Girlfriend gets scared every time I say, ''I love you''

Originally Published: July 21, 2000 - Last Updated / Reviewed On: November 15, 2011
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Dear Alice,

I have a girlfriend who I love dearly, but every time I say I love her, she tells me that someday I'll leave her for another girl just because it happened to her before she met me. How can I prove to her that I'll never leave her and make everything right again? Your answer may save our relationship. Please Alice, I need your help.

Dear Reader,

None of us really knows what the future holds, and while you can't promise your girlfriend that you'll never leave her, there are some ways that you can try to reassure her for the time being. By confiding in you that you're going to leave every time you say, "I love you" to her, she's really expressing fear, anxiety, and/or insecurity. She might have had negative, and likely painful, experiences from a past relationship, apparently powerful enough to cause her to feel awkward or undeserving when you tell her you love her. Getting close to someone emotionally leaves you vulnerable, more prone to the possibility of getting hurt. Our past relationship experiences, positive and negative, can certainly influence our current and/or future ones, possibly long after those relationships have ended.

It may be useful for you and your partner to talk openly about her past relationship(s), as well as your feelings, to understand the source(s) of her concern(s). Expressing her feelings could give the two of you the chance to discover how your relationship is different. You are not the same person as her ex-love(s). Your girlfriend will also be able to see more clearly how much her comments have made you feel. You and/or she can consider talking with a counselor at school or elsewhere. It could be helpful for her to explore the roots of her insecurity and look at the ways in which this fear is keeping her from enjoying someone who is committed and loves her. You may also want to try going to counseling together to explore the ways in which her fears are affecting your relationship.

There is only so much you can do for your girlfriend. Ultimately, it's up to her to get the help she needs that will allow her to live in the present moment and enjoy her current relationship with you. No matter how sincerely and frequently you reassure her, she still will probably go on feeling insecure unless she deals with the origin of these feelings. It isn't your job to make everything right for her, and it may reach a point when you cannot be there for her anymore.

Alice

May 9, 2004

20691
Hello! I can understand that it would be very annoying and frustrating to have a girlfriend reject or hesitate when "I love you" is said (from my perspective, a female). I have been in bad...
Hello! I can understand that it would be very annoying and frustrating to have a girlfriend reject or hesitate when "I love you" is said (from my perspective, a female). I have been in bad relationships, am an assault survivor, and didn't have a totally good family life, etc. So when it comes to relationships with men, I hesitate at times. It doesn't mean I don't love him back. Depending on the relationship, I do love him. I am just scared about getting hurt again or having the relationship end up bad. Sometimes it takes me longer to trust after being assaulted. It is difficult to explain how we (abuse and rape survivors) respond to relationships because we all are at different stages of trying/working through what happened. I don't know if this is the situation with your girlfriend. Personally, I hope that my next boyfriend will give me time and not move too quickly. I know, myself, I have to watch so I don't push a guy I like and love away because of what has happened. It is so easy to because of fear. I look at it this way: if things were meant to be, time won't matter quite as much. I have heard this said, "Women are so difficult to understand." My response, "I know we are and so are some men." I haven't mastered why yet even through reading Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus and other books on relationships. I am not saying to live life out of a book. I think that some of us women just need that caring, sensitivity, etc., and for others, they aren't used to the caring and sensitivity. If someone is nice and we are used to the shallow, non-caring relationship, we may go, "Wow, this is such a relief to be with him. Oh my gosh, is it going to remain this way or is it just an act!" Really, good luck. I hope I find someone who is caring. I have found relationships are never that easy. Alice

December 1, 2000

20359
Hi Alice, This is in response to Girlfriend gets scared every time I say, "I love you." First of all, I can relate. I have spent the past four years saying that I didn't want to hear, "I Love You,"...
Hi Alice, This is in response to Girlfriend gets scared every time I say, "I love you." First of all, I can relate. I have spent the past four years saying that I didn't want to hear, "I Love You," from a man. I got into this mindset from an abusive boyfriend and related love to abuse. It is very true that the girl is probably scared and insecure. But I would guess that deep down inside, she really DOES want to hear, "I love you." I would suggest telling her that you DO love her, and that you aren't saying it to get her to say it back, or to get some sort of reaction. Tell her that you are saying it because it makes you feel good to say it to her. Talk about why it scares her and that counseling is a very good idea. Make sure she understands that you say it because IT IS HOW YOU FEEL, not something you say to put her under pressure. And don't give up. If you two aren't right together, it will end. But if you are right together, and you really love her, give her time. It is something that is overcomable. Believe me, I love to hear those three little words now, when they are said sincerely. Good Luck.