Friday, February 16, 2007

Dismaying Story #115: Saying the L-Word

Dear Andrew,

I just broke up with my boyfriend of eight months. I'm just wondering why he suddenly decided he didn’t love me anymore. He told me he loved me every day and on the morning we broke up he called to say he loves me. Then that evening he changed his mind. How is that? I'm sure if he doesn’t love me anymore, then that feeling must have been there for quite some time. I don’t understand why he kept telling me otherwise.

Signed, Confused

Dear Confused,

The simple (and no doubt painful) truth is that he never was in love with you. A person may wake up one morning and realize they would rather not continue with their partner, but that doesn’t happen when that person is truly happy about the relationship.

While you were still together it was in his best interest to make you happy. This kept the day-to-day relationship sailing along with as much harmony as possible. Perhaps he figured out that saying the “L” word made things work better between the two of you. Or this may simply be his manner with all his girlfriends. Or perhaps he tried very, very hard to convince himself this was the relationship for him and saying “I love you” was part of how he did that. I don’t know -- there could be any number of reasons why a boyfriend would say those words repeatedly, even when the relationship is destined to end.

I’m not saying your boyfriend was trying to deceive you. I’m sure this happens sometimes and that may have been his intent, but not necessarily.

So what do you do if your boyfriend or girlfriend says the words? How do you know if their words are really true? As in most circumstances in life, you also pay attention to their behavior. Actions truly do speak louder than words.

In your case, though, the reasons why he told you he loved you all the time are no longer important. The only relevant fact now is that he has admitted this is not the relationship for him. My advice is to stop worrying about why and what if and if only. Set your sights on the future, one that doesn’t include him. Go find yourself the guy who will say “I love you” and really mean it!

All the best,


  1. Dear Confused,

    OUCH. How did he ACT during those 8 months ? Were there ever any red flags ?

    I think Andrew, as usual, hit it right on the nose !!!

    Actions DO say everything. Words are nice, but they aren't enough.

    Now you have the power/knowledge that comes with knowing that.

    Best wishes...

  2. I think it's possible to say "I love you" and mean it at the time, but then no longer think it's the relationship for you. That's happened to me. Of course, it took me months to build up to saying "I love you" and I didn't say it every day at all. And as things got worse, leading to a breakup, I said it less and less. But when I did say it, I meant it.

  3. I'm very careful about when I say "I love you" or more importantly WHO I say it to. I've found too many people can say it freely without thinking about how it's affecting the other person. Or they want to make the other person feel good; it's what the other person wants to hear etc. My kids, family, close friends? of course, that's easy peasy to do.

    But someone you feel has got your heart? That takes a lot more effort for me to say initially...I need to make sure they're worthy of having my heart first and that I'm not going to be making a massive mistake by handing it over LOL

    Actions DO speak louder than words. If he's been saying I love you, and backing it up with actions of respect, consideration and going out of his way to do what he can to please you (and vice versa), then it's all good...say it. If he's saying it, yet his actions show he doesn't make the effort to follow it up in all those little ways...scrap it. That's my philosophy anyway.

    I believe you're right, I don't think he was IN love with her...he may have loved her for many different things, but to be IN love? I don't believe you just 'fall' out of love during the day. Love your response to this.

  4. great advice -- go and find yourself someone who will say i love you and really mean -- really mean it by showing you daily that he loves you..

    like you said -- actions do speak louder than words!