Ladies get in here, it’s time we stop falling for fuck boys
1. The way he looks at you.
He looks at you like you’re a unicorn, like he can’t believe you exist. He may even come right out and tell you, “I can’t believe someone like you exists.” It isn’t a look of lust and desire. Instead, it’s marked by a certain awe, serenity, and inner calm. It’s a look reserved only for you. It’s not only the way he looks at you; it’s the frequency. He can’t stop looking at you; whether you’re together or across the room from each other, his gaze will always be oriented toward you.
2. He wants to give to you.
Real love is about giving, not taking. This is why parents typically love their children more than their children love them. You would think it would be the opposite. From birth through our teenage years (and sometimes beyond!) kids take and parents give. Every parent will tell you that you never know real love until you have a child, and that’s because this kind of love is all about giving.
When you love someone, you want to give that person everything you have. This isn’t about material possessions. You want to give by being the best you can, you want to make them happy, to enhance their life, you want to do things for them that will make them happy. Love isn’t merely a feeling; it’s a verb and it comes across in actions. The biggest action that indicates a man loves you is when he gives you all he can.
3. He treats you like a priority.
Everyone is busy; we all have work or school or other commitments. When a man loves you, he will make spending time with you a priority. And if he really doesn’t have time, he’ll make sure to let you know when he will. When a man loves you, you’re the most important person in his life and he makes sure to carve out a place in it for you.
4. He wants to immerse himself in your life.
He wants to meet your family and all of your friends, and he really wants them to like him. He makes an effort to get to know them and make a good impression. He wants to know all about your passions and hobbies and tries to connect to these areas of your life as much as possible.
At the same time, he also wants to immerse you in his life and for you to meet all of his people. He wants you to be best friends with everyone he’s close to and he wants the people in his life to love you the way he does.
More than that, he includes you in his bigger life plan. He doesn’t speak about the future vaguely; instead he makes it clear that he envisions a future with you in it. 5. He really sees you.
He notices things about you that others don’t (maybe he even sees things that you don’t!) He notices how you interact with others, how people feel in your presence, how your mind works, how you process emotions, how you express yourself. He pays attention to all the little details and he remembers them. He appreciates the full scope of who you are, the good and the bad.
He doesn’t just love you, he loves things about you. Really loving people doesn’t mean you love the way they make you feel (although many people believe that’s what love is), it’s about loving them as they are at their core. This sort of love has nothing to do with how good that person makes you feel about yourself. That’s not to say someone you love can’t or won’t make you feel good about yourself, but you can’t truly love people only because they make you feel good. That’s a very selfish kind of love, a love that feeds your need to feel good in the moment, not a life-changing, deep love.
When someone really sees you, he sees not just everything you are but everything you want to be, and he’ll let you know when you’re falling short. The catch? This may actually make you feel bad about yourself. If you’re being a jerk to strangers, treating a friend poorly, or not living up to your obligations somehow, someone who loves you will let you know. It may not feel good, but it’s a sign that he really sees you, all of you, and cares about you. (I go into greater depth on this in my article on what no one tells you about being in a good relationship.)
6. Your happiness is as important to him as his own.
Your happiness may be even more important! When you love someone, really love someone, their happiness is your happiness. This is especially true for men who need to feel like they can make a woman happy. If you tell him that something makes you unhappy and he keeps doing it, this is not a sign that he’s in love with you. A man who loves you will avoid doing things that make you unhappy and will learn the things will make you happy, and he’ll make an effort to do those things.
7. He misses you when you’re apart.
Men typically fall in love in a woman’s absence, not her presence. A man can shower you with all the love in the world while he’s with you, because it’s nice to be with someone else and to connect and be affectionate, but what is he like when he’s not with you? Does he miss you? Does he make an effort to reach out? Or does he disappear for days on end and then tell you he’s sorry, he’s just been “super swamped?”
When you love someone, you yearn for their presence and miss them when they’re gone. It doesn’t mean you are constantly thinking about them every waking minute, because that would be an unhealthy obsession, not love, but the thought of them always lingers in the background. Things remind you of them, something happens and you want to tell them, you just feel a constant connection even when you’re apart. He’ll be in touch, he’ll send you funny things he finds online or links to articles he thinks you’d like, or he’ll tell you about something funny that happened to him that he thought you’d appreciate.
8. He keeps you in the loop.
I remember very early in my relationship with my husband I knew he really cared about me because he would always keep me in the loop, even when it wasn’t necessary. For instance, before our third date I texted him to confirm the time and he didn’t respond for about 45 minutes and when he did he apologized for the delay and said he was out with friends and not checking his phone. I don’t consider 45 minutes to be that significant of a time lag and didn’t need the explanation, but it made me feel cared for and it showed me that he considered me someone important and didn’t want me to think that something else was more important. He would do considerate things like that constantly, and that’s how I knew he loved me long before he even said it.
When a guy loves you, he won’t ever leave you hanging. He’ll keep you informed about what he’s up to, not because he has to, but because he wants to.
9. He’s there for you even when it’s inconvenient.
Being in love is easy when everything is going great and it’s all smooth sailing, but what happens when you hit a rough patch, or when you need him? How does he respond when there is a problem, when he needs to be there for you even if there are other things he would rather be doing? Love is other-focused; it’s not about one’s own needs and desires, it’s about factoring in someone else. When a man loves you, nothing will be more important than being there for you when you need him. It may not always be his ideal scenario, but he’ll step up and be there.
10. He doesn’t give up.
He puts his all into the relationship and really commits to making it work. When you love someone, you don’t quit without a fight. I remember in the beginning of my relationship with my husband, a lot of my deep-seated relationship fears started bubbling to the surface. I had been blindsided by breakups in the past; I’d had men tell me they loved me and then they left me. It’s hard to just forget such things and wipe the slate clean. Even though this relationship was totally different from anything else I’d ever experienced, those fears lingered. I remember one conversation where I brought this up to him, and he told me that if this relationship didn’t last, it would be a mutual parting and we would both see it coming. He wasn’t going to just leave; he was going to put in everything he had. He did and so did I, and fortunately it all worked out! If a man says he loves you but doesn’t want to try anymore, or gives up because he thinks it’s too hard, then it probably wasn’t real love. You don’t give up on love unless you have put everything you have into making it work, and it was just impossible (and this is something that both people will usually be able to clearly recognize). There are obviously times where someone can truly love you, but because you’re just not right for each other, or maybe because you aren’t willing to put in the necessary effort, that he will walk away even though he loves you, but only after giving it his all.
11. You don’t worry how he feels—you just know.
Similar to what I said in my article about how to know if a guy likes you, when a guy love you, you just know. It’s obvious to you and to everyone around you. You’ll have a feeling of peace and calm and just knowing. When someone truly loves you, his behavior and way of being with you won’t arouse feelings of insecurity/fear/anxiety/worry in you (as long as you yourself are emotionally healthy. If you’re prone to having those feelings no matter what, then they are probably generated within you). Check in with yourself and see where it’s coming from. Usually, when we feel uneasy, like the rug is going to be pulled out from under us, it’s because the relationship isn’t standing on a stable ground because the guy isn’t sure of how he feels. When someone loves you, he shows it and you just know it, even before he says it.
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