“No relationship can survive without trust, honesty, and communication, no matter how close you are.”
~ J. Sterling
I think it is important to know why your partner stopped saying “I love you.”
I think sometimes as a relationship goes on over time, people can get lazy and stop doing the little things, which saying I love you may fall into. I think this could be resolved with a simple conversation and expressing to you partner how important it is that you still hear how he feels about you.
If you partner is intentionally not telling you he loves you because he is upset, withholding love or to make you upset, then this is a red flag (especially if it is happening regularly).
- Does your partner know that you get hurt when he no longer tells you how he feels?
- Will you say it and he will intentionally ignore you and not say it back?
- Does he normally express his love for you but then stop doing this for a long period of time after a fight?
If this is the case, then this can be very hurtful and detrimental to the relationship.
This can be a move to assert control and he may be trying to control the conversation or control the dynamic in the relationship.
If your partner is intentionally not telling you how he feels, he could also be trying to intentionally hurt you to make you feel bad about yourself or hurt you because he is hurting.
Neither of these are healthy or productive in a relationship.
If it feels like your partner stopped telling you he loves you for these reasons above, then I would have a serious conversation with him about how this hurts you and how this is unhealthy.
If he continues to behave in this manner or pushes your feelings aside, then it might be time to re-evaluate the communication in the relationship and possibly the relationship itself.
Please understand that if this is happening regularly and feels intentional, then it is normal to feel hurt, anxious and/or sad.
Hearing how your partner feels about you is important and valuable. We can all be guilty of accidentally hurting our partner’s feelings, but if this is happening regularly and intentionally, this is a very unhealthy relationship dynamic that should be further evaluated.
Ashley Baldwin, LPC, CACII – www.facebook.com/BaldwinCounseling
There is something about the words, “I love you” that express security, safety, reassurance, warmth, acceptance, and tenderness.
Recognize that the drive for love is a biological, a physiological, a neuropsychological, and a spiritual need. The primary need for a woman in a relationship is to feel loved, while the primary need for a man is to feel appreciated.
In the book Men Chase, Women Choose: The Neuroscience of Dating, Losing Your Mind, and Finding True Love, the author Dawn Maslar, discusses the biological need for love even greater than property, prestige, and power.
This drive for love is so necessary that it activates parts of the brain necessary for our survival by allowing us to be vulnerable to another person. Of course, feeling loved and falling in love are also wonderful experiences.
But what happens when the person we choose to commit to, decides to stop saying the words, “I love you?”
What could this mean and what should you do about it?
If we refer back to the basic needs for each gender, love for woman and appreciation for men, this can be a clue of where to start. Remember that just as women need to believe they are loved; men need to believe that they are appreciated.
It all starts with a mutual attraction to one another that results in the brain increasing norepinephrine, the lust neurotransmitter.
Once a person feels loved, the brain releases oxytocin. Both oxytocin and dopamine could be responsible for the actually falling in love. The increased oxytocin in women draws them closer to their man.
When around a female he is attracted too, the male’s testosterone increases, but this increase also interferes with oxytocin production, which is the boding chemical needed in the brain for him to fall love.
So ,you want to make sure that you are providing your man with opportunity to fall in love and increase those neurotransmitters, oxytocin and dopamine.
How do you do that?
Dawn Maslar suggests, delaying sex and asking for a commitment.
This allows the man’s testosterone levels to drop, and the bonding effects of the oxytocin to take place.
To keep these neurotransmitter levels in a good place, the man requires words of appreciation rather than nagging or demanding, which interfere with the man’s motivation to love you.
If your man started out with plenty of “I love you’s” and has since stopped, check to see if you have started nagging or demanding and holding back on showing appreciation.
If you have, change this up, and see what happens.
If the loving language and behaviors do not improve, perhaps a couple’s counselor could be of help, or if just dating, you could move on to find a man that is more expressive and consistent with his feelings toward you.
Dr. Tracy S. Kelly, LMFT – www.DrTracyKelly.com
Taking time away to process
- You need the opportunity to experience the emotions in response to your partner’s decision to not tell you he loves you. Honor these emotions in a private place or with someone you trust (close friend, therapist, etc).
- By doing this, you are making it possible to think more clearly and put energy into answering the anxious questions you have racing through your mind without sabotaging the conversation that is to come.
