16 signs he doesn’t know how to love (and what to do about it)

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What’s worse? Unrequited love where you love someone who doesn’t love you back? Or being in love with someone who says they love you but doesn’t seem to know how? 

If you feel that your partner doesn’t know how to love you—watch out for these 16 signs that indicate this might be the case.

How can someone not know how to love?

It’s either he’s grown cynical about love and doesn’t believe in it or they simply don’t know how to actually, concretely express their love in a relationship.

If he’s of the former type, he thinks that love doesn’t exist. He thinks that it’s a fantasy that the media promotes and people who try to fall in love are just delusional.

This belief might have developed because of: 

  • Having trauma from past relationships or experiences. 
  • Growing up in an abusive family devoid of love. 
  • Never seeing or experiencing genuine love.

However, it could also simply be a result of his naturally pessimistic personality. 

Either way, people like this are difficult to have mature, healthy romantic relationships with. This is why you are unsatisfied or frustrated with your relationship with him.

Reasons he may not know how to love

1) He’s not over childhood trauma

Our childhood experiences have a profound effect on our adult life. Any emotional damage we received in our youth can severely impact how we love as adults.

If we grew up around parents who loved us and loved each other in fulfilling healthy ways, we will be more equipped to do the same as adults.

But if we grew up where we didn’t feel loved or felt neglected as a child, then we might be more cynical or have a hard time managing and expressing our emotions.

2) He’s afraid of losing himself

A healthy relationship requires being vulnerable to each other. However, some people feel that exposing yourself in this way, as well as having to commit to the relationship, means losing your individuality.

He may fear that he needs to fake their personality or compromise some of his personal life to be in a relationship. While there is a kernel of truth to the latter, this does not mean that you have to give in to your partner’s every whim.

It’s definitely possible—and even advisable—that you retain your own personhood even in a committed romantic relationship.

3) He fears that he’ll be taken advantage of

A relationship is built not just on affection, but on respect and trust. Without these things, two cannot fully love each other.

Some people might have deep-seated trust issues. This is especially common in people who are traumatized from past relationships where they were cheated on or where their trust was broken.

This might be why he’s incredibly bitter and cynical and the reason that stops him from fully trusting someone that intimately again.

4) He has self-esteem issues

As the saying goes, you can’t pour from an empty cup. Essentially, you need to love yourself before you love others. 

People with low self-esteem will likely struggle to love themselves. If such men get into a relationship, they might constantly be insecure and doubt your feelings for them. 

This makes them hard to love, and it makes it hard for them to completely love you as well.

16 signs he doesn’t know how to (or can’t) love you

Being in love is an amazing feeling if you’re in a healthy relationship. 

However, being in a relationship with someone who doesn’t know how to express their love or doesn’t know how to love you can be extremely frustrating or even heartbreaking.

Here are 16 of the most common signs he’s just incapable of love. Try to see if he exhibits these behaviors.

1) He doesn’t have empathy

If he seems devoid of emotion, doesn’t react to you expressing your feelings, or fails to understand them, then he might be lacking in empathy.

He may even have a disorder called Alexithymia. Alexithymia is an emotional learning disorder that makes it difficult for a person to understand human emotions. 

It might be the case that he does love you, but he feels unsure if he does or what he should do about it. The reason for it is the incapability to fully grasp what it means to love someone.

This neurological disorder is more common than most people think. Most people who have Alexithymia are often in some form of limbo in their social life where they fail to form or maintain their friendships or relationships.

2) He always blames you

Being incapable of love is often a sign of broader emotional immaturity. This can include lacking the maturity to accept when he is wrong.

Instead, he will resort to blaming other people when things go wrong, even if it was really his fault. He projects his guilty onto other people so that he doesn’t have to deal with the weight on his conscience.

Men like this are often too egotistic and refuse to take responsibility and be accountable for their actions. This just might be a part of how he’s generally inconsiderate of you, so examine how he treats you in general. 

