward. Eventually there has to be more than just ‘you’re cute’ or ‘you’re pretty’. And if that time isn’t going to come of if you don’t have those feelings then I think we should part ways because otherwise we are just wasting time. I do have those feelings but I have no idea if you have them for me you know?” And he said he understood and that he isn’t going to say it in this unromantic restaurant and he isn’t going to say it just because of this conversation. He told me when he said it he would mean it. He said it less than a month later on a mountain top at the top of a waterfall! <3

    So my advice to you LW is to have the same conversation with your boyfriend.

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    • avatar

      jaybro February 20, 2012, 12:20 pm

      OMG that is disgustingly cute!!

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        CottonTheCuteDog February 20, 2012, 1:16 pm

        what is? My icon or my story? 🙂

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        jaybro February 20, 2012, 1:25 pm

        Frankly, both make me want to vomit rainbows.

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  • avatar

    EricaSwagger February 20, 2012, 10:01 am

    It’s a little strange that you’ve been dating for a year and haven’t said “love” yet. But more strange that you’ve been dating for a year and can’t even talk about it.

    If you meant it and feel he needs to know how you feel, then definitely bring it up. Try saying “so I know it’s been a while since I accidentally blurted out I love you, but I just wanted to tell you it kind of hurt that you ignored it, like you didn’t want to address it at all.” Tell him if he’s not ready to say it, that’s fine, but instead of ignoring it, you should definitely have the conversation.

    If you’d rather wait for him to say it to you and avoid getting hurt again, but you still want to air things out, you should tell him you were caught up in your conversation and just having a really good time and it slipped out, but you weren’t trying to get him to say it back or anything. He might surprise you and say it right then.

    If what you say is true about how he treats you, it’s odd to think he won’t say it or isn’t at least thinking about it. But you shouldn’t just let things stay this awkward between you or it will ruin the good relationship you’ve built. So talk it out. It’s going to be awkward either way, so you might as well be awkward and get answers than be awkward and ignore the situation.

    Side note: My boyfriend blurted it out to me once in the car. I ate a cheerio off the seat of his car (gross, whatever, but he had only dropped it the day before so it wasn’t stale and I don’t care if you judge me!) and he laughed at me and said “oh my god I love you right now!” And this was only about a month-ish into our relationship. I ignored it because I know he didn’t mean “I love you” and I didn’t want to make him feel awkward. Maybe that’s what your bf did.

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  • avatar

    kittyk February 20, 2012, 10:01 am

    I wonder if since you blurted it out randomly mid conversation, and now haven’t said it again, he is hesitating to say it even more thinking that you might be trying to act like you never said it. I would say it again, and if he still doesn’t respond or acts like it wasn’t said, then approach him about it in some way.

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    • avatar

      jaybro February 20, 2012, 12:23 pm

      Yeah, I was thinking along the same lines. Perhaps now he thinks that you didn’t mean to say it since you’re acting like you’ve never said it at this point. So I agree with kittyk, I think you should just say it again in a way that isn’t just blurting out, where it’s obvious that you have put thought into saying it, if that makes sense.

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  • avatar

    Caris February 20, 2012, 10:32 am

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bfx7izBNHeI

    George: I love you
    GF: Let’s get something to eat!

    Like pretty much everyone else said, after 1 year you should be able to talk about this with your bf. I don’t know how long people usually wait to say it, but I think 1 year is long enough to know if you love your SO or not.
    Also, I don’t know when I said it to my bf, or when he said it to me or who said it first actually, but I think it was at around 3 or 4 months in.

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  • avatar

    Bossy Italian Wife February 20, 2012, 10:39 am

    I am really surprised that you guys have been dating so long and that you haven’t said “I love you” yet reciprocally. My husband told me he loved me after we had been dating less than two months. I didn’t return the I love you until two weeks later, but it wasn’t awkward when he said it to me; we kissed and it was a very special moment! I understand that everyone’s experience will be unique to who they are, but you did say it to him and his response was really strange. You need to have a talk with this guy and dig a little deeper, and you sound like an incredibly patient person considering you haven’t brought it up until now.

