To dump or not to dump?
November 18, 2008 8:20 AM   Subscribe

My boyfriend has never told me he loves me. Is it time to dump him and move on to the finer things in life?

We have been dating for almost a year, and while he may think he loves me in his mind, and show that he loves me, he never actually says it. It is totally lame. I am not even sure he believes in marriage or social obligations (which I do), and if not, what am I doing wasting my time?! It is not fair to me to have to waste my best years on someone who may not want the same things as I do. I do not wish to bring up the topic, since it feels unnatural. How can I determine if he is worth my time anymore, if he will not even take it to the next level without me having to bring it up? Is it time to dump him? Because I know other guys who would love to date me and say those three words to me and they would publically do everything for me. I want a meaningful relationship, but one that will also result in marriage and be the envy of every other woman in society. I would never cheat on anyone, or purposely try to hurt anyone, but if I have better offers from people who make better efforts, shouldn't I dump this one and tell the guys to form a line outside my door?

Thanks,
Impatient and Bored out of her mind
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (62 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
You didn't say if you have yourself taken the risk to be the first to say "I love you." That's a salient data point.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:25 AM on November 18, 2008


Shorter version of all following replies in this thread:

- If you can't talk to him about it, that's your real problem right there
- You already know what you want to do, you're just asking permission of some internet randoms
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 8:26 AM on November 18, 2008 [18 favorites]


You want to be married so other women will envy you? Seriously? Perhaps he should dump you, since it appears you are just using him for some outdated social competition.
posted by joannemerriam at 8:26 AM on November 18, 2008 [28 favorites]


I do not wish to bring up the topic, since it feels unnatural.

Well, there are pluses and minuses to that approach.

The plus is that you never have to do anything that seems unnatural to you.

The minus is that you won't really have any idea as to what is going on in his mind. It could be that he very much loves you and wants the same thing in life.

I want a meaningful relationship, but one that will also result in marriage and be the envy of every other woman in society.

It might be a little hard attracting a mate that way. I certainly would really want to be with someone who loved me and wasn't trying to make other people envious of her with our relationship. Because there might be situations where her desire to make people envy her would conflict with the loving me part. Sometimes in a very hurtful way, I suspect.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:27 AM on November 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


You can dump this guy if you want, but the fact that he hasn't uttered one specific, three-word sentence is a bad reason to dump him. What he does matters -- do you feel loved by the way he treats you?

Also, if it's that important to you that he say those three words, why don't you just talk to him about it? As long as you're silent about your needs, it's your fault that they're not being met, not his.
posted by creasy boy at 8:27 AM on November 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


As unnatural as it sounds, you need to bring it up in order to have this conversation if you want to save the relationship. However, if you don't (and judging from the other points in your text), you've more-or-les made up your mind so it might be easier to just call it quits.
posted by gadha at 8:29 AM on November 18, 2008


You need to ask some questions, like "do you believe in marriage? how about social obligations? what do the words 'I love you' mean to you?"

Let him know a conversation needs to happen, make sure you don't turn it into hours of haranguing him, and give him space to answer honestly without fear of your response. Resolve to take in his answers in a mature fashion, perhaps even choosing to make no decisions until you've fully considered his responses and what they mean to you.

After you know what he thinks about all of that, you'll have a much better idea of what your next steps should be.

Bonne chance!
posted by batmonkey at 8:33 AM on November 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


You know how you figure out if someone feels the same way as you? You ask them. I shit you not.

Also, saying "I love you" doesn't mean shit. It's a big deal on Friends and other stupid sitcoms, and that's about it. Actually loving someone means something. It's just words otherwise.
posted by chunking express at 8:35 AM on November 18, 2008 [9 favorites]


I want a meaningful relationship, but one that will also result in marriage and be the envy of every other woman in society.

Other people don't care nearly as much about your relationship as you think they do.

