I have been dating my boyfriend for 9 months now. We are both in our late 20s. The relationship started off great but now I feel like we hit a plateau and it is not progressing. We have both had many stressors in our lives since we started dating so I don’t think we have had it easy.
Our past relationship experiences are quite different. We both have had a serious long term relationships except my experience was positive and his experience wasn’t. Many friends have told me that his last relationship was awful and it had a negative affect on him. He also believes it has created some emotional baggage for him. He has told me that he often feels closed off.
About two months ago I dropped the L bomb while I was drunk. He did not say it back and we got into a fight about it after drinking on a separate occasion. I know we are different people with different experiences but from my experiences I feel like after 6-8 months you know if you love someone or if it is going somewhere serious.
I’ve debated breaking up several times because I didn’t feel that my feelings were reciprocated but decided to stay with him because I have strong feelings for him and wanted to give it some time. In my opinion, when a man is really into a woman he doesn’t need to say it; his actions say it all. This is concerning me because I don’t feel as though he has ever put the work in or had courted me. Now this is on me just as much as him because I ever required him to/expressed my needs.
However, I have now expressed my needs several times and after months of dating with no romantic gestures and him not saying ‘I love you’ back I became concerned. I have had a difficult time getting close to him and we are no longer intimate often. My friends have told me that if he isn’t sleeping with me he isn’t into me. He keeps telling me that when he is stressed he just shuts down and turns inward. He told me he wants to work on this and he understands his patterns with stress.
I recently have expressed my concerns that he might not be into me and he told me that he had similar concerns. He has been trying to determine if the lack of a deeper connection/love for me is a result of his past relationship baggage and being closed off, mixed with stress from work, or if its me. He said I meet all the criteria of what he is looking for and that he can see a future with me but he struggling to understand why he doesn’t love me. He said he did not want to end it to find out months down the road that it was other issues in his life and not our relationship.
Im worried about two possibilities 1) is that he is now doubting our relationship because I told him he should love me by now and he isn’t quite there yet or 2 ) he doesn’t/won’t love me. I strongly believe he should have deeper feelings for me after almost a year together. I know I’ve been very eager and need to wait for things to develop but I’m concerned that one day he will realize its me and not his inability to open up emotionally. I know that I love him but I want to prevent heartbreak down the road. I don’t want to be his ‘right not’ person and feel like I need to look out for myself . I need do know if I’m being too eager or if I’m just blind and that he just isn’t that into me.