    After a year, people know where their feelings are headed in a relationship. If he has trouble saying those particular words, then that is something you should be privy to knowing at this point. Open the conversation about this with your boyfriend–after a year he should be comfortable with his feelings and be able to discuss it. That is the mark of an adult.

    We aren’t talking about marriage, we aren’t talking moving in, and I fear that this could become a huge roadblock in your relationship with this guy if you don’t talk about it. The best relationships should certainly include open communication.

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  • avatar

    MissDre February 20, 2012, 10:40 am

    I don’t think you should compare your relationship to what’s “normal” because it differs for everyone. You’ll drive yourself nuts wondering what the “average” is, and that’s the same with anything (saying I love you, meeting the parents, getting a proposal, etc). As long as you are happy, let things happen in their own time. I think what matters in this situation is:

    A) Are you happy in the relationship? Do you feel cared for? Considered? Respected?

    B) Can you talk about? I know sometimes it can be scary to put yourself out their and risk rejection, but sometimes the best thing is to have courage, open yourself up and ask what you need to know. Communication is important. Even if he doesn’t love you, it’s at least best to know that, know why, and make a decision about your next move from there.

    I know this because I have been in the exact same situation. I thought everything was absolutely perfect in the relationship. So after about 6 months, I finally said it. I said, “I love you!” as we were saying goodbye/goodnight. And he mumbled something, said goodnight and left. I was really really hurt. But I decided that overall I was very happy and felt very cared for, so I’d give it some more time.

    By the time our 1st anniversary rolled around, I’d said it maybe once or twice more just via text. Like “Goodnight, I love you.” with no response. So I finally opened my mouth and said, “I really love you a lot. And I feel like you love me too but I don’t know if you do because you’ve never said it.”

    He was honest in his response. He said he cares for me very very much and he’s really happy in our relationship, but that he just needs more time. He said he doesn’t know why, but he just moves really slowly with this type of thing, and he admitted that it took him 3 years to say the words to his ex.

    I thanked him for his honesty and while I was hurt that I didn’t hear the words back, I sat and thought about what he said. I thought about his actions. He treats me like a princess. He’s always there for me. He gives me incredibly thoughtful gifts. He’s introduced me to his family. He’s planning a trip with me. He spends all his time with me. He makes me feel respected. I ‘FEEL’ loved. So I decided to take him by his actions rather than his words.

    We’re approaching 2 years together now. And he still hasn’t said it. I wish he would, but you know what? I ‘FEEL’ even more loved than I did a year ago. He shows me every day through his actions that he loves me and I’ve decided that I’m ok with it. This may not work for everyone, I realize. But I’m honestly and truly happy with our relationship, so if he needs to take 3 years to say it, I’m ok with that. I don’t doubt his commitment to me. He even talks about baby names with me!!

    So, the point of my story is, don’t go by what other people tell you is the norm. As long as you are happy with the way he treats you, that he shows you through his actions that he is committed and that he cares, just leave it at that and give him more time. Also, communication is important. Talk to him, get it out there on the table, hear his side of the story and explain yours, so you can better decide for yourself where this is going and what you want out of it.

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    • Skyblossom

      Skyblossom February 20, 2012, 10:51 am

      This shows your boyfriend has a great level of integrity and honesty. He didn’t lie to you and tell you what he knew you wanted to hear. He was honest and that’s a great foundation trait for a relationship.

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    • avatar

      Valerie February 20, 2012, 11:20 am

      Love this response! I was thinking the same thing–does the LW’s boyfriend make her FEEL loved, even if he hasn’t said it? My husband took over 9 months to say “I love you” to me, but I knew that he loved me way before then based on his actions and how he treated me.

      Also, I definitely agree with your last paragraph–great advice!

