Why Doesn’t My Boyfriend Tell Me That He Loves Me?

Woman lying beside a man on the bed

I have been dating a guy for over eight months now. At the start he told me he was looking for a long term relationship.   He has yet to tell me he loves me. For his birthday last month, I signed the card “love”. He gave me a thank you card after and signed the card “love”. He does talk about me being in his life in the future. So why hasn’t he told me that he loves me? I thought it was the man who was supposed to tell the woman first.


Dear Sabella,

This reminds me of my list of 10 Secrets About Men:

Saying “I love you” is a major step in a man’s life. That’s why we wait for you to take that step first.

Yes, it’s a joke, but like most jokes, it’s wrapped in a great deal of truth. So why would a guy not say that he loves you?

Let me count the ways:

1) He’s not expressive. Men aren’t taught to share their feelings, blahblahblah. Do you buy this for even a second? I don’t. Everybody knows that women want to hear “I love you.” So what the hell is they guy waiting for? Armageddon?

2) The Chump Problem, My Why You’re Still Single co-author, Linda Holmes, nailed this one in our 2006 book. Essentially, by saying “I love you” first, you’re risking that your partner will not reciprocate, thus making you feel like somewhat of a chump. You, Sabella, took the risk, and here you are asking this question. He, on the other hand, already KNOWS you love him, which is why he’s not risking anything by reciprocating. This leads us to the unfortunate conclusion that:

3) He doesn’t love you. Or perhaps he’s not sure if he loves you. Either way, at this point, your feelings are stronger than his. This has to sting a little bit, but that’s the risk you take when you declare your love first.

Then again, that’s the risk anyone takes when taking any bold action. A guy can go to a bar and gawk at cute girls, but until he risks being rejected and feeling foolish, nothing’s gonna happen. High risk, high reward. That’s the stakes of the love game.

So what does this mean for you? Well, first of all, you learned a valuable lesson: it’s not the man’s job to say, “I love you” first. Especially if he doesn’t mean it. After all, it’s a bit of a dated cliché that a guy says “I love you” in order to get laid. These days we sleep together way before “I love you.” Thus “I love you” instead marks a turning point in the relationship. “Are we serious? Or are we just passing time?” A man who says “I love you,” willingly!, is indicating that he’s serious about a future. …

Ultimately, Sabella, you can’t twist a guy’s arm to say those three magic words, nor do you want to. Better for your boyfriend to make a statement by NOT saying it than to tell you what you want to hear. You don’t need a false sense of security from a guy who’s on the fence. Just know that every month that goes by without a reciprocal “I love you” is another month you’re investing in a very risky stock.

Just know that every month that goes by without a reciprocal “I love you” is another month you’re investing in a very risky stock.

It’s up to you when it’s time to sell.

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  1. 81

    Wow.. what a bunch of needy desperate women on here!!! … My boyfriend has not told me he loves me and we have been dating for two months?!?! What?? No wonder some men run a mile ladies. I know men who have been hurt by just such women who cling desperately to them trying to push emotions and manipulate what they want to hear. At the end of the day there are more ways to tell someone you love them than my saying it like clockwork at the end of every conversation like some of the women on here want to hear. Unless the guy is that soppy then such things are more often than not meaningless well wishes just like saying goodbye or hello.

    Ladies.. where is your self respect… Dating for two or three months (how many dates is that realistically) before you end up in bed and telling them you love them… that is not love.. that is lust, wishful thinking, being desperate and the fallacy of walt disney films that the perfect prince and you will fall in love moments of meeting… which fair enough can happen but for the majority of us does not!

    If you want a man to tell you he loves you, let them do the work, give them something to fight for, something to chase and attain to, give them a reason to idolise you and yes ladies that means keeping your pants on for a while and not throwing your knickers at his face like a harlot the first time he smiles at you. If you act like a lady you will likely get treated like one. If you say you love someone first, then so what.. it does not mean they have not said the same because they do not feel it.. maybe they do, maybe they find it difficult, maybe they have been hurt, maybe they wonder how you could possibly love them after three dates and so on, or maybe they do not love you and chances are they never will. If they say it back to you then great, if they do not and carry on to ignore it, then you know they are not the one for you and you can move on with your life.. so you are in a win win situation there.

