Guys are taught from a young age to be strong and stoic. These were the signs of masculinity, to lead and take charge, especially in relationships. But it raises it’s own unique problems, that end up with men who enter relationships, developing deeper feelings and wondering, is having feelings embarrassing? How do you deal with them? 

harriet with a heart on her nose

I want to tell you that it’s always good to be open about your feelings. We are in a society where men and women can express themselves without fear or ridicule. Of course, there is always a time and a place, and you have to be aware of your surroundings and situation.

The trickiest time, I believe, is at the start of a new relationship. Both parties are caught up in the adrenaline and intoxication that comes with being someone new. There’s the chase, with stupid rules such as “how long to wait before texting back” or “rejecting every 3rd offer of meeting” to demonstrate how you’re not completely besotted by your new partner. Maybe at this point you already know you’ve found someone amazing, but you won’t say it because surely it’s way too early.

Then comes the settling down period, where you start integrating your partner into your regular routine. They meet your friends, you meet their friends, everyone knows you’re an item. Things feel good and you have the urge to tell them how much you like them, you’ve been throwing the L word around in your head a few times. But it still feels too early, the relationship could still hit an iceberg at any point, so maybe it’s best to stay cautious?

Finally you get to the point where you’re basically married. I mean, when people think of you, they automatically think of your partner, and vice versa. You’re so in sync, you can read each other’s minds. You’re comfortable together and your relationship feels rock solid. But now it feels like it’s too late, it doesn’t really need to be said does it? And your partner hasn’t said it yet either, which makes you a bit nervous and you think maybe you should wait for them to say it first, because what if they’re not at that point yet and if you say it now you’ll just embarrass yourself?

As you can see, in the above situation, there doesn’t really feel like a right time to share your feelings. It either feels to early, or too late. Unlike the movies, there’s no spontaneous thunderstorm and a lone street lamp to illuminate your confession of love.

There’s also the question of who should say first, the guy or the girl. Do you tell them casually, perhaps at the end of a normal sentence, or do you make a big deal out of it? It’s such a personal subject, and the fear of rejection is always high, no matter how much you trust your partner.

I’ve found that there’s no real rule for who should confess first. I’ve had the guy say it first to me, and I’ve been the first to say it. I think it really depends on who you’re with, and the dynamic of your relationship. Some men feel that they should take the lead, and so they want to be the first. Some men prefer to be more stoic, and prefer the safety of being able to say it second.

I think there will always come a time however that you feel like you really, really want to tell your partner your feelings. You realise how wonderful and amazing they are every time you look at them, and you want to articulate those feelings and share them. When you feel like this, when you’re confident and happy with yourself, when you think “This is how I really, honestly feel.” towards this person, is when you should tell them.

That could be near the start of the relationship, or it could after a while into the stable period. The when isn’t as important as you might think. It’s only the strength and conviction of your feelings. When those feelings are strong and true, there is never anything to feel embarrassed about. It takes strength to tell someone you love them, because it can be seen as a weakness. But your chosen person shouldn’t ever see it as a weakness and you should trust them not to.

So how do you show your feelings? How do you tell your girlfriend that you love her? Well again, this depends completely on you and your relationship. Imagine how your partner would like to be told best, and do that.

For instance, if you think you’re in a very confident and comfortable relationship, then just casually adding it to the end of one of your conversations can be very subtle and nice. It’s said in a way that could sound like it’s been said a million times before, and so makes it seem like perhaps you have thought it for a while, but this was the first time you’ve remembered to say it out loud.

If you think your girlfriend is into big displays of affection, then making a big deal about telling her how you feel can also be good. This can be in the form of a heart felt speech, surrounded by candles and flowers, or in the token of a gift signed off with “I love you.”

No matter how you decide to tell your partner, or when, just be confident that there is nothing to be embarrassed about. Having feelings isn’t a sign of weakness. You don’t have to be a stoic, manly man. Showing and sharing your feelings is how you make your relationship stronger.