I’ve been with my boyfriend for two years. We live together, we’ve traveled the world together, and yet he very rarely tells me loves me. It took me a year to even notice this, which says a lot about our relationship—he shows me how he feels instead.
- Love is expressed in many different ways. There’s a relationship book called The 5 Love Languages that has become a kind of philosophy. It details how we all express love in five different ways. According to author Dr. Gary Chapman, love can be expressed through words of affirmation, quality time, gifts, acts of service and physical touch. So if you’re concerned that your partner isn’t saying “I love you,” look for the other signs of love being expressed to you in small yet meaningful ways.
- He brings me flowers. What prompted me to write on this topic was the sight of my boyfriend coming home from work with a big bouquet of white flowers. Every once in a while, out of nowhere and for no special occasion, he’ll do something so spontaneously sweet like this. He loves giving me small, thoughtful gifts to show me he cares, and I think it’s a really lovely gesture.
- He cooks for me. They say the fastest way to someone’s heart is through their stomach. I don’t believe this is about the food itself but about the act of cooking. Dr. Chapman would refer to this as an “act of service” since you’re physically doing something for the other person as a way to show you care. It’s also a way of taking care of the other person. If I’m having a busy day at work, my boyfriend will cook for me because he knows I wouldn’t eat if he didn’t. It lets me know he’s concerned about my well-being.
- He texts my mom. I’m not always the best at communicating and staying in touch with my friends and family back home. I’ll leave my phone charging in another room and forget about it for an entire day. This has always driven my family crazy, especially when I’m traveling. After meeting my family, my boyfriend became the point of contact and consistently lets everyone know where we are and that all is well. His love doesn’t stop with me but extends to my family as well.
- He stands up for me. We were out to dinner the other night with one of my boyfriend’s childhood friends. He’s a great guy but fairly vulgar and at one point, he called me “this bitch.” He has one of those personalities and said it in a playful way but even still, my boyfriend didn’t appreciate it and immediately said, “Don’t speak to her like that.” He commanded respect for me from his best friend, which was not only a difficult thing to do but an incredibly loyal and gentlemanly move that I admired and appreciated.
- He’s loyal to me. There’s never any question of loyalty or faithfulness in our relationship. He’s never secretive, guarded, defensive or accusatory. We have total trust in one another which is more than just being respectful, it’s love.
- He hugs, kisses, and cuddles me constantly. If my boyfriend and I are in the same room, we’re likely touching. Even if he’s just walking past me, he’ll tap me, hug me, or kiss me on the cheek. I know this would drive some people crazy but it’s just a thing he does to acknowledge me, which I find comforting. It’s the kind of love you can physically feel.
- He spends a ridiculous amount of time with me. We both work from home so we spend a lot of time together by default. However, at night, he always makes an effort to engage in quality time. We play cards, go out for walks, cook together and just talk. I never underestimate the value of spending valuable time with the person I love. It makes me feel adored and cared for.
- He changed his life for me. Being from opposite sides of the world complicates our relationship. I want to live in the US, he wants to live in Australia, and we both have our reasons: family, work, friends, and pure preference. In order to make our relationship work, he had to make sacrifices and huge life changes (as did I). He prioritized me. So while I don’t hear the words “I love you” all that often, I feel and see his love every single day.