Dear Mistress Maeve,
My boyfriend of 2.5 years moved in with me a couple months ago. Things are going really well, and he makes me happy. I know I love and care deeply for him, but I am somehow convinced we are not in love when I see other couples who express more verbal affection towards one another. He rarely tells me he loves me (unless we are making love), and we don't have any of that cliché romantic stuff in our relationship. I am torn because I feel like if I end it, I am throwing away a great relationship with potential for a future; however, I'm not being fulfilled in certain ways, and I'm longing for more.
Confused And Heavy Hearted
For the most part, it sounds like you're happy in your relationship and can see a future with this guy. The issues you're having with how your guy expresses his love for you are not uncommon and may be resolvable with an honest conversation and some practice. Have a talk with your man about how you're feeling. Ask him how he expresses love - you may find that, instead of saying "I love you," he shows you he loves you by warming up your car in the winter or rubbing your feet after a long day. At the same time, don't be afraid to tell him how you prefer to be shown love. Let him know you'd like to hear those three little words more often. If he cares about you, he'll try to oblige.
When your relationship goes through major transitions - like moving in together - it's only natural for your fears and reservations to rise to the surface. Just remember, people express love in a multitude of ways, and it's not always with a dozen long-stemmed red roses. Too often, those "other couples" you reference are overcompensating for deeper problems with that "cliché romantic stuff."