You Asked: Is He Emotionally-Damaged Goods?

Dear Sugar,

My boyfriend and I have been dating exclusively for five months. We both used to be morbidly obese and therefore haven't had very many romantic relationships in the past. In fact, my boyfriend only recently lost his virginity three years ago, when he was 28. Our unhealthy appearances made us both easy targets for ridicule during our school years.

I explain all this because recently, I went out on a limb and told him that I loved him. I didn't expect him to respond, I just wanted to let him know how I felt. Later, he brought it up and said that he was happy being with me and that I filled the void he previously felt, but he doesn't know if he loves me yet. When I asked if he thought he ever would, he claimed he wasn't sure. Apparently he felt the same emotional limbo in his previous relationship, but at the time, said "I love you," simply because she had. After saying it so many times without feeling it, it didn't mean anything to him anymore.

I know he doesn't want to hurt me, and that's why he opened up. He is kind, generous, thoughtful, and considerate. We have fun and we both get a kick out of how we are in sync about so many things but I have to know: Could it just be I'm not the right girl? Or is it some deeper emotional issue from his past — he's mentioned that as a possibility? I love him, and I do feel as if he loves me.

— Torn By His Words Taylor

To see DearSugar's answer, read more.

As I've said before, I can completely understand why you're concerned that he can't reciprocate your sentiment, but saying "I love you" is not the end all be all in expressing love. In fact, I think it says more about your relationship that you were able to have such an open and mature discussion on the matter than if you were to simply exchange I love yous. But, I agree with you, there might just be some personal issues preventing him from determining his feelings. If so, that's going to be something that he'll have to work on alone.

I say, enjoy the relationship you have now, and see if as you grow closer and more comfortable, he naturally breaks out of his shell. Remember even if he did say "I love you," it doesn't mean that you're meant to be, so just because he won't say it, doesn't mean you're not. But always protect yourself; in the end, you have to do what feels right for you, not him.

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