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    • avatar

      jaybro February 20, 2012, 12:25 pm

      I wholeheartedly agree with ignoring what seems to be ‘normal’, because that can just make someone crazy, especially with something like this.

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    • avatar

      Francine February 20, 2012, 2:45 pm

      You know, all of these responses kind of show that there is no “normal” when it comes to things like this. Some of us are saying that a few months is enough, for other couples a year, etc. But it’s important to see that it not only varies from couple to couple but person to person.

      And love can feel differently to different people. For some it’s an overwhelming feeling that can overtake them in a moment and they can’t help but express it out loud at that time. For others it a slow gradual build up to a feeling that deserves a carefully selected perfect moment to be revealed. Some people can say it knowing that it can be fleeting and others need to feel that they’re likely in a forever relationship before they can say it. Some people feel huge feelings that they mistake for love and others feel love but don’t recognize it right away.

      So many variables and possibilities. I can’t see why so many of us are amazed that this couple didn’t come to the realization that they’re in love and were ready to say it out loud at the same time.

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    • avatar

      SpyGlassez February 20, 2012, 10:45 pm

      The Ginger and I had been dating about four months when I told him I loved him, but I also told him that I didn’t expect him to say it in return then. I have a policy of telling people what I feel, because I never known when it will be the last time. I told him I didn’t want to say it if it wasn’t the time, but that I wanted him to know I loved him.

      He told me he wasn’t ready, but that he respected and cared for me more than anyone else he had ever dated, and that he knew “it wouldn’t be long before he could say it.” It stung a little, but not badly, because I had told him he didn’t have to say it because he thought I wanted to hear it. It was another couple of weeks before he admitted the same at a completely random time during a random conversation, but he told me he’d been feeling it for a long time and hadn’t been sure if he could trust it.

      Kinda funny, we’ve been together nearly three years now and he once made a comment about how he had been in love with me almost since our first date. I asked him why he had been so casual about saying it and he was horrified. He had forgotten that the first time he said he loved me hadn’t been some big Hallmark moment. But he says it every day, constantly, so I never felt I needed the big Hallmark moment. It’s just funny that he thought it was so romantic…but instead it was so very US.

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  • avatar

    muffy February 20, 2012, 10:42 am

    I would actually be concerned that he didn’t say it back to you after a year. I don’tunderstand why he would scared to say it to you after you already paved the way by saying it yourself – he knows it’s reciprocated. I definitely think you need to talk to him about this. I don’t believe he can’t muster up the ability to tell you if he already feels it for you and you’ve said it. I think it’s because he does not love you back. But you should talk to him about it and decide what to do from there

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  • Fabelle

    Fabelle February 20, 2012, 10:58 am

    Bring it up again! Don’t make it a big thing; you don’t even have to mention “uhh, so that time I blurted it out…” At least, I don’t think it’s necessary. You should just work up to it, so he gets a little mental preparation as to where the conversation is going.

    My guess as to why he didn’t acknowledge your “I love you” the first time– it was snuck suddenly into the conversation, so he had only a few seconds to decide whether to be like, “Wait, what? You do?” or “Yeah, so I’m probably gonna wait until next month to buy those sneakers.” He could have said ‘I love you’ back, but some people require more of a build-up and conversation the first time “I love you”s are exchanged.

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  • iwannatalktosampson

    Iwannatalktosampson February 20, 2012, 11:03 am

    So i’m your boyfriend. I grew up in a loving house. My parents are still together 30 years later and are actually happily married. They hang out together all the time and go on dates and are adorable. I don’t know that I have ever heard them say I love you to eachother. It never really needed to be said. I am kind of the same way. Saying it all the time for me almost makes it mean less. I feel like if I say it too much i’m devaluing it. I have only ever said it to my husband. So I don’t know that you should get all freaked out about it. He hasn’t said it but he shows you he loves you all the time. Just because he hasn’t said it doesn’t mean he doesn’t want to…it just might mean he is uncomfortable actually saying the words.

