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Love Letters

If they aren’t ‘in love’ after a year, is it time to move on?

Things are wonderful but he hasn’t said “I love you” yet.

I am 59 and hoping to find love again. I have dated a few men since the sudden loss of my partner four years ago. I understand it can take time to get to know someone and to see if love can grow. How long should I give it? I am fortunate to attract wonderful, handsome men, but I am looking for love. Love that includes acceptance and patience, as well as being intimate and sensual.

I am currently dating someone I thank the heavens for every day, and that I met him during this pandemic makes our relationship even more incredible. He and I enjoy amazing times together and our talks include plans for many months ahead. However, if I am not in love with him or he does not tell me he is in love with me by our one-year anniversary of starting to date, should I say thanks but what I am truly looking for is not found in this relationship? I have spent time trying to let a relationship grow in the past and I don’t want to make that mistake again. I gave too much time away. I believe I am in love with him but if he cannot reciprocate by one year, I think I should say goodbye.

— Is one year enough time?

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A. I believe I am in love with him . . .

Wait! So it’s possible you are! This is good.

Before you make any decisions about this relationship, talk to him about how you feel. Please remember the word “love” — including the phrase “in love” — is very vague. We’ve tried to define it a zillion times here. All I know is that “in love” means something different to me than to the next person. And I’ve thought it only to realize later . . . oh wait, “Now it’s love.”

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Also remember that you met this man during a pandemic, which means you haven’t seen each other in your normal routines, whatever they were, whatever they might become. I don’t think I could commit to someone until I saw how they fit in my life. Maybe there’s a bit of “waiting for reality” with the two of you.

I mean, it’s also possible he’s lukewarm about the whole thing, but you use the word “amazing” and he seems rather enthusiastic, so don’t make any assumptions.

If there’s passion you need to see or hear, tell him about it (Billy Joel voice, please). Remember that some people show passion with big words, while others have an entirely different language. Showing up — with great excitement — is a form of passion.

If this relationship doesn’t work, I’d remember with your next experiences that yes, love takes time (Mariah Carey voice, please). It grows based on the experiences you share with someone. Some of it is just chemistry and luck. It sounds like you’re willing to put in the effort, so please, when it comes to your own feelings about whether you can fall for someone, trust your gut.

— Meredith

READERS RESPOND

Enjoy the ride and stop worrying about who said what by your one-year anniversary. BOSTONSWEETS21

[The letter writer] is missing something in this relationship. Call it communication, commitment, or empathy. Many men are like that, the “silent” type . . . . Time to take a risk and put your cards on the table. QUADROPENTA

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Have you told this fine upstanding gentleman your feelings about him? One of you has to say “I love you” first. HARRISBSTONE

Catch Season 5 of Meredith Goldstein’s Love Letters podcast at loveletters.show or wherever you listen.