Love is….a big gray area. It’s not physical. It can’t be held or touched. But you know it when you see it. Like the old couple that still holds hands as they take a walk. Or the husband who goes to dinner at the sushi place his wife adores even though he clearly wanted Italian. In the first few months of dating, it’s almost impossible to pin down the other person’s emotions-nobody wants to feel vulnerable and put it all out there. Literally telling someone your feelings face to face is a gigantic step in a relationship for anyone and can scare some men (and women) to death. Many times, emotions are expressed through actions. It’s much easier to make someone dinner or give them a massage or get tickets to their favorite team’s game to show your feelings than say “I love you.” When words are scarce, actions can explain how he truly feels. But you might still wonder, does he really love me?
When you’re in public
PDA can mean a variety of things. He might be shy and barely want to hold hands. He might be super-touchy and want to make out on the street corner. He might have no opinion on it and doesn’t care what happens in public. In any case, his want to be seen with you is a big determinate of his feelings towards the relationship. If he’s excited to put his arm around your waist and make it clear you are with him, at the very least, he likes you. If he’s willing to hold your hand, have your hand on his thigh, his arm around you or any other open, obvious affection in front of his friends, that’s an even bigger step. Showing that you are clearly together and he’s proud to be with you can prove his affection. When you’re with his friends and he make a clear effort to make sure you’re comfortable and happy is also a huge sign. Saving you a comfortable seat, ordering your favorite dessert or making sure you win this round of bowling is a sign of a great boyfriend that cares about you. Love is putting someone else’s happiness ahead of your own…and winning at bowling is pure happiness.
When you’re at home
Men are creatures of habit. Without motivation, most will stick to the same routine of eat, sleep and work without much thought to making things more exciting and fun. This is where the smallest gestures will prove his love. Say he loves to keep it cold and crisp in his apartment. When you come over, he makes sure you have an extra blanket and the AC is turned up a few degrees. Or maybe his favorite football team is playing right now but you’re binge-watching American Horror Story. If he just records his game for later and watches AHS with you, that’s love. If you’re feeling blah on a Friday night when he typically hangs out with his buddies, but he stays home to comfort you, he’s serious about you. Huge grand gestures can be too much. Big flower arrangements, expensive dates, fabulous trips-all these are great. But anyone can buy dinner. Someone that truly cares about you gives you the last cookie and let’s you steal the covers.
When you fight
If his solution to every fight is gifts and materialistic crap, he’s probably just trying to throw money at you to keep you quiet. A guy who thinks a new purse will make up for being a dick, is still a dick. The fix to a problem is solving it-not burying the issue in gifts and money. A solution to a fight should be fixing it from both ends, apologizing, trying to learn from the problem and move on. While flowers can show he’s trying, that shouldn’t be his only effort. A real man, and a guy who actually loves you, will make it a point to communicate. Communication is the only real way to fix a fight in a relationship and if he wants to be petty and send a box of chocolates hoping you forget without an apology, rethink that relationship. If he makes you stay up to talk it out, because he doesn’t want you to go home angry, he’s a good guy and also cares about you. Someone who’s willing to admit they are wrong and willing to work through an issue to keep you, he’s got some serious feelings for you.
When everything is fine
Here’s where relationships get mundane. Everything is going well–no major fights, regular sex, easy schedules, fun downtimes and great date nights. It all seems pretty steady and even for a while. Even perfection gets boring. A guy after your heart will find ways to spice things up. Maybe a night at a concert rather than the typical dinner date. Perhaps having a sweet little bubble bath ready for you when you come home. Even just making sure your favorite cereal is always on hand at his place when you stay over. The things he does for you when absolutely nothing is wrong are clear signs of how he feels. When he does something sweet, think about why he did it. Just for the sake of making you happy? He’s a keeper.
Men are hard to read. It’s even harder to make them voice their emotions. Thankfully, men show their feelings through action. Pay attention to what he does, rather than what he says. He can say I love you without saying it at all.
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