Does my boyfriend love me? Like, really really love me? Those questions inevitably cross a girl’s mind in every relationship. But before running for his validation and approval, it’s worth stopping and clarifying what specific words and actions will give you the answer to this eternal question.
We’re here to guide you.
“What would you do,
If I took those words away
So you couldn’t make things new
Just by saying I love you?”
Extreme, song More Than Words
Saying “I love you” is easy. It really rolls off the tongue almost by second nature for some people. And certainly, those are words you like and want to hear from someone you believe is the right guy for you.
But those words are not meaningful unless actions back them. Does he show you that he loves you? More on that later.
Related reading: Putting Love into Action – It’s a Language
Meantime, listen for other ways he speaks:
Whenever there seems to be a disconnect between his words and his actions, you should consider how much you can trust him. If, for example, he tells you he is going to make plans to spend quality time with you but is always too busy to make that time, what else will come along that you cannot trust?
“Respect means no one has power or authority over someone else. It means we don’t have to agree with someone to love them. Respect means to give someone space to have their own opinions and journey. Respect means to let go. Accept. Not judge. Don’t react. Don’t control. Let be. Let grow. Respect means to not place your definitions on someone else. Respect means to work on your own issues. Respect means to have your own safe life container.”
John Kim, relationship therapist
There are plenty of actions that you can read as signs that your boyfriend really loves you. Take a look at this list and see how many you can claim. And be honest with yourself – don’t just engage in wishful thinking.
The exact all-inclusive concepts of respect he can manifest include:
Additionally, he respects your need for space, even though he loves to spend time with you. And he will make plans to include you in his free time. At the same time, he respects your feelings about wanting time alone or pursuing interests or time with friends. He will support these activities without showing jealousy or irritation.
Long story short, if your boyfriend really wants you to be happy in all aspects of your life, he is a great partner indeed.
Now, let’s qualify this a bit. Being in love means the two of you want to be together. And when you start dating, this togetherness can be pretty constant.
As the relationship evolves, you both are comfortable having time apart to pursue other interests and activities. Now, let’s break this whole thing down a bit.
“Being in love means there is a connection, while being attached implies dependency…ask yourself this question, ‘Do I have to be with this person, or do I get to be with this person?’ If you feel like you have to be in a relationship, perhaps it is out of an attachment issue, but if you feel like you get to be with someone, and it is a privilege, you may be in love.”
Kristen Lilla, sex and relationship therapist
Now turn this statement on your boyfriend. Does he tell you that he misses you but, at the same time, gives you your independence and space while still keeping in touch, it’s a pretty sure sign that he loves you and that you are in a healthy relationship.
Related reading: Limerence vs Love: How to Tell the Difference
When you started dating, you were together a lot. Now that you are not, what does he do to show you that he misses you in a good way? Here are a few examples it can happen:
All women have personal and career goals. A woman may also have passions and causes near and dear to her heart. If this is you, how does your boyfriend respond to these?
One of the sure signs your boyfriend loves you is how he supports your goals and passions. He makes these unselfish gestures to tie into your personal goals and values and show you they are also valuable to him:
If you are wondering, these types of gestures should show any woman that a boyfriend loves them. And, of course, you will be treating him in the same way.
In any relationship, there will be differences, which are the cause of disagreements and arguments. This is perfectly normal. Suppose you are more of a “homebody” and prefer quiet nights alone together. Suppose your boyfriend is more of an extrovert and loves being “out there” with others at all sorts of social events and activities.
Is your relationship doomed? The answer is “no.”
Not if your boyfriend loves you more than his need to be out there regularly. If he knows you are having a hard time with his lifestyle, his desire for compromise may take different forms:
Your list can be different from this “template,” but the idea is that you will find a way to consider each others’ perspectives while planning time together.
If he makes a point of including you in events and functions that his significant others hold, then you can probably figure out that you are pretty important to him. In fact, this is one of the biggest signs that your boyfriend loves you. This is not just one of those little things he does for you – it’s a biggie.
And watch how he speaks about you and treats you around those people. If he speaks highly of you and gives those endearing physical gestures in their presence, you can figure that you have one of those relationships that is loving and lasting as long as you want it.
High-quality men who love the women they are dating have fun by coming up with little (and sometime big) surprises out of the blue. This behavior takes thoughtfulness, caring, effort, and time. If he didn’t love you, would he do these things? Highly unlikely.
He is interested in how your day or evening is going and he’ll call or text you at random times. And those check-ins include words of affection. If this happens regularly over a while, it’s pretty easy to determine that he loves you, is happy with you, and is not playing with your emotions. You can probably count on a future with him if that’s what you want.
Related reading: The Love Language of Gift Giving
Most people have their little weird habits or quirks. Some of us have other behaviors that can be annoying – for example:
Obviously, he’ll notice these things and may even comment on them in a loving way. But the point is that he is neither critical nor judgmental nor attempts to “shame” you into changing. Healthy relationships don’t involve one partner trying to make the other change. Instead, it relies on compromise.
Maybe you are horribly busy at work. A boyfriend who loves you will think of ways to make things easier for you during this time. He might treat you by showing up with your favorite takeout. He might surprise you by hiring someone to clean your place. Maybe he’ll do little things even when you are not busy – take your car for an oil change, for example. This is probably a man who loves you and one you will want in your life now and in your future.
We are not talking about next week here. Suppose he has a bucket list that includes a trip to Italy next year. He has asked you to join him. Well now, that’s a boyfriend who sees you in his life for the long-term. Yes, he loves you. You must be certain that you feel the same before you say yes to something this far out in the future.
Also, he will reveal his innermost thoughts with you. We all have layers to our personalities. The innermost layer we tend to keep hidden from even our closest buddies and friends. If your boyfriend is sharing those intimate thoughts and true feelings about many things with you, it means he has full trust in you. A boyfriend who trusts you this much loves you.
Guys will show that their partner is a priority in their life in many different ways. If your guy does these things, he’s a “keeper:”
So, a guy can get jealous just as much as a girl can. Guys are human too, after all. It may be a matter of your boyfriend being upset when another guy flirts with you at a bar or other gathering. The important thing, though, is how a person deals with it.
He may very well express his own feelings of jealousy to you, and he may ask you to respond differently to future overtures by other men. It’s a matter of ego, but think about it this way. How would you feel if other women flirted with your guy when you were out somewhere?
If he expresses his opinion about that flirting episode firmly but with a calm demeanor, this is a pretty good sign that he is in control of his emotions. That is a good thing for any relationship.
If you’ve been through this list and taken a full look at your guy’s behavior, what’s your verdict? Is he the first person you can trust that much? Is your relationship as good as all these signs show? Or is something wrong on a regular basis and you need that big conversation to clarify your feelings? You’re the one to decide.
If, in fact, he has met most of these criteria, it’s a pretty good sign that you man truly loves you. If you feel the same about him, congratulations – you have what promises to be a “happily ever after.”