    Maybe just talk to him about it – like “listen, I know we’ve both been avoiding my little slip a while ago. I just want you to know that that is really how I feel. If you don’t and don’t think you will never feel the same, I want to know sooner than later. Otherwise if you are completely happy and satisfied in our relationship, I don’t want you to get freaked out if I continue to tell you that I love you, because it’s how I feel and I want to be able to share that feeling with you.”

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    • avatar

      Addie Pray February 20, 2012, 11:14 am

      See – that’s funny because I’m the opposite. I say “I love you” at the end of every phone call with my mom, sisters, brothers… once on accident with my boss. “Love you, bye.” Click. Oy. … So I’d probably freak out if I dated someone like you. Or I’d just need to learn that some people aren’t as slutty with the “I love you’s” as I am.

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        Bossy Italian Wife February 20, 2012, 11:17 am

        Yes I agree with Addie! I don’t think that saying I love you cheapens it at all. It is ALWAYS a priority for me to tell the people I love “I love you,” because you never know which moment is your last, or theirs. I never want “I love yous” going unsaid because for me, love is the most special and wonderful thing in the world.

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        Addie Pray February 20, 2012, 11:48 am

        Agreed. My parents were always very affectionate with each other, with us, etc. that it just feels very natural to me to be touchy feely and drop the “I love yous” generously. But I don’t over-think it. I am just conditioned that way. I guess if you were raised differently then it wouldn’t be in your nature, and saying “I love you” would be some sort of thing, a big deal. I guess in the end it doesn’t really matter. So long as the people you love know you love them and you know they know you love them, and you know they know you know they know. … You get it.

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        mcminnem February 20, 2012, 11:29 am

        I’m like you, Addie. The one real fight that I’ve had with my boyfriend ended with me hanging up the phone without saying “I love you”, and it was totally weird.

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        Iwannatalktosampson February 20, 2012, 11:34 am

        See I’ve gotten more slutty with it on the phone over the years with my mom, but I think it’s just because I don’t live in the same country as her and she will say it to me. But I still can’t remember a time when either my Dad or Brother has ever said it to me. I didn’t grow up with the touchy feelies. When I got married my dad said, and I quote “good, now you’re someone else’s problem,” haha. I don’t know we’re just kind of a sarcastic bunch that can’t take anything seriously. I can’t imagine being sentimental with my Dad.

        The ‘k, love you bye’ flows out of my mouth a lot, but I rarely conciously am like I. Love. You. Even now imagining staring into my husbands eyes and saying ‘I love you’ seems so unnatural to me.

        As for the whole argument of you never know when you’re going to see them next, or if at all – I get that. But I don’t think it matters because everyone knows I love them. And I know they love me. So I guess it really just comes down to the value you place on the words vs. the value of feeling loved. To me the words don’t matter, I feel loved by the people I love. So if I didn’t say it to my husband this morning and he died in a car crash today (knock on wood) I wouldn’t have any regrets because it’s not like I magically don’t love him just because I didn’t say it. He knew when he left and he knows everytime he thinks about it.

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        jaybro February 20, 2012, 12:29 pm

        Hahaha, I totally grew up in the same boat. I don’t think I’ve ever heard my parents say I love you to each other. And only my mom will say it to us kids, when she’s leaving on a trip or something like that. Affection just doesn’t happen, so it’s always a bit weird for me when I’m around a family who DOES show their affection.

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      • call-me-hobo

        call-me-hobo February 20, 2012, 11:38 am

        Man, I’m so paranoid that something awful could possibly happen, I usually end every conversation with family or my bf with “I love you”. I wouldn’t be able to bear “I love you” NOT being the last thing I ever said to them.

        I know it’s super morbid, but you never know!

