How to Tell If He Loves You But Is Scared, 14 Signs According to Experts

Telling someone you love them is scary, especially if you’re not sure if they feel the same way or not. This applies to most people, men and women alike.

These signs can tell you if he loves you but is afraid to say it out loud:

Mayra Beltran

Mayra Beltran

Writer | Toxic Love Coach

You’ve found a partner, and everything is going great. Yes, there are fights and disagreements, but you two seem to work everything out. There is only one problem, fear.

Fear stops people in their tracks. It attaches itself to insecurity, and low and behold; you have a big boulder that prevents you from moving forward. Insecurities mask themselves as fear of commitment because of previous hurts. Perhaps, your partner had an encounter with an unfaithful partner.

Yet, through all that, something has led him down the path of wanting something serious with you. And why wouldn’t he? You’re a catch!

He’s showing you all the signs, and they all point to “He might love you.” But how can we know for sure?

Here are 5 signs that can help you see Does He Love You, but is anxious about what’s next.

He cares about your present situation and is interested in the future

Does he push you to go for that promotion? Does he sit and listen when you’re complaining about your boss and how you could pull off that meeting on your own?

Chances are this man is interested in your career and wants to see you succeed. He isn’t insecure about your position in life. In fact, your drive may be one of the biggest qualities that he loves about you.

He talks about the future but is vague about it

Bringing up a future together in the first month can come off as toxic. However, if you’ve both indicated that you were going to be serious with each other, and have been together for more than a substantial amount of time, the future card is bound to be pulled soon.

This is a conversation that can’t be avoided, but if he gives you the run around, and is expressing that he is comfortable like this, maybe it’s time to evaluate this further. It doesn’t mean that his feelings aren’t valid or that he doesn’t care, but perhaps the future causes too much anxiety for him.

Your partner makes time for you

Quality Time is indeed one of The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman because this may be how he expresses his love to you. However, you still feel like there is an underlying gut feeling you feel when you’re together.

Maybe he pulls away too soon, or perhaps you feel that he may be hiding something from you. But before you start panicking, it may just be that he’s afraid of commitment. This can be a scary thing for people, not only men, especially if there are big feelings involved.

Not wanting to commit does not equal that he doesn’t love you. However, there has to be some soul searching on his part. What is the underlying reason why he doesn’t commit?

He goes out of his way to make sure your needs are met, both in life and intimately

If he didn’t care about you, it’s highly likely that he wouldn’t care about what kind of ice cream you like.

Being able to please your partner is a sign of a healthy relationship. If your partner continues to make an effort on wanting to learn things about you as the relationship’s progress, chances are he loves you.

Your relationships mean a lot to him

Although he probably doesn’t outright say he loves you, you know that you’re a priority in his life. When you need him, he’s there. And granted that he may not ALWAYS be there, because life happens, you know that you can count on him.

There isn’t anything that can’t be solved after sitting down and talking about the “L” Word. If there is mutual respect, open communication, and honesty between the couple, then there shouldn’t be anything to be fearful of. If there is enough love between you both, then you have enough fuel to ignite the fire.

Granted, love isn’t everything for both of you sail off into the sunset together, but it certainly helps.

Patience is the best advice that I can offer in this case. Sometimes people need time to catch up to their feelings. New relationships, love, and commitment can be a foreign language for some. But if two people are willing to jump, then hold hands, brace yourself for the plunge.

Actions often do speak louder than words. So even if your presumably gun-shy partner is not (yet) saying “I love you,” here’s how to tell if he does:

  • Does he want to spend as much time with you as possible?
  • Do you ever “catch” him smiling or gazing at you adoringly?
  • Is he attentive/passionate/romantic/devoted?
  • Does he put effort into the relationship?
  • Do you laugh together easily and often?
  • Does he try hard to “win you back” if you have a fight or temporarily separate?
  • Does he put his own needs or wishes secondary to yours at least some of the time?
  • Does he overlook your more annoying idiosyncrasies?
  • Has he ever been excited to give you a thoughtful gift or to do something special that he knows is meaningful to you?
  • If needed, would he be willing to help you out financially or with a significant commitment of time/energy/effort?
  • Does he want to meet your friends and family?

He tries hard to make a good impression

Regarding the last question above, if someone you’re involved with is motivated to get together with your friends and family, and tries to make an especially good impression when he does, that’s generally a solid sign that he’s falling for you.

