Wise Guys: What If He Doesn’t Say I Love You Back?

Advice from three of EMandLO.com’s guy friends. This week they answer the following: “If a guy doesn’t respond in kind to the admission “I love you”, does that automatically mean the relationship is doomed and going nowhere? Or is there ever hope?” To ask the guys your own question, click here.

Straight Married Guy (David Felsen): Let’s first assume that you’re dropping the I.L.Y. bomb after you’ve known the guy for at least a dirty weekend in Vegas, and that this isn’t happening after a chance meeting in the canned goods section (he was looking for pork shoulder, you were looking for love). If it’s the latter, I see many cats in your future. “I can has kat pewp?”

If it’s the former, and the guy doesn’t respond in kind to your admission, he’s either unsure, a playa, or deaf. I wouldn’t completely give up on him, but you might want to ask him why he didn’t respond to the most important thing you’ve told him since you lied about loving football. This confrontation may cause him to cease, desist and ban you from the Fantasy League, but at least you’ll know where you stand. You can also play it cool and see if he’ll come around, but let’s face it, you’re never going to forgive him for not being your one and only dittohead.

P.S. If he says “I love me too,” punt.

daniel_100Gay Single Guy (Daniel): One must recognize that not everyone communicates love verbally, so one should never assume that 1) the feelings aren’t mutual or that 2) there is no hope for the relationship. You should never tell someone that you love him or her with the expectation to hear it back. Say it because you mean it and that it is a self-satisfying expression of your love. It should not come with other motives if you want to save yourself from any unnecessary suffering.

mark_luczak_100Straight Single Guy (Mark Luczak): Well, nothing necessarily means doom, but an instance like this is probably at least cause for substantial evaluation. As must all things refer back to Seinfeld, “If you don’t get that return, that’s a pretty big matzah ball hangin’ out there.” In the ideal case, both parties are on the same page about how things are progressing and whether mutually exchanging the L-word is appropriate and imminent. Even that anticipation can be one of the best parts of the “honeymoon” as each practically can’t resist blurting it out, but I digress.

A simple miscalculation in the guy’s strength of feelings at that juncture; something explicitly causing him to defer; or even his having a categorical aversion to such an expression for whatever reason…all would obviously represent a certain dissidence in expectations, communication about which would be critical for the potential relationship’s direction from that point.

Our “guys” are a rotating group of contributors. This week’s Straight Married Guy is NY writer-comedian David Felsen; our Gay Guy is one-time stripper and sex columnist Daniel; and our Straight Single Guy is Mark Luczak, a tech geek at Carnegie Mellon University. To ask the guys your own question, click here.

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4 Comments on "Wise Guys: What If He Doesn’t Say I Love You Back?"

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ryan female
3 years 8 months ago

I say I love you and nothing he has to be wasted to say it and it is few and far between when I say it I mean it I don’t undrstand what is so hard about uttering those simple words and then he gets scares and doesntwant to be with me and we have been together for four years I have been through the same heart ache As him I was married to someone for10 years irony get it

4 years 6 months ago

Daniel(Gay guy)is so right. Not everybody wants to verbalize their every thought, and everyone needs to go at his or her own pace

4 years 6 months ago

The great love of my life is not a man of many words, so believes saying it once in a while is sufficient. Often therefore, I’ll not get a reply when I say it. We just accept personal difference in this situation. I do however have fantasies of hearing it everyday …

4 years 6 months ago

Daniel (“Gay Single Guy”) could not be more right!

“You should never tell someone that you love him or her with the expectation to hear it back. Say it because you mean it and that it is a self-satisfying expression of your love.”

As a “Straight Married Guy” myself, I have to ask how many times the words “I love you” have been uttered as a probe for reassurance rather than an expression of love. If you’re seeking reassurance, perhaps the show of insecurity is a turn off and you’re even less likely to get a sincere “I love you” in return.

Confidence is hot. A spontaneous, unsolicited “I love you” does wonders for the recipient. A coerced “I love you” solicited out of insecurity has little power to provide anything but a fleeting “reassurance.” It soon feels as hollow as the original “I love you.”