Love is a small word with huge implications. When it’s a healthy kind of love, it can help you become your best possible self and enrich your life with a new kind of happiness and meaning. When it’s unhealthy—or just not the right match—it can literally gut you, leaving you feeling broken and devastated.
The beginning stages of a relationship can be a tricky time because a man might say those infamous three words without feeling it, or he can feel it for a long time before he’s ready to say it out loud. Typically when a man loves you, it’s obvious. You don’t even have to ask because you just know it. (This article covers it really well.) The reason it can sometimes seem confusing is that men and women often experience love in different ways.
To save you the time and energy spent playing the he-loves-me-loves-me-not game, here are the five greatest signs that he definitely is in love with you:
He makes you a priority in his life.
When a man loves you, spending time with you and being there for you are at the top of his priority list. It doesn’t matter how busy he is, he will carve out the time you both need to feel fulfilled in your relationship. He will make sure you know that you’re special to him, that he cares about you, that your happiness matters, that being with you, and there for you, are important to him.
If you find that you have to fight for his time and attention or there is always something higher on his to-do list, you might have reason to raise an eyebrow. And sadly, if you do feel like you’re only getting leftover scraps when it comes to his attention, he most likely is not in love with you. When a man loves you, you don’t need to strategize ways of getting into his heart—it’s just there, right on the line, waiting for you to take the bait.
His actions are louder than his words.
You’ve heard it before, but this timeless saying is always true, especially in matters of the heart: actions speak louder than words. And this is especially true when it comes to knowing if a man loves you. Words are easy, and words can be cheap.
Love isn’t merely a feeling, it’s a verb, it comes across is actions. When a man truly loves you, he shows it. He goes out of his way to make you happy because your happiness is more important than his