I told him this past weekend that I loved him, and he said he did not feel the same way back. He acts like he does, and everybody around me was completely shocked that he did not say it in return. What I do know is his ex broke up with him a year and a half ago and that was the only person he had ever been close to/loved. He lied to me and told me it was a mutual breakup, but I found out she broke it off. He must have been embarrassed? Now he’s told me he doesn’t know if it’s going to work between us because the “L” word is in both of our heads and it will make it hard.
I am very open and understanding, and I told him it’s okay to not be ready yet but that, if we care for each other, I think we should try to make it work. He agreed. But now it feels different when we lie in bed together and when we are intimate. Does he just need space? Is this done for good? I’m so confused. — L Bomb
Yeah, spending money on someone isn’t necessarily a sign of love, obviously (or maybe it’s not that obvious?). Since you made the spending a main theme of your letter, I am inferring that you thought it was a sign of his affection for you. But now that you know he doesn’t love you, it kind of puts a different perspective on the many treats, doesn’t it? Sometimes people use money as an emotional placeholder, as in the money substitutes for the love they cannot give and serves to keep a person close to them. Often, money is a form of gratitude. Maybe the gifts were his way of thanking you for being so easy (no strings attached, no expectation)
Yeah, now you’ve broken the spell with an “I love you,” and the dynamic has changed. Listen to him when he says he doesn’t know if the relationship will work because the “L” word is in both of your heads. He’s not making that up. He’s actually saving you from months of guesswork. He’s telling you that the relationship worked because you had an unspoken “agreement”: He would lavish gifts on you and you would give him companionship, attention, and probably sex without the expectation of anything more. It’s unfair, because you didn’t actually agree to this, but as long as the dynamic continued, it didn’t matter. Now the dynamic has shifted, the genie is out of the bottle, and expectations have been presented.
I don’t see him meeting your expectations. I don’t anticipate a return of the love you give him. And I wouldn’t be surprised if the gifts and trips and stuff like that drop off. Lots of times people aren’t ready to express love at the same time their partners are. But the way your boyfriend responded to you does not indicate that an expression of love is anywhere on the horizon. I would probably move on if I were you. But if you need confirmation that that’s the right move, give it a couple weeks and see what the overall temperature of the relationship is. I would be surprised if it gets better.
Tonight I asked him if he wanted to feed our son (as he was sitting there playing his games on his phone), and he said he’d rather not because he need to do some of his school work. That instantly frustrated me because he can sit there and play on his phone but he can’t feed his baby? Tonight we were all sleeping in the same room; our son is cutting teeth, so he kept waking up and crying a little, and instantly my boyfriend went out to the living room, swearing, and saying he can never get any sleep with the baby around. He’s continuously putting me down, telling me how he likes to be alone, name-calling me. and telling me he doesn’t want me to find someone better and that we should just get married.
I don’t know what to do. I feel like he has insecurities because, when I was five months pregnant, he cheated on me. Then he denied our son until a paternity test came back. I feel like he doesn’t know what he wants, and I don’t know whether to keep trying to love him or let him go and love him at a distance. — Trying to Love Him
Let him go and skip the loving him at a distance. He’s emotionally abusive, manipulative, a cheater (who cheated on you when you were pregnant–that is so LOW DOWN!), neglectful of his child (and you!), doesn’t love you, and generally doesn’t sound like a good person. Find a family attorney who can help you get the child support and benefits your child is entitled to as the son of an active-duty serviceman. As for you, aim higher. This is not the kind of partner you should be investing love and time and energy into.
NOTE TO ALL: Just because a man buys you flowers, does not mean he’s a good catch or that he loves you. Buying flowers is like, literally, the easiest thing a person can do. It’s super low effort and low commitment and can be as cheap as a few bucks. Sure, it can be a nice gesture — I love flowers, too! — but y’all need to quit tying any kind of meaning to it. They sell flowers next to the lottery tickets at the gas station.
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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy(AT)dearwendy.com.