3) He doesn’t prioritize you

If your man truly loves you, he would put effort into making you feel that he loves you. We all have our own fair share of responsibilities in other aspects of our lives, but loving someone means making time for their needs.

If you find that he prioritizes every other thing in his life over you, then that is a very telling sign that either he doesn’t actually love you or he doesn’t know to properly make you feel loved.

4) He always has an excuse

In line with always refusing to take responsibility for his faults, he might also give excuses instead of blaming others.

Whenever he does something toxic or harmful to you, he may give excuses instead of sincerely apologizing. For example, if he lashes out at you for no good reason, he may use the excuse that he had a bad day at work—as if that justifies emotionally hurting you.

By doing this, he is subtly asking for unconditional forgiveness, as well as permission to continuously abuse you. Again, this is a good sign that he doesn’t actually love you or know how to love properly in a relationship.

5) He doesn’t want to improve as a lover

If he doesn’t know how to love you in the first place, how would he even know how (or want) to love you better? If he doesn’t take responsibility for his mistakes, then he’s also probably not interested in trying to become a better partner to you.

Not only will he refuse to accept that he was wrong, but he might also even show that he’s generally disinterested in the relationship

Generally, he will show that loving you or loving you better is not something he deems as important.

6) You can’t hold him accountable

Because he isn’t invested in the relationship, he doesn’t want to be held accountable for how he affects it. Why should he feel guilty or want to atone for their mistakes if he doesn’t care about you in the first place?

He will also remain oblivious to your own or his friends’ efforts to bond or improve the relationships. Either that and he does notice them, or he does not care for them. Your actions will be of little value to him because the relationship as a whole is of little value to him.

7) He refuses to communicate properly

If you love someone, you will do your best to properly communicate with them to ensure the stability and trust between you. 

If he does not love you or doesn’t know how to love you, he will either be completely disinterested in communicating with you or, even if he does want to, he fails to do so effectively.

Therefore, attempts at communication will likely be awkward, unproductive, or forced. He will not express their emotions nor will he try to accommodate yours.

Eventually, all their pent-up emotions might erupt in an extremely intense emotional outburst. This is why he might not like being in a relationship at all because he is unable to handle their feelings properly.

8) He pays you little attention

If he usually pays you little attention, it shows that he can’t love you. In fact, he probably gets annoyed at the prospect of paying attention to you.

If you notice that he often suddenly becomes busier and becomes preoccupied with something else whenever you show up, then this is likely the case.

A possible reason for this might be that he has Emotional Deprivation Disorder (EDD). EDD is a syndrome that results “from a lack of authentic affirmation and emotional strengthening by another.”

Essentially, people who have EDD have stunted emotional development due to feelings of neglect and deprivation growing up. Because of this, they never had a chance to learn how to love the right way.

9) He’s doesn’t care about other people

It’s natural to look after yourself, but when someone always puts others down for his own sake or fails to be concerned about others at all, then it’s pretty clear that he lacks empathy. 

This kind of self-centeredness and lack of empathy directly translates into his incapability to love other people. After all, how can you love if you can’t even care in the first place?

If you’re with someone like this, then you probably experience his unwillingness to help you often. He always makes excuses and is rarely concerned about your needs.

Instead, he makes things almost exclusively about himself. If he always takes but never gives, then he can’t love you.

10) He’s emotionally unavailable

A relationship’s foundation is built on mutual affection, trust, and vulnerability. You can’t have this if your partner refuses to show his emotions to you or receive yours.

If he’s always been like this or starts to emotionally withdraw from you, then it puts a strain on the relationship as you’re the only one doing the emotional labor. This is a sign that he lacks the emotions—that is to say, he lacks love—for you.

11) He cares too much about other people’s opinions

We’ve established that people who are incapable of love are often insecure or self-centered. They can even be both. 

In fact, a reason your man might be self-centered is due to his insecurities. He feels inadequate on his own, so he will try to make everything about him to boost his ego.

