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I can't tell if I'm in love

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I've come to realize that I have a hard time showing affection whether it be my family or friends. It was no suprise when my current boyfriend of 3 years came to me and told me he doesn't feel loved. He told me he felt empty and I nodded because I know I have trouble with that. I dont have a best friend thats a girl and never have because I never let myself get that close to people. When it comes to family, I only hug and say I love you but thats the end of me showing them affection. And I think this has started to become apparent in my realtionship because I like to kiss but only a few pecks, I love hugs but not long ones, I like holding hands but not when people are watching, I like cuddling but only for a little while becuase then I feel claustorphobic. With my friends, I have a hard time tlaking about me, I usually only let them talk to me and tell me their problems but I hardly ever tell them how I'm feeling. Same with my parents, I never ask them how they are instead I talk about a problem I'm having (usually homework realted) and then move on. I wonder if this is why I have a hard time showing affection? Is it because I'm affectionless? Around the house growing up my mother never really showed affection to my dad or stepdad. She would shove them away after a few kisses but wouldn't mind a foot massage. Maybe this is where I learned my affectionless nature from? Maybe this is why It seems that I am not in love but really it's just that I cant show it.

However I got to thinking if this was really the reason. I watch alot of video blogs on youtube of people in relationships and I watch how they interact and I can tell they are in love. Their eyes sparkle when they talk about each other or when they look at each other, they kiss alot, they say they love each other alot, they have similar humor, they have similar tastes, etc. When I watch these realtionships, I compare to the way I feel about my boyfriend and it's not how I feel. I dont feel butterflies in my stomach, I dont feel a spark when we kiss, I love his hugs, but he says his heart beats so fast when he sees me and I cant say mine does back. So when he told me finally after all this time (3 years) that he doesn't feel loved, I started to cry. I wondered if I really even loved him? I know when I think of breaking up with him I cry and stop thinking about it because the thought of it scares me. I know I feel something for him or else I would've ended it. I love him but i dont know if im IN LOVE. I dont feel as passionate as he does about me, but when I think of it, I dont think I ever will be. I have a hard time giving compliments and recieving compliments. I dont know if its just my personality or if i really am not in love with him. I dont know if it's the thought of being alone that scares me or if the thought of not being his girlfriend scare me. I dont really have that many friends, and over time my boyfriend has become my best friend. I think if we breakup, I'll be lonely and I dont wnat that. I enjoy his company, and i've gotten so used to it. He asked me if we should take a break and the thought of a break hurts. I dont want to not talk to him when I know hes a text away. I love being wih him ..... what is wrong with me?

I can't tell if I'm in love

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It's perfectly simple and straightforward:

If, growing up, everyone around you had worn those joke 'handshake buzzers', meaning, you'd seen how shaking hands as a greeting equalled a nasty little electric shock, then it stands to reason that once you hit hand-shaking age you'd not only avoid taking anyone's hand but would also avoid all situations or psychological states of mind that warranted such. Other things and avoidance measures would stem from there.

So, no, you don't love your boyfriend, or rather, can't FEEL OR EXPRESS it. By unconscious but deliberate design. Your self-preservation instinct flicked that switch to Off.

Friendship, on the other hand, would feel far safer.

However, now look at your actions: Crying and feeling panicked and bereft when his confession threatens the end of the relationship; Coming onto a forum and starting a thread; the way you describe it all...

What I hear you trying to do in that post is to fob yourself off with other reasons/excuses because that way you give yourself an emergency exit door, i.e. don't have to bite the bullet and do the scary thing(s). 'Shall I leg it or shall I stay and face it and kick it to the kerb where it belongs - what to do, what to DO?'

ALWAYS feel the fear but do it anyway because that's what almost instantly proves the so-called fear to be nothing more than a design fault in your human imagination. Facing fears kills them or shrinks them to where they suddenly look puny and pathetic, so much so that you end up laughing at them.

Is your mother Aspergic, do you know, or does she just have intimacy issues due to her own past bad experiences?

Whether or not she is, you need counselling in order to learn how to feel the fear but do it anyway. I repeat: doing it anyway and seeing yourself reap REWARDS instead of punishments, is what will VERY quickly re-train your mind. And since it concerns your bf - couples counselling - even if just to let him benefit from hearing the explanations made so much more understandable so that he ceases taking it personally. And you yourself need to finally realise that on THIS planet (planet he + you), you're SAFE to offer these recognised signs of loving someone without it carrying anywhere near such a huge psychological risk to your sense of worth and ability to love yourself.

