Refusing to say "I love you" may be disconcerting for you and it can stem from many causes. Some people had negative experiences with saying "I love you" while others may demonstrate love in ways besides a verbal statement. Understanding the reasons behind others' refusal to say those three words can better help you relate to them. Such knowledge will prove helpful in many relationships of different kinds.
How people responded to their loving sentiments contributes to some people's refusal to say, "I love you." Fear is often a response when someone's emotional expression is rebuffed or refused. From childhood to adulthood, if saying "I love you" resulted in a negative experience, people may refuse to say it to protect themselves and their feelings. "I love you" may be associated with negative consequences, and people would rather be safe without love than vulnerable with it.
Many people do not say “I love you" because they were not taught how to express emotions. Parents and important adults model emotions for children -- when they do not model loving emotions, children may not learn how to express sentiments such as "I love you." As adults, these children may struggle with expressing love in many ways, including saying, "I love you." Men especially may have difficulty saying, "I love you." Males are not socialized to be as expressive or emotional as females, so many men may have trouble saying, "I love you."
Not Their Feelings
Some people may not say, "I love you" because the statement does not reflect their true feelings. Such a reality can be hurtful, but would explain others' refusal to utter the statement. In a relationship, this reason is cause for a re-evaluation, and you may need to talk about where you stand with a potential or real partner. In a friendship, others may not feel the same about your connection as you do -- this can be painful, but it may not mean the end of the friendship.
"I love you" is one of many ways to express love, so someone refusing to say "I love you verbally" may have shown it in other ways. The concept of love languages involves your ideal way of receiving love. The languages are words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service and physical touch. If you value hearing "I love you," your love language may be words of affirmation. Your partner may have shown love in other ways, however, such as through giving you gifts or affectionate touches. Communicate with your partner to understand his love language and to see if his refusal to say, "I love you" is a matter of communication, rather than a lack of love.
S. Grey has a Master of Science in counseling psychology from the University of Central Arkansas. He is also pursuing a PhD and has a love for psychology, comic books and social justice. He has been published in a text on social psychology and regularly presents research at regional psychology conferences.