Ask A Guy: Why Won’t He Say I Love You?

does he love me

Why are these 3 little words so hard to say? | Source: ShutterStock

Hi Ethan,

I’ve been with my boyfriend for 9 months in July. He is handsome, smart, he has a plan for his life, and he treats me like a queen. But I have a hang up and it’s kind of a big one. He doesn’t love me. I dropped the bomb a few months ago and he wasn’t there yet, and he still isn’t there. He says he just needs time, but I’m beginning to think it isn’t going to happen. He put everything on the line for his last girl and she never said she loved him back. So now he’s hesitant. I’ve made it clear that this is a new relationship and that I am not his last girl, but I can’t help but think his baggage is weighing him down.

I love him and he’s such a great guy, but how long should a girl wait around before it’s not worth it anymore? 🙁

Ouch. Nothing hurts more than an unrequited L-Bomb. When I first told my girlfriend I loved her, it took her so long to respond that I began convincing myself I never said it in the first place.

Everyone moves at a different pace, so it might take a guy a little longer to reach the same emotional level as you because of his previous romantic experiences (or a lack of experience altogether). Try to allow emotional checkpoints to unfold naturally and give your guy some time to catch up. If you’re on different pages, the last thing you want to do is force the issue.

But seeing as you’ve already gone a few months with nothing but “I love… these pancakes!”, it’s time to take the relationship’s temperature. Calmly broach the issue with a mature, open discussion. Stay positive, avoid accusations or pressuring, and find out how he’s feeling about what you’ve already laid out.

Once you’ve discussed the topic with him, if it doesn’t seem like he’s at least headed towards Lovetown, you’ll have to pull the plug. Nine months is enough time for anyone to know which direction a relationship is moving, and you don’t deserve to feel unmatched for any longer.

However, there are no absolutes in dating, so there is no objective amount of time you should or shouldn’t wait around for a guy to fall in love. Those ladies confident of an eventual come around won’t let a one-way declaration stress them out, while others won’t stand for anything but immediate reciprocation. Ultimately, you need to wait for this guy for as long as it still feels good – and you need to walk when it just doesn’t anymore.

Good luck!

Ethan Fixell is a writer and comedian from New York City best known as one half of comic “dating coach” duo Dave and Ethan. He is also the creator and editor of For more on Ethan, visit…or call his mom, Robin.

Are you confused about a guy? Do you find yourself wondering, “What is he thinking?” Tell us everything in the comments! And if you have a question for Ethan, email him at!


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  • Samantha

    I broke up with my ex boyfriend 3 weeks ago. He told me it was going to be hard when I leave to college and he was done with all the fighting about little things it got too intense we need to just breathe. He has anxiety and trust issues because his dad wasn’t there all of his life and I’ve tried to help him through it. We’ve been together for 1 year and 6 months and we’ve talked about our future and the apartment we were going to get and he wanted to get me a promise ring. He told me that he would never find another girl who can put up with him like I do, who understands him and makes him happy. He’s told me that he needs me and we even planned to get married 5 years from now. 2 days after we broke up he texted me saying he wanted me back and that he made a mistake. I told him he needed to be sure that he wouldn’t break up with me again because he had doubts and he was scared of long distance. He also said because he always went to come see me and I barely went to his house but only because I wasn’t allowed to most of the time but I did manage to go sometimes. I even risked going after school. He then said that he needed time to think and when I wanted to fix things he pushed me away and said he needed time but never told me how much. He told me he still loves me and by the end of it it wouldn’t change. I told him I would wait and last week I went to see him to tell him that I couldn’t wait anymore. And I told him that I love him still but it hurts being distanced from him like this. I’m not going to the college anymore because of financial reasons and so I would be staying here. I got a car and I’m allowed to freely go wherever I want and he still didn’t think anything of it. He just said that it was funny how we try more when we’re not in a relationship. He told me that this girl has been talking to him and helping him through this, through the break up and his thinking, but they are just friends. This girl flirted with him at a party when we were still together and he took no interest in her then. But now they have stuff in common and have been talking everyday. When we met that day it was a good day we laughed and hung out like how we used to and he told me that he still loves me but he still doesn’t know and how I still make his heart race and his stomach drop when we’re together. And how he is very attracted to me still that he can’t control himself. He suggested for us to have sex and I agreed because I thought it was a good idea at the time. We both thought it would be a bad idea at first but we both needed to know what was there. When were together in that way it’s so comfortable and we always have a great time. After, we did another activity and he felt it was too much emotionally. He started to feel bad and he said that it was all still there but he can’t decide between me, freedom and her. We talked and there was a suggestion about being friends and we both agreed but 2 days after I realized it would be a bad idea because I was still in love with him. He asked me why was it hard and I told him how I felt and about my feeling towards the girl and he said again that they were “just friends” he told her that because he’s not ready. But he already has someone to move on to but he said that his feeling for me seems to always come back and they never leave. But I said that he made his decision and he said he was sorry for hurting me and we said our goodbyes. The thing I don’t understand is if he still loves me why doesn’t he want to fix our relationship? Why does he want to be my friend? How can he move on so quickly? Is this just a phase and he’ll be back? How can I move on from this?

