How important are those three little words, and do I have a right to hear them?

I've been with my boyfriend for 6 years or so. We're very happy together, we've been living together for a few years now, and apart from the occasional stressful day or spat we're pretty good together.
Scratch "pretty good together" actually, I love the guy and I'm pretty determined to keep him! :P

The only thing that bothers me about our relationship is that he has never told me that he loves me.

I come from a very warm, open family; where saying "I love you" is really normal and giving someone a hug is completely acceptable. When I began dating my boyfriend I soon realised that he wasn't very comfortable with displays of affection like hugging, sitting close in public, or even a casual touch on the arm! After meeting his family and spending some time around them I gradually realised that they don't really communicate beyond the "Hi how was your day mine was ok pass the salt please"... everything was quite formal, uncomfortable, and strained. Hugs, laughter and "I love you"s seemed completely unknown!

So I went into this with my eyes open, and knew that I couldn't expect him to be overly affectionate in public, or dive into a commitment head first. But I knew pretty early on that he was who I wanted, so I was willing to compromise on the affectionate displays I wanted. I was willing to wait until he was comfortable enough for them, and to deal without some of the things like holding hands in public which I was pretty sure would never be ok! When I began saying "I love you" to him he wasn't comfortable with it, but I told him I didn't mind or care if he couldn't say it back, it wasn't going to stop me letting him know how I felt. And that's how things went on...

But it's now 6+ years on... a lot has happened to us both during this time, including some pretty devastating things to my family. We've grown even closer, and he's my best friend. I'm happy with him, aside from some of the usual squabbles couples have, but sometimes I really, really just want an obvious, overt display of affection... just in the privacy of our own home.
I have purposely never bugged him about this until recently, when I've straight forwardly told him a couple of times now that I could really use some extra affection right now, and I'd really like it if he told me how he felt about me. He's said to me that even if he doesn't say things like that, or isn't "huggy", that I should be able to tell he cares.

I can tell that, but that doesn't stop me wanting him to SAY IT, and TELL me it! It isn't so much about those 3 words, but about the act of actually voicing in some way how he feels about me. I've told him that it may seem strange to him, but even though I know that he cares, I actually want him to tell me sometimes, in whatever way he feels comfortable with. I've even joked around and said it's my particular brand of stupidity; I can see, smell, taste and touch him, but right now, unless I can HEAR him telling me that he cares about me, the other senses don't seem to be getting through so clearly.

I don't want to be one of those women who needs to "change her man", but I feel like I can in some ways expect him to grow during our relationship. I want him to grow to a place where he can be comfortable enough with me that he can talk about stuff like that, and I also want him to care enough about me to realise that it's really important to me, and sometimes we just have to step out of our comfort zones for the ones we do really care about.
By AimeeK 13 years ago :: Dating
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