    As for the woman who will dump someone if they have not proposed to her within a year?? With that mentality am not surprised you are not married yet. Give someone a chance, what is the likelihood you have already lost some potential life partners due to being too hasty, fair enough to have goals and whatever works for you I suppose, but sounds like your priority is to get married and have a ring on your finger, and you do not prioritise getting to know someone properly and sharing your life with someone in a meaningful way if it does not follow your ideals. I hope you find what you are looking for and if you do I hope for your sake that it is not an empty marriage based on your ‘list’.

    On the bright side.. if it does take him a really long time to say it to you and he will not say it at the drop of the hat, you damn well know he means it! A much better option that fitting it in every time you speak to someone just because it is expected.

  2. 82

    Friend of mine just got engaged in her early thirties.She broke up with her previous four boyfriends because they didn’t want to get married.
    I’m starting to think that the main difference between the women who marry and the women who don’t is their ability to ditch men who are halfhearted. after eight months he should be able to say it.

  3. 83

    No one has ever said they love me (besides family of course) and I’ve been in three long relationships for 1 year, 2 years and 1 year. Now I’m 25. All these men have told me that they “love spending time with me” that I am “one of their best friends”, but I know they like the physical side of things also because after breaking up they have all attempted to (or succeeded, sadly) in having a friends-with-benefits sort of relationship with me. I don’t know what is missing from the relationships! It makes me frustrated that others hear those words within months of a dating. What are they doing??

  4. 84

    My boyfriend of 9 months has not said I love you yet either, but it doesn’t bother me at all. He shows it regularly, as do I. We’ve taken things at a slow but steady pace, which is exactly what I needed. I’ve dated men that wanted to commit after the very first date! Another wanted this after the second date! And I’ll never forget the one guy that told me he loved me after one month….. This short of thing send me running for the hills!
    I absolutely adore my boyfriend, and admitted only 2 months ago that I do love him, but I admitted this only to myself, lol. I don’t need him to say it to me right now in order to validate our relationship. And I will never say it to him first. We are pretty similar in how we have approached this relationship, so I get why he hasn’t said it yet, and respect it.
    I’m looking forward to hearing those words from him, but I only want to hear it when he’s ready to say it on his own. I will never say it first.
    he is the best man I’ve ever had a relationship with, and it’s never been because of what he says, it’s always been because of his actions and who I see that he is. I feel blessed to have him as part of my life, and know that he’s a lucky man too 🙂

  5. 85

    I started to realize I loved my boyfriend around 5 months and I sort of brought it up but didn’t say it then. I told him I loved him a month or two later but he said he “wasn’t there yet”. I asked him about it again around 8 months, and he still wasn’t. It’s been 11 months that we’ve been together and he still hasn’t said it. I think he does because he does treat me like he does and I can tell by the way he acts towards me. I don’t want to pressure him and ask again but it’s hard to wait around for him when he might not ever say it.  

  6. 86

    I think my boyfriend of two months has a problem with saying he loves me. He can say it to his close friends, but he told me he doesn’t know how to express the way he feels about me in words because it would come out sounding cliched like a line in some high school movie.

    We took a picture in a photo booth recently and it accidentally gave us the background with hearts and “Love” written on the bottom, and he lamented the fact that it was too cheesy, and he’s hung up the pictures of us in his room but told me he hid the “Love” covered one behind the others.

      He has said things playfully recently like when I do something gross or weird, he might say something like “That’s it, I retract my love.” with a grin on his face and a playful push away.  

    He says he is committed to me and always says things like “I hope you know how much I care about you.”

    I know it’s really soon for anyone to confess their love (though I did slip it in kind of casually/playfully a while back like “Baby, I love you, but I don’t think I’ll ever be into that song.” So he knows I feel that way, but he hasn’t straight up said the words back. I’ll probably just wait it out and see what happens.  

