There’s nothing more frustrating than not knowing the true feelings hidden within someone giving you mixed signals.
And men can be the absolute worst when it comes to this, telling you that they don’t love you or they’re not ready for a relationship while acting like the perfect boyfriend every single day.
So what does it mean when he says he doesn’t love you but he acts like you’re the one for him?
In this article, we discuss the 17 possible reasons why he might be saying this: reasons under how he might love you, how he might not love you, and how he might just not know what he’s feeling at all.
He Does Love You, But…
1) He’s Afraid of Commitment
Love is a big word. Think about the first time you said “I love you” to someone who wasn’t part of your family.
Did you regret it? Did you end up getting hurt? Do you now struggle to see how you could have ever loved that person at all?
Telling someone “I love you” might be easy for some, but for others, it can be the biggest commitment in the world.
It’s the declaration that you feel deeply bonded with another person, and with that declaration comes certain expectations of commitment.
But some people love the feeling of being free, of being single, of having options, even if they don’t want to use those options.
It could very well be that your man loves you, but he’s not ready to say the big L word because he doesn’t want to mentally commit.
He’s afraid that he might change as a person or lose his individuality should he decide to commit to one person, even if he’s never loved anyone more than you.
The simple truth is most women don’t know what men are thinking, what they want in life, and what they really crave from a relationship.
And the reason is simple.
Male and female brains are biologically different.
One big way is that the limbic system (the part of the brain that regulates our emotions) is much larger in female brains and male ones.
This is why women are generally more in touch with their emotions and men can struggle to deal with complicated feelings, such as falling in love.
I learned this from relationship guru Carlos Cavallo. He’s one of the world’s leading experts male psychology and what men want from relationships.
If your man is afraid to commit, watch this simple and genuine video from Carlos.
Most men don’t think about commitment in a logical way. At least not in the way women do.
What men really care about is how the relationship makes them feel.
The simple truth is that your man wants to feel like he’s found the absolute best woman for him. Like he’s won the game of love.
Carlos Cavallo will show exactly how to do that. In his new video, he’ll show you a simple and genuine way to give your man this unique feeling…
2) He’s Been Hurt By His Exes
One of the reasons people can become afraid of commitment is because they committed too easily in the past, and experienced a mountain of heartache because of it.
It’s possible that your man is the amazing man he is today because he’s had a long series of painful and regrettable relationships.
He spent those years learning how to become a better partner, but he also inadvertently learned to be afraid of relationships.
Even if he acts the way a boyfriend would act — picking you up after class or work, asking you out on dates, helping you out whenever you need him — he shies away from the label of an official relationship because he doesn’t want his amazing relationship with you to end up like his previous spoiled relationships.
One way or another, he’s trying to see how this relationship can be different; how he can stop it from falling into the same destructive road to an eventual break-up.
And he won’t be comfortable saying he loves you until he can see that it won’t end up the same way.
3) He’s Not Ready To Settle Down
Love is infinitely easier when you’re young, because telling someone “I love you” doesn’t mean anything except, “I have very strong feelings for you.” “I love you” may feel like a giant declaration, but it doesn’t really change the way you live your life.
You are still you, but now with someone you like doing things with.
But as you get older, “love” begins to stand for more things.
For adults in their early 30s or older, saying “I love you” to a person means you’re ready to change your life in several dozen ways to accommodate them.
It means you’ve thought about the possibility of marriage, of raising kids together, of moving in together, of sharing values and beliefs, and in most cases, of never dating anyone else again.
It means that if everything goes well, you are content with the fact that you will never date another person again, and the entire romantic hunt in your life is officially over.
As an adult, “I love you” isn’t just an expression of feelings; it’s a statement of intent that you are ready to change your life in several major ways.
4) He Thinks He’s Not Good For You
Self-esteem can be a painful thing, particularly when we don’t have much of it.
It may be that your man deeply loves you and has been pining to let those three words leave his lips for some time now, but he stops himself from doing it every time.
Why? Because he thinks you deserve more than what he can give you. He thinks he’s not good enough for someone as amazing as you.
If your man has low self-confidence or self-esteem, then this may very well be the case.
Is he not as fit or healthy as he could be? Has he had a number of heavy setbacks in life? Is he struggling with his career?
Look for signs that your man has self-confidence, and that may help you see that his first “I love you” is just hiding behind his low self-esteem.
The good news is: you can help him. Don’t be afraid to express your feelings first, and give him that extra bit of care that he needs to truly trust you.
Show him that what he has and what he can provide is more than enough for the life and future you want, and that a relationship is a two-way street: you will help him as much as he will help you.
5) You’re Not Letting Him Step Up
Does he drop whatever he’s doing and help you when you have a problem? Does he take care of you when you’re sick? Is he trying to protect you and make sure you’re okay?
Protective instincts are a window into a man’s romantic feelings. Put simply, if he’s going out of his way to protect you, then he probably loves you (even if he’s not saying it).
I know this because of a new theory in relationship psychology that’s generating a lot of buzz at the moment.