You sound really young, and like you can't talk about relationship issues. Guess what? He can't read your mind, he can't try to meet you half way if you don't talk with him. But it doesn't sound like you want someone to meet you half way, you want someone to bow down and serve you (PS, that's not what a healthy relationship is. A healthy relationship involves compromise and a hell of a lot more communication than you are giving now). If you can't discuss things with him, yes break up. And take some time off to figure out what you actually want out a relationship
posted by piratebowling at 8:35 AM on November 18, 2008 [4 favorites]


If you don't think that your boyfriend is one of "the finer things in life" then it seems that the two of you have a disconnect and his not saying "I love you" is more of a symptom of this disconnect, in my opinion, than the cause of it.
posted by jessamyn at 8:37 AM on November 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


You seem to be building up resentment because he hasn't taken the initiative. Why don't you?

Do you love him? I didn't see you say it once in your post, and by the language you're using, it's not really evident you do. While you can feel free to debate whether or not he loves you, using terms like "wasting my time" and talking about how there's a line of guys out there who will say it to you.

If you've said to him that you love him and he hasn't responded in kind, then I might agree with everything you've said. If you haven't, I'm surprised at the attitude you seem to be taking here.
posted by QuarterlyProphet at 8:37 AM on November 18, 2008


The question is: Do you love him? If so, have you said anything? It sounds like you really don't care. In that case, dump him, because he deserves better.

As a data point (anecdotal, but you're not getting better than that here), I can't recall ever having a discussion about marriage in the context of a year-long relationship. It would also help to know how old you are, to give a little bit of context to why perhaps the conversation hasn't been brought up.

Has he ever said anything about marriage that would lead you to believe that he doesn't believe in it? From my experience at least, most people who are anti-marriage are generally pretty upfront and open about it.

In conclusion, I find your motives suspect. You want to be the envy of every other woman in society? Sounds like you're trying to find yourself a Brown man with whom to enjoy the yacht club. And, if you're entertaining offers from other gentleman in the midst of a long-term relationship, and thinking of ending it based on those offers, well, go for it. Again, your boy will be better off.
posted by General Malaise at 8:39 AM on November 18, 2008 [3 favorites]


My boyfriend has never told me he loves me. Is it time to dump him and move on to the finer things in life?

You would dump him without even asking? What do you have to lose?
posted by symbollocks at 8:40 AM on November 18, 2008


Consider what he defines as love, as it may not be similar to your desires.

If "love" is a fill-in for a ring or some other shackle, then maybe he won't say it. If it is some sort of feeling welling within you, just ask him. But, you should know by now that words do little to convey it.
posted by plexi at 8:41 AM on November 18, 2008


I do not wish to bring up the topic, since it feels unnatural... I want a meaningful relationship, but one that will also result in marriage and be the envy of every other woman in society.

Um. There are perhaps some deeper issues you need to address before you start thinking about your long-term romantic prospects. You don't want to talk to your boyfriend of a year about what should be the cornerstone of your relationship, and it's bothering you because you want your girlfriends to be jealous of you?

Maybe you should do him the favor and just walk away from this, as you appear to be wasting both of your time.
posted by Mayor West at 8:41 AM on November 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


Bringing up the topic “feels unnatural” but it’s what you have to do. You say it’s not fair for him to “waste” your “best years”, but it’s definitely unfair for you to expect him to read your mind. Maybe he loves you and is bad at or uncomfortable with expressing it in words. Maybe he assumes you should just know he loves you the way you assume he should just tell you he loves you.

If marriage is your concern, then you absolutely must talk about it: marriage is not about falling in love and being schmoopy forever. It’s not about him saying “I love you” and you not cheating on him. I mean, yes, you should love each other before you get married. But marriage (or any long-term relationship, for that matter) requires honest and continuous, and sometimes awkward or uncomfortable dialogue, as well as (and perhaps more than) love. It is easy to love someone; it is often hard to be in a healthy committed relationship.

If you are bored and impatient: tell him. Tell him why. Tell him what you want. Tell him what you expect from your relationship. Then let him tell you how he feels, what he wants, and what his expectations are.

Break up, or stay together, or do whatever is best for you, but do so after an honest conversation. You can’t read his mind about love, commitment, marriage, or anything else; he can’t read your mind either.
posted by Meg_Murry at 8:43 AM on November 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


The fact that you didn't once say in your post that you love him says it all really
posted by serak at 8:44 AM on November 18, 2008 [3 favorites]


Because I know other guys who would love to date me and say those three words to me and they would publically do everything for me. I want a meaningful relationship, but one that will also result in marriage and be the envy of every other woman in society.