Yes, he might be scared or intimidated for all sorts of reasons. For example, he’s insecure about being loved back, or he has commitment-phobic or just plain inexperienced. But a guy’s motivation to engage in his partner’s life by spending time with and getting to know those closest to her is typically a reliable indicator of love.

That said, don’t panic if your man doesn’t (yet) want to meet your “people.” Some men (and women) experience social anxiety so disabling that just the mere thought of meeting a significant other’s friends and family truly takes on nightmarish proportions.

Still, social struggles notwithstanding, if your babe does, tick off at least five or six of the other boxes above, then hands-down he loves you and is dedicated to the relationship, which means that he wishes to carry it (and you) into the future, regardless of his fears.

Rosalind Sedacca, CLC

Rosalind Sedacca

Founder, Child-Centered Divorce Network | Dating & Relationship Coach |
Author, 99 Things Women Wish They Knew Before Dating After 40, 50 & Yes, 60

He takes two steps forward and one step back in your relationship

He makes a kind gesture, takes you out to a special place or to meet his close friends or family. Then you don’t hear from him for a week, or he’s aloof on your next phone call.

You’re ready to doubt his affection when he buys you a lovely gift or goes out of his way to do you a favor. You feel he must care to have made such effort, but then he doesn’t call when you expected and seems distant again when you see him next.

This is often a sign of inner confusion on his part. He is falling in love, and it frightens him. So he tries to slow down the pace of your relationship and hurts your feelings at the same time. He’s afraid to confide his feelings and insecurities about committing, so he plays games with his heart and yours.

Sometimes it helps to sit him down for a direct conversation.

Ask him if he’s on board with you or not? Ask what you can do to calm his nerves. If he encourages you to keep the door open, say you will for the next month. But not indefinitely. Deadlines will give him the incentive to step up or step away. You need that clarification!

Dr. Tanya Gold, MD, RYT, CLYL

Dr. Tanya Gold, MD, RYT, CLYL

Holistic Medical Practitioner, Dr. Gold’s Optimal Living Institute

There are telltale signs if a man loves you, even if he doesn’t say it or act upon it. The reason is he’s scared and may not know how you feel. How do you know?

His eyes linger and make contact with yours

He looks directly at you and holds your eyes in his. This releases oxytocin (the love hormone) and makes his pupils dilate. He looks at you as if you’re the only person in the room, and he wants to ravish you. He finds ways to spend time with you and touch you, like removing toothpaste from your lips or brushing your hair away from your face or gently caressing your shoulder.

You may see him sweat or act nervous around you

His heart racing or a gentle bulge forming when you hug are other clues. He may even find ways to kiss you on the mouth. My male patients who are afraid to get back into the game of love because they have been hurt tell me they think about their new love, dream about them, but skirt the issue for fear of rejection.

However, they find a way to connect, “chance meetings or to be helpful,” i.e., fixing things or helping the person they love out- any way to be with them. They’re kind and gentle with them and seem to give them preferential treatment. Unfortunately, they realize after some time, if they don’t act, they may just become that nice “guy friend.”

One of my patients, George, was abused by his wife. After his divorce, he deals with self-esteem issues and how to ask a woman out again. After our therapy sessions, he now tells me, “I’m a catch.” As for the woman he adores (even though he’s scared), he’s slowly making his move.

He first just smiled at her to see if she would smile back. She did. After a friendly conversation, they now meet regularly to play tennis, and he’s working up the nerve to ask her on a real date.

He can tell you what he truly feels

The most obvious way to tell if he’s scared, but loves you is if he can say all of that. If you have a partner who is self-aware and able to be that vulnerable to share that with you, then those are some pretty valuable qualities (self-awareness and willingness to be vulnerable with you) to have in a partner.

Yes, they exist. Don’t buy into stereotypes. Those are very workable qualities in a relationship.

However, if you’re playing guesswork and are getting mixed messages, which very well may mean he’s scared, but he’s not aware enough to see it or able to share that information with you, I would consider moving on.

Here’s the real deal: You don’t know for sure what’s going on for him.

He could very well be a player, or a narcissist or insincere or all the above. Trying to decipher how a person is truly feeling on the inside, without them being able to articulate it, is pretty risky and leaves you doing a lot of work based on their inability or unwillingness to see how they’re impacting the relationship.

He may very well be scared, but are you willing to work harder than he is? You don’t have to play the guessing game.

