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Ask A Dude: Why Won’t He Say The “L” Word?


Dear Dude,

My boyfriend and I have been together for a little over a year now. We are long distance (he’s about an hour away) and we have ridiculous amounts of fun when we are together and he means the world to me. The problem is this: the feared and revered “L” word (love) has yet to enter the mix. He’s said “I like you more than you know.” He’s said “You really don’t know how much I like you.” He’s even gone as far as to ask “What would you do if I told you that I loved you?” But there’s been no real declaration of love after 13+ months. What’s a girl to do?

Itching for Action

Dear Itching for Action,
Does “LOVE” mean more than “LIKE”? Oh, Hell yeah! Does it matter if you say it? Oh, Hell yeah! Does it matter who says it first? Oh, Hell…This is where the excrement collides with the wind machine.

Saying the big L first is like throwing yourself off of the Empire State Building with a parachute operated by string cheese into a fireball storm. (My brain is like ball of yarn being battered about by a cat.) You don’t want to go splat and you feel like it’s a very probable possibility. However, that’s the panic talking. Well, more likely screaming through a blow horn into both of your ears.  But if you’ve got the guts to go for the glory then the end result can be magical.

Bottom line: if you love him and you know he’s afraid to say it then there’s a very simple solution: you say it first.

Why is there still an expectation for men to say “I love you” first? I asked this in my article “What Man Does Too Woo The Woman” and I’ve yet to get a comment that spells it out for me.

Expectations can kill relationships. This one especially. Saying “I love you” shouldn’t be an obligation. You shouldn’t feel like it’s your duty to express your love. But “should” refers to something that isn’t. Ain’t that the…euphemism?

It sounds like you love him. My question to you: What’s stopping you from saying it? Then consider that the fears holding you back might be very similar to the ones holding him back. Nobody wants to get hurt. Letting yourself be vulnerable can feel like an invitation to heartbreak. It doesn’t have to.

Showing someone you care means that you have faith in your relationship. It’s a sign that you believe in love. You’re letting the other person know that you’ll be there to support them even when they don’t think they deserve it. Saying “I love you” isn’t dropping a bomb. Saying “I love you” is the giving of trust, commitment, devotion, and emotional availability. It shouldn’t be scary. It is.

When you admit love, you admit you have something that you can’t control, that can be lost or taken away from you. But you saying “I love you” means you know the risk is well worth the rewards.

For some people, giving that gift is harder than others. You shouldn’t be penalized for it. You shouldn’t penalize someone else. Don’t assume he doesn’t because he can’t, yet. Sometimes people need encouragement to leap. Give him your hand to hold onto.

You think this is hard? Try waterboarding. That’s hard!
Coach Dude Sylvester

[Isn’t he wise? Don’t you wish you could get more? You can! Check out The Dude’s other insights into the male mind right here.]

I'm a dude. I know dudes. And I'll share what I know with you. Just ask!