....Let me get one thing straight, here --

Do you want a husband who loves you because you want to be part of a mutually supportive or equal partnership, or do you want a husband who loves you so you can skip around town flashing your ring at people and say, "that's right, someone loves me and married me, so suck it, bitches!"

You're talking way more about the APPEARANCE of love than is justified. You say that you want someone who will PUBLICALLY do everything for you, and that you want to be "the envy of every other woman in society." If all you want is the appearance, you could actually have a much easier time hiring a guy to stand in as your husband -- you'd get someone doing the public things, and he'd look impressive enough to make other women envious.

I mean, if that's all you want.

But something tells me that's not all you want, so why does "public appearance" come into this at all?...
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:48 AM on November 18, 2008 [10 favorites]


People have different ways of showing love. Maybe his "love language" is not 'words of affirmation' - maybe it's based physical touch or acts of service (i.e., showing you that he does).

nthing what others have said, though -- communication is key to a fulfilling and happy relationship. Ask him.
posted by parilous at 8:48 AM on November 18, 2008


I do not wish to bring up the topic, since it feels unnatural.

You are the problem, not him.

Relationships are communication. If you can't communicate, you don't have a relationship.

Besides which, if you can't tell what's going on in his head, why do you expect him to be able to guess what's going on in yours? Your boyfriend is not a mindreader. Your next one won't be either.
posted by ook at 8:50 AM on November 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


Following up because I forgot to add -- if in fact you are that concerned about how things look, maybe that's causing your boyfriend to have second thoughts and ambivilence about how he feels about YOU, which may be what's causing his reluctance to say he loves you in the first place. If you're so convinced that you want a relationship that looks good in the public square, and you're convinced that if you break up with him that you'll "have better offers" and "the guys will form a line at your door," it could be that he's picking up on that and is thinking that maybe HE should be the one dumping YOU.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:51 AM on November 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


Because I know other guys who would love to date me and say those three words to me and they would publically do everything for me. I want a meaningful relationship, but one that will also result in marriage and be the envy of every other woman in society.

I'm sorry, but if I was your guy, I'd not be risking my heart on someone like this. It might be fun to date you but you're so aware of the ways out of your relationship that it would make it impossible to commit to you. You've got one foot out the door and your eyes on your other options; it would be an understatement to say that a guy committing to you is taking a huge risk.

If you'd give up a meaningful relationship because you're not the envy of everyone else, you might as well do this guy a favor and let him find someone who wants something real.
posted by scabrous at 8:54 AM on November 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


just go up to his locker after school one day and tell him yourself first.

or if i completely misunderstand you and you aren't in middle school, have a crucial conversation with him. it's what adults do when they want to make a relationship function. or take some initiative and quit waiting for it to happen and make it happen. or alternatively you could realize how shallow you sound and that maybe he's just been playing it smart by not committing to you like that since you feel he may be wasting your time and you have "a better offer".

i don't understand your need to be validated with a marriage that would be "the envy of every other woman in society". are you living in a Jane Austen novel? no? it seems like you just want a relationship that superficially seems great, but you're not willing to put forth the effort to be great.
posted by sephira at 8:55 AM on November 18, 2008 [10 favorites]


You've been together a year. You don't have any children together. You don't need a "reason" to break up with him. You don't seem happy, there are other people you would rather date, stop trying to make one of you into a bad person and just move on already. I don't know if he should have said I love you yet or if he will ever step up, but this relationship obviously is nowhere near what you want out of a relationship at the one year mark. Sometimes people aren't right for one another and neither is necessarily in the wrong, so just dump him (nicely) and stop trying to come up with some reason to, when your unhappiness is more than reason enough.
posted by whoaali at 8:59 AM on November 18, 2008


You're looking for something specific and this guy ain't it. Move on and get what you want.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:01 AM on November 18, 2008


I would advise him to DTMFA, stat.

