August 22, 2015

Ask Me Anything: How Do I Know if I’m in Love With Him? {Weekly Advice Column}


*Editor’s Note: Elephant Journal articles represent the personal opinion, view or experience of the authors, and can not reflect Elephant Journal as a whole. Disagree with an Op-Ed or opinion? We’re happy to share your experience here. 


Dear Elephants,

Welcome to this week’s Ask Me Anything, where no question is out of bounds! To submit questions for next week, please email me at [email protected]. I look forward to hearing from you! ~ Erica


Dear Erica,

I have a dilemma that I’m trying to work through.

I have a wonderful boyfriend who has been unlike any other relationship I’ve had in my life, thus far. My pattern has always (always) been to date emotionally unavailable men. I would pick someone who either couldn’t or wouldn’t commit to me and I would spend all my energy ricocheting between the highs of achieving some of their sparse affection only to be hit with the lows of feeling unloved and unworthy and constantly insecure about their feelings towards me.

I think these relationships kept me from ever having to fully “commit” myself, as they were always doomed from the start.

Now, I have met someone who is the opposite of this. He is a wide open book, he loves me completely and he has worn his heart on his sleeve from the start. I care very much for him, and he embodies so much of what I value and desire in a long term partner.

However, I have had serious doubts about the depth of my feelings for him. On a cerebral level, I know that I love this man. However, on an emotional level, I often feel empty and confused.

Like the spark is missing.

It’s like I’m saying the words, but my emotions feel dull and cut off.

Could this be from the years of dysfunction in my previous dating life of always chasing and going through those addictive highs and lows?

I guess what I’m asking is…how important is this “spark” that we all speak of?

If I am attracted to him, genuinely enjoy his company, and value him as a partner, does the spark really mean much? Or is this something I should really be paying attention to to save both of us disastrous heartache down the road?

~ Confused


Dear Confused,

I believe the “spark we all speak of” is pretty darn important, but even more important is that little voice inside our hearts that tells us when something isn’t quite right.

While I agree that you were attracted to your past boyfriends because they kept you off balance and that can be exciting—even addictive—you should still search for someone who makes you feel weak in the knees and is emotionally available.

My sense is that you are with this current boyfriend as a reaction to your past bad relationships, and that is a great sign in the sense that you realize you deserve more than you have been receiving. But, you should raise your standards even higher.

You’ve dated the “bad boy,” now you’re dating a “friend.” Neither of these is enough. Hold out for a man who makes your heart melt even as he holds you tenderly in his arms.


Dear Erica,

I am a 21-year-old guy. I have known a girl for about six months now—she is 18 years old. We have been going out regularly from time to time and having fun with each other. I thought it was casual, but then I recognized that I love her.

I am sure now.

The problem is that she was just ended a bad relationship, and somehow she was broken. I tried to help her heal, and I think I succeeded in many respects.

After some time passed, I finally told her that I love her and I want to be in relationship with her. She said that I am perfect and nobody would reject me, but she wasn’t ready. She told me the problem is not me personally, but that she doesn’t want to love anyone anymore, and she is happy like that.

I think she is afraid to be broken again.

Can I change that? I love her from the bottom of my heart! I feel helpless and upset.

Is there a chance that this will change in the near future? What should I do?

~ Brokenhearted


Dear Brokenhearted,

I’m sad to report that this is the classic “it’s not you, it’s me” blow-off line.

This woman, for whatever reason, does not want to be in a relationship with you. But, she also doesn’t want to hurt you, so she is blaming herself rather than bruise your feelings.

When someone’s response to the profound words, “I love you,” is to tell you she doesn’t “want to love anyone and she is happy like that,” pay attention. You’ll save yourself a lot of time and aggravation.

If you simply can’t let it go, back off and continue to be friends. Do not pressure her in any way—just gently hold the door open.

If, after another six months she is still not interested, you can safely assume you need to cast your lure in other waters.





Author: Erica Leibrandt

Editor: Renée Picard

Image: Caleb Morris Via Pexels 



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