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Parallax - Advice            February 19, 2001

  Promises of love?

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When does a man tell you that he loves you? I've been dating this really great guy now for a little over three months. We are both thirty-four, and he's been married before (I haven't). He calls when he says he's going to call, and makes plans - he's a man right out of the Rules book. I don't think he's afraid of commitment, as he's had long-term relationships. Anyway, I can see myself with him forever, so I'm curious.

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Her view:

Dear Ms. Curious,

Sometimes never...even when he loves you. But that's not the point here: there is no rule, and there should be no explicit expectation on your part. Three months is très early. You haven't even given him time to move into girlfriend-mode, much less the love stage.

Has is occurred to you that you may be experiencing infatuation as opposed to love? Be careful. It's not a race - slow things down a little bit. You sound very hurried for a new girlfriend.

Settle in and establish trust. Before you start worrying about such things, decide if everything is great, and he is what you want. When you're sure, be a big girl and say it first. Just put it out there. If you don't get a response, say, 'Hey, don't you love me too?' You'll have your answer.

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His view:

Dear Ms. Curious,

Usually, a man tells you he loves you when he does love you. Some men make a big deal out of saying it…and they wait for the perfect moment. Others just blurt it out as soon as they think it, or feel it, rather the same way they'd say, 'I'm hungry,' or 'I'm hung over.'

But sometimes they say it when they want something from you, or to make you feel better…or if they think it will avoid a scene. Some say it early and often, because they fall in love so easily, or because they think they're in love, or because to them 'liking' and 'loving' is nearly the same thing...or because they like to lie.

It's possible a man won't say it, even if he feels it, for fear of scaring you, or not hearing the same words back...or getting laughed at.

Like I said, he'll usually say it when he feels it (though never before three months - unless he just wants to get you into bed), except if he's thirty-four. In that case, he may say it anywhere between the two- and six-month anniversaries. Watch out - thirty-four year olds can be tricky. Especially if they're 'right out of the Rules book.'

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