Does He Love Me?
Understanding Your Man’s Emotional Rhythms
Genie Joseph, PhD

All women have at one time or another struggled with the question: Does he love me? That is normal, but if this question becomes something you are dwelling on, or are haunted by, it can begin to undermine the healthy ground of a relationship.

It is not the job of your partner to constantly make you feel secure. You also need to be able to hold and sustain a sense of love. If he has told you he loves you, believe him! Do not constantly demand reassurance. When one partner is always asking for proof or more evidence, it can wear out the other person.

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But, Does He Love Me?

What we find really helps women who are struggling with the question “Does he love me?” is to understand that love is not a constant emotion, in the sense that it is always at the same intensity or focus every minute. While it is reasonable to expect that your partner can sustain a baseline level of love, it is not reasonable to expect the expression of love to always be like the Fourth of July. It really helps to think of love not as a solid mountain, but as an ever changing tide. It has its own strength and stability, but it is always ebbing and flowing as part of its natural cycle of movement.

Men naturally move from phases of desire where they want to be interconnected, a feeling of “one-ness”-- to wanting to feel some space, some independence – a sense of “two-ness.” If you understand that this is natural, and you don’t take these changes in rhythm personally, you can allow him to move toward and away without you panicking and demanding every second that he prove his love.

You won’t struggle so much with the question: “Does he love me” if you begin to trust the natural oscillation that occurs between two people. There are moments where we feel we are on entirely common ground with our partner, seeing things the same way, pointing our eyes and hearts in the same direction. Only to find in the next moment that competing needs or ideas, or even values, pull us in different directions.

Sometimes the “Does he love me” dynamic may simply be a difference between how much two people are in the present moment. Perhaps one has drifted into a memory, or a concern about the future. This pulls the energy away from connectivity in the now moment, and can feel like a loss of love. Really it is a shift of focus, and if you don’t turn it into a crisis, it can pass easily.

No one is always completely present every moment for the other person. Although when two people are courting, this happens more often. It can often feel like a loss when the routine of a more stable relationship causes one or both partners to retreat to other time perspectives, such as the past or the future. Ironically, as people begin to trust each other more in the present, memories or thoughts about past hurts can resurface.

This shifting of present / to past / to future awareness is very human. It doesn’t mean he doesn’t love you if you notice he is not “fully here” when he is with you. You can discuss this together. You can express your desire for him to be “with you when he is with you.” You can inspire him to be more present, by making it more fun to be here now. But you don’t want to “nag” him back. This will just fuel his desire to go away.

“Does he love me” is not a question you want constantly hanging over your head. Ask once in awhile if you need reassurance, but make sure this does not turn into a continual “reassurance addiction.” His natural ebb and flow of desire for intimacy and connection is only a problem if you expect him to be continually entwined or attuned to you.

Allow him to move between “one-ness” and “two-ness” in his own time. Trusting the fluctuation of his emotions is what will protect the passionate spark between you. Sometimes, allow yourself to get the juice you need from within, instead of going around like an emotional beggar with the constant need for proof, with the question: "Does he love me?"

Trust that love is not a steady state, but a fluid dynamic. This trust will lower your levels of frustration and disappointment. Torturing yourself with continual doses of “Does he love me” leads to endless anguish. Trust the rhythm, and ride the wave of love like a graceful surfer. You need to know and trust his love from within yourself. Otherwise no amount of his saying it is so will convince you it is true.

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