  7. 87

    Ok, ouestion for the ladies.  
    Why do we keep waiting for the guy to tell us that he loves us? Doesn’t that mean that we don’t believe that men and women are equal? I just don’t get it. I am a woman and in a relationship with a guy for 3 years. Well I use to get upset that he never told me that he loves me. But then I asked myself that have I ever told him that I   love him? Then I asked him after waiting for so long. He was so blushed when he admitted that he do love me. So ladies, please grow up and stop expecting men to express first.  

  8. 88

    This is a stupid question posted. Instead of searching online, why don’t you ladies look at your man in the eye and ask him?  

  9. 89
    mama goose

    Here is a fairytale for all of you looking for love. Back in the day, 44 years ago, I started dating a guy that I had been great friends with for about four years. The relationship started getting pretty intense,   we were very intimate with each other & we were withholding sex. We talked a lot about our feelings and we decided that our friendship was one that was more important at the time, so we eventually dated other people, but always stayed close friends and always kept in touch. A few years later I married a biker, who worshipped the ground I walked on, and married him. My friend had a girlfriend who treated him like dirt. For both of us this lasted for 12 years. My husband and I had a daughter together and things were great for a while til he decided to start dealing cocaine. I walked out the door with my daughter, because her well being was the most important thing to me, and I was not going to have her taken from me because of his stupidity. While getting my divorce, I ran into my good friend. We had a long conversation about what was happening in each of our lives. He had realized that the girl he had been with was a drunk and needed a babysitter more than anything and had her move out of his place. I let him know what had recently happened in my life. We hung out together and with friends for a few months, had a lot of intense conversations and decided to pick up where we had left off 15 years earlier. It was heaven! Within four months we fell in love with each other and never looked back. Within a year we were married. We had a son together & he treated my daughter as if she was his own. We were soul mates and we were married for 25 years. My heart was crushed the day he passed away. He will forever be in my heart & soul and the hearts of my children and anyone who ever met him. I would just like to tell all of you who are looking for the “I love you” that being friends first can be one of the most intimate thing that can happen in your life. You find out about each other, you care and you share. That is what love is all about. You don’t have to jump into bed with someone & hope that he says he loves you. You will find that communication between two people & two hearts will let you fall in love if it is meant to be. Give it a try, it was worth it for me, maybe it will be for you.

  10. 90

    hello everyone

    I’ve been dating this guy for almost 8   months .. And he hasn’t said I love you… And sometimes when we make love I keep saying I love ..you …in my head lol …. I’m a he wantdork !!   Everything feels sooo good..cuddling… Dinner… Met his family and hiwant s kids…he treats me good..tells me I’m beautiful and amazing..we don’t live together but I sleep over pretty much every night the last couple months .. When we started dating he did tell me he is moving end of October and that he doesn’t want to date someone that would make him stay…but now it’s been 8   months and   I now only have couple months till he move away from my city… Last week I broke it off .. But got back w him the same day because I thought… I’m just gonna enjoy this feeling till he moves …. I feel he loves me… I hate that I have the biggest crush on him..Im so use to men telling me they love me …..except this one …shows me but no words….. Drives me crazy !!! I already know I should let go because he told me he is not sure if he wants more kids….my maternal clock is ticking ..33 ahhhhhh …

    1. 90.1

      ok sooo he finally said i love you on our first year that we’ve known each other… he ended up not leaving the city and now he moved in with me 16 months together now… when he said i love you… it took my breath away… it was so worth the wait.

  11. 91

    I been with my man for 3 years I have told him I love him I tell him all the time he knows I love him . He shows me he loves me he stands by me even when you think some one would leave you he didnt he wipes my tears and kisses me with passion, some things could be better but life is not perfect. he has never said i love you to me we do not live togather. i get scared if one day he just inst going to be here anymore………. I love him and i just wish he would tell me how he feels with words and not sections for once….