  • javeena suleman

    me and my boyfriend have been together for 3 years, he was telling me he loves me and crying when we was in an argument and I was shouting saying we was over, but not really meaning it. then minutes later he tells me hes been cheating. he makes a gir ring me, who is a family friend of his and she says they have been seeing eachother for a month and he told hher he loves her etc. then he rings me and says he don’t want me anymore. I really do love him. do you think he is telling the truth but this girl or is it a lie and what shall I do please ???? thank you for reading

  • Sarah melvin

    So, im having a lot of problems with my heart. Its kinda tearing me apart. I have fallen in love with one of my brothers best friends. He first held my hand about 2 months ago. We’ve been talking for about a year. And i want to go further with it, but were not even dating. We have to keep it from everyone else so my brother doesn’t find out. Is that healthy? He texts me a lot. But whenever he’s around all he wants to do is kiss. Ive said “i love you” and all he did was say thanks and explain to me how much his last girlfriend hurt him so he’s going to wait. I understood completely, but i feel like were on two different pages. Im in love with him, and he has feelings for me but hasn’t said i love you, and we’ve stopped texting like we used to. He hardly comes over anymore. Am i just his rebound? I dont know if i should end it now and save my heart some pain, or go on with it and take a chance of a broken heart. Hes not the one to leave, hes a sweet guy. But i never get to see him, and the “love” thing is getting to me. I dont want to let him go, but i feel as if i might. Please help. Thanks.

  • morgan

    My boyfriend and I have been together a year and half now. I dropped the I love you before i truly meant it about a year ago. Then i forgot all about it as he only smiled and continued with his video game. Now a year later soberly and meaningfully i couldnt hold it in any more. He is almost a step dad figure for my 3 year old son. He tells my son he loves him once or twice. He says he loves me if we talk about it because he shows me everyday. Just becausE he doesnt say it doesnt mean he doesnt is how he explains it. There are times he is sitting next to me or pkaying with my son and i just want to yell out how much love i have for him. He treats me like a queen. We never fight. He is the perfect guy. But he is so laid back about life, never lets things bother him. I worry we could just be “passing time” or he could atleast.

  • Rose

    I just went through this and it hurt hard core. The man was with me for 13 months and I fell in love with him for sure. At about the ninth month marker I asked —- are you in love with me? And he said I don’t know. That hurt because I knew that meant no because there was no reassurance behind that. Well, just a week ago he told me knows he doesn’t have those feelings for me and it has truly crushed me.

    Moral of this story: LADIES DO NOT DO LIKE I DID! If they do not tell you that they love you in six to nine months then LEAVE! Believe will hurt like hell when he pulls that sudden cold breakup on you.

  • anonymous

    I’ve been with my guy almost a year, when we first got together he was so interested. Would do nice things, and show me how much I meant to him. He’d constantly tell me I was beautiful, and how important k was to him. Now I struggle to even get him to show an interest. I don’t no if I’m doing something different, or whether the way he feels has changed. He never tells me he loves me or that im beautiful, and we never do anything together. Most of the time we argue 🙁 I don’t no what to do cause I do really love him.

    • denise j

      I found out recently that females are generally looking for a less physically attractive partner than themselves.. If he doesn’t come off as more insecure than she is.. She does not feel interested because she carrys the extra emotional baggage.

  • nitda

    I meet my boy friend for 10 month now ,and I really love him and I even say I love u first .but I feel so bad because he never say I love you back .and I can’t wait I ark him why ? And he told me that when he divorce he second wife he really heart broken. And may he never feel love ever agains.I am crying after hear that because I already fall in love with him.maybe I never have a change to have he love for me.and one day I tell him that I don’t know if I can hang around any longer .and he text me that I don’t know why ?just thinking that I never gonna see u against is very upsetting me .but he very nice guy when we spending time together we are happy .I am not sure what I should do ? Stay around or move on.because I am not sure if he be able to love me ?