Adina Mahalli, MSW

Adina Mahalli

Mental Health Consultant and Relationship Expert, Maple Holistics

Some guys are in love but are too scared to admit it. Maybe they’re nervous about moving too quickly, perhaps they’ve been burned in the past, or maybe they weren’t expecting these feelings and don’t know what to do with them yet.

If you think your guy might fall into this category, here are some signs to look for to tell if he’s been bitten by the love bug.

“The look”

Do you catch him staring at you when he thinks you’re not watching? When he looks you in the eyes, do you feel that he’s giving you a super intense look? Sort of like he’s staring into your soul or getting caught up in his hopes and dreams for the future? All of these are clues that he loves you, even if he hasn’t said it yet.

If he loves you, be observant of his mood when he’s around you

If he’s often happy or even giddy, this is him showing his genuine self. If he’s looking for more and more occasions to spend time with you, this means that he’s craving the feeling he gets when he’s with you — specifically, the feeling of being happy and in love.

If you notice these behaviors in your guy, but you think he’s scared, give it some time. He might need to feel more comfortable in the relationship before allowing himself to be vulnerable. Eventually, you might consider opening up a conversation about vulnerability.

Or you might even decide to be the first to say I love you.

You’ll find he stares at you a lot

When you notice and ask him what he thinks, he will say “nothing.” You can tell he feels deeply and has thoughts running through his mind, but you can tell he’s afraid to communicate.

You may find that he tells you he’s been hurt in the past when you inquired as to why it seems he’s holding back with you:

When he loves you but is afraid to show you, you will notice and may feel frustrated by the inconsistencies he gives regarding his time and attention to you.

He may not be introducing you to his friends or family, but he still makes you feel like he wants you to be an important part of his life.

The more pressure you put on him, the more afraid he will be to connect. When you give a man the feeling, he has all the space he. It helps to get his guard down, which will help him to connect with you at a faster pace. Connecting with you has to feel to him like it’s his idea.

Stephanie Wijkstrom, MS, LPC, NCC

Stephanie Wijkstrom

Founder, Counseling and Wellness Center of Pittsburgh

Eye gazing is a metric used to quantify love in healthy relationships

The more time that a couple spends eye gazing, the more that we know they are clinically in love. Conversely, when a relationship is failing, there is a significant drop in eye gazing.

Men often show love through helping acts, in traditional marriages, taking out the trash becomes symbolic of marital duty. What we often don’t understand is that this is a way that a partner is expressing care for the home and relationship.

In courtship, we also see acts of love as offering to help, or when one partner vents about a problem, their partner goes into problem-solving mode, this is love in action!

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I avoid pressuring a man who is scared to express his love?

It’s important not to pressure a man who is scared to express his love to build a healthy and fulfilling relationship. Here are some tips to help you not pressure him:

Be patient and understanding: remember that everyone has their own pace when it comes to love and relationships. It’s important that you’re patient and understanding with him and give him the space he needs to feel comfortable expressing his feelings.

Communicate clearly and directly: let him know how you feel about him, but avoid pressuring him to do anything he’s uncomfortable with. Be clear about what you want from the relationship, but also be willing to listen to his concerns and boundaries.

Avoid ultimatums: avoid giving him ultimatums or making demands of him. This can create a sense of pressure and anxiety, making it even harder for him to express his feelings.

Create a supportive environment: create a safe and supportive environment where he can open up to you. This means being patient and understanding and not judgmental when he does express his feelings.

Respect his boundaries: respect his boundaries and be willing to give him the space he needs to feel comfortable expressing his feelings. Avoid pushing him to do something he’s not ready for, and be willing to take things at his pace.

Following these tips, you can avoid pressuring a man who is scared to express his love and build a healthy and fulfilling relationship based on mutual trust and respect.

How can I encourage a man who is scared to express his love for me?

Encouraging a man to express his love for you can be a delicate process, but there are some things you can do to make him feel more comfortable.

One of the most important things you can do is to be patient and understanding. Remember that he may be scared to express his feelings for fear of being rejected or hurt. If you create a safe and supportive environment for him to express his feelings, he may be more likely to open up to you.

Another way to encourage a man who is scared to express his love for you is to tell him your own feelings openly and honestly. Let him know that you care for him and that you’re interested in a relationship with him.

This can help him feel more secure in expressing his own feelings because he knows you’re receptive to them.

Finally, you should try to create opportunities to express his love for you in a non-threatening way.

For example, you could suggest that he do something together that you both enjoy, or you could plan a special evening where you spend a lot of time together. You can encourage him to express his feelings for you by creating a comfortable and supportive environment.

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