I feel a bit bemused by this question, I have to admit.
Young teenagers often ask for such advice ~ to enable them to start a new relationship, but, according to your other post, you are in your twenties and considering embarking on marriage ~ which is rather different.
Normally, I would say that, once you have found your soul-mate, conversation will flow quite easily. I wonder why you feel that it isn't here??
If you are shy and quiet, and your boyfriend says that he loves you, then maybe he just prefers shy, quiet girls.
I'm not sure that external advice would be useful.
As to your specific point, about how to respond to 'I love you', etc, you need to ask yourself how you actually feel about him.
Do you love him?
Are you in love with him?
Do you like him?
Do you think that he is the best boy in the world?
Would you feel lost without him?
Is he 'the greatest'?
If you are planning on marrying someone, I think that you should feel able to talk to him easily about anything ~ and you should feel able to tell him that you love him.
Is it really shyness, or uncertainty?
If it is just shyness, and you can't get the words out, even though you mean them, then why not send him a love letter?
That's really romantic!
If you cannot say it, because you do not mean it, then that's another matter.
Tell him what you do feel ~ that he's wonderful / great / whatever.
But should you be planning marriage, if you are not yet sure?
I re-read your other post ~ you say there: 'I love him and I love his personality' .. I think I'm in the stage of a more mature love'.
'I worry where he is...if he is thinking realistically like me or still just infatuated...so I worry if he loves the real me or the me that he thinks I am (and I might not be).'
So, you can tell us that you love him ~ but not him?
Is it that you feel that you each may have a different definition of love, perhaps??
I'd suggest that this is one topic of conversation for you both ~ to explore how you feel and what it means to each of you.
(I keep mentioning the 'Venus & Mars' type books ~ they do help men & women to understand each other better ~ I'm certain of it.)
I don't know ~ read the newspapers / watch ther news ~ discuss the items.
Are you at the same college? Can you discuss courses & ideas.
Write a list of what interests you both and each choose something to find out about the other's interest.
Do some things together and some apart, so that you have shared interests to talk about and also new experiences to bring to the discussion.
Good luck! http://www.wineintro.com/forum/ubbthread...4554#Post274554