I Wasn’t Ready to Say “I Love You.” How Should I Have Handled it?

Dr. Wendy Walsh
Dr. Wendy Walsh Updated:
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Reader Question:

I had been seeing this guy for about a month and neither of us had used the word love. One night when we were talking on the phone, all of a sudden he said out of nowhere “That’s why I love you.” That is not the way I would think you would tell someone for the first time that you love them. I was not sure how I felt myself and I was not ready to say it back to him.

Nothing was the same after that between us. Later I asked him about it and he said he didn’t remember saying it, but I know he did. We are no longer together.

How should I have handled that situation?

-Becka (Texas)

Dr. Wendy Walsh’s Answer:

Oh, sweet, sweet Becka. Hindsight is 20/20, isn’t it? First of all, remember that in our limited English language, love has many meanings. We love a cute dress, we really love our mothers and we seriously love our boyfriends.

When your guy uttered “I love you,” it was a reflex. He meant to say “like” because it was too early to feel real love, anyway. But when you brought it up, it must have scared him off. He realized that he had used a powerful word too early.

So what should you have done? Ignored his words. Look for love as a set of actions, not one silly word. By the way, the number one lie men tell women is “I love you” to obtain sex. His actions speak louder than his words.

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