I have been in a relationship with an amazing guy going on two years this fall. We are both in our late 20s. Dating him has been a breath of fresh air compared to previous relationships. He is kind, funny, smart, handsome, and everything I could ask for in a guy. He truly is my best friend and we do everything together.
The thing is, he has a difficult time opening up and talking about things, particularly anything regarding feelings. He's like an onion with many layers. I know this probably sounds like the beginning of a cringey, stereotypical problem, but hear me out. We recently moved in together and everything has been going really well. Despite being together for as long as we have and making this big decision, we still have not told each other "I love you." We met on a dating app and I feel as though I initially spent more time pursuing him and putting forth the emotional effort than the other way around. I am his first long-term relationship, so I originally decided to hold off on breaking the ice and telling him I love him because I didn't want to put pressure on him.
Now I feel like playing the waiting game was a mistake because so much time has passed that it feels like a big elephant in the room. How can we live together without telling each other we love each other? He shows me he cares about me in many ways and is more of an "acts of service" type. We communicate well when it comes to resolving problems, but I want us to also be able to communicate about our feelings and to finally be able to just say the three words. All of the relationship-type conversations that would be considered "hard" to talk about, I have had to initiate. I think that has made me resentful. I know it's probably childish, but I can't help it. I just feel like the burden of these types of conversations shouldn't always have to fall on me. Am I wrong for feeling this way? How do I navigate this awkward stage?
– Three words
Just say it. No filter. The next time you're feeling very much in love with him, let him know. I think a lot of your discomfort stems from having to hold it in. That goes away when you stop censoring yourself.
You mention "acts of service," and for those who don't know, that's a thing from "The 5 Love Languages," a book that seems to come up a lot here. The point of it is that there isn't just one way to show you care.
The thing is, even if you understand that someone shows their love in a different way, it can be difficult to accept. It's wonderful that your boyfriend spends oodles of quality time with you, but it might not feel as monumental as him saying those three words. That's where it gets tricky.
If you talk to him about this (and yes, you'd have to initiate), you can tell him you acknowledge all the ways he shows his commitment, but that you'd love to hear words every so often. It sounds like he does consider your needs and is willing to compromise.
But again, I think that much of this is about feeling held back – because you don't want to be the person who says it. I mean, you have two "I hope I'm not annoying" disclaimers in your letter. That might be about fearing judgement from the comments section, but I think it's more about feeling "cingey" for having needs. You don't have to apologize for wanting to share love with your partner. If you just tell him how you feel – without any expectations or requirements for responses – you might breathe a little easier.
Readers? Just say it?