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      • avatar

        Fabelle February 20, 2012, 12:56 pm

        SAME. I always have terrible thoughts like that, so even if I’m fighting with somebody it’ll be like “I LOVE YOU BYE”

        It’s also the reason I’m bad at the silent treatment (not that anybody should be talented at that, anyway)…I always think something bad could happen to the person during the time I’m ignoring them

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        Anna February 21, 2012, 3:40 am

        I am with you Addie! My boyfriend and I said those 3 words not long after we started dating, because we fell hard for each other. Now, we basically say it every time we hang up the phone, one of us leaves for work, and before we fall asleep on those glorious nights when we actually get to sleep together. I don’t feel that it cheapens it at all; it still makes me smile and blush a little every time he says it. If he hadn’t said it by the 1 year mark, it would take it as a sign that he doesn’t love me and may just be using me for sex.

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    • Skyblossom

      Skyblossom February 20, 2012, 11:24 am

      I grew up in a very reserved community where people didn’t go around saying I love you and hugging. There just weren’t public displays of affection. Many of my aunts and uncles moved to other regions of the country and started hugging everyone hello and goodbye and it seemed really strange to us in our reserved community. Now I’m one of those people who hugs hello and goodbye and I tell my husband that I love him and I hug my kids and we’re all comfortable with that. So I think that partly it depends on where you live and your family. If you grow up in a family that doesn’t say I love you then you’re self conscious about it.

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    • Budj

      Budj February 20, 2012, 11:40 am

      i don’t say it much either. I like to mean it / use it sparingly…I don’t mind if my s/o says it all the time if that’s what they prefer…but don’t fuckin harrass me to say it back. haha.

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        Iwannatalktosampson February 20, 2012, 11:45 am

        Totally agree! The forced nature of it is what I can’t handle. Or that someone would question whether I love them or not on whether I said the words. Do I act like I love you? Do I clean out your nasty ass truck on your birthday? (How the F can someone have a sticky steering wheel – GAG). Do I make your favorite dinner every week? Do I wake up early when you have a busy week and pack you a lunch just because I’m cute like that? Do I buy you sour patch kids and leave them in your truck for you to find after work just because?

        I don’t know I’m kind of confused about so many people saying that she should break up with him if he won’t say it back. Really? So now you’re just forcing him to say it before he’s ready? That’s romantic!

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        Addie Pray February 20, 2012, 11:50 am

        Hey Iwanna and Budj, now, don’t go get your panties in a wad, but I love you. See? That wasn’t so hard, was it?

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        Iwannatalktosampson February 20, 2012, 11:55 am

        Thank you 🙂

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        Addie Pray February 20, 2012, 12:01 pm

        *gasp* — say it back, say it, say it back right now.

        you know, now that i think about it, i even say it to my SILs. maybe no one should ever take my “i love yous” seriously.

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        Iwannatalktosampson February 20, 2012, 2:35 pm

        But Addie, I show you how I feel all the time – why isn’t that good enough?

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        MissDre February 20, 2012, 12:20 pm

        LOL I leave sour patch kids for my boyfriend to find too 🙂

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        Iwannatalktosampson February 20, 2012, 12:22 pm

        If that doesn’t say ‘I love you’ I don’t know what does!

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    • iwannatalktosampson

      Iwannatalktosampson February 20, 2012, 11:54 am

      Oh man I just thought of a funny story about this. So I have mentioned that my mother in law is a whole big basket of crazy. Well she is a touchy feely person (and a drunk which I think makes her even less likely to have a filter) and she will randomly say I love you to me and it weirds me the fuck out. I always respond with thank you. Like every time. It’s like she’s trying to trick me into saying it back or something. Like one of these times I know I’m going to slip. I swear she’s waiting to catch me off guard and I’ll just say it back without even thinking and I will be so pissed. I guess from a non touchy feely persons perspective it offends me that someone would try to trick me into saying it. I’M NOT SAYING IT. I DON’T FEEL THAT WAY ABOUT YOU.

