The question? — “Do You Love Me?’
And why should you never ask it?
Firstly, the question you should be asking is one to yourself: Do I want this woman? (“Want” not “need”—that’s something else all together!) And: how hard am I willing to fight for her? If the answer to both is: a lot, don’t be afraid to show it, and tell her. Knowing you feel that way will immediately make you more attractive to her. And if you don’t feel that way, do both of you a favor, and move on. Don’t ask her to settle for second best.
Here are some other good reasons not to make that particular query:
She will only feel able to give one possible answer—which may or may not be true. Which makes asking a bit of a meaningless exercise, which may well create an unease in her which will push her away, rather than bring her closer.
- It shows you have doubts about whether you deserve to be loved (by her) when you reveal a combination of insecurity and low self esteem which may mean that, even if she had loved you up to that point, she will now be filled with doubts. Ironic eh?
- It reveals you as a passive person who reacts to what others think of you, rather than a brave man who lives with integrity, and loves from a place of sufficiency. A follower rather than a leader. Which kind of man do you think she’d rather be with? Your insecurity may make her feel nervous and responsible for your feelings, and as an unpleasant side effect, kill any desire she might have had for you
- It tells her at a subliminal level that you’re a needy individual, with an insecure attachment style, who is still seeking a replacement for his mother’s love. So she should either get away from you, or resign herself to an entanglement that may last until one or the other of you decides that the pain of leaving is less than the agony of staying. Not exactly a strong foundation for loving, and being loved, in any meaningful or sustainable way!
- It gives her a power in your life that you probably don’t want her to have, and that she may not be able to handle, partly because our society hasn’t conditioned women to be the dominant partner, and partly, I’d suggest, because it isn’t in her nature. Your woman needs to be contained (not constrained) to feel safe enough to fully express her emotions and feminine strength, because she knows you can handle it. This is part of your job as a man that loves her: to help her feel free to be her full self in a world that often tells women they need to “tone down” and “fit in.”
In any case, if her behavior has been giving you serious doubts about how she feels about you, you probably ought to have already left. Actions speak much louder than words in this particular regard. And if you think you may have misunderstood or misinterpreted something she did or said, ask her about it in a non-reproachful/aggressive way, so she feels safe to tell you. If your worst fears are confirmed, and she really has gone cold on you, find out if there’s anything you can do to change how she feels. If it seems not, suck it up gratefully! She’s done you a favor because you can walk away knowing it’s the best thing for both of you.
- If what you’re really feeling is, for example, disappointed that she doesn’t seem to have much free time for you, and you want more, tell her that. It helps her get to know you, shows that you actually want her (and believe you deserve her) and have the courage to share how you feel. This is self-affirming and proactive, two characteristics that are likely to make her more attracted to you.
- If you’re not sure how you feel about her, tell her and give her your reasons, so she can think whether she can, or wants to, do anything about it. It might be as simple as discovering that both of you have different “love languages,” and discussing if that could be changed. Show her that you’re not willing to settle for second best either, and you won’t be expected to.
Maybe you’re not sure you want to be in a committed relationship with her (or with anyone). Paradoxically, the key to giving any relationship, and yourself, the best chance to grow, is to be completely transparent, so share that feeling. It’s the most loving gift you can give her, the encouragement to connect with her own truth and respond to yours. It also affirms you as a man who has the courage to be real; another attractive quality to a woman (so I’m told.)
I’ve found that the key to a happy love life is to know what you want with a partner, and go for it.
Don’t waste time playing it safe or being “cool.” And if you fall at any fences on the love track, you’ll know you gave your best and you’ll learn a lot, which will help you make a clear run next time around.
And by the way, if you don’t always feel like the confident and self-directed man that you’d like to be and would like your partner to see you as, “fake it till you make it” is a well-proven stance that can really help you to become that person!
(This advice is from someone who fears he lost the love of his life, because of not knowing what he wanted with her or believing he deserved to have it, being too tentative and failing to take enough of a lead in the relationship. I lived and learned.)
Photo credit: Getty Images