Husband Never Says "I Love You"


    4 Min Read


    At Guy Stuff we work with couples facing a wide variety of problems. The love fading, being gone all together, or falling out of love are big ones for many partners in long-term relationships.

    In fact, there are many couples who, after years together, completely ignore expressing love toward one another at all. A frequent complaint from wives in particular is that their husband never says, “I love you.”


    For example, Julie, a wife I've been working with in marriage counseling, told me yesterday that last week her husband asked her for a hug for the first time in their 15-year marriage. She said over the years she had come to accept the lack of affection, even though she wasn’t happy about it, as how things were.

    When he hugged her it made her realize that not only had that level of affection been missing, but that her husband had also never said “I love you” in nearly 15 years as well.

    This realization was both sad and uncomfortable for her.

    Shouldn’t a husband tell his wife he loves her with some regularity? At least at some point over 15-years?


    What A Relationship With No 'I Love Yous' Looks Like

    When discussing her situation an article I read came to mind, Advice: He Never Says "I Love You", from Psychology Today.

    I’m certain Julie can relate to these excerpts from the article. How about you?

    See if you can relate to the wife in this article.

    • He is a very nice guy, supporting us, including paying my costs because l do not work in order to heed immigration laws.

    • But there is one thing that has bothered me throughout our years of marriage: He finds it difficult to tell me he loves me. He does everything right, except this.

    • Even now, at the end of our phone conversations, he never tells me he misses me or loves me. But when he phones the children, particularly the youngest, he tells them he loves them and misses them.

    • How do l overcome this? I used to tell him that l love him, but I stopped.


    Here's the advice given by Psychology Today:

    • Actions speak loudly, and your husband's actions suggest that he cares deeply about you and your children.

    • Not everyone is equally comfortable declaring "I love you," and it may be especially hard for someone to declare it to a telephone. He demonstrates his love.

    • Many people grow up in families and in cultures where an unwritten rule seems to be that the adults-and especially men-don't openly declare their feelings for even display affection openly. And yet with children, they may be entirely different.

    • Just because he can't say what you'd like to hear doesn't mean you should withhold what comes naturally to you. This is one area where reciprocity doesn't work. When you start measuring what you give you start constricting feelings, and that actually becomes corrosive to your own sense of self and to the relationship.

    • Just because your husband can't say "I love you" doesn't mean he doesn't want to hear it from you, especially when he is giving you so much.

    While this is an interesting article, I disagree with the Psychology Today response saying that this husband "can't" say "I love you.”

    I would say it’s more likely that,

    • He's not comfortable

    • He doesn't know how


    • He hasn’t said "I love you,” because it’s not something he’s ever heard with regularity himself, so he doesn’t know the importance of saying it.

    I counsel the type of men this article describes and know from experience they can and do develop the ability to say "I love you," and turn it into a habit with the right help. (I’m one of them).

    Why Is Saying “I Love You” So Important? They’re Just Words

    Yes, the phrase “I love you” is just words. But they’re powerful words.

    Some people claim they don’t need to say it because they make a habit of showing it.

    I say you need to do both.

    A satisfying relationship takes work and effort. Too often we fall into routines and just assume that our partner knows how we feel.


    And then, as years go by we accept the lack of attention we give our partner, or receive from our partner, as normal – much like the couple I described above.

    But saying “I love you” to your partner or spouse should remind both of you that there’s supposed to be more to your relationship than getting through the day-to-day. Stating this helps to maintain the bond you’ve created and reinforces your connection to each other.

    And we all need reminders that the person we’ve chosen to partner with for life still has genuine, deep feelings for us.

    Is There A Right Way To Say “I Love You?”

    Yes, there is.

    The words “I love you” have to go along with actions that show they’re true. Simply throwing the words, “I love you” out there from time to time isn’t enough.

    The good news is that those actions can be as simple as the hug the husband described above gave to his wife – even if it was far, far overdue.


    The bottom line is that love is not just a feeling, it's a choice and an action, and one that is learned with and reinforced by practice.

    When a husband never says “I love you” to his wife it chips away at their relationship and leaves them vulnerable to much bigger problems. Wives, this goes for you too.

    What To Take Away

    It’s far too easy for any of us to take our spouse for granted and overlook reminding them of their importance in our life by telling them we love them.

    If you're like Julie, are married to a man who never says “I love you,” keep the following in mind:

    • The absence of these words more than likely has nothing to do with how he really feels about you.

    • Letting him know why hearing “I love you” is important and can help.

    • The words mean little without the actions that demonstrate the feeling is real.

    As they say, “Actions speak louder than words.” So, if your husband never says, “I love you,” watch for behaviors that say what he doesn’t. He may be silently showing you he loves you every day. Still, tell him you need to hear the words too.

    What part of this can you relate to? Please share a comment below.

    Editor's Note: This post was originally published March 27, 2010, updated on January 22, 2019, updated again for accuracy and comprehensiveness.


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