The Fast and Simple Way to Know If He’s Playing for Keeps

July 21, 2015

yes-i-want-to-be-your-boyfriendThere is a very simple way to know if a man is interested in a relationship with you. If you’ll look for this one thing, you’ll never have to feel anxious as you wonder whether he likes you.

You won’t check your phone constantly just to see whether he might have texted or called. You certainly won’t need to stalk his Facebook or Instagram to get a sense of whether he’s interested in being exclusive. You’ll save yourself a lot of time and heartache.

What’s this one magic bullet that lets you know he’s playing for keeps?

He’ll tell you he wants something real with you, early and often. And his actions will back up those statements. There will be no mystery.

At least 80% of the requests for advice I receive are from women explaining complicated circumstances with some guy. They end by asking me if he likes them or not. Almost always, the answer is a pretty clear no. The guy is ambivalent, delaying, sending mixed signals, vague, confused, cheating, etc. In eight years I have never heard of a single instance of one of these reluctant dudes doing a 180.

I think these women know what’s up. But they are invested, they really like the guy, and they’re looking for encouragement. The best advice I can offer is to withdraw immediately. It’s not going to happen. If it was, it would have happened already, and they would have no need of my opinion.

In last Sunday’s Vows section of the NYXs, a pair of newlyweds was profiled in a feature article. Bridget Nugent, a super-achiever and Kate Hudson look-alike, met Dean Reineking when she attended a get-together at St. Augustine’s, her local church. She was immediately taken with him, describing him that night as “glowing and confident.” They hung out as friends first, but Dean soon wanted to ask her out.

“He was more fearless and honest, Ms. Nugent said, than any guy she had ever known. “When he asked me out, he said: ‘I would like to take you out on a date. Would you go to dinner with me?’ ” she said. “He gave such clear signals at every stage of the relationship. That to me was unbelievable. I would love to be able to write a letter to my younger self: ‘You don’t have to stress. You don’t have to worry. You’ll find it. You’ll find love.’ ”

She added, “After three dates, he said, ‘I really, deeply appreciate your companionship and I would like to be your boyfriend.’ Everything you think a man would be afraid to say, he said, and because of that I thought of him as even more of a man. So I said, ‘That’s exactly what I want.’ ”

At the end of the school year in late May 2014, he left for Washington, where he now works for David Schwartz Architects. Before leaving, she said, he told her that he was in it for the long haul.”

That may sound like a fairy tale, but in fact most successful relationships begin exactly this way. When both parties sense a match and are ready for a relationship, it’s easy. It’s supposed to be easy. Complicated = not going very well.

To my guy readers, I would urge you to note that Ms. Nugent states that his willingness to lay it on the line made him appear even more manly. So much for specious claims that women like men who keep them guessing!

Of course, most of us date several people before finding our life partner. You don’t want the above scenario with everyone you date, just the person that’s right for you. Here are the key ingredients for finding your match with ease:

You are strongly attracted in all the important ways.

The attraction should cover all bases, including physical, personality and character.

After getting to know her, Dean told Bridget very clearly that he wanted to take her on a date. After three dates he told her how much he appreciated her companionship. He was not a guided missile seeking sex.

You are both psychologically ready for a relationship.

Sometimes timing is an issue. Life circumstances stand in the way of commitment. And don’t forget that 25% of the population is Avoidant to commitment by nature. For a relationship to take hold and thrive, both parties must be 100% ready and willing to consider serious commitment.

Dean initiated “the talk” after three dates and said he wanted to be her boyfriend. He was a man with a purpose and a plan.

You both lay it on the line.

He moves the relationship forward with enthusiasm and confidence. No games, no ambivalence, no “I’m confused, I’m not sure what I want.”

When Dean finished grad school and had to move, he locked down the relationship for keeps. No whining about what a drag long-distance relationships are.

She leaves no room for doubt.

Bridget made it clear that she could not be happier or ask for more.

When it’s right, you’ll know. He will make sure you know so that you stick around.

It’s important to exit messy and stressful “it’s complicated” relationships asap. They tie you up in emotional knots when you are better off being emotionally available to someone new.

You may meet a lot of guys who make things complicated – if you kick them to the curb at the first sign of avoidant behavior, those misfires won’t take too much of a toll. If you’re honest with yourself, you’ll know when it’s just not right. You won’t need me to tell you so.