  • christina

    I’ve been seeing a guy for almost 11 months. We have a great time together. We spend quality time together and the sex is amazing. When we first started seeing each other he said we were just friends with benefits. The problem is his actions are telling me different. The way he acts out in public with me makes me think that there is something more. I have feelings for him and I’m afraid to tell him. He says that he likes our arrangement and doesnt want me to get emotionally involved because he can’t do it right now. Hes been raising 2 daughters and one is in college and the other one will be graduating this year. My question is: should I give him time because I know his children come first or ask him exactly what he wants?

    • Alice

      He told you exactly what he wants: no commitment. He’s being honest, if that is not the type of arrangement you are looking for, find someone else. If he cares enough to date you, he’ll try to get you back after you leave and then YOU can decide if he’s worth it.

  • Kimbr Stevens

    I met this guy in May. We dated casually for a couple of weeks but the chemistry, in my mind was really great. I decided I couldn’t just be one of many and decided to back off, but his reaction was to stop dating other women and just see me exclusively. I fell in love within a month and I was more happy than I’ve ever been in my life. A couple of months later he revealed we weren’t “right” for each other and he broke it off. I have always felt he treated me better than any man ever had, and that I couldn’t see why he didn’t want to be with me if he treated me like I was the only girl in the world. He was attentive, never late, always affectionate, and even as friends after the break up, he still texts me first thing in the morning, last thing at night and gives me every positive affirmation that a girl needs. Why would he do this if he isn’t in love?

    • Alice

      He decided he missed sleeping with other girls. He keeps texting you, to string you along in case any of these other girls fall through. Cut contact now.

  • Tracey

    I met this guy in August of last year and we dated till the beginning of July 2013. We were on and off from April 2013 till when I broke up with him in July because he wasnt putting any effort in the relationship, still on dating sites (including the one we met on) talking to and texting other women, and seeming very distant. I love him and he’s aware of how I feel about him but I’m always wondering where I stand with him. Because one minute he acts like he cares about me and wants me around then the next his mind is off somewhere else and acts like I’m not even there. The other night I asked him how he truly felt about me and that I deserved an honest answer because we had been going back and forth for a year and frankly I was tired of it. He said “I obviously like you or I wouldn’t be here” ….????? REALLY? After a year he just LIKES me? So as a joke, I sent him a text later saying “goodnight..I LIKE you”) and he replied goodnight ..I like you too 😉 …….is that his way of telling me he loves me? I mean isn’t a year long enough for someone to know if they love someone?? HELP!

  • Lynne

    Hi. I’ve been seeing this guy for about 3months now. We both agreed that we were not ready for a relationship. But we started hooking up and there were no strings attached. Later he realized he was getting attached and so was I. I told him I loved him. But he only used to tell me when we started to make love. I thought it wasn’t right so we had a talk about it. Then he started to tell me every now and then. He said he really loved me and that I shouldn’t doubt his love for a second. But he still hasn’t asked me out. I’ve met his mum and his family.. And they all think we dating. But it still isn’t official. I want to walk away and look elsewhere cuz I’m scared to get hurt. Should I stay and assume we are dating or I should walk away. Plus I used to date one of his friends. And he only recently got to know. I don’t know what that implies or if it’s a factor at all.
    I need advice cuz I’m loosing it and hv been avoiding him while I try to figure stuff out

  • Ashley E.

    Hey Ethan,
    I’ve known this boy i like for about 2 years now. I really started liking him when a very close family member of mine died and he was there for me. Recently i’ve started to fall for him. We’ve talked about getting into a relationship and he says the choice is mines, but when i told him to choose he said he rather wait until i come back from basic training which in 9 months from now. I believe i’ve waited long enough for a relationship. What is taking him so long? The confusing part is when i said im leaving to find a relationship and told him to enjoy his life he says he wont because im not in it. What should i do? He is very nice and willing to spend money on me. He says he loves and cares for me so what’s the problem? Is he scared of getting in a relationship because of a past relationship gone wrong or is he leading me on? How should i take this?

  • chelsea patalinghug

    she never should’ve expected anything…. i hate guys like that >_<

  • Adama

    At least when he finally does say it, you’ll know he really means it!

  • jenn

    sometimes its better for guys not to say i love u so fast i think

    • Wilde


  • Sammi

    Only Sith deal in absolutes.

    • Catie

      I love you for that comment.