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        evanscr05 February 21, 2012, 9:47 am

        Oh, man. I met my MIL within a month of dating my husband, and before the weekend was out, she had already told me she loved me and kissed me on the lips. She’s awkward like that, though.

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      Francine February 20, 2012, 2:59 pm

      I totally get that. I don’t want the kind of love where the words need to be said in order to be conveyed. And I don’t want I Love You to ever just become that thing we say when we see each other, speak on the phone, etc.

      But I don’t think my love is any greater than that of people who say it all the time. Our ways are just different and that’s okay. Just like some of us yell when we’re angry and some of us don’t.

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  • sobriquet

    sobriquet February 20, 2012, 11:16 am

    I’m not really surprised your boyfriend ignored it. You randomly blurted out a very Serious Thing in a normal conversation. After a year, though, I think you should be able to sit him down and talk about your feelings. Maybe he wanted to say it first and now has no idea what to do (this happened to me). Maybe he’s never said it before and therefore it carries more weight. You will never know unless you talk about it. It’s not a red flag at this point, but if he’s uncomfortable talking about his feelings (and listening to yours), then I’d say move on.

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    • Budj

      Budj February 20, 2012, 11:22 am

      “It’s not a red flag at this point, but if he’s uncomfortable talking about his feelings (and listening to yours), then I’d say move on.”

      That’s the thing imo. After a year he should not have “resumed conversation” like it was never said…that should have sparked a discussion on how he felt about it. It’s not like it was blurted out 2 weeks in (for most people that is early) and then ignoring it was a safer way of letting that slide a.k.a. forgetting it happened.

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      • Leroy

        Leroy February 20, 2012, 12:29 pm

        I wonder if he even recognizes the significance of what she’d told him. Because sobriquet is right, throwing that into an otherwise casual and unrelated discussion, it’s not surprising that she may have been misunderstood.

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  • landygirl

    landygirl February 20, 2012, 11:24 am

    Princess Leia told Han Solo that she loved him right before he was frozen in carbonite and all she got was an “I know”. Since your b/f most likely won’t be frozen anytime soon I suggest you discuss it with him and get a sense of where he’s coming from. You’re at a point in your relationship that you need to openly communicate your wants and needs to each other. If he isn’t open to it then it may be time to rethink things.

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    • avatar

      MissDre February 20, 2012, 11:29 am

      LOL!!!!

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    • Budj

      Budj February 20, 2012, 11:31 am

      Given the circumstances I thought that was a romantic response…haha…but in most contexts that is a diss.

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      • landygirl

        landygirl February 20, 2012, 11:34 am

        Any excuse to make a Star Wars reference is a good excuse.

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        sarita_f February 20, 2012, 12:45 pm

        Oh, crap. I meant, I need to go see Star WARS now. That’s how little i Know of that whole cultural phenomenon. And I should remember, I recently got my ex (before he was an ex) those darth vader / white-plastic-army-guys spatulas from Williams Sonoma… and kept referring to them as star trek.

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      • landygirl

        landygirl February 20, 2012, 1:04 pm

        The plastic-army-guys in white uniforms are the Imperial Storm Troopers. They are supposed to be sharp shooters but they seem to have a difficult time successfully hitting any of the main characters.

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        SpaceySteph February 20, 2012, 6:57 pm

        It is my belief that they can’t see anything out of those helmets and use the force to try to hit their targets. But are no good at the force.
        I don’t care what anyone says, thats my story and I’m sticking to it.

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      sarita_f February 20, 2012, 12:43 pm

      Wow. I’ve gotta go see Star Trek now!

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      • landygirl

        landygirl February 20, 2012, 1:02 pm

        It’s Star Wars though I also love Star Trek – The Next Generation. You can either rent the movies on Netflix or wait until Spike plays them for free, which seems to be quite a lot.

