Thanks for bringing your question to JustAnswer.
This must seem very confusing and unreal to you. Who wouldn't want to hear that his wife really loves him?
It seems that your husband is the type of feel that what he does pleases you...and this is how he can accept affection. He needs the challenge to feel worthwhile and to feel that you are work "working for." Back when you were "holding his feet to the fire" he knew he had to be nice to you to keep you.
By making the declaration of love, you have taken the challenge out of it for him. And in some strange way, this has made you seem less valuable to him....that's why, when you turned from demanding into loving, he withdrew and became cold to you.
If you want this marriage to succeed, you are going to have to accept that this is not a man who can accept love that's just handed to him. He needs to feel he has earned it. The worst thing you can do is act loving to him when he's treating you badly.
I hope you're willing to read two books, because I think they will really help you understand what's going on here. All men are this way to some extent--but your husband seems to have an extreme need to have to work for his love.
The first is Why Men Love Bitches: From Doormat to Dreamgirl: A Woman's Guide to Holding Her Own in a Relationship. This explains why men value women who make them work for their love.
The second book has the best explanation I have ever read about how and why men and women act and react differently in relationships is in the book How To Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It.
See, the thing is-- he didn't see you as a monster. He saw you as a strong woman who wasn't going to put up with anything. Now that you're chasing after him, trying to tell him you love him, it feels less valuable to him.
To make this marriage work, you're going to have to stop trying to convince him you love him, and go back to letting him feel like he has to earn your love. It may take some counseling for you to help you really understand that you were actually meeting his needs better by being demanding than by being nice. As women, it makes little sense to us...but men really are very different than we are--different needs, different ways of thinking.