You should probably end the relationship... not for any failings of his, but because you clearly have a lot of things to work out for yourself before you start talking about love and marriage (like, for example, why social envy is on your "needs" list).
posted by toomuchpete at 9:02 AM on November 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


but if I have better offers from people who make better efforts, shouldn't I dump this one and tell the guys to form a line outside my door?

If this is your attitude, it may well be that he's picked up on it and that's part of the reason he hasn't said the words.

As everyone else has said, if you want a partnership, you have to act like a partner, which means communicating. Neither of you is psychic, right? Maybe you should try asking him what he wants and how he feels. It's not cute or adorable or attractive that you're unable to talk to him about this; it doesn't make you more feminine to wait for a guy to tell you stuff and to refuse to communicate your needs because it feels "unnatural." It makes you passive-aggressive and, to me, not a very good prospect as a partner.

But if all you can do is pay attention to how much attention you'd get if the boyfriend weren't around, then you don't need or want this relationship, and he sure deserves better. Cut him loose.
posted by rtha at 9:03 AM on November 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


Is it time to dump him? Because I know other guys who would love to date me and say those three words to me and they would publically do everything for me.

I want a meaningful relationship, but one that will also result in marriage and be the envy of every other woman in society.

It appears that your main goal is to make your man a showcase of your awesomeness and have all your girlfriends hate you (in a good, envious way). In that case, what do you care if he says I love you or not? Is that what you are looking for? Anyway you can make him say it, the tough part is having him mean it.
posted by BozoBurgerBonanza at 9:04 AM on November 18, 2008


Instead of echoing everybody else: Am I the only one who doesn't even know what "social obligations" means in this context? I'd ask you to explain that, but I think the other issues that others have raised are probably more critical.
posted by Tomorrowful at 9:06 AM on November 18, 2008


I desperately want anonymous to respond here, because this is the second time in a week that Ask Metafilter has gotten a question just like this one. It even has love and relationship as the tags.
posted by QuarterlyProphet at 9:07 AM on November 18, 2008


I want a meaningful relationship, but one that will also result in marriage and be the envy of every other woman in society.

If you really want results, I see this going in one of two ways:

1. Get into long-term therapy; I would suggest that exploring what healthy and meaningful relationships actually are, developing a deeper a sense of self-worth that does not rely on others' opinion of you (particularly envy), and learning how to actually communicate your needs and expectations should be among your goals.

2. Strong-arm this guy into marriage (or dump him and marry one of those guys who's going to be lining up outside your door), have an enviously lavish wedding, and start looking for your divorce attorney.

The easier option would be to break up (since you don't seem happy), spend some time being single (really, it's not a bad thing) and growing up a little, then date some other guys down the road.
posted by scody at 9:07 AM on November 18, 2008


You have been dating a year and you are still not sure on his opinions on marriage and social obligation?

You two are perfect for each other.
posted by munchingzombie at 9:07 AM on November 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


I would adviser HER to DTMFA, stat. Guys have biological clocks too, they just do not use them well. Those who are that clueless should be weeded out from propogating the species.
posted by johannahdeschanel at 9:08 AM on November 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


This needs to be repeated:
You are the problem, not him.

If you have questions, you ASK him. However this stands the risk of having him answer back in way that's NOT exactly what you want, and from the fantasy-land tone of the rest of your post I imagine that's why you are where you are now. In fact I'd like to go ahead and call bullshit on your entire sentence of I do not wish to bring up the topic, since it feels unnatural. This is THE crappiest excuse for not taking control of your own life I have ever heard.

Take charge of yourself, go talk to your partner, because nothing but talking with him will get you the answers you need. Then when you realize he's not the wonderful splendid flawless Prince Charming you fantasized he'd suddenly become, you can dump him and pick another from this so-called "line outside your door" and try again.

Or, you know, grow up and learn that relationships take communication, effort, and a foot grounded in reality.
posted by Meagan at 9:09 AM on November 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


What everyone else said about the horribleness of the "envy of every other woman in society" thing. I mean, that is a point of view people have, and you may find some guy willing to play along with it, but there are also a lot of men in the world with zero interest in being a trophy.

