Dear Miss Emily:

I have been dating my boyfriend for about a year and a half. 7 months ago he was deployed to Iraq. During that deployment time, I sent him packages all the time and, one time, I included a heart felt love letter. He acknowledged it but never said I love you back. I know that is the risk you take when saying it first. I never mentioned anything at all to him, and never asked him how he felt about me. The guy was deployed and I was being super patient. Just recently, he was home on his vacation time for two weeks. We had a great time, everything was normal after about a week or so and it was like he never left. The first few days when he was back in Iraq, after leave, he said he couldn't sleep because of the time difference so he spent a lot of time thinking. He had told me that he has been thinking and he is not ready to say I love you yet, and he feels bad about it. He said he thought about ending it over that. We met a year and a half, ago, and he can't say that he loves me. When he talked about possibly breaking up, I played it cool and told him that I would be sad but I would, ultimately, move on. Since our long conversation he has changed his mind and wants to stay together! We have decided that we are going to just see how its goes between us. I don't want him to feel any pressure about having to force any feelings or anything. It's just a weird lopsided situation and I would be more than crushed if we broke up, and I don't want to have to feel like I'm on pins and needles if he'll dump me after an argument, or something. He is so intelligent, has so much integrity, and so honest. What's not to love! He said he does like me and likes to spend time with me and feels so awful to say that he does not love me. He has, even since, been overly nice to me!  He has a very short time left in his deployment, so we will be together soon. Does it sound like we have a chance?

--------------------------Miss Emily's advice-----------------------

Absolutely, it sounds like you have a chance. I think you handled yourself beautifully when you told him if you and he were to break up, you'd be sad but, ultimately, move on. That's an extremely mature position to take, and it appears that it had a positive affect on his feelings toward you. He has recently had the experience with being deployed to Iraq and, in his quiet moments, he's had time to re-evaluate his life, where he's going with it -- and there is probably some confusion on what he wants for his future. I know it's tough, but he's been honest with you and, hopefully, this will lead to a greater understanding between the two of you, and you can conduct yourselves accordingly. The best thing for you to do is maintain that mature, self-assured stance, and remind him that, you, too, would not want to force anything that isn't natural, or heartfelt. There are no guarantees that this relationship will lead to a solid commitment, but if you continue to handle yourself with grace and charm, he's going to notice, and you are going to feel good about it.  Hence, the reason saying "I will be sad, but I will ultimately move on" was not a cover, but the truth!