WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN SHE DOESNT LOVE YOU AS MUCH AS YOU LOVE HER?

Q:
Recently I shared with my girlfriend my feelings for her and said "I love you". She said to me that she feels uncomfortable when I say I love you. When someone says I love you to her she expects to feel the same and she doesnt feel the same way as I do with her. And because she doesnt feel the same she thinks she has to be careful not to hurt me and also feels she has to be careful with me because she is not feeling the same way. She likes me but is not in love with me. She enjoyed spending time with me but she thinks falling in love is another matter. All she wanted to do was to spend time together and just get to know each other in a fun way. What do you suggest I do?
A:
Your situation sounds convoluted, but it boils down to being quite simple. That is, your girlfriend doesnt feel the same way about you as you do about her. At least, thats true for right now. There is no rule book that says a successful relationship requires that both people progress in their feelings at exactly the same time. You have fallen in love with your girlfriend, and taken the leap to tell her how you feel. Naturally when someone says I love you, they ideally want and hope for their lovee to return the sentiment. At that point, the relationship most certainly moves forward to a new level of intimacy. A relationship grows, particularly in the beginning through reciprocity: one person shares some personal information and feelings, the other reciprocates, and it increases over time until trust and intimacy are built and there is a couple connection. Saying I love you is a big step in a relationship. Theres no conflict when both people feel the same way at the same time, however in your situation you have essentially two choices. You can abandon the relationship because you want to be with someone who feels as you do and is as committed to the relationship as you. Or you can talk to your girlfriend about your feelings, and hers, and perhaps agree to stay together for awhile longer to see if you can evolve your relationship together into something that makes you both happy. Sure, continue to date and have fun, so theres not too much pressure after the one way I love you, but also keep in mind not to let your relationship stagnate where it is, which is in a state of unrequited love. Be aware that if you choose to stay together, you should continue to be aware of not only her feelings, but your own, and remain fair to both. Dont stay in a relationship for too long, hoping against hope that she will change the way she feels about you, and yet never does. Giving the relationship reasonable space and time to grow is different from waiting around for someone to then never fall in love with you. You deserve, and everyone deserves, to be in a healthy, happy relationship filled with mutual respect and love. If you want to try to overcome your differences and hesitations, work together on your relationship as a couple. That should build some of the mutual intimacy you seek. But if its a one way street, then that street needs to lead you away and off to discover the possibility of love shared equally with someone else, when youre ready.

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