Also, it shouldn't be too hard finding a guy to say the words "I love you." Lots of men say it all the time. They will say it while they're cheating on a woman, maybe even while they're physically or emotionally abusing her. If all you want to is to hear those words, rather than see them reflected in actions, there are tons of men willing to oblige.
posted by drjimmy11 at 9:13 AM on November 18, 2008 [3 favorites]


this sounds terribly passive-aggressive of you. how about asking him if he loves you? communication is a two-way street. perhaps he doesn't love you, perhaps he has issues communicating his feelings, perhaps he thinks you don't want to hear it. there are so many options and you will only find out which one it may be if you actually talk to him for a change.
posted by krautland at 9:13 AM on November 18, 2008


I do not wish to bring up the topic, since it feels unnatural.

And yet bringing up the topic of dumping him would be natural?
posted by yeti at 9:13 AM on November 18, 2008


You signed off as "Impatient and Bored out of her mind". Are you bored waiting for the excitement of an engagement? Love is not a platform game. Are you bored by spending time with him? Then you shouldn't date him.

Frankly, I don't think you love him, one little bit.

And it's perfectly okay not to love people. But you shouldn't be wasting their time.
posted by tiny crocodile at 9:18 AM on November 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


Weed this bloody bastard out. If you want a trophy for all the wrong reasons, you should get one. Men do it all the time, or have multiple trophies. Now you can too!
posted by johannahdeschanel at 9:19 AM on November 18, 2008


Yes.
You obviously aren't completely giddy with feelings for him, yet you expect him to express his undying love for you.

This Will Not End Well.
posted by HFSH at 9:21 AM on November 18, 2008


One year is the bare minimum to figure out if a relationship is going to "have legs". You gotta get over the honeymoon period and on to being annoyed and fighting with your partner in order to see if you have a REAL relationship. ;)

Committed relationships, like those that eventually lead to marriage, take lots of hard work and communication. No on gets their perfect Prince Charming and lives happily ever after. Even Cinderella had to deal with her Prince's emotional unavailability and obnoxious hunting obsession. ;) If it feels unnatural to talk to him about this extremely important issue, then you need to work on that and make it feel more natural through practice.

You're right to be questioning his love for you if he hasn't said it in a year of being together, but you're wrong to just expect him to live up to your expectations without communicating them to him.

Assume your partner has no clue what's going on in your head. Explain it, and try to phrase it in ways that explain your feelings without accusing him of anything or putting him on defense.

Often you'll be surprised that what seems so obvious to you is not at all obvious to your partner.

Set up a nice quiet date with him, and after you're both comfortable start the conversation with something like "We've been together a year now, but I'm not sure how you feel about our relationship and where you see it going." Go easy, if you come on too strong you might just get his defenses up. Try to get him opened up and talking about it first before presenting your side.

Good luck!
posted by thejrae at 9:22 AM on November 18, 2008 [3 favorites]


No offense meant,.. my comments are made with the goal of offering constructive advice.

The tone of your paragraph/question really comes across (atleast to me) to be very shallow and immature. It has that "I'm a princess and I deserve better" vibe. If this is the way you are approaching relationships, its no wonder you are having (and will continue to have) problems.

Having said that,.. here is my advice:
1.) "meaningful relationships" (if thats what you truly honestly want) require WORK and COMMUNICATION. BOTH-WAYS. not just from 1 side. Yep, you'll have plenty of awkward conversations. Yep, sometimes you'll have fights and need to step away and think, then come back and talk more. Yep, you may find things you dont agree on. Working through that stuff is all part of what makes a strong relationship. Stepping up to initiate those conversations requires a lot of bravery and respect for yourself (and the other person) but you'll feel better in the end after having them. (and you'll grow as a person, assuming you learn the lessons those conversations teach you)

2.) If you are approaching relationships with the goal to "be the envy of every other woman in society." ...I'm not even sure how to respond to that. Its fake, shallow, materialistic and selfish. Its completely backwards, and a bad bad way to build relationships. Concentrate on making sure the internal guts of the relationship are happy and good and meaningful and radiantly beautiful - then that will be completely obvious to anyone external. Build from the inside-out... NOT from the outside-in. (yes, this requires more work, see #1 above, but thats the reality if you want a truly meaningful happy relationship)

