Hi Jenny,

I have been with my boyfriend for a little over a year now and he still can’t seem to say the “L” word. I’ve felt that I have loved him for at least a half a year already, but I never wanted to be the first one to say it. Now, it has come to the point where I think I need for him to say it too. I brought it up the other day and I told him how much I love being with him, how happy he makes me, and that I’ve never felt so strongly for someone before. He caught on and told me he feels the same way, but that he’s not ready to say the word love. He’s had one serious girlfriend before me and he found out in the end that she was cheating on him for at least half of their relationship. Because of that, he has some trust issues and I think that is also why he is afraid to use the word love, because he may fear I may do the same thing to him.

I know he feels strongly for me and I’d like to think that he loves me back. I feel like a year is long enough to know whether you love someone. We’ve even talked about moving in together in the near future.  I truly do love him and don’t want to end things, but I think about this constantly and it hurts that he can’t say it back. Please help!


Hi Scarlet,

I can almost hear the frustration in your voice as I read it! I immediately see that you are arguing for your limitations. You stated your boyfriend had a bad past, that he was previously hurt by another female. What does that have to do with you? Absolutely nothing! Yet you are accepting it as part of him. Essentially, you are accepting his wounds and pretty much letting him know that you will stand by him until he cleans them up. Isn’t that his responsibility? Shouldn’t he have cleaned them up before he got into another relationship? Instead, though, he has decided to drag you down with him and make you suffer for wounds someone else caused him. Plus, you are defending his actions.

Now let’s talk about you Scarlet, why don’t you want to tell him you love him? Are you afraid that if he doesn’t tell you the same thing in return it will cause something inside of you to feel shame? How I define the word shame is the fear of disconnection.

When you feel that there is some part of you that you do not want others to see; that is shame. Underneath all of this, is the will to be vulnerable. And from hearing you talk about your relationship, it appears that you are so afraid of feeling shame you aren’t willing to be vulnerable at all.

Let me ask you a few questions. Are you willing to show that you are imperfect? Are you willing to show more compassion to yourself before you show it to other people? And are you willing to be authentically you, by letting go of who you think you should be in order to be who you are? Simply put, being vulnerable is the same thing as being willing. Are you willing to invest in situations if you don’t know how they are going to turn out? Such as, saying I love you first?

Relationships cannot be controlled and predicted. If you want a successful relationship, you must be willing, you must be vulnerable. Start digging deep Scarlet and find out what you are so afraid of.



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