He Said I love you…I Can’t Say It Back

This happens. Sh*t happens.  And all we can do is ask the question, “What’s next?” We’ve all found ourselves in a relationship where one person moves a little faster than the other person. It’s not that we may NEVER get there, too, but right now we’re not. But how do you not throw out the baby with the bath water?

There’s a rumored Indian study that was supposedly conducted that determined this: No two people ever fall for each other at the same rate. None. And that can be damn…inconvenient, to put it milder-mannered than Clark Kent. Does that mean you can’t keep falling quasi-together? No. You definitely can. What it takes is honesty, reassurance, and an act of good will.

Yeah, sounds corny and easy and you know what? It is, and it isn’t. Cliches have roots in their track records, damn it! Otherwise they’d be no fun to poke fun at. “I love you” is a big step. And the knee-jerk reaction on his part to crickets instead of reciprocation is “OH MY GOD SHE DOESN’T LOVE ME I’VE MADE A GIANT ASS OUT OF MYSELF WHERE’S THE HOLE TO CRAWL INTO AND DIE!” But then a few seconds go by, and you have an opening.

The longer you keep him waiting for an answer, the worse it gets. You’re going to have to be gentle, sensitive, and vulnerable. Be honest. Tell him the truth about how you feel, don’t feel, how much you care and value what you have. You’re not failing a test by not saying it back, you’re not sabotaging the relationship, and the relationship doesn’t have to be doomed. You’re not asking to “keep things as they are,” because once he’s made the gesture, things have to change. But moving forward can be accomplished a couple different ways.

You tell him you value what you have. You tell him thank you. You tell him that you’re not there yet, and it’s not something that can’y be rushed, but it’ll happen on its own times. Perhaps one day he’ll bring you calla lilies, and you’ll just look at him, or he’ll clean up your vomit when you’ve got a stomach flu, you know, the classics. But you have to make it clear this isn’t a rejection, this is assurance and this is you being honest as a means of moving forward.

The word “can’t” need not enter the conversation. That’s a danger word. Instead, use the phrase, “right now.” Because that’s what you’re dealing with, the present moment. And the present moment’s a little off-balanced but quite frankly, it almost always is, and we just don’t realize it all the time. And that’s okay. Remember that: It’s okay.

Saying…you know,

The Dude

[lead image via Petrenko Andriy / Shutterstock]

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