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How to love?

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Old 08-16-2006, 04:22 AM   #1
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Location: Australia
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el_9_el HB User
How to love?

I'm becoming completely and utterly frustrated with myself. My boyfriend is one of the best people I've ever met. I like him in every way and have no complaints of significance. He is the first guy that I've dated that I haven't ruled out a future with right from the start. In every other relationship I've been in, I've KNOWN I don't want to be with the person for good.

My problem is that he has said he loves me and I have not been able to say it back. I feel so sad that he might feel rejected by that. The problem is though, that I think I could be in love with him, but every time I go to say it, it gets stuck. Actually, any time I go to say ANYTHING important or about my feelings, I freeze up and say nothing at all. The poor guy doesn't know how much I care for him. I wish I could tell him that I find him attractive, interesting and such an honest, decent person.

It's not just verbally that I freeze up though. It's also showing affection. I'm just so unable to instigate anything. I'm quite receptive to his advances, but I'd love to be able to grab HIS hand, or be the one to kiss HIM when I want to. I think I'm incredibly scared of smothering him - what if I kiss him when he doesn't feel like it?

I don't want to be like this. I want to be able to show the love and affection I feel. Why can't I expose it? Why does it make me feel sick to express it? It must be so unrewarding to have me as a girlfriend. I am so sure that he'll tire of me and cheat on me to find some love. How can I change before he does that?

I come from a family that does not express love. I KNOW my parents love me even if they don't say it, because they do a lot for me and obviously care about how I feel. There is also zero physical affection in my family - we don't even kiss/hug when someone is going on a long holiday or when someone is sad and crying.

I'm sure growing up in this family has influenced the way I am. Am I destined to be an outwardly cold and lonely person forever?

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Old 08-16-2006, 07:01 AM   #2
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minijumbofly HB User
Re: How to love?

You are worrying far too much. This is more common than you might think. Many people have difficulties expressing themselves.

Some never become expressive and have no problem living with it through their lifes. Of course, their partners have to be understanding and be confident that the love is there while the verbal or physical evidence is lacking.

I grew up like you, without a single expression like " I love you" or "I miss you". No kisses and no hugs except for special occasions. And I had similar experiences in relationships like the one you are in now.

You can learn to be more expressive but it will take some practices. Kinda like a progressive excercise regime. Start with the basics and then work to the advance levels. But it can be done. I did it in a year or so.

If your BF is expressive, he would be an ideal practice partner to start. Don't get stressed if you do choke up while trying. He will appreciate the fact that you are trying and any accomplishemnts would be welcomed and rewarded.

Also, it's actually easier to start with the physical part before the verbal part. It was far easier for me to start giving hugs and pats than to finally say "I love you too" later on.

Besides, I really don't think there is such thing as "kissing him when he is not feeling like it". Heck, I could be mad as hell at my wife but I still want her to kiss me

Old 08-17-2006, 02:21 AM   #3
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Auckland, NZ
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Smile Re: How to love?

I too grew up without I love you's and lots of hugs and affection.
As I got older I had friends who were very "huggy" and it made me quite nervous to be in social situations were I may be expected to give a hug and or a kiss on the cheek etc.
One of my first loves was very affectionate and I lapped it up! In fact I lapped it up a little too much. I think you are scared of letting your self go and perhaps once you get a taste of giving affection you may feel out of control. It is lovely to recieve affection but it is also just as powerful a feeling to give it. You will know this because you so much want to show you BF the love you have for him. What you are feeling is a little foreign to you and you are not too sure how you are going to cope should you start putting your motions out there.
It is certainly a good approach to start with something little and perhaps less meaningful for the both of you.
Have you thought about leaving a note that says something little and appreciative for your BF?
Its a nice little way to say you are thinking of him and yet its not so direct or physical for you. Think about little steps you can take. Its really about changing your attitude to giving affection and expressing your love. you have been taught that it doesnt have a place for you. But it does for everyone and you are able to change the way you think about it.
And this is what advice i give...start thinking about it in a positive light. Its a foreign kind of feeling when you forst start to give affection...especially when you start give it to those people who have not before received it from you. You need to visualise it and ask yourself, what is the worst that can happen? And you may like to start focusing on giving yourself love and affection...not by hugging yourself thats kinda weird! But by doing little things for you. And looking in the mirror and saying positive affirmation about you and your body. Say it out loud, get usd to your voice saying you look good, you have a lovely smile. tell your self "Im a good person, I love who I am" say it out loud and get used to it. You will change they way you think about showing love and affection by starting with the one person who you should give it to the most.
If you dont feel this way about yourself, and you have not been taught by your family that showing love and affection is the norm, then it is going to be foreign and uncomfortable for you.
Your BF seems to be content in showing you the love and affection that he does. if he has not approached you about being more affectionate dont assume he is bothered about it. The feeling of love for another is a personal experience. He is in touch with this. to deepen the love you feel for him you of course want to start expressing it outwardly - this is part of being in love.
But you know what? dont assume anything about what your BF may or may not be thinking - ask him. It sounds like you would ultimately like to be reassured that if you start showing your BF love and affection, you are not going to smother him, or scare him away. Your BF seems to be comfortable with giving it so he has obviously received it in his lifetime.
Admitting our fears and insecurities never seems to be an option when we are in a relationship because our fear thrives on the bigger fear of messing up and turning the person we hold dearly off us. But our fears ultimately will create such a destiny anyway if we leave them to fester.
Start simple, take it in your stride to begin with and just roll with it. You will need to push your boundaries, but you will not likely feel affectionate if your stressed about having to give it. I know the first few times I said i loved my BF it felt so awkward and so did the hugs to my friends and family. But what you percieve and what they percieve are not the same. You may have an inner nervousness and awkwardness about it but outwardly your gestures are seen as nothing less than positive and loving...its a change in you and you may think that some people dont see you in such a mold. But we all have alot of love to give and it is up to us to express it outwardly. You may find it easiest to start with your BF but dont stop there. your friends, family, cowrkers, are deserving of your affection too. And never forget yourself! And this way you will help combatt any over drive of expression towards your BF that you feel controls you instead of you over riding your emotion.

Old 08-17-2006, 08:20 AM   #4
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Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 265
BetsyJean HB User
Re: How to love?

You mention that you "think" you love him, right? Don't worry right now about the actual "I Love You"!!

Try something like this and the rest will happen eventually if you are ever sure that you do love him...

I love the way you make me laugh!
I just love that shirt on you.
I love the way you make me feel so special.

See what I mean???!!!

Old 08-17-2006, 08:44 AM   #5
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Join Date: May 2006
Location: kent
Posts: 1,443
brook65 HB User
Re: How to love?

Hi, It sounds like you are just not a naturally tactile person. I also would say that this is probably due to your upbringing, where emotions, feelings etc were suppressed.

Were your parents older parents, I say this, as my parents are in their 70s and it is a generation thing I think, my dad has never hugged me or told me he loved me, but I know that he does.

Remember on a positive thought, actions always speak louder than words.

If you find it so difficult, have you thought about writing him a note, explaining how you feel, and explaining how you just find it difficult to express yourself, due to learning about supressing feelings from your parents.

On the other hand you may also have a genuine fear of rejection, and scared to approach him, for making a fool of yourself.

I would start by writing him a letter, see how he responds to that, and once you feel more confident and natural around him, things will probably change.

Best of luck

Last edited by brook65; 08-17-2006 at 08:44 AM.

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