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      Anna February 21, 2012, 3:43 am

      LOL. Love this response. However, if I were Leia, I would have debated if it was worth breaking into Jabba’s place to retrieve him from the carbonite.

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  • fast eddie

    fast eddie February 20, 2012, 12:02 pm

    I’ve said I love you several times and meant it but other things in both of our lives prohibited commitment. I didn’t say it very often after a particular difficult breakup and made sure to qualify what I meant by those words. We can say we love a car, house, job, and so on but when the one you say it to applies their interpretation it takes on a life of it’s own. Top of the list of fears is rejection, responsibly and liability. Saying the words if fine but make it clear about what you mean by it and expect from the relationship.

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    • CatsMeow

      CatsMeow February 20, 2012, 12:27 pm

      Yeah, people mean different things when they say it. And people think different things when they hear it.

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  • avatar

    Suzanne February 20, 2012, 12:10 pm

    I see everyone trying to justify his non-response, but if he felt it, he would say it. Sorry, but I don’t buy all the excuses. Go ahead and ask how he feels and where this is going. Guys have a great capacity to stay in relationships that are “good enough” until “the one” comes along. Don’t be the “good enough” girl.

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  • avatar

    Christy February 20, 2012, 12:18 pm

    I’d say something like “Remember how I blurted out ‘I love you’ in the middle of conversation [that one time]? I just want you to know that I hadn’t intended to say it then, but I did feel it and I continue to feel it. I love you.”

    This is coming from someone who’s never been in love, never said “I love you” in a romantic context, and never been in a relationship before. So grain of salt, people.

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    • CatsMeow

      CatsMeow February 20, 2012, 12:24 pm

      I like that! It’s direct and cute, in a quirky sort of way.

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  • CatsMeow

    CatsMeow February 20, 2012, 12:22 pm

    I keep thinking of Gilmore Girls, where Dean tells Rory he loves her and she can’t say it back so they break up over it. And then years later, when she’s with Logan, she says it to him but makes sure he knows that he doesn’t HAVE to say it back because she doesn’t want him to feel pressured – she just felt it and wanted him to know.

    Every individual is different, and every relationship is different as far as the I Love You’s are concerned. I would say, LW, just say it again, but this time don’t blurt it out in the middle of a conversation. If he doesn’t say it back, then have a “talk”. But as long as you are happy in the relationship, they really are just words. People mean different things when they say it anyway, you know?

    I blurted it out to my boyfriend pretty early in the relationship (I think between 2 -3 months maybe?) but I was drunk, so it didn’t count, haha! He told me we could talk about it when I was sober. Then the next day, he said it during sex, but that doesn’t count either! I think around 4 months he “officially” said it to me and it was really sweet…. and even though I knew I felt the same, I still didn’t respond right away! I just kind of kissed him. Then later, I asked him if he really meant it, and he said yes, so then I said it back. But it just goes to show that some people can be caught off guard, or just be too afraid to say it even if they do feel it (like me).

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  • avatar

    Sue Jones February 20, 2012, 12:33 pm

    Ah, let it go. Love is as love does and he certainly has been more loving in the past 2 months. Read the 5 Love Languages. Some people are just not good at saying the words but their actions speak volumes.

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    • avatar

      MissDre February 20, 2012, 12:34 pm

      I was thinking that too. People express themselves in different ways 🙂

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  • avatar

    ele4phant February 20, 2012, 1:07 pm

    Judge him by his actions, not his words. Lots of women here “I love you”, and they get treated like crap. From what you’re telling us, it sounds like he’s being wonderful to you. Words are easy, actions aren’t.

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  • avatar

    Francine February 20, 2012, 2:07 pm

    “Is it wrong for me to want to hear the L word? Or at least have a conversation about if he is going to ever have those type of feelings for me?”

    Of course it’s not wrong to want to hear the person you love say that they love you back. Why on earth do you think it might be wrong?