This egoistic approach can take the form of always caring about what other people think of him. While it’s normal to want people to have a good opinion of you, caring about it too often and too intensely is unhealthy. 

It’s ultimately a sign of emotional immaturity and the inability to love himself for who he is.

12) He doesn’t want to commit

Anyone who does not want to commit shouldn’t be in actual, committed relationships or shouldn’t be looking for them.

This is why he prefers to remain single. He knows being in a relationship requires compromise and commitment, so he’d rather focus on his own life.

He might also be great at sensing someone’s interest. So whenever he receives flirtatious attention, he would often carve out some distance immediately before any emotions grow. 

He’s probably also very cynical about relationships. He sees it as an illusion even when others are genuinely happy in theirs.

13) He doesn’t act like a hero around you

Your man might not know how to love you and therefore, not act like a hero around you. This may be something you can fix to have a more delightful and loving relationship.

There’s a new theory in the relationship world that’s causing quite a stir – it’s called the hero instinct

Coined by relationship expert James Bauer, this fascinating concept finally explains how men really think and feel in relationships. 

And it’s something most women have never even heard of. 

According to James Bauer, men don’t actually need a lot to feel content in their relationships. In fact, what they need has nothing to do with sex. 

Men have certain innate drivers. And when a woman comes along and triggers them, it causes a powerful response. The result is a man who loves harder, commits wholeheartedly, and truly dedicates himself to the relationship. 

So, how can you trigger your man’s hero instinct? 

The easiest thing to do is to watch this simple and genuine video by James Bauer

The truth is, once you understand how the hero instinct works, there’s no telling what heights your relationship can reach. 

So if you want to give your man what he truly wants from you, make sure to check out James Bauer’s excellent video. In it, he reveals the exact texts and phrases you can use straight away.

Here’s a link to the free video again.

14) He’s not open-minded

If his heart is closed off to any kind of emotional attachment, then it’s no surprise that most of these people also have their minds closed off.

This is also a reason why he refuses to take accountability for their actions and mistakes. He always thinks he’s right, which also makes communicating with him incredibly difficult and frustrating.

15) He easily gives up

If your boyfriend easily gives up on finding solutions or resolving your relationship problems, then that’s a clear sign that he does not love you or is incapable of loving you.

This is because he simply does not care about the relationship in the first place. He will ignore the problem without a second thought because it does not bother him at all.

If he truly loves you and cares about you, then it goes without saying that he should be concerned enough to put effort into making your relationship work. 

16) You’re always the giver

A relationship should have a natural, healthy flow of give-and-take between the partners. Both parties should be striving to fulfill the needs and wants of the other.

If you’re always the one putting in the effort to understand him, pamper him, and give him affection while he never reciprocates, then you should consider moving on.

Again, he simply does not care about—much less love you. You deserve a man who will love you as intently and genuinely as you love them.

How do you determine if your boyfriend has emotional deprivation disorder? 

Emotional Deprivation Disorder (EDD) is a psychological disorder. This condition was discovered and defined by psychiatrists Conrad Baars and Anna Terruwe during the middle of the 20th century.

It’s important to note though, that this condition does not appear in any official psychiatric diagnostic manual. Its actual existence is debated by the psychological community as there doesn’t seem to be a significant enough amount of evidence to support its legitimacy.

Regardless, the term became popular and is often used to describe the emotional condition of people who don’t know how to love or are unable of feeling the love. Baars and Terruwe said that these are the most common signs of EDD:

  • They don’t maintain eye contact.
  • They are lonely but also dislike socializing.
  • They are mistrustful and feel that people are always judging them.
  • They believe that they have never and will never experience love. Because of this, they refuse or are incapable of being affectionate.
  • They are often attacked by feelings of guilt and have low self-esteem.
  • These symptoms also usually appear in people with autism and also with hoarding disorder.

What do you do if your boyfriend can’t love you?

Here are the things you need to do if you’re already with a man who doesn’t know how to love you.

1) Love yourself first

So how can you deal with the issue of your man not knowing how to love you in a practical way?