You're gut feeling may be right... the person you are dating right now might not be a good match for you,... but as others have said (and I'd be willing to bet money) the reason he isn't saying "I Love You" is more of a symptom of bigger problems than the actual problem itself. And you'll never know that unless you actually have a conversation with him. (and I mean a respectful, "lets walk away from this still being friends" type of conversation, not an emotional crying yelling "OMG I HATE YOU" high-school type of conversation. It is entirely possible to break up, learn something about each other, and grow to be better (if seperate) people. No really !
posted by jmnugent at 9:35 AM on November 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


Is this your first romantic relationship? Between the "totally lame", and the "bored out of her mind", yea, dump the poor guy already, he's never going to live up to your expectations. Next time you get involved with someone, get therapy to put your head on straight that relationships are for the two people involved, not as envy fodder for the rest of the world. If you can't bring up the relationship as a whole to the person you are with, no, this is not the right person for you. Maybe it's you, maybe it's him, it really doesn't matter.
posted by kellyblah at 9:38 AM on November 18, 2008


You say that you believe he loves you and that he shows you he loves you. That's the most important part -- anyone can mouth the words. For some people, actions are not enough, they need to hear the three little words too. For others, actions are more important than words. He may be the "action" type. This doesn't make him a bad person. If you really need to hear it, it sounds like you need to have the conversation you don't want to have. Unless you're really good at charades, there's not a tenable alternative.

If you have no idea what his views on marriage and social obligations are and you haven't talked about your needs in this relationship, I'm wondering what you actually talk about.

If you'd rather dump him than talk to him, I think you have your answer, in any event.
posted by *s at 9:42 AM on November 18, 2008


if I have better offers from people who make better efforts, shouldn't I dump this one and tell the guys to form a line outside my door?

Well, by all means, yes.

I hope none of them decide to dump you for your failure to read their minds and to live up to their never-spoken expectations of you.
posted by Zed_Lopez at 9:51 AM on November 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


There's a lot of amiriteness to your question and not much actual question. If you think your boyfriend is "totally lame" and you're "wasting [your] time" and you have "better offers" - and you don't make one peep about whether you even like your boyfriend, much less love him - well, of course you should break up with him, for his sake as much as yours.

Down the line, you'll learn that good relationships are not about "those three words" or "taking it to the next level" (what does that even mean?), and not measured in maitre d' tips or carat weight or approval of chicks on the street... or you'll get the attention-qua-relationship you really want. Either way, cheers and good luck.
posted by Metroid Baby at 10:01 AM on November 18, 2008


Metafilter Relationship filter FAQ

1) Instead of asking strangers on metafilter, talk to him.

Really. That first step solves so much.
posted by filmgeek at 10:25 AM on November 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


There's a lot of amiriteness to your question and not much actual question. If you think your boyfriend is "totally lame" and you're "wasting [your] time" and you have "better offers" - and you don't make one peep about whether you even like your boyfriend, much less love him - well, of course you should break up with him, for his sake as much as yours.

I agree with Metroid Baby with that small alteration.

I don't know if you are just really young, but you seem to have a very shallow idea of what real love and an adult relationship is. It isn't about flaunting your man around 'to the envy of everyone' (because frankly, no one gives a care and you are deluding yourself if you think people do). And it isn't about them fawning over you and having you be treated like a little princess. It is about trust and respect (and it doesn't seem like you respect him at all) and common goals and interests (and no, you don't count as a common interest). So yes, dump him because he doesn't deserve to be treated this way, and clearly you aren't going to get what you expect (possibly unrealistically) out of this relationship.
posted by gwenlister at 10:31 AM on November 18, 2008


Women (yes, mainly women) will make all kinds of excuses for men who "won't" say I love you - and you've heard them all, it's how he shows you his love that matters, it's the non-verbal ways, it's about feeling loved. Bullshit. We make these excuses because that's what we really want to believe and it gives us false hope.

If you really do love someone, it's not that hard to say it. C'mon people.

Life is short and unpredictable, at any age. Go after what you want. You should be loved and cherished and told "I love you".
posted by Flying Squirrel at 10:38 AM on November 18, 2008 [3 favorites]


You should be loved and cherished and told "I love you".

