Lip Service Love - He Says He Loves Me But His Actions Say Different


    6 Min Read


    In romantic relationships, the phrase “actions speak louder than words” holds particular significance. This phrase comes into sharp focus if you find yourself in a situation of thinking, “He says he loves me, but his actions say different.”

    Many men are often comfortable with either professing love or showing love, but not both. This can lead to confusion, pain, and emotional insecurity for the women in their lives.


    When a man’s words say he loves you, but his actions don’t, it can be extremely distressing.

    So, what’s a girl to do if you can’t get thoughts like – "I know he loves me, but his actions say different” out of your head?

    The Words You Hear And The Behavior You See

    Let’s first be clear about what we’re discussing.

    When you hear,

    • “I love you.”
    • “You’re my world.”
    • “You’re the best thing that ever happened to me.”
    • “I can’t imagine my life without you.”


    But what you see is,

    • Broken plans

    • Disinterest

    • Indifference

    • Emotional distance

    • Lack of prioritization

    For example,


    Reggie told Lucy he’s going out with coworkers after work. It’s the third time this week. At the end of the call, he says, “I love you, Honey.” Reggie rarely spends time with her lately, prioritizing work and friends over their relationship.


    Before Wendall leaves each morning, he kisses Lola and tells her he loves her. But at night, when she wants to cuddle or initiate intimacy, he rolls over and tells her he’s tired. She knows she’s still attractive, but his actions make it seem like he doesn’t want to be with her.


    Surita has been struggling with a heavy workload and the drama of parenting two teenagers. She tries to talk to Ruben about things, but he just says, “Uh-huh,” and continues to play on his phone. When she gets upset, he acts surprised and says, “Honey, you know I love you. What would I do without you?”

    The actions of all three men don’t align with their words. The behavior of these men is why it's not uncommon for female partners to think, he says he loves me but his actions say different.

    Why Would He Say He Loves Me Then Act Like He Doesn’t?

    Understanding why someone might say “I love you” but then act in a way that contradicts those words can be perplexing and emotionally challenging.

    While every individual and relationship is unique, several common reasons could explain this disconnect between words and actions.

    For men, the most common issues are,

    • Fear of vulnerability. Many men struggle with emotional intimacy and have difficulty showing their true feelings. Saying “I love you” is easier than putting in effort that might be rejected or criticized.

    • External stressors. Factors like work stress, issues within the family, physical wellness, or personal problems can affect a man’s behavior and emotional availability.

    • Communication issues. Poor communication in the relationship can create misunderstandings. He might not be aware of how his actions are affecting you and that he’s creating the worrisome concern, “He keeps sayings he loves me, but his actions say different.”

    • Personal growth and changes. People change and evolve over time. He might be going through a personal growth phase that affects his priorities and behaviors.

    And lastly, the different manners in which men and women express and receive love have long been noted. These differences are conventionally referred to as love languages and can vary between genders and individuals.


    Dr. Kurt works with couples facing this disconnect weekly. According to him,

    I get asked this question by women frequently, 'Why does he say he loves me but his actions say different?' In addition to the list already given, I would add the following:

    1) Selfishness - to love somebody you need to think about and put them first at times. More than a few guys struggle doing this.

    2) Lack of Maturity - some guys haven't grown enough to see the benefits of being truly loving to another person.

    3) Emotional Intelligence - many men lack the knowledge and skills to be loving to their female partners in the ways she needs (this is fixable though).

    And a compounding factor is that most men don't need the same level of emotional connectedness that their partners do."

    Your partner might genuinely love you but have a different love language, leading to a disconnect in how he expresses his affection and how you perceive it, i.e., “He says he loves me, but his actions say different.”

    Should I Believe His Words Or His Actions?

    Whether to believe words or actions in a relationship can be complex and highly individual.

    Both words and actions play significant roles in understanding a person’s feelings and intentions, but their importance can vary depending on the context and the specific circumstances of the relationship.

    As a rule of thumb, actions provide a more tangible reflection of a person’s feelings and priorities. But several things can interfere with the demonstration of love, leaving words as the relied-upon means of expression.


    Some considerations to help you determine whether to put more faith in his words or his behavior are:

    • Consistency. Look for consistency between your partner’s words and actions. In a healthy and loving relationship, words and actions should align most of the time.

