A Reader Writes…
My boyfriend says he hasn’t fallen in love with me yet even though it’s been almost a year since we first met.
After reading your book, ILYBINILWY, I realize that what he is missing is the Limerence feeling, which is what he equates to “falling in love”. The reason why I think this is because I had asked him once what made him fall in love in the past, and he said it was the cutesie things they did (even though he tells me I’m cute all the time). He said that he used to fall in love very easily when he was younger but the last time he fell in love it took several months. The thing is, we already have the Loving Attachment part down, where we’re very physically affectionate, support each other, and will go the extra mile for each other.
We also give each other tender looks often but I will also try the Limerence exercise given in the book. Do you have any other suggestions? We are also together practically 24/7 outside of work, which may be affecting it? Is it possible to go get the Limerence feeling after we’re already in the Loving Attachment phase?
It sounds like you’ve got the makings of a great relationship, so what’s stopping him falling in love?
It could be something to do with him – perhaps he’s been badly hurt and finds it hard to trust again. Maybe his parent’s marriage was a disaster and he’s frightened to let go and allow himself to fall in love because it will only lead to pain and misery (and if you don’t love you don’t get hurt). I know he’s fallen in love before but when you are – for example only sixteen – it is ‘safer’ to let go because it’s not really likely to lead to marriage, kids and a life time together.
Perhaps this explains why he’s finding it harder to fall in love as he gets older and relationships become more serious. (If this is the case, his ‘inability’ to fall in love could be a complement as it suggests that he has deep enough feelings to be scared and holding back.)
Next, the problem could be something about you. It sounds like you’re working really hard at this relationship and clinging on with two hands. Once again, this has its roots in childhood pain but instead of telling yourself ‘I’ll be cool and not get too close’, this version says if ‘I get really, really close, he’ll never leave me and I will finally feel safe.’ Unfortunately, that can seem a bit claustrophobic to other people and they pull away (which causes panic and working even harder.)
Does it sometimes feel that you can never quite get enough intimacy and that other people keep on letting you down? I explain more about why intimacy is something that we crave but fear and the different coping strategies in my book ‘Are you right for me?’ Seven steps to getting clarity and commitment in your relationship.
Finally, and most probably, it is a mixture of both of you. Certainly, I wonder if you’re spending too much time together. You need a balance between ‘us’ and ‘me’ time and maybe a little distance/ independence will help him be more aware of his feelings and allow him to tip over from cool love into passionate love.