I desperately wanted to tell my ex, Elijah, that I loved him, but I was too afraid. When he tucked my scarf into my collar on a cold NYC day and whispered, “You know what…” I longed to hear, “I love you.” Instead, he looked deep into my eyes and replied, “Never mind. I’ll tell you when the time is right.”
The time never came. As I write in my book, Love Trips, my relationship with Elijah ended abruptly. Still, he is the only man that I have ever truly loved…and I never got to tell him that. Or did I?
You see, there are other ways to say I love you. If you are as afraid as I was to verbally express your love — or you just want to show your partner that you love him in addition to saying “I love you”, try doing these things.
1. Do nice things for him. What’s his favorite meal? Make it for him. What’s one thing that he loves more than anything? Give it to him. At one point in our relationship, Elijah was strapped for cash. He felt terrible about it. His ego was bruised. I wanted to show him that I loved him anyway. He was still my man, the man. So I planned a weekend trip to Philadelphia, all expenses paid, to show my gratitude for every meal and drink he had treated me to throughout our relationship. And I told him so. He felt so grateful. He knew that I loved him.
2. Give him lots of affection. Sometimes you can prove your love with a hug, a kiss, a caress, or a back rub. Men love affection just as much as women do. As a matter a fact, many men feel rejected and undesirable when a woman doesn’t give them this kind of attention. So, say you love him by reaching out and touching him, literally.
3. Say something sweet. “I love you” is sweet but there are other words and phrases that are just as touching. Try: “I adore you,” I admire you,” or “I desire you.” If the L Word is just too tough to say, these other words will do the trick. For now.
4. Be there for him. Many people underestimate the power of being there for their love. That means being physically and emotionally present. Sometimes that’s all a person needs to feel loved, supported, and desired. Being there in every way not only proves your love but also strengthens your partnership.
5. Write a love letter. I’ve always had trouble saying “I love you” — and not just to Elijah. It doesn’t even have to be romantic love; I just can’t spit out that four-letter word. Not even to my momma! So, I would write it down. The meaning doesn’t change. In fact, when you say “I love you” in an email, a text, or a letter, it can last forever.
How do you show your partner that you care?