It’s called the hero instinct.
According to the hero instinct, men have a biological drive to provide for those he cares about, and the desire to earn respect from those around him.
This drive is amplified when it comes to women.
I don’t often buy into popular new concepts in psychology but the hero instinct is a fascinating take on what drives men romantically.
If you want to learn more, check out this excellent free video by James Bauer, the relationship expert who discovered it.
The interesting thing is that women can easily sabotage a relationship when they don’t allow a man to step up for them and act like a hero.
Your man wants to be there for you, help you when you need it, and protect you.
Are you letting him?
Because there are words you can say, phrases you can use, and little requests you can make to trigger this very natural instinct in him. James Bauer reveals what they are in his video.
If your goal is to be in a deep and passionate relationship with a man, I think learning about the hero instinct can make all the difference.
6) He Has Other Priorities In Life
Is your man a busy entrepreneur? Is he passionate about his craft, always out and about making every minute of his day count?
Does he barely ever have the time for dating you, let alone attending to his own hobbies and interests outside of work?
Men like these can love their partners deeply without ever saying it, simply because they don’t feel like they can give you what you need for a meaningful and full relationship.
Busy men who have other priorities in life suffer the same ailment that men with low self-esteem have: they don’t think they can give you what you deserve.
But while low self-esteem men don’t have the confidence to believe that they can be worthy partners, busy men simply don’t have the time or the mental energy to truly love you.
In fact, your busy man may have even lost previous relationships or friends because of his busy lifestyle, and doesn’t want to go through that anguish again.
So ask yourself: can you be with a man who may disappear for days at a time while his head is buried in his own work or projects? If the answer is yes, then make that clear to him.
7) He Has Other Women on the Side
You have the perfect man. He plans amazing dates for you, he satisfies you emotionally and physically, and he always seeks to improve himself for you.
The idea that he might have other women on the side — or the possibility that you might be the other woman on the side — feels impossible, this could very well be the case.
We all love in our own way. To you, the act of treating someone so lovingly while having other things going on may seem like a bad joke, but to him, it might just be his polyamorous tendencies.
He loves you but he also loves someone else, and he doesn’t want to commit to either partner and end up hurting either one when either relationship eventually comes to its inevitable end, since he can’t possibly end up with both of you.
He Doesn’t Love You, But…
8) You’re His Source of Emotional (and Sexual) Satisfaction
He doesn’t say he loves you because it’s true: he doesn’t love you.
But that doesn’t mean he’s not human like everyone else, with his own emotional, physical, and sexual needs that must be satisfied and fulfilled.
And instead of playing the field and going through all the struggle of boring dates and incompatible partners, he would rather play it safe with you.
So he acts like a boyfriend, treats you like a girlfriend, and ticks all the boxes you would expect from a partner without actually saying “I love you”, because you satisfy and fulfill all his base, human needs.
You give him the emotional and sexual feelings of love without forcing him to tell you how he really feels, so he’s more than happy to let things continue as they are.
9) He Needs Things From You
Some guys need emotional and sexual satisfaction, but some guys need more material things that you may be providing.
So ask yourself: Does it ever feel like he’s using you?
Do you always pick up the bill when you take him out for dinner? Are you funding anything in his life, like a business or a project?
Is he living in your house until he finds his own place to rent?
It could be that he’s acting like he loves you because he knows that’s what he has to do to keep you happy, but he doesn’t want to cross the line of saying the actual L word.
10) He Doesn’t Want To Hurt You
Sometimes a guy just wants to have fun. He can be a thousand percent attracted to you and enjoy every date you two have together, but that doesn’t mean he loves you.
Remember what we said earlier: we all have our own idea of what love is supposed to be, and while love may be easy for some people, for others it can be the biggest commitment in the world.
And your man may feel strongly towards you, but for one reason or another, your relationship hasn’t crossed his personal ceiling for what love should be.
So this ends up with a situation where he doesn’t want to lose the good times he’s having with you, but he also doesn’t want to hurt you by saying he loves you when he really doesn’t.
He cares about you, but love? Love is something he’s saving for someone else.
11) He Knows You’re a Good Plan B
Being alone might just be the scariest thing for some people that they do everything they can to make sure they’re never alone.
A guy might intentionally make you feel special and mislead you into thinking that You’re The One so you stay invested in him.
All the while, he’s off doing the same thing to other girls.
The reason? He just wants to feel safe. Just in case his first prospect doesn’t work out, he’ll always have you to fall back on.
No matter how convincing he is or how sincere he might seem, know that you’re just another basket he’s putting his eggs in.
He just wants to make sure there’s something waiting for him, no matter what.
He keeps you on a leash and gives you just enough affection to make you feel special, without explicitly declaring that you are the one he wants to be with.
So if you constantly feel like you’re one step away from becoming official, ask yourself what’s the 1% that’s keeping him from going all in.
12) He’s Afraid of Being Alone
Billions of people in the world but it can still feel hopelessly lonely. Too many people like the benefits of having a relationship without being in one.