I know just the thing – the free Love and Intimacy video by the world-renowned shaman Rudá Iandê. 

While watching it, I felt like someone understood my struggles to find love (and keep it) for the first time – and finally offered an actual solution to this tricky situation. 

But it all starts with your inner relationship. Once you learn how to love yourself, giving and receiving love becomes a whole lot easier. 

If you’re ready to take that journey, click here to watch the incredible free video.

2) Make your expectations realistic

You need to stop fantasizing that you can fix him. Unfortunately, this is a common notion that it’s the woman’s job to fix a man. 

It is not your responsibility to fix him. Even if you tried, however, it’s almost impossible if he is really like that.

The truth is only he can change himself. And he can only do that if he wants to change in the first place. If you have this expectation, drop it immediately and make your expectations more realistic.

3) Establish and maintain clear boundaries

Even if you don’t think you can actively fix him, you might be hoping deep inside your heart that he will somehow learn how to love you as time goes on. As we said, however, this is only possible if he wants to change. 

Remember that men like this often do not care about your needs. He will also likely not care too much about your boundaries. This means that such men can potentially be toxic and even harmful to you. 

So if you try waiting for the day he magically changes, then you are wasting time and subjecting yourself to some pain.

Remember to set boundaries early and to always maintain them.

4) Be vigilant

Your partner who is incapable of loving you just might be either a sociopath (a person who can’t feel emotions) or a narcissist (someone who always seeks out validation and admiration from people).

This might explain his selfish, self-centered, and uncaring nature. Be careful because not only can they not love you, but they can also potentially hurt you.

5) Reflect on yourself

Take some time to reflect on yourself and your past relationships. Do you constantly find yourself attracted to men who are emotionally unavailable or immature? Do you always go for relationships where you are treated poorly or neglected?

This cycle is unhealthy, even if you currently find these men appealing. In fact, your attraction to them might be rooted in psychological problems within yourself.

Although it’s tough to admit, these preferences might be rooted in self-esteem issues or unresolved trauma. Examine yourself and seek help if you need it. We’re rooting for you.

6) Break up and move on

You need to accept that he just might not be the one. There are unfortunately many similar men out there. But since you’ve already experienced what they’re like, then it should be easier to spot the signs and avoid them in the future.

If he doesn’t love you, then he doesn’t deserve your love either. Find someone who will treat you well and will love you sincerely.

As difficult as it is, you need to leave as soon as possible. The longer you stay, the more of you will be drained by being in a toxic, unhealthy relationship with him.

There are plenty of men out there who are emotionally available and will be compatible with you. You deserve a truly healthy and happy relationship—don’t settle for anything less!

The final takeaway

Perhaps the most painful part about loving someone who just can’t love you is the fact that you start losing yourself in the process. 

It’s essentially unrequited love

You give and give, but you never receive in return.

I touched on the hero instinct earlier – it’s the perfect remedy for the situation you’re facing. 


Because once a man’s hero instinct is triggered, he’ll only have eyes for you. You’ll reach a part of him that no woman has ever managed to reach before. 

And in return, he’ll be compelled to commit to you and love you like he’s never loved another woman. 

So if you’re ready to take that plunge and reach new heights in your relationship, make sure to check out relationship expert James Bauer’s invaluable advice.

Click here to watch the excellent free video

Can a relationship coach help you too?

If you want specific advice on your situation, it can be very helpful to speak to a relationship coach.

I know this from personal experience…

A few months ago, I reached out to Relationship Hero when I was going through a tough patch in my relationship. After being lost in my thoughts for so long, they gave me a unique insight into the dynamics of my relationship and how to get it back on track.

If you haven’t heard of Relationship Hero before, it’s a site where highly trained relationship coaches help people through complicated and difficult love situations.

In just a few minutes you can connect with a certified relationship coach and get tailor-made advice for your situation.

I was blown away by how kind, empathetic, and genuinely helpful my coach was.

Click here to get started.

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