What about sex? Are you okay with that style of love expressivity or is boyfriend left constantly hungry and needy in that area too?

I can't tell if I'm in love

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My mother isn't aspergic. But thank you for the reality check. I did post this to try to get an understanding of myself from a different perspective because if I go to my mother, as you can see she might say my behavior in my relationship is ok and normal. When it's obvious I have an issue her internally.

When it comes to sex, we have only done it once. I come from a Christian background where I've been told to save sex till marriage but the one time we did do it was unplanned. However after the fact and until now, I hate it. I hate that we did it and I don't have any urge to do it again any time soon or maybe never. It's more that I hate myself for being a disappointment rather than me not liking having sex with him. However even though he accepts that I don't want to do it, he still questioned if I didn't want to have sex because it was with him. He wondered if I even enjoyed it for a long time until he finally stopped asking and now doesn't even try to hint at sex anymore.

I can't tell if I'm in love

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What on earth do you mean, being a disappointment? I take it it was YOUR v**ina in the bed and not one you'd borrowed off of a neighbour (ha-ha)? So how on earth could you/that one occasion possibly have been a disappointment? Don't you know that a lot of men, especially when they feel less than experienced themselves, absolutely love it when the woman is shy and skittish and doesn't have a clue? Other than that, when a man is in love with a woman, just the fact that it's HER - au naturel - none of the normal barriers (clothing) against fullest possible intimacy, just skin-on-skin - is what makes the whole event special.

But, yeah, he is taking things personally, isn't he. Or starting to. Is he a devout Christian as well?

And is this mental barrier about sex another reason why you nip everything else in the bud and keep it to an absolute minimum - in case it leads to the bedroom?

And was that the same reason behind your mum's shunning and withholding of signs of affection towards your dad (which became a general habit regardless of whom or what gender), do you suppose?

I can't tell if I'm in love

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No he's not a devout Christian but says he wants to be. And yes this mental barrier of sex is why I nip everything else in the bud. And I don't know if it's the same situation with my mom.

In the last post you said I need to face the fear and do it anyway. When you say do it, what am I to do? And what is it that I'm fearing?

I can't tell if I'm in love

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Fearing displays of affection, [1] because of what you learned in terms of it more often than not leading to a kind of rejection and [2] because you're worried about leading/turning your bf on. Those two combined represent a massive mental barrier. I mean, without having been taught to get used to big bear hugs or cuddling for protracted periods, etc., I'm not surprised WHATSOEVER that you have this block when it comes to sex because - think about it - it would represent a HUGE psychological leap across too vast a distance plus, biologically-speaking, would require going from cool to white hot in record time. Holding hands, hugs and kisses are *fore*-foreplay, you see, despite you can leave it at that and go no further, like with same-gender and other platonic people.

So you need to hold hands, etc., by rote at first, i.e. just force yourself... like a diet. If you do that enough times then pretty soon - fairly quickly, in fact - it'll start to feel more natural and less threatening and invasive... all the way to 'Did I just hug you? I hadn't even noticed'. Plus it would be like feeding your starving hungry boyfriend the food he needs. Handfuls of crumbs at first, yes, but constantly throughout the day, meaning, he'd still end up feeling nicely full.

But you'd need to tell him that you were doing it as a concerted strategy to re-train yourself to where he can feel happier (as well as you) so that he'll let you remain in total and utter control throughout regarding both intensity and time rather than forget not to get carried away and try to, say, snog you.

Really tiny baby steps.

Does that sound like a sensible and easily do-able plan? I hope so because you and your bf both sound like total sweeties to me so it would be a crying shame if yours and his relationship deteriorated even against your own best wills and intentions. Also - psych fact - you don't actually have to supply whatever it is someone wants or needs so much as just be seen to bust a gut trying. The witnessable endeavour itself is a huge form of affection (mental).

No WAY is he going to remain doubting your feelings for him if you do this because it would be tantamount to an arachnophobic deliberately handling spiders at set times. I expect he'll be not only very touched and grateful but also mightily impressed that you would go to that length just for him. Yep, that'd shut him up, LOL. :-)

As for the verbal stuff, you could always write him sweet little post-it-notes? Those are particularly useful because he can keep and re-read them.

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