No compliments?

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-06-2013
No compliments?
Sun, 10-06-2013 - 1:37pm

Hi everyone, first post here!

My boyfriend and I have a great relationship. We've been together a year and have been living together for about four months, and we've settled in to the co-habitating life.

My question is about compliments. He rarely gives them, and when he does, they're never about my looks. The compliments he does give me from time to time is how well I cleaned up a messy room, or he'll thank me for folding his laundry (more like point out that I did it and smile). If I'm trying to put together a new outfit, I can ask his opinion and he'll say "it looks nice," but he won't say I look nice - ever. He issues compliments based on the things I do, not what I look like. If he does compliment me on my looks, it's what I'm wearing, not my physical self.

(I apologize in advance if the following is too much information!!)

He does a great job making me feel sexy. We're very open in communication, so he doesn't hold back in telling me he loves a certain pair of underwear or something we do in bed. I feel very secure with our sex life, and that may be why I enjoy it so much... that's when I feel like I'm attractive to him.

Anyway... I don't know what to do. I don't want to seem needy by asking him to pay me more compliments, but I'm starting to feel very insecure, and he knows it. He's in contact both professionally and personally with a few of his exes (one of which he recently lied about being an ex so I would feel comfortable with him hanging out with her) and they are all much more attractive than myself. I told him I felt like a downgrade from all the girls he's dated, and he didn't make any effort to make me feel better about it. He simply said "that's because you're insecure. You're not a downgrade," and that was that. I feel sexy, but I don't feel beautiful. What do I do?

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Sun, 10-06-2013 - 10:46pm

I think you could broach the subject with him.  You could say "I know this might seem silly to you but sometimes I would like it if you would compliment my appearance.  I feel that you don't really notice when I look nice."  I am curious.  Do you compliment his appearance and if you do, what is his reaction?  I just think everyone is different.  My exH would give me a lot of compliments about my appearance and it actually made me uncomfortable even though I know he was sincere about it, so maybe your BF doesn't do it because for some reason it makes him uncomfortable or he feels it's superficial or some unknown reason even to him.  I think you will get into a bad place if you keep comparing yourself to his exes--if he wanted to go out with them still, he would be with them.  You have to be confident that he is with you because he loves you.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-20-2009
Mon, 10-07-2013 - 12:44am

He's right, you're being insecure.  You might think his ex's are beautiful, and maybe they ARE, but he's chosen to be with you, and not with them.  Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  If he wanted to be with them, he would be with them.....he chooses to be with you.  To HIM you're beautiful, and he shouldn't have to reassure you that you are.  They might be beautiful in YOUR eyes, but they must be lacking something or he'd still be with them, wouldn't he?  If he only chose women for looks, then he'd be a very shallow man.  He compliments you on things you do and on things you wear.......most men don't even do that!  Understand that he's with you, not with someone else......and he's happy with you, not someone else.  So he doesn't tell you you're beautiful, maybe he thinks that you'll get too conceited!  When someone is truly in love, they think the person they love is the most beautiful/handsome person in the world.

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-06-2013
Mon, 10-07-2013 - 2:06pm

I do compliment him. I'll say things like "you're looking extra handsome today," or "baby, have I told you lately how handsome you are?" I don't bombard him with compliments, but I'd say once every week or two I'll pay him a compliment about his appearance. His reaction is usually along the lines of "aww, thanks babe" with a big smile.
I know that if he wanted to be with his exes, he would be. What I keep thinking is that I may have a better personality and more common interests, but I'm not as pretty. And we all know that men are very visual creatures, and it's usually a good-looking woman (not one with a killer sense of humor) that makes them stray. I know I'm not ugly, as I often get compliments from the restaurant patrons I serve, but it'd be nice to hear it out of my boyfriend's mouth. I don't care what strangers think, I care what he thinks, and I don't want to have to just assume he thinks I'm attractive.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-20-2009
Mon, 10-07-2013 - 11:33pm

You've only been together for a year, and you're worried about him straying?  And I hate to burst your bubble, but men rarely "stray" for looks!  Studies have proven that men stray for a lot of reasons, the least of which is looks.  They go for a woman who asks nothing of them, who is understanding and a good listener.  Even "professional" women have said many men don't even want sex, they want to talk, and be heard.  Another reason men stray is because of sex......if they're not getting it at home, or if their partner only wants bland sex, won't experiment, etc.  I worked for years in the business world in a man's business, and some of them had steady mistresses......none of whom were raving beauties.  They were just women who wanted nothing but companionship.  Your thought that he will run after someone he thinks is more beautiful than you is again, an insecurity.  He is with you because he wants to be with you.  If his other women were so beautiful, why did he leave them for you?  He obviously thinks you're beautiful.....and he appreciates what you do for him, and even how you dress for him.  You can tell him that you need to hear him say you're a beautiful woman more often, and he will probably wonder what your problem is.  You can tell him that you like to hear it, just as he seems to like to hear it......but if you have to ask for something like that, it's the same as asking for a takes the joy out of it.  Some men compliment one way, some compliment another way.....some men don't compliment at all.  Be glad he is appreciative of the things you do for him, and the way you dress for him. 