OMG RACHAEL LOVES ROSS.

The words "I love you" are just words. Any idiot can say them. Women (yes, mainly women) will make all kinds of excuses for their dead-beat men who are willing to spout off the words, "I love you."
posted by chunking express at 10:45 AM on November 18, 2008 [5 favorites]


It seems clear to me from your question that you do not love him. Therefore you should end the relationship. I will abstain from commentary that has been well made by others.
posted by languagehat at 10:49 AM on November 18, 2008


This question reads as if you're more interested in A Relationship - as if it's some kind of trophy that will validate you and impress others - than you are in him as a human being.

In any case, it sounds like you two are not a good match. Let him go. You can date other guys and (hopefully) find someone who meets your expectations, and he'll be free to find someone who genuinely loves him and wants to be with him.
posted by velvet winter at 10:50 AM on November 18, 2008


Are you sure you love him? This does not sound like love, at all, because it comes with a checklist of preconditions and a timeline that he's supposed to adhere to. And he doesn't know what it is! I don't want to spread the stereotype that men are clueless, but some women (including yourself) make it impossible for their guy to know what the hell it is that you want. Maybe your guy is especially dense. If you truly do love him, you'll give him the opportunity to reciprocate by spelling out what you want. If you want to play this guessing game, then that's not love. Period. It's just manipulation.

I'm a girl, and I told my boy "I love you" first. It didn't feel unnatural at all, because I meant it. He said I love you back. Jump forward a few years, and we're married. I've been married for six weeks, and while people are interested in the wedding, etc., they're not all OMG YOU'RE SO LUCKY for more than a minute. Then marriage is just regular. Please don't fall into the chick-movie trap of thinking it's the pinnacle of your existence, because you are going to be sorely disappointed. I love being married, and the wedding was fab, but there is so much beyond that, and you are going to be the exact same person with a ring on your finger as you were without.
posted by desjardins at 11:01 AM on November 18, 2008 [3 favorites]


i gotta say that based on what you're saying here, i definitely don't envy you, sister. nor will i even if you do get married.

i don't get the standard, here. life isn't a cinderella story.

i'm not even sure what a "societal obligation" is. i mean, i'm a big emily post fan, but it's not like we've got hours for receiving calling visitors any more.

personally, i think he should dump YOU based on the way you're talking about him here. people are banging down your door wanting you to date them? go right ahead.

GENERAL ADVICE:
1) If you want to date seriously, then DATE SERIOUSLY. Be up front that you don't date casually, that your ultimate objective is to find a committed relationship that moves towards marriage. RIGHT FROM THE START. There are plenty of guys who want that, too.
2) If you're not sure about your status, ASK HIM. Not random people on the internets.
3) If you want to know if he loves you, ASK HIM.
3a) Do *you* love *him*? Important point here.
3b) If you are a modern gal you need to get rid of the Victorian BS that the guy has to do it first or it's wrong or you're defective. If you're religious or traditional (and by 'traditional' I'm thinking along the lines of Amish or something), that's a different story.
4) It would be good if you sat down with yourself and wrote down what you see your ideal relationship as being. Share that with your partner.
posted by micawber at 11:09 AM on November 18, 2008


Flying Squirrel and chunking express:

You're both right. "I love you" is a phrase that can be oversaid and meaningless if the actions don't correspond. But I think it's also indicative of an issue or problem when someone won't say it (and they've been together for a while, and it's mutually understood that they do love each other- I'm not talking about the very first "I love you", which is a whole 'nother issue...).

It seems like guys often don't want to say it for fear of entrenching themselves in a relationship they're not fully committed to. Or maybe they don't really mean it. Or maybe voicing it makes it more real and they're trying to suppress their feelings for whatever macho reason. ;)

Either way, if you really do love someone, it's easy enough to say "I love you" meaningfully. So if someone is complaining that their partner doesn't say it... it's a legitimate complaint.

