In a culture that prioritizes sexual intimacy before emotional intimacy, forming real romantic attachments is a challenge for both men and women. And yet, many relationships begin with casual sex.
I’ve created a flowchart describing the anatomy of relationships today:
As you can see, there are lots of hurdles one needs to jump before landing in a loving romantic relationship, known as dating. And there are many perils and risks along the journey. So before you reach DATE, how can you tell whether the other person is getting invested? You can ask, of course, and I always encourage you to do that. It can be awkward, though, and it’s better if you are not left wondering every step of the way, in need of verbal clarification to understand what is going on.
Here are some signs that indicate a guy is falling for you:
1. He seeks information about your life.
He is curious about your schedule, your friendships, your favorite things, what you find funny, etc. He wants to acquaint himself with your background and your routines.
2. He seeks your approval.
Whether it’s about his new haircut, an interest of his, or his friendships, he seeks reassurance that you find him appealing.
3. He jokes about his potential competition in a way that is clearly designed to elicit information.
He may be curious about who is calling or texting. Or he may ask you how you know a certain guy that you seem friendly with. Again, he is seeking reassurance. He hopes that you will tell him indirectly that there is no one else you are interested in besides him.
4. He does not keep you guessing.
Of course you’ll wonder just what he is feeling for you. But once he decides he likes you, he’ll want you to know it, so that you’ll stick around and like him back. He will show interest clearly by keeping in touch so that you don’t hook up with someone else. You should never feel that he is secretive, especially about what he’s doing when he’s not with you. If his friends don’t seem to know much about you or your role in his life, that is never a good sign.
5. He cares how you feel.
If he’s into it, he will not roll his eyes when you need to talk. If anything, he will act more communicative than he normally is, in an effort to show you he is capable of talking about emotions (even though he hates it).
6. He shows you off.
He wants his friends to see you with him, and to introduce you to them. He acts pleased to know you in a group setting with other girls around. He is staking a claim to signal to other guys that you are otherwise occupied. He is happy to admit that he is attracted to you.
7. He wants to have a lot of affectionate contact that is not sexual.
He will enjoy holding hands, giving hugs, and touching you during conversation. He wants to be close to you in a way that includes friendship and affection other than sex.
8. You’ve developed your own private “language.”
He’ll create private jokes, nicknames, and other endearments that create intimacy between the two of you. He’ll tease you. This is especially telling, because guys feel more comfortable being affectionate early in a relationship when it is cloaked in humor. If he teases with an edge, though, in a way that embarrasses or humiliates you, you need to bounce.
9. He does not demonstrate interest in anyone else.
If he’s doing a lot of flirting, or worse, hooking up with someone else, give it up.
10. During sex, he focuses on you.
He tries hard to please you by paying attention to your signals, or asking point blank. Lots of eye contact, using your name, and letting you know how turned on he is are all very good signs that you are not just a warm and soft receptacle for his orgasm. You should feel that the sex is definitely about the two of you together, rather than individuals each getting off.
Not all of these signs need to occur early or simultaneously for a guy to be developing real feelings for you. But they serve as an indication of his level of investment. The bottom line is that if you have to wonder whether or not he likes you, then you should assume that he doesn’t. If he is not reliably and consistently attentive, remember that you are a free agent, and keep your options open. If he doesn’t want to risk losing you to someone else, he’ll make his interest clear.
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