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-12-2013
Tue, 10-08-2013 - 3:47am

Different people have different ways of expressing their feelings. I can quite imagine where you're coming from, how you're feeling but think about it this way. You say that he makes you feel sexy, doesn't that mean he sees you that way? Maybe it's just not his way to say things like 'you look beautiful' . But does getting compliments from him all that there is to it? From what you've said, there doesn't seem any reason for you to be insecure. Insecurity only creates negativity in the mind and shuts the ability to appreciate the qualities that should be appreciated. He doesn't even know what you're expecting of him. Talk to him about this. Bring it up gently and let him know that it'd feel good to you if he pays compliments in words, to how you look. A relationship requires a lot more than just good looks. So what if his exes are attractive! They are his past and you are his present, isn't it? Love yourself and be confident. I know it's easier said than done but you can make a start. Insecurity is not a great ingredient for a relationship. Get rid of it. Whatever it is talk to him. God bless.

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Community Leader
Registered: 01-25-2010
Tue, 10-08-2013 - 11:36am

  Stop right now with this foolish thinking!    You choose him(women actually do the choosing).  He is with you.  That's enough.  men have different tastes in feminine beauty.  And many sexy women are by some standards plain.   He, you can trust to be honest in compliments, because these are what is important to him.   Being movie star beautiful does not start the engine.   You have qualities that you seem to discount.  He does not discount them.  


Community Leader
Registered: 08-25-2006
Thu, 10-10-2013 - 4:39pm

((((( I feel sexy, but I don't feel beautiful. What do I do?)))))

Hmmm....this is a very interesting comment.  Although your BF is right, this is an insecurity you have, it does't necessarily mean that you shouldn't bring it up.  But here is the deal.  We have differnt "love languages."  You can't change him, nor him you, but you can communicate about the differences. 

For example: My DH does things for me that I could care less about, but that is his way of showing love.  And vice versa.  But these are things that we have talked about over the years.  Not year, but years.  Think of the DH that works 80 hours a week to provide well for his family, but the DW feels like a single mom and is resentful.  But the DH is thinking "I work my butt off, tell my DW I love and appreciate her every day, and she is mad that I work so many hours?  What does she want from me? "  This DH is showing love the only way he knows how; by providing for his family financially. 

There are women who would kill to here those things from their DH in the bedroom.  Only you can decide what is a deal breaker for you, but I have a feeling this is something the two of you can work through. 

Just remember this is not about you being right and your BF being wrong.  It simply about different love languages. 

One last example:  My DH thinks flowers are a waste of money and only gives presents at Christmas.  He prefers to spend his money (and show his love) by spending time with people, which may or may not mean spending money.  He may spend $100 on my birthday for an outing together, but wouldn't spend $100 on a present for me to unwrap.   But with all of that said, once in a while he surprises me, and when he does, it is even more special. 

Serenity CL making a second marriage work

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-27-2007
Thu, 10-17-2013 - 8:10pm


Hi shortchica4,

 You know what… all this may be as simple as learning what each other’s love language is.

 Dr. Gary Chapman, author ofThe Five Love Languages,writes about the importance of being able to express love to your spouse in a way that your spouse can understand. He calls this type of communicating using the five love languages.

 Gary  identifies them to be:acts of service, words of affirmation, gifts, quality time,andphysical touch.  He reminds us that if we want to give and receive love most effectively, we have to learn to speak the right love language to the right person.  Each person feels “loved” in different ways.  The key is to identify the “love language” (or combination of languages) that speaks the clearest to each person.

 One quick example is a husband comes home with flowers (gifts) for his wife, after coming home late from work.  The wife is upset because as soon as he gets home with the flowers, he goes into his office and watches the game on TV to relax.  She’s left alone with the flowers… when all she really wanted was quality time with him and his help with the dishes (acts of service).  She throws the flowers in the trash because she didn’t see the gesture as a show of love…

 Check out the book--together.  There’s actually a test to find out what your love language is—or combination of love languages.  Take and share the test with your boyfriend.  Then both of you will know what to say and do to show each other that you love each other.

 Once both of you know each other’s love language, you can speak it more clearly and more often. 

 Here’s a link to a test.  Have fun with it.