My Partner Told Me He Loves Me But He Still “Doesn’t Want To Put A Label On It”

My partner recently told me he loved me for the first time and I was elated… at least initially. Imagine my disappointment when he quickly added that he still doesn’t want to put a label on our relationship. Uh, what is love if not a serious commitment? I seriously don’t get it.

What if his reluctance is actually foreshadowing?

 If my guy is hesitant to call himself my boyfriend and pursue an exclusive relationship, is that not a giant neon sign in front of me screaming “AVOID AT ALL COSTS”? Not being able to commit to a relationship is a pretty big red flag, so logically I should think about his future potential, if that even exists.

He doesn’t seem to see my value.

 It goes without saying that if a guy is keen to make your relationship official, he obviously cares about you and appreciates everything that you bring to the table. In other words, he wants to grow with you! If a guy doesn’t want to call me his girlfriend, he clearly doesn’t see me as someone of importance in his life. That’s a serious concern for me—I don’t want to waste my time.

He’s clearly not sure what role he wants me to play in his life.

 My guy knows he wants to have me in his life beyond a surface level friendship now, but he seems not to know exactly where he wants to place me! His feelings tell him that he loves and cares about me, he just doesn’t realize quite how much and what that means. I guess I have to do some soul-searching to try and comprehend my presence in his life and his in mine. We may not be all that well-suited if he’s not certain about me at this point.

Responsibility scares him. 

We’ve had enough time to get to know each other pretty intimately at this point and he knows I’m a self-proclaimed handful. I’m extremely self-aware and because of this, I tend to overanalyze everything to get to the bottom of what it all really means. I honestly don’t know if my partner understands how much meaning and importance his words carry while dating someone who understands themselves on a strong level. He told me he loves me, but in not wanting to put a label on us, is he basically saying he doesn’t want the responsibility of being my partner?

He doesn’t get to choose when to be present in my life.

 When you’re dating someone, you’re making the choice to take on all of their issues, and I get that can be overwhelming. It can also be really great. It’s common courtesy to be mindful and in touch with what’s going on in your partner’s life, even if it gets uncomfortable. If there isn’t a label on our relationship, he has an easier chance of deciding which area of my life he wants to support me through. How is this fair at all?

Maybe he doesn’t even know what love means.

 I can’t fault him for this, but understanding the different types of love and the fact that different types even exist may be lost on him. We grow up hearing “I love you” as a romantic proclamation or a feeling shared by family, and there’s a lot of seriousness going on with these three words. Only in adulthood have I truly understood the importance of platonic love. My guy may strongly love me, but maybe it’s just as a friend?

He might want to keep his options open. 

“Keeping your options open” sounds scary, like he wants to put me completely aside in case someone better comes along. For some people, their needs can’t be met by just one person; it’s possible to have different people fulfill different emotional needs! He may want to search for someone who can fulfill a need that I can’t and that kinda freaks me out. If I’m not good enough for him on my own, maybe we’re not meant to be together.

He’s obviously confused.

 As much as I hate this, it might be true. He doesn’t know how he’s feeling and he’s trying to come to terms with what’s going through his head. I guess I just need to give him time to figure out his feels. In the meantime, I should figure out what I want in a relationship once and for all. If my answer and his are different, maybe it’s time to move on.

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