People romanticize the idea of being attached to the hip with someone in order to travel, eat, and do all these coupley things with, minus the risk of being vulnerable.
Does the guy you’re seeing have a pattern of jumping from one relationship to another? Is he always surrounded by his posse? Are his weekends constantly filled with parties and events?
If he’s the kind of person with an unbelievably busy life and revels in the many different things he’s got going on, you have to start asking yourself if you’re just another thing to keep him entertained.
Maybe he can’t sit still with his own thoughts so he always needs something to fill in the silence. In this case, it’s you.
13) He’s Possessive Over You and Doesn’t Want Anyone Else To Have You
Humanity may have evolved over thousands of years but our primal instincts pretty much remain.
Some guys want to mark you and make you theirs just because they don’t want any other guy to have their way with you.
Don’t mistake this for commitment, sometimes it’s just testosterone-fueled competitiveness.
Maybe he just likes the idea of being able to brag about you like you’re some sort of trophy.
Maybe all you are is a device to keep his sanity and ego in check.
For whatever reason, having you around makes him feel better about himself.
At the end of the day, all you are to him is an object to be owned and admired.
Does he act jealous when you talk to other men but is more than happy flirting with other girls?
Do you have to follow all these rules and respect his “boundaries” while he gets to do whatever he wants?
Take a step back and see if the commitment is lopsided, and if it is, pack your bags because he doesn’t really care about you.
He Doesn’t Know How He Feels…
14) And He Doesn’t Know How You Feel Either
Vulnerability doesn’t come easily for most men, despite what the media would like to have you believe.
The truth is that the Don Draper-esque men on TV are few and far in between.
Behind the confident, go-getter facade of most guys (especially men who are ready to settle down) are vulnerable sides afraid to get hurt in the process.
Relationships are a two-way street, and women often don’t realize that men might just be waiting for them.
Modern dating sensibilities have developed an entire generation of people who are just wary about each other.
If you have reservations about your relationship, he’s naturally picking up on those vibes and moving forward according to what you’re giving him.
If the relationship isn’t progressing forward the way you want it to, ask yourself if you’re giving him enough to work with.
Does he know what you feel? Are you transparent with each other about your feelings?
He might just be waiting for you to be more upfront about what you feel before deciding what he wants for himself.
15) But He Doesn’t Think Anything Else Needs To Be Said
On the other side of things, there’s also the possibility that he simply thinks you don’t need to declare anything so explicitly.
The fact that you’re spending a lot of time together and having a good time is enough for him… so why go through the trouble of complicating it with labels?
What else is there to say, really?
If you’re pretty much on the same page and you’re upfront regarding expectations, there might not be a need to say “I love you”.
At the end of the day, all that matters is mutual respect and trust.
If you have these things and feel secure about each other’s position in the relationship, he might feel there isn’t a need to take things a step further.
There’s also the possibility that he doesn’t believe in saying it until it’s really special; maybe he just doesn’t feel that way yet.
Either way, you might be changing the dynamic of your relationship by putting unnecessary pressure on something that is otherwise going smoothly.
Instead of getting hung up on semantics, appreciate your relationship for what it is.
Remember that actions speak louder than words; as long as he shows up consistently and does his fair share, there’s no reason to feel insecure in your relationship.
16) He’s Waiting For His Feelings To Develop
If the guy you’re dating is doing everything perfectly but is holding out on the L word, consider the possibility that his feelings might not be there just yet.
He cares about you enough but maybe he’s waiting to feel a certain way towards you before he busts out the romantic music and candles and goes all in.
And that’s a great thing, because at least you know he’s serious about your feelings. He might have been in a position where “I love you” has complicated things.
At this point in time, he just wants to take things slow and savor every moment.
It’s not so much that he’s holding out for the perfect moment. It could be that he doesn’t want to set up false expectations or rush the relationship into something it’s not quite ready for.
If anything, you should rest easy knowing you’re with someone who cares about you so much.
17) But He Cares Deeply About You
His feelings may not be I-Love-You level just yet but that doesn’t necessarily mean he doesn’t feel strongly about you.
All the time you’ve spent together has amounted into this beautiful connection.
Don’t let one phrase define how you feel about your relationship.
Saying I Love You: When Does It Matter?
As nice it is to hear that someone loves you for who you are, keep in mind that I love you isn’t the end-all and be-all of relationships.
Some people say it too easily and think it’s all it takes to make a relationship work.
Does he withhold saying I love you because he’s letting his actions speak louder than his words?
Or is he saying it because he doesn’t want to commit to you, despite reaping all the “benefits” of being in a pseudo-relationship with you?
If you’re in a position where there is mutual respect and affection for each other, I love you might be a formality your man is just not ready for.
On the other hand, your man might be a player trying to dodge the bullet and he thinks not saying I love you can deny the inevitable confrontation.
Knowing where you stand in the relationship should help define whether I love you will help move your relationship into something more serious, or rock the boat that is otherwise sailing on smooth waters.
The real reason why men pull away
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