Actually — I think you might have loved him most and cared most for him by not saying those 3 little words. It leaves the other person free sometimes. Once that bell is rung, if both partners aren’t all in — can’t BE all in for what ever reason, the most loving thing to do is to just leave it unsaid. And freedom is a most precious gift. I don’t think this is about receiving those words — it’s about saying them. And I get it.