Please help me, I’m struggling with this. My boyfriend of eight months has never said the words ‘I love you’.
Every time I say them to him he brushes them off or says ‘me too.’. I have tried to tell him how important it is to me, but he says that he has been faithful, caring and concerned about me, and that African men don’t use words to tell a woman they love her – they show her.
I thought I was okay with this but now I feel like I am missing out on that romantic feeling of hearing those words. Should I dump him because of this small thing? Can our relationship proceed and grow if he doesn’t take my needs seriously?
Instead of your boyfriend generalising that African men do not use romantic words on their women, he should instead speak for himself.
Let him accept he is not good at throwing romantic expressions to you so you get to love him that way. You are indeed missing out when you express all these to a lover who does not reciprocate.
Talk about it and I believe if he loves you he will change a bit to make it a fulfilling relationship. If he does not change then you have no reason to keep clinging to a man who won't recognise your efforts.
Juma Felix, via email.
The words ‘I love you’ are important to a woman. It helps her to carry on in her marriage during those days when the going gets tough. These words will return to her memory on bad days, and give her courage to remain there.
If your boyfriend had been truly caring, and concerned as he claims, he would get serious and pronounce these words to you each time his heart beats for you, because you have told him that these words are important to you.
One of the reasons for your man’s type of behaviour is poor background. Badly raised men can be primitive in their behaviour. In my opinion, you do not have to leave your man, but you will have to be patient with him, and help him come out of his pride and his hardened heart.
Achieng Goretti, via email.
I understand your predicament. It is however wise to ask yourself some questions. What is more important? The words 'I love you' or the actual actions? They say 'Actions speak louder than words.' A man does not need to always tell you that he loves you, but his actions will show it. I also believe eight months is still minimal. He might be in the stage of really finding out if he is dating the right person. I'd advise that you relax and be keen on how he treats you. All the best. Calvin Queens, via email.
Words mean a lot to different people. Psychology states that women, unlike men, understand love through words more than actions. Many men don't understand this fact and I don't blame your man for it. Words are powerful and carry a lot of meaning. I suggest you have a serious talk with him and impress the importance of the words to you. If he is serious about the relationship, he will definitely adapt. Please be patient not to appear like you are forcing it on him. Your relationship will grow through clear and open communication. All the best!
John Wambugu via email
Maurice Matheka, a relationship counsellor answers:
The idea of romance is great. The ideal relationship has an abundance of ‘I love you’ sentiments and exchanges; however in practical thought and application, the question is whether, despite the lack of those words, you feel loved and cared for by him.
I believe the words have been diluted by the obligational need to say them. All men are not equal neither do they share the same social expectations or norms. You can gain a man who tells you he loves you all the time but he does nothing to show it. Unless this man mistreats you, you cannot leave a man just because he is not socialised to say I love you. A productive relationship is not built on romantic sentiments but on nurturing a friendship that supersedes basic notations of love.