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He hasn't said the three words

Posted by Meredith Goldstein  March 3, 2011 08:00 AM

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As promised, I'm posting the list of self-help/love books today. These are books that are mailed to me by publishers because I write about love. If you want to review one of these books for the Love Letters audience (anonymously, if you want), e-mail me (meregoldstein at gmail dot com) with “BOOK REVIEW” in the subject line, and tell me your book of choice and home mailing address. I'll contact people who are getting books and I'll keep sending until I run out.

Those who get books will have a few weeks to read them and come up with a one-sentence review. Our interns will choose the best review.

Here's the list. Be quick. Books go fast. (Today's letter is below the list. Just scroll down.)

Kundalini, by Cyndi Dale
The Official Booty Parlor Mojo Makeover, by Dana B. Myers
The Art of War for Dating, by Eric Rogell
Delicious Dating, by Babe Scott
Fight Less, Love More, by Laurie Puhn, JD
Lovecasts, by Judi Vitale
Women are from Venus, Men are Idiots, by John McPherson
Celebrating Love, by Jim McCann
Project: Happily Ever After, by Alisa Bowman
From Heartbreak to Heart’s Desire, by Dawn Maslar, MS
A Compendium of Kisses, by Lana Citron
Shameless, by Pamela Madsen
The Military Marriage Manual, by Janelle Hill, Cheryl Lawhorne, and Don Philpott
Dealbreaker, by Dave Horwitz and Marisa Pinson
Girl, Get Your Mind Right! by Tionna Tee Smalls
eHarmony Guide to Dating the Second Time Around, by Dr. Gian Gonzaga, Ph. D
The Case for Falling in Love, by Mari Ruti, Ph. D
Back to Us, by Raphael Cushnir
Attached, by Amir Levine, M.D., and Rachel S.F. Heller, M.A.
I Love You Even Though, by Rebecca M. Schuler and Christine W. Regan
What About Me? by Dr. Jane Greer
Life Unlocked, by Srinivasan S. Pillay, M.D.
The Man Whisperer, by Donna Sozio and Samantha Brett
His Cold Feet, by Andrea Passman Candell
Fury, by Koren Zailckas
Money and Marriage, by Michael Sion

Q: Dear Meredith,

Long time listener, first time caller, as they say! Here's the plot:

Cast of Characters

Me: mid-twenties, gainfully employed, no smoking/drinking/white shoes after Labor Day.

Him: mid-twenties, gainfully employed, no smoking/drinking/romantic comedies starring Hugh Grant.

The Prologue

We met in college, and have been dating on and off for almost four years. Our "off" periods were primarily due to our respective careers -- I moved out of the country for a period of time, his unusual job requires an inordinate amount of travel. After traveling the nation and the world, we've come to to the realization that we are perfect for each other. We've talked about our future, raising children, and we're back together and totally in love. Well, I am totally in love.

The Problem With the Script

Not once in our many years of being involved with each other has he ever said, "I love you." I’ve said it once or twice, and his response each time was, "You mean the world to me." He’s never said it to anyone else in his dating history, so I know the words mean a lot and he wouldn't ever take that kind of verbal commitment lightly. The problem is, hearing "I love you" is really important to me.

My question to you, as the Official Script Editor of Cupid, is: how can I address this subject, sensitive as it is, without freaking him out? It’s important to me, and it's something I need to hear in a relationship, but I understand it’s also a Very Big Thing to bring up. I can already hear shouts from the audience, telling me I should be grateful for a man who shows his affection, though he might not tell it (and believe me, I am grateful); but is it wrong of me to feel that the words carry their own emotional weight, as well?

Thanks in advance for all the advice!

– Hoping For A Rewrite, Boston

A: HFAW, you might hear a few shouts from the LL crowd about being grateful, but it seems to me that you are. I think most of us want to be told that we're loved, not just that we mean the world to someone.

If he hasn't said it because he just doesn't feel comfortable saying those very loaded words until it feels natural, I'm not worried. Some people psych themselves out and can't say "I love you" until they've already loved someone for quite some time. It only matters if he hasn't said it because he's unhappy or doesn't see this lasting.

You have my permission to ask whether it's hesitation or unhappiness and doubt. If it's doubt, you can panic. But if it's hesitation, which it probably is, you just have to take a deep breath, sit tight, and remember that you do mean the entire planet to him. That's something. If he's happy, hang on to that and try to relax. Kiss him and tell him that you'll enjoy the "show" part of the show and tell.

I wish I could edit your script. Life doesn't work that way. Which is a bummer, because I'd come up with some amazing lines for him. You'd melt.

Readers? Should she even bring this up with him? We get a lot of "I love you" letters. Can anyone who holds off on saying it explain why? Is his job and their on-and-off beginnings relevant? Discuss.

– Meredith

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ABOUT LOVE LETTERS: Welcome to Love Letters, the place for love advice (giving and getting). Globe relationship columnist Meredith Goldstein and Boston.com readers are ready to take your letters and tell you what's what. Have a question? Click here to submit or email us at loveletters@boston.com.
Blogger Meredith Goldstein

Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.

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