"I can sleep with her, marry her, take care of her, but love – that’s something else," said Tony, a married man in his late forties. "Guys don’t like to talk about love. They don’t know what to say. Of course guys do love. But they express it differently."
Despite this fact, most women do not feel happy unless they hear those golden words, I love you. Men need to hear them as well. And yet, as much as men want love, many fight it to the last minute. Love can make men feel vulnerable, childlike, and unable to do what’s expected of them.
Yet, naturally, men do love and different types of men express their love differently. A woman needs to be alert to who the man she is with is, and what love means to him. Here are five different ways that men express what they are feeling.
"When I say I love you," said Steve, "I feel like I’m taking my life in my hands and giving it to her. It’s scary. I’ve got to really trust her and know she won’t throw my love away in order to actually say the words to her." In this case the fear of rejection comes up strongly. Rejection is enormously painful for most men, and saying "I Love You", can be an invitation to be hurt. Most men must feel very secure in the relationship and in the woman’s feelings for him, before he’ll dare say those words.
For others, saying "I love you," means, I’m offering a commitment. I’m going to be here to do things for you. For many men, love is expressed through action, so these words are a promise of what is to follow. Simply by saying these words they feel they are agreeing to be there to give to her and support her. If they don’t do it, they’ll feel like a heel.
For others, the words means, I’m not leaving, or I’ll always be faithful. This can be very scary for some men. They feel the words themselves are a promise, and if the promise is broken, they will suffer as well.
However, there is another type of man, who enjoys falling in love and letting the world know it. These men will say "I Love You" easily. There are many different motives behind their words though. Some say it to get a woman to make love with him, others to enter into a romantic fantasy, some to feel as though they are a great lover. By saying these words, some seem to be offering the woman the world, (that they have no intention of giving). Others say it just for the sheer pleasure of seeing how good it makes the woman feel, and how effective he feels as well.
When a woman hears those precious words, she should step back a moment and put them in context. What do they mean to this particular man, and are there other ways she might also realize that he is expressing his love for her?
Another way men express their love is through bringing gifts to the woman. There are many different kinds of gifts a man can give. The obvious ones include those wrapped in packages, candy, flowers, special notes. But there are others that a woman may or may not be aware of. For example, for some men, giving their time to you, is a gift. When they spend more time with you, and less with family and friends, this is their way of saying they love you.
A different way some men express their love is by standing up for you during a difficult time, attending important functions with you, going with you to your family, planning trips, dates or outings, and putting you first in their thoughts. These behaviors are often indicators that the man cares a great deal.
Believe it or not, some men express their love through being jealous, or possessive. They do not want to share your attention. It is especially upsetting to these men if you speak of or look at other guys.
Although being controlled is not being loved, to many men and women, the two overlap. Many women feel cared for when the man wants is possessive of her. "It’s a sign that he cares a great deal," said Renee. "Sure, it can be annoying that he’s so controlling, but if he wasn’t, truthfully, I don’t think I’d feel loved or cared about." For Renee this kind of behavior produces a sense of security. It lets her know she’s on his mind and translates this to mean that he cares.
Although this trait can get out of hand, when it is just part of the overall equation, it often is the way a man expresses his involvement and love. He doesn’t want to lose you. He wants to be the most important person in your life and to be on your mind all the time. If he is, he feels loved as well.
Other men say "I love you" by being affectionate and making love to you. After being intimate they feel as though they’ve loved you, and often feel loved as well. The physical contact breaks down barriers and provides a feeling of closeness that they do not feel otherwise. Some women require hearing words of love spoken when they are being intimate. This is a complex area, because sex can mean so many different things to different individuals. But for many men love means meeting her needs and having his needs met as well. They feel that if the sex is good, everything else will fall into place. Sex can be a sensitive barometer to what’s going on in all aspects of the relationship.
Another way of saying "I Love You" is taking you home to meet the family, (and/or close, meaningful friends). Not only does it say that he’s proud of you, but he wants to connect you with the people who mean the most to him. This is often a sign that you are becoming a significant part of his life.
Other men compartmentalize relationships, they have someone for dating, someone for sex, someone else for the kind of love that leads to marriage. By being aware of the people in his life that he introduces you to, and includes you with, you can get a good idea of how he operates in this area. Does he want you in all parts of his life, or is this a limited relationship? Love, in the deepest sense, includes sharing all parts of ourselves with another.