Why won't my boyfriend say the

Dear Sherry:

I’ve been dating my boyfriend for two years. At this point, we spend literally all our time together. He treats me well, wouldn’t cheat, we laugh a lot together, etc. We’re great friends. The problem is that he has never said he loves me. When I’ve asked him if he does, he says he doesn’t think so. (He had a previous relationship that soured him on the concept of love.) I want to marry him, but what kind of idiot marries someone who doesn’t love her?

I don't want to end the relationship, but the absence of "I love you's" is making me very insecure, which is negatively affecting the relationship. Do I stay or do I go?

Serena

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Sherry Amatenstein

Sherry is the author of The Q&A Dating Book and Love Lessons from Bad Breakups. She has taught dating seminars, appeared as an expert... Read more

Dear Serena:

The first thing you should do is have a long conversation with him about all the shadings of love: Compare your definitions of the most important word in the English language. It could be that, by the parameters that matter to you (for example, respect, friendship, intense enjoyment of the other person’s company, compatible interests and goals), he does love you. But, since you have a mature, friendship-oriented relationship, if he’s judging love by the juvenile yardsticks of obsession, misery and endless lust, he might not realize the depth of his feelings for you.

Have you told him how important it is for you to feel loved by him? Have the two of you discussed whether you feel deeply enough about each other to someday marry? If, after this and perhaps subsequent discussions about this topic, you still feel unloved, then you might want to consider re-evaluating your relationship.

No matter how wonderful he is, if he can’t give you what you need in this pivotal area, then he might not be what you want in a mate. That doesn’t mean the relationship didn’t have great value for both of you, but not all partnerships are meant to last forever.

Best of luck and let us know how things go.

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