Just Because You Show Me You Love Me Doesn’t Mean I Don’t Need To Hear It Too

Just Because You Show Me You Love Me Doesn’t Mean I Don’t Need To Hear It Too ©iStock/Georgijevic

I know that actions speak louder than words and there are many ways to show love, but I still need to hear those three little words! Here’s why:

  1. Actions without words? After a while, it feels like a cop-out. Sure, actions are really important, but it’s sometimes easier to show love, such as by holding someone close or listening to their bad day or defending them, than it is to say — out loud — “I love you.” It takes balls! If I don’t hear those words in a long-term relationship, I’m going to worry that my partner doesn’t have enough strength of feeling for me to say them and announce it to the world that he loves me.
  2. If he doesn’t say it, does it mean he’s on a different page? So if I want to tell the guy I’m with that I love him and I say it but then he doesn’t reciprocate, how can we carry on dating? Do I wait for him to catch up with his feelings or is that pulling him along to a destination he might never want to reach? It’s troubling.
  3. I worry he’s not ready to commit. Of course, saying those three words is a game changer — how can it not be? It raises expectations. If a guy never says those words, it does make me wonder if he’s just not taking the relationship seriously.
  4. I need to hear it because it clarifies his actions. It’s great to feel loved when a guy I’m with treats me really well and shows me how special I am to him, but people feel and show love in different ways. It’s also easy to misinterpret actions as being love when they’re not, so hearing love expressed in words can help to make it clear that those little actions of love are really love.
  5. Words matter. Even though some people might say that words carry no water, they matter! A kind word can make my day, while a nasty word can bring me down. I’m the woman who looks at the card accompanying a gift because those words mean more to me than material goods. In a relationship, so many words matter, such as the words ‘In a relationship’ on Facebook. It might seem petty to want to show the internet I’m in a relationship, but it’s important and makes me feel valued. How is saying “I love you” any different? It’s all part of making things official for me.
  6. It’s a relationship milestone. Much like the first time my partner and I argue or have sex can make us enter a new level in a relationship, saying “I love you” is a sign of progression. If a relationship keeps swimming along without those words being said, after many months it will be stagnating. It would be the same if the relationship never progresses to living together or getting married.
  7. I feel I have to guard my heart if he’s not saying it. If a guy hasn’t said that he loves me and it’s been a long time of dating, I’m going to worry that something’s off on his side. If a guy liked me enough to ask me out and he shows me that he cares, it’s troubling to think that there could be something else preventing him from saying those three words. If he acts like he loves me, why not say it? He either doesn’t feel the same as I do for him or he’s got some other issue. For instance, maybe he’s afraid of love, which is a whole other can of worms. I can’t help but fear that a lack of telling me he loves me means that eventually those tiny words will be tied to much bigger problems.
Giulia Simolo is a writer from Johannesburg, South Africa with a degree in English Language and Literature. She has been working as a journalist for more than a decade, writing for sites including AskMen, Native Interiors, and Live Eco. You can find out more about her on Facebook and LinkedIn, or follow her on Twitter @GiuliaSimolo.