  12. 92

    I’ve been dating this guy, only a month. He does nothing but makes me feel adored and special. If a man loves you he shows you he loves you, he listens when you dork out about your favorite things, he remembers these things. He shows you he cares with his gestures. He hasn’t told me he loves me yet, he tells me he’s falling in love with me and tells me he loves the way I make him feel. He appreciates our relationship and how we work hard to balance it and make it a two way street.

    I have literally known him a month and he goes above and beyond for me, and I reciprocate and have since the start. I don’t believe showing who you truly are and giving as much as you are taking is a bad thing in the beginning. He respected me for it and it is the best relationship I have had. Don’t waste your time and pretty on some man who refuses to tell you he loves you. But, remember actions speak louder then words. If he doesn’t show or tell move on there is a better man out there. Trust me I wasted 4 years on a guy before.

  13. 93

    I have been dating a widower whose wife died two years ago. His 22yr old son still lives at home so he tries to juggle seeing his son and me. Although he spends as much time as he can with me and my two sons . He has never said I love you. I said it one time a month ago and he just said I am not sure how I feel so I dropped it but I do need to know where we are going with this relationship my worry is that I could lose him if I ask where we are going with this?

  14. 94

    Some guys just don’t like letting there guard down and showing emotions. I was with my boyfriend for over 8 months and he finally said it to me one night when he dropped me home. He apologized to me for not saying it sooner and said he felt it for months before. It doesn’t necessarily mean he doesn’t love you. If he is acting towards you in a way where you feel loved and cared for it shouldn’t be the make or break of your relationship.  I have never been in a healthier more trusting relationship and that should be what is important.

  15. 95

    I have been with a guy for 2 years now. I tell him I love him 10 times a day or more….he never says it back. He has only said it one time in the midst of one of the biggest fights we have ever been in while i was walking out the door to leave. I told him goodbye and that i loved him…he replied i love you too. Those words i had longed to hear for so long finally fell out and when they did…in that moment it felt as he was spitting in my face yet i know he was sincere. We are still together. I confess my love to him often. He always replies eat shit. He’s one of the most loving emotionally attached men I have ever met….so i feel the saying stands true that actions speak louder than words. Love also is given freely without expectations of it being returned if it truly is love. I no longer long to hear those words from him. I know he loves me and am secure in my love i feel for him. Pay attention to the little things ladies, the small gestures….the body language…the way he looks at you. Words are capable of lies…actions are not. If he loves you….you will know it. No need for words

  16. 96

    Repeat after me, “no love, no sex”, “no love, no sex”. “If there is no love, why would we make love”? If you’re pursuing love, don’t settle for just sex. While you’re having a sex-based relationship, you deprive yourself of the chance to meet a great guy, that will meet your right to be loved the way you want. Tell him where you stand, tell him that you want to be loved and you want him to say those words. Tell him that if he doesn’t after some time, you’re gonna give a chance to other dudes out there chasing you. Tell  him  you’re not afraid of losing him  (and you shouldn’t ).

    I completely understand your struggle. I was in the same situation, tho I still had the pussy power. He was a kind of alpha-type guy, and was using the excuse that he didn’t wanna say it cuz he was not sure what love is, and he felt it as a promise. I expressed what I wanted clearly, and often told him that I loved  him.  Few weeks in, he gave in. Good luck.

  17. 97

    Been with my guy for six months and the only time he has said he loves me was once and he said it jokingly. After that we broke up cuz he wasn’t taking me out. Now we have gotten back together but he has not said he loves me. And yea. I have said to him first.

  18. 98
    Valerie Lewis

    I have a problem I’ve been dating a man for 9 months now. We started off great we click really well. I knew he wasn’t used to relationship and used to being free he’s in his 40s. But after the 4th month I told him I loved him my mistake I know. I’m a sagittarius and I always love very hard I’ve always been this way,but he never says it back. The only time he will say it back if I start fussing about it. He never opens up about how he feels or what he wants. Once I asked him do he love me he hesitated and tried to change the subject. I am really confused he treats me like he loves me but never says it or open up. I’m really in love with him I’m starting to feel like I’m just convenient. I dont kno what to do I’m so tired of getting heart broken when all I try to do is love.

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