    I don’t think it’s wrong either to want to have a conversation about something that’s weighing on your mind. But do you really think your boyfriend can tell you if he’s going to love you in the future though? A more reasonable question might be to ask him how he feels about what you said and how he feels about you at this time. He could probably even tell you how he thinks his feelings might progress into the future.

    It’s not fair for one person in a relationship to decide the time line at which it should progress. You were ready to profess your love but it sounds like he isn’t. It is understandable though that it was painful to say that and not hear it back. I think a discussion to better understand your relationship just might make you feel better.

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      MissDre February 20, 2012, 3:14 pm

      Yes!! Thumbs up 🙂

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  • avatar

    Letter Writer! February 20, 2012, 3:20 pm

    Thank you all so so much for your advice! I really think I caught him off guard, and he just wasn’t sure how to respond or if I even meant it (the fact I said it while laughing/not looking directly at him probably didn’t help). As it turns out, he said it on his own after I wrote in (and I said it back). Us finally saying it out loud has also had the slightly unexpected result of making our communication about our relationship/feelings better, which is more important than ever considering there is a decent chance that we’ll be long distance while he is in graduate school. Thank you all again!

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    • landygirl

      landygirl February 21, 2012, 12:34 pm

      Glad to hear it!

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  • avatar

    *HmC* February 20, 2012, 3:30 pm

    Ah, the L word. Ironic that a word meant to express the most beautiful feeling that human beings are capable of would be so wrought with expectations and potential disappointment.

    Personally- I’ve been truly in love with two men in my life (one of whom I am still with). In both cases, I knew them as friends for several months beforehand, then ended up exchanging “I love you’s” within weeks of starting a romantic relationship. Once I said it first, once he said it first, but both times it was immediately reciprocated. Both went on to be very happy and successful long term relationships. This is the context that I have for the L word, and I feel very fortunate. And I’m attracted to sensitive men (by my definition, of course). So for me, I have a very hard time imagining a man that I’d want to be in a relationship with who would put off expressing his love verbally. And I truly do think that not saying “I love you” after a year COULD be a sign that person is hesitant about their partner, or commitment in general. It would definitely bother me.

    HOWEVER

    I certainly can make allowance for the instances where people have some particular hang up about expressing themselves verbally in that way, and are still very invested in the relationship and their partner. See examples above, like with MissDre. She seems genuinely happy in her relationship and able to understand her boyfriend’s feelings in a way that she does not harbor resentment. And if it works for the couple, then it works.

    I echo what has already been mentioned and say that the key to this issue, like many relationship issues, is communication and honesty. LW, if something is bothering you, you MUST be able to talk about it. Trust me, once you stop talking and start holding back your feelings, your relationship is dead in the water. And this is definitely a legitimate issue to bring up. Maybe your boyfriend has some hang ups about using the word- one commenter above mentioned that she feels saying the L word too much dilutes the feeling behind it. I don’t feel that way personally… once I know that I feel it, I feel like expressing it actually strengthens it, and I like expressing it. But her feelings on the issue are legitimate too, so long as everyone is open and honest and not hiding behind not saying it when they maybe truly don’t want to be in the relationship, or don’t actually love their partner in the same way that their partner loves them.

    So bottom line, decide where you stand on the issue. Decide why it matters to you to hear it. Think about what it might mean that your boyfriend hasn’t said it, and more importantly, why he seems to be avoiding the issue. Then have a calm rational discussion with him. If his response doesn’t fulfill you, then it doesn’t. That’s something you have to either accept and stay or accept and go.

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  • avatar

    GTR February 20, 2012, 9:06 pm

    Honey, you’ve been dating him for a year. If love isn’t part of the equation by now, then this relationship is just a big waste of everyone’s time.

    It’s also worth noting that you’ve been dating him for a year and yet you’re still somehow afraid to talk to him about emotional matters. What the hell is wrong with you? Sit him down and have a frank conversation about what you’re feeling. If he loves you, it’ll become pretty damn obvious pretty damn quickly.

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