    • Communication. Open and honest communication is crucial. If he says he loves you, but his actions say differently, discuss your concerns with him. The way he responds can tell you a great deal.

    • Past patterns. Consider the history of your relationship. Is the discrepancy in words and actions new, or has he always behaved this way? Could it be your reactions that have changed?

    • Recent changes. Have there been any recent changes outside your relationship that coincide with the disconnect between his words of love and his loving actions? Stress, personal challenges, or external pressures can sometimes lead to temporary inconsistencies between words and actions.

    • Relationship health. Evaluate the overall health of your relationship. Are there unresolved issues, communication problems, or unmet needs that might contribute to the disconnect between words and actions?

    With these things in mind, you must also consider what your intuition and gut feelings are telling you. If you consistently feel unloved, neglected, or hurt despite your partner’s words, it’s essential to take your emotions seriously and address them.

    Ultimately, the decision to believe words or actions should be based on a holistic assessment of your relationship.

    Do I Worry If His Words Don’t Match His Actions?

    Both men and women can have difficulty showing love for various reasons. Men, however, are notorious for their challenges in articulating or demonstrating their feelings which often leaves the women in their lives ruminating over the idea that, “He says he loves me, but his actions say different.”

    That said, it should be a concern if his behavior has changed suddenly.


    If he’s typically been demonstrative and his love was as clear through his actions and his words, then when he stops, it may be a sign of more significant issues.

    Ask yourself the following questions:

    • Has he been gone from home more frequently than usual?

    • Does he spend excessive time on his computer or locked in his home office?

    • Does he seem attached to his phone?

    • Have his grooming or style habits changed?

    • Has your relationship been struggling, or are you arguing a great deal?

    • Have you been inattentive to him?

    If the answer to these questions, or even just a couple of these questions, is yes, it’s a potential indication of deeper problems. Among the possibilities are:

    Be careful here, though. None of these things are a certainty, and hurling accusations that may have no merit will hurt your relationship.

    What Can I Do To Get His Actions To Be As Loving As His Words?

    Determining the next steps when he says he loves you, but his actions say different can feel daunting.

    The first step is to spend some time considering specific actions or behaviors causing you to question the truth of his words. Having specific instances in mind will help you with the next step - having an open and honest conversation with him.

    When beginning this conversation make sure you express your concerns without blaming or accusing him. Let him know that you’ve noticed a disconnect between his words and actions and that it’s become confusing.

    Once the conversation is initiated, the following steps can serve as a guide for navigating toward a change.

    • Listen actively and respectfully. Try to understand his point of view and the reasons he says are behind his actions.

    • Seek clarity where needed. Ask your husband to clarify his feelings. Does he genuinely love you but struggle to express it in the way you expect, or are there doubts or concerns he needs to address?

    • Be prepared to acknowledge your role. In any relationship, both partners influence the dynamic. Be ready to own any of your behaviors that may have contributed to the current situation.

    • Collaborate on solutions. If there are specific issues causing distress in your relationship, work together to find solutions. This may involve setting clear expectations, establishing boundaries, or seeking counseling to address underlying issues.

    • Seek professional help. If your attempts to resolve the issue are unsuccessful, or if there are deeper issues in the relationship, consider seeking the assistance of a marriage counselor. A trained professional can help facilitate productive conversations and provide guidance on improving your relationship.

    Keep in mind, many men are reluctant to attend counseling at first. If that’s the case for you, talking to a counselor on your own is still very beneficial. If you’ve been worried because, “He says he loves me, but his actions say different,” a counselor can help you untangle words from behaviors and look at things from a new perspective.


    What To Take Away

    If your partner’s words of love don’t match his actions and you’re concerned that, “He says he loves me, but his actions say different,” keep the following in mind:

    • Several things can cause the disconnect between words and actions, many of which are temporary or unintentional.

    • Believing his words over his actions is a personal choice and should be based on your own understanding of your relationship.

    • A frank conversation expressing your feelings and listening to him can help you better understand what’s going on.

    • If your efforts don’t work or problems run deeper than you realized, the help of a professional counselor may help.

    It’s never easy when you feel like words of love are hollow. If you feel like he’s just giving lip-service to your relationship and he says he loves you but his actions say different, you owe it yourself to get to the bottom of things.


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