For Victoria, getting an “I love you” from her partner was like getting blood from a turnip.
She could count on one hand the number of times he’d said it.
She said it to him all the time. She was always thinking of little ways to show she cared.
Yet he just assumed she knew how he felt.
“I wouldn’t be with you if I didn’t love you,” he told her once.
It seemed to her that he took her for granted. She didn’t want to be in a relationship where she never knew how he felt.
She wanted romance and reassurances. She wanted long conversations.
Instead it felt like their relationship centered on practical things. What needed doing, what was happening, what the weather would be tomorrow.
She didn’t need to know the weather.
She needed to know he loved her.
The Feelings Problem
Feelings are a problem for 9 out of 10 couples. (Totally made up statistic, but I’ll bet it’s close.)
In a nutshell, the Feelings Problem is this:
She expresses her feelings… and he doesn’t.
He sometimes wishes she wouldn’t express her feelings.
She wishes he would express his feelings.
Neither of them get what they want.
The Feelings Problem causes all sorts of rifts in their relationship.
He feels overwhelmed by her emotions and shuts down.
She feels rejected by his lack of loving words and withdraws.
Both of them feel unhappy, unappreciated, and unloved.
If you want to live happily ever after with your man, you’ve got to find a way to resolve the Feelings Problem.
And it starts by understanding where he’s coming from…
Are Men Just Insensitive?
Because women are better at expressing their feelings, it can be natural to assume that women also feel more deeply.
Makes sense, doesn’t it? If you express your love all the time and he doesn’t, then surely that shows you love him more than he loves you.
But that isn’t true.
What we feel inside is not always related to what we show on the outside.
Many men have learned that it’s not safe or acceptable to show their feelings.
Back in the ‘70s and ‘80s, there was a brief men’s movement that celebrated emotional expressiveness. These open-hearted men became known as the “Sensitive New Age Guy” (SNAG).
But that term quickly became an insult.
SNAGs were considered unattractive and wimpy. They weren’t risk-takers like “real” men, who didn’t let their feelingsget in the way.
Today, many men would rather be known as the “strong, silent type” than a SNAG.
A lifetime of conditioning has taught them that it’s better to act on their feelings than talk about them.
So if you want to know if he loves you…
Pay less attention to his words and more to his actions.
5 Ways He Shows Love
A 2012 study found that married men express love just as often as their wives—they just do it a bit differently.
Whereas the women showed love by accommodating their partner and avoiding conflict, the men showed love through physical touch and quality time.
Specifically, they initiated physical intimacy and looked for opportunities to do things together.
It didn’t matter whether they were doing chores with their wife or relaxing on a weekend; what mattered was being together.
You might not look over at your guy doing the dishes and immediately see a man showing his love for you, but this study suggests that’s what he’s doing.
Other ways men show love is by:
- Including you in future plans
- Helping you with your problems
- Suppressing their own difficult emotions
A man who makes holiday plans with you for next year is sending you a very clear message. He loves you and wants to be with you for a long time.
A man who helps you with your problems is showing you that he considers your problems his own.
A man who avoids letting you see how upset he is may not be shutting you out. He might be protecting you. He doesn’t want to make you upset.
So don’t assume that words are everything. Actions count, too.
There’s no one right way to love.