You have been dating for a long time, your sympathy is obvious and mutual, but your man still has not said the cherished phrase "I love you", and you so want to hear this confession.
Excessive persistence can only alienate a man. First of all, you need to be patient and not rush your loved one with recognition, because, most likely, it is not these words that are important to you, but the feelings accompanying them.
Show your man that you genuinely care about him, strive to support him in difficult times. But don't get carried away and don't just turn into a caring friend, stay sensual and desirable for your man.
Push out of his mind the idea that a declaration of love automatically equals a Mendelssohn march and a bunch of kids. Show that you are not infringing on his freedom and that you fully trust him. Scenes of jealousy, and similar violent manifestations can work, but in this situation, a man will talk about love, rather, because of confusion, but do you really need it?
Maybe it's worth talking about your feelings first, then your lover will not worry about a possible cold reaction and will confess in return. If you are embarrassed to confess in a conversation, send him a letter with the cherished words or an SMS message by mail, but do not immediately call back and demand a response gesture. Give the man time to reflect on the information he received and think about his attitude towards you.