He loves me … he loves me not … if only finding the answer were as simple as plucking petals off a flower. So what makes it so hard to determine if a man truly loves you?
A lot of us have ideas about what love should be, what it should look like, and how it should feel. A lot of the time these ideas are plain wrong (we can thank romantic comedies for that). Because of that, some of us might not recognize the real thing when it comes our way. Maybe it’s because of these grand visions of love that have been implanted in our minds, but it could also be the result of being burned too many times in the past and having walls up when it comes to either giving love or being able to receive it.
The point is, love is a tricky thing. A guy can say he loves you and not truly mean it, and a guy can love you a lot but not be ready to say it. Love, as beautiful as it is, can also be scary, and a lot of us keep our guard up until we’re sure he feels a certain way in order to keep from getting hurt. As the saying goes, before you fall in love, make sure there is someone there to catch you. The trouble with this is that when you get caught up in trying to figure out if a man loves you, you can no longer be present in the relationship. Instead of connecting, you are stuck in your own worried thoughts, and those thoughts produce fears and insecurities that ultimately block you from getting the love you want.
So how do you know if a man is truly in love with you? If he shows these 11 signs, then it’s pretty safe to say he is.
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.
QUIZ: Does He Love Me?
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.
MORE: How Men Show Their Love
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.