I have been dating my partner for 4 years and moved in together a year ago. We talk about getting married and are both making career choices that put both of us on a path for the future together but he still has not told me he loves me. He tells me he cares for me greatly but I am unsure if I should be setting up a foundation with this man, when he will not tell me that he loves me. Not sure if I should be concerned or if all his other actions show that he loves me and I should stop focusing on him telling me he loves me?

A: Thank you for your question. Your boyfriend’s hesitation is cause for concern. Marriage is going to be tough enough even when the couple is over-the-top committed and confessing their love to each other on the hour. The fact that he can’t bring himself to say it after 4 years, and doesn’t have anything to offer as an explanation, would concern me if I was on the receiving end of his withholding. I am going to direct you to an article I’ve written for the Proof Positive blog that highlights the research on what makes a happy couple. The cornerstone is mutual vulnerability. Each partner feels they can be emotionally vulnerable, yet safe, in the presence of their betrothed. It sounds to me like his inhibition is causing you to question your vulnerability with him.

I would see a couples counselor (you can find one at the top of the page under the find help tab).

If the two of you can’t manage to negotiate the use of one word you may want to rethink your choices and path.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral