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When Is It Love?

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From a woman in the UK: Hi, I moved to London from Berlin 9 months ago because I was bored in my old life and like London better than Berlin. In my new job, I’ve been feeling very attracted to a colleague which I told him after 5 months of low-key flirting in the office. We talked a lot that night. He said he doesn’t want a relationship since we’re too different in his opinion (and that’s probably true).

I was hoping he would change his mind and we had a one-night stand even though he tried to talk me out of it first because he knew I feel more and didn’t want to hurt me. After not really talking much in the next two months afterwards (he was reserved) he suddenly started flirting with me again, wanted sex. I had been thinking a lot about him, still being very distracted at work. He wasn’t aware how draining the situation had been for me and after explaining to him how hurt I was and that I can’t sleep with him again I suddenly changed my mind because I see him at work anyway and thought we could then at least enjoy the sex.

It’s been six weeks now that we’ve spent quite a lot of time together, during lunch breaks and especially on weekends. I’ve been going through a rough time (stress at work, with my flatmates and frequently getting ill due to all that stress) and he’s always been there for me, made an effort to see me. He messages me every day and cares a lot about me but sometimes he’s a bit more withdrawn. He said he’s sometimes confused and doesn’t know what he wants but doesn’t want to hurt me.

I realised how deep my feelings are for him, how much I want him to be happy and said to him I love him which he couldn’t return (and I knew that but said it anyway).A few days ago I had lots of stress at work and I became very anxious. My performance is suffering from my thoughts about him so we had a chat and he said he likes me a lot and has some feelings for me plus feels very attracted to me BUT hasn’t fallen in love with me. It doesn’t make sense to me because for me this is all connected. How is that possible?

When Is It Love?

Answered by on -


Thank you for writing. This sounds very painful. But it also sounds to me like he just isn’t into you the way you want him to be. He sounds like a decent guy who has tried to be helpful but who has also been clear from the start that he doesn’t see this relationship going anywhere.

I have a guess that transplanting yourself to a new country and a new job has been more stressful than you want to admit to yourself. You mentioned that you have had some difficulties with flatmates and on the job. Focusing on this relationship does let you distance yourself from the many ways the move has been difficult. Adapting to all the the cultural differences, and being lonely while finding new friends, is challenging to anyone who is starting a new life in a new place.

I think you should take a big step back from this relationship. Accept it for what it is — a good and supportive friendship. Stop having sex with this guy because it confuses you. Instead, do the personal work you need to do to adjust to your new situation.

Make friends. Figure out how to get along with your flatmates or make a change in your living situation. Work hard on the job. Get involved in some activity or sport where you will meet people who share your interests. Most important, make yourself available for someone who can return your love as you want and deserve.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

When Is It Love?

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2019). When Is It Love?. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 24, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 29 May 2019 (Originally: 30 May 2019)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 29 May 2019
Published on Psych All rights reserved.