They are out there by the thousands—women with frozen hearts. They come from all walks of life. They have various body types, a rainbow of styles, a wide gamut of personalities, a broad spectrum of politics, and a profusion of personal stories. They share two things: all of these women need love and none of them can give it. These women will not declare their feelings in a normal way. You need to learn the voices in which such a woman says she cannot love the man who loves her. When she does say it, believe her. It is always true. Because I am a hopeless romantic, this lesson was a long and very costly one for me to learn. Love may have five languages but a frozen heart has four voices. Learn to hear them. I have been addressed by all four of the voices so I know this: when they speak, they only say goodbye.
My tutelage has come via four relationships with women who, each in her own way, told me she could not return my love. I, steadfast in love and in the belief that love conquers all, did not believe them. On reflection, I have realized that a woman with a frozen heart cannot tell you—directly, clearly, earnestly—that she cannot love you. But, if you carefully listen to the voice in which she declares her feelings, you can discern, in the icy canyons of her heart, the bell that is tolling for you.
ORATOR VOICE: FORMAL DECLARATION OF FEELINGS
Since this voice comes from women who are superb imitators of love—for you and for herself—it was the most difficult to detect. I was in a romantic relationship with a woman for 13.5 years. Then she suddenly ended our relationship. During the grieving process, I was able to realize what had happened. Her first marriage had broken her spirit so completely that she would never again risk her heart. Yet, she retained a need to be in a romantic relationship. Her solution was mimicry: she would exhibit loving behaviors without actually committing her feelings. The telltale sign, which I did not see, was that all of her declarations of feelings were formal.
Each time she declared her love for me, it was in the form of a note or card or letter in language that was stilted and awkward. Never did she utter tender words while we were walking hand-in-hand along River Street in Savannah, or hiking the Route Cezanne in southern France, or when we had a candle light dinner in Paris, Rome, Lisbon, Berlin, Aix-en-Provence, or Lausanne. Never did she exclaim sweet things while we were making love in Amsterdam or Blankenese. Never did she whisper loving phrases as we nestled before a crackling fire and watched the snow falling at Lake Louise. Never did she whimper caring words any of the many times I soothed her tears. The lack of spontaneous, enthusiastic declarations of love from her should have been a clue that her behaviors towards me were not driven by love. But it was not. I never saw it. She had been telling me the whole time that she could not love me but I could not distinguish the voice.
PRIESTESS VOICE: INDIRECT DECLARATION OF FEELINGS
This voice comes from women who cannot speak directly about their feelings but instead rely on tokens and symbols. I was in a romantic relationship with a woman for 3.5 years before I learned this voice. When I knew what this voice meant, I ended the relationship. From the beginning, she was reticent to talk about her feelings. She said she had never been allowed to have a voice and had always been afraid to stick up for herself. She said that the result was that she was a cold person. I should have listened to her but I was too distracted by her story. She had been born in a German concentration camp. She was of a mature age but no man had ever given her flowers, not even her ex-husband.
I was sure that showing her real love would release her spirit to love. Still, she was reticent to talk about her feelings. We had plenty of sex but, instead of showing me non-sexual affection by touching, kissing, and hugging, she did things that were supposed to convey affection. We laughed a lot, we cooked feasts together, we survived Snowmageddon 2010. We lost power in the West Virginia mountains a bare half hour after the storm began. It was 8 degrees and the wind was blowing. Four feet of snow fell. We could not get out and no one could get in. Our core body temperatures began to drop. I figured out a way for us to have a small amount of hot foot in our bellies and we shoveled snow to keep warm. Never in our peril and never when we made it out did she proclaim her love for me. Instead, when we were safe, her reticence became a total withdrawal of affection and I had to end the relationship.
She had once told me that she was cold and that I would have to teach her how to love but I was too distracted by her personal history to listen. She also told me the same thing in her inability to naturally express her emotions. The meaning was clear—she could not love me—but I did not recognize the voice.
PARROT VOICE: ECHOED DECLARATION OF FEELINGS
This voice never speaks anything but your own words. I was in a romantic relationship with a woman for 2 years. I learned this language when she secretly abandoned me. She lived in Alaska and said she had the desire to move to NC. We emailed for weeks then Skyped for weeks. I flew to Alaska. We had a wonderful time and were madly attracted to each other. When I came back home, we started looking for a home for her, with some land, in NC. She flew down to NC and we drove east looking at places on the coast. She decided that she would probably rather be in the mountains. When she went back to Alaska, I searched the Internet looking for candidate properties. I flew back up to Alaska to help her pack for the move to NC. We decided that she would store her stuff in NC and live with me until she could scour the countryside to find a place. I was expecting her to join me just before Father’s Day.
Instead, she went silent. She did not take my phone calls or answer my voicemails. She turned off her Skype account. She would not respond to any of my emails. I was going crazy. Was she hurt? Why would she not talk to me? Finally, I remembered that I had her daughter’s email so I sent a message. Finally, she sent me an email. She was not in Alaska but she would not tell me where she was. She did not know what she wanted. She had to be away from almost everyone. That is the last I ever heard from her.
Looking back, I realized that she had never independently declared her feelings for me. When I told her that I loved her, she would parrot back, “Love you more.” Since she also did this with her children and her family, I thought it was just her way to say I love you. But, the truth about parroted declarations is that only you ever declare anything. The woman just speaks your words back to you without making her own declaration. She told me that she could not love me but I did not comprehend the voice.
STENTORIAN VOICE: BEHAVIOR CONTRAVENES DECLARATION OF FEELINGS
This voice is very loud, in its declarations and it clashes with her behavior. I was in a romantic relationship with a woman for 6 months. She told me in the beginning that she did not want to “get tied down”; that she did not want to “latch onto the first guy that came along”; that she did not “have sex with a man unless I have very deep feelings for him”; and that I was the first guy to come along since her last relationship. She told me the ground rules, in English, the language that I clearly understand.
I prefer to be in a relationship, rather than date, but I really liked this woman. For me, liking is the hard part. Lust is easy and infatuation is easy but liking—ah, there’s the rub. We went out a few times, had a lot of laughs, kiss on the cheek, then a peck on the lips. The frequency of these dates increased as she began to suggest getting together more and more. I went shopping with her, I went with her to do errands. I liked spending time with her and she said she liked spending time with me.
I took her out to dinner. Suddenly, she began to kiss me with great passion. Then we had sex. Now we were seeing each other every other day. I sent her a beautiful bouquet of flowers. She began to proofread manuscripts for me. I told her that I liked her very much and she told me the same. We were having sex now every time we got together. We went to the beach. Four glorious days we spent laughing in the sun, eating in cool joints and fine restaurants, exploring the coastal environs and messing up the sheets. Shortly after our return, we spent a day playing tennis then took in a movie. The next day, she suddenly said it was over. She had certainly, and more ardently as the days passed, behaved as my girl but, as she had told me at first, she did not want her heart to follow suit. Her behavior had been so warm that I had not picked up on the voice of chill.
When you begin a relationship with a woman, listen very attentively. One voice will tell you her history, dreams, and convictions. You can understand this clearly. Listen even closer for the voice of her heart. You will hear it in the way she declares her feelings and the harmony between her declarations and her behavior. Above all, persevere. Love is the most precious thing we humans have.