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Question
Posted by: Hesitant | 2004/01/19

Hesitant to show emotion

I recently met a really great guy. He's very affectionate, and always verbalizes his feelings. I have trouble doing this, and I can tell that my "silence" hurts him. I've told him before that when he says things and I don't say it back, he mustn't feel bad. Last night he said he loves me, and when I didn't say anything back, he asked if I heard him, and when I just nodded, I could see that he expected me to say it back, but I just couldn't! I don't want to hurt him, but I can't change my ways not to hurt him...what should I do?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Dear Hesitant,
Well, as usual, counselling can help a lot by focussing specifically on this aspect of your nature. We're far from equal in how easily we either find words in which to express our emotions, or how readily we feel secure and free to express them to others. Partly it lies in the personality we're born with, and it can also relate to our earlier experiences in life -- if we grow up in a family where no-one expresses their emotions, or if we get ridiculed for doing so, we can learn not to do so. But then with a counsellor we can unlearn such unfruitful lessons from life.
Meantime, you can still say some comforting and loving things to your boyfriend --- tell him that you have always found it hard to find words for expressing your feelings, and that you admire how easily and how well he does that, and hope you can gradually learn from him, how to do this.

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

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Our users say:
Posted by: understand | 2004/01/20

Dear Hesitant,

My husband also does not say "I love You" as oftern as I would like. When I complained, he told me that I should know that he loves me, otherwise he would not be with me. I still say I love you to him, but I don't expect a reply from him anymore. It is no big deal.

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