I am madly in love with a wonderful man; we've been together for four months now. The problem is this: He won't tell me he loves me when I tell him. He has been in two relationships that ended very badly; both his ex-wife and an ex-girlfriend took him to the cleaners. He says he cares very deeply for me and expresses that in his behavior (he is very attentive and considerate). But when I ask him why he won't admit his love, he says that every time he does, he "loses his stuff" - in his divorce, he lost everything. Am I being unreasonable? Should I press him to respond to my "I love you" in kind? Or should I let him admit his feelings in his own time? - R.D., 41, Albuquerque, NM
Related: How to Have a Better Relationship
Are you being unreasonable? Well, kind of. Love - along with professions of love - must be freely given. I'm sure there are a mess of songs from the Woodstock era that explain the concept in more poetic terms. You can't coerce someone to profess his love for you by saying it first. (Actually, you can, but chances are he'd just be saying it to get through an awkward moment more quickly.) If I were you, I'd just leave it alone. Enjoy his most excellent attention and expressive behavior. He'll tell you when he's ready. And don't you want him to say it to you without any prompting anyway?
Related: Easy Ways to Feel Closer to Your Partner
Karen Karbo is an award-winning writer and author of The Gospel According to Coco Chanel: Life Lessons from the World's Most Elegant Woman. She's also a mom, a writing teacher, and a horse owner. Check out more advice from Karen.
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