Saying i love you
In marriage or after a divorce in a new relationship, one of the questions women always ask is, if he feels love, why does he find saying I love you so difficult? It can become a communication problem. Just because your husband is afraid to say “I love you” doesn’t mean he doesn’t. And pressuring him to say it isn’t going to make him want to say it any sooner.
So what’s going on? Why do men have a problem with saying I love you? Most men feel self-worth based on how much responsibility they can take on, but feel a threat to self-worth if they take on responsibility and then disappoint people. Part of their hesitation in saying I love you, is that it starts them subconsciously down the road to increasing responsibility with the next steps being: “Let’s live together,” “Let’s get engaged,” “Let’s get married,” “Let’s have kids,” “Let’s buy a house.” This sequence makes sense from the woman’s point of view when building a family and life together. (It is actually analogous to how a man builds his career, i.e. get the job, told you’re doing a good job, expect raise and/or promotion, expect bigger and better titles, etc.)
Here’s the problem. If the man has already had failures in his life — with marriage,divorce, guilt about kids now coming from broken home, child and spousal support, etc. — he is hesitant to add more commitments to the list of things where he thinks there is a likelihood that he will disappoint even more people.
What to do with this insight? Check it out with your man to see if it is true. If it is and if you show you understand him, he may be able to exhale and when he exhales and relaxes into your understanding it will replace his feeling tense when he feels pressured by you. Exhaling and then relaxing will open his mind and create more mind space to see how he can take on more responsibilities without getting freaked out. Because you have been empathic and understanding vs. nagging him, he will feel grateful and be more likely to show generosity to you by making more commitments.
He may even start saying I love you. And best of all, he’ll mean it.
(c) 2014 Mark Goulston