- This will also give you an opportunity to attend some deeper issues that may be coming up for you. Fear of abandonment, fear he is being unfaithful, or fear that you are not a good enough partner are all common reactions and can bring up some truly painful feelings from the past.
Be careful not to compare the present to the past
- Relationships change over time, especially long-term ones. You don’t have sex as often, you’re not learning new things about your partner every day, the butterflies when they text you slowly fly away. This isn’t a bad thing. It’s the natural progression of relationships. Is him not saying “I love you” simply a sign of your partner being comfortable in the relationship? If so, let’s think of ways to revive your romantic energy.
Make the goal healthy communication
- This is never an easy thing to do when emotions are on the line and anxiety is creeping in quickly
- Just remember the only way you will be able to address this and answer the question of “WHAT IS GOING ON?!” that is racing through your mind is to be able to calmly talk with your partner about this
- Coping skills is the best prerequisite for this! Make sure you have helpful and effective coping skills in your toolbox before discussing this issue with your partner. Remember, the goal with coping skills is not to get your anxiety to a 0/10. The goal is to get it to a point where you’re able to effectively communicate without letting your overprotective anxious brain taking the lead, and thus throwing off the conversation entirely.
- This’ll be a hard one, but it’s for the purpose of helping ease your anxiety.
- Take time to reflect on what your partner is currently going through in his life. Stress related to work, family, health, and finances can all interfere in his ability to be present with you and express his love for you.
- Contemplating the alternative reasoning is something anxiety oftentimes does not allow, so use this time to consider reasons other than him not loving you anymore.
Sign of issues
- If him not saying “I love you” does mean there’s something going on, then attending to it could potentially allow the two of you to focus on some issues that may have been swept under the rug for a while. This isn’t easy, but it’s better to attend to it sooner rather than later.
Sarah Vendegna, MS, LPC – www.vendegnacounseling.com
If you are in a relationship and you suddenly find yourself questioning whether he loves you or not, consider some of these factors when processing such an important question.
Let’s start at the beginning of a relationship.
Most relationships begin with a mutual physical connection and attraction that often lends itself into wanting to get to know the other person on a deeper level.
As you find yourself connecting with him you begin to develop new feelings.
These can range from excitement and curiosity to euphoric sensations- sending immense pleasure signals off in your brain!
Here is where I believe there can be a misunderstanding of “lust” vs “love”.
When we are infatuated, we can find ourselves “loving” the experience, their physical features, or other superficial traits. This is NOT love (yet).
If the foundation of the relationship is healthy and strong, then a deeper connection will develop that involves more than admiration.
Man or woman, when you are in love- real, true love – you have no problem shouting it from the mountaintops for everyone to hear.
You easily and readily communicate with your partner and love them just the way they need to feel loved. If he suddenly stops saying “I love you”, start with loving action and ask if he is feeling okay.
- Is he stressed about something unrelated to you and is having difficulty compartmentalizing his problems?
- Is he physically ill?
If you have ruled out those possibilities, communicate your feelings and your needs.
Lovers respect what their partner needs (this case being verbal validation) whether they have similar mutual needs or not. Bring awareness to the times when he has taken action to show love in the ways you have expressed what you need.
Lastly, be honest with yourself about whether the relationship was ever really love or lustful attraction mistaken for a deeper connection.
Hold out for true love… it’s worth it!
Jessica Langbehn, LCSW – www.jrltherapeutic.com
If your boyfriend has stopped saying “I love you,” it is time for you to do some self-reflection.
First, become certain that he has truly stopped saying these words and be in reality about whether you have shifted your use of the words.
Maybe you do not tell him you love him as often or maybe you are saying I love you in a way that conveys less meaning.
After you can clearly see the reality of the situation, complete the following writing exercise before saying anything to him:
Journal your answers to these three questions:
- When and how were the words I love you used in your family and throughout your life?
- What meaning(s) do the words I love you have to you?
- When you say I love you are you always FEELING love in that moment? What does it mean for you to say I love you in the instances when it stems from a philosophy regarding the moments that call for these words versus saying I love you to your boyfriend because you are actually FEELING love for him in that moment?
Now that you have likely learned more about what it means for you to say I love you, you are prepared for a genuine conversation about the love that exists between the two of you.
Allyson Cole, PsyD – www.createoutcomes.com
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