If the guy really does love his partner but is more into "showing" his love than saying it, it takes little to no effort from him to add an "I love you" along with his actions to keep her happy. As long as she lets him know how important it is to her.
posted by thejrae at 11:41 AM on November 18, 2008 [1 favorite]



...It is not fair to me to have to waste my best years on someone...

...How can I determine if he is worth my time anymore, if he will not even take it to the next level without me having to bring it up?

...And would publically do everything for me...

...be the envy of every other woman in society...

...but if I have better offers from people who make better efforts, shouldn't I dump this one and tell the guys to form a line outside my door?


Obviously you feel a relationship is about the two of you, it's all about you. you feel the role of a man isn't a partner whom you love as an equal but some sort of trophy and someone to serve your needs like you are royalty.

I say dump him, but only for his own good.
posted by Jezztek at 12:39 PM on November 18, 2008


Ah, I've dated you. Not literally you, but someone much like you, and very much an adult. To her successfully creating a relationship was validation of her entire life, to be thrown in everyone's faces to show that that all her life choices had been "right" all along. It was important to her that I meet all her friends and family to show them, but far MORE important that she to do so to -my- friends and family. This, of course, went over REALLY well.

Dug her anyway, don't ask me to explain it because I can't... but marriage, kids, or "I love you" -- no way. Not because I didn't want these things, but because I knew all she'd do is use her shiny new weapons to go beat up people I care about some more.

So maybe your boyfriend knows exactly what you're about, and is just terrified of what you're going to pull if he gives you any more power than you already have? And if that's so... then you've got a lot of work to do if you want to convince him otherwise.
posted by Pufferish at 12:48 PM on November 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


What you have is not a real relationship.
Let the poor guy go, so he can find someone who loves him for who he is. I believe everybody deserves that. You obviously do not love him.
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 12:49 PM on November 18, 2008


[a few comments removed - when you've gone form insulting the OP to insulting the whole site you best take your insulting to METATALK]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:17 PM on November 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


I do not wish to bring up the topic, since it feels unnatural.

Be honest with yourself. When do you think a guy should have said "I love you" by? The tone of your question sounds like you think it should have happened long ago, and that now you are just frustrated. Sure, it feels unnatural NOW, because you have your "Boyfriends Should Say I Love You By This Date", and he passed it a long time ago, and you didn't say anything about it at the time.

I say dump the guy. It's never a good sign when one person has something that they think the other person should be doing, but then they just keep letting the other person think everything's okay, but secretly they're resenting that person. That's no way to have a relationship.

When you start dating some of the guys who have lined up outside your door, make sure that if they haven't said "I Love You" by the deadline that you've set but never told them about, that you bring it up. Don't wait a year. That's unfair to both of you.
posted by 23skidoo at 2:49 PM on November 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


Dump the guy, he'll be better off.

Seriously, he hasn't said it, but neither have you. You mention how great a catch you are (wouldn't cheat, etc.) but isn't your BF not a cheater as well? He seems just as much a catch as you are. Why are you so quick to dump him just because he hasn't done something that you yourself haven't done. Double standards?

Ask him why he hasn't said it, but be sure to quickly mention that you want to get married so others will envy you. It's best he know your true intentions before busting out the L word. Everything you've said is about you and how unfair it is to you and how this is his fault for not saying three stupid words.

Should both of you have it figured out by now? I'd say yes. If this is a deal breaker for you, why are you seeking confirmation on the Internet that your pending dumping is justified. So you can sleep better at night knowing that AskMeFi told you to dump him? Print this thread out in duplicate, one for you to read before bed so you can know that the Internet told you it was a good idea and one for him to read so he'll know that he's better off and that you won't be wasting his time any more nor will he have to measure up to your expectations by merely reading your mind, his own thoughts, emotions and will be damned.
posted by Brian Puccio at 4:54 PM on November 18, 2008


Sounds like (from this anyway) that you just want someone to marry, not that you want to be with *this* man. Otherwise, your askme question would read more like "Dear askme: I love this man! My heart is breaking because I don't think he feels the same way! Whatever shall I do?" Your question is more like "Dear askme: I want a wedding other women will envy. I'm not sure if this dude will give it to me. Whatever shall I do?"

See the difference?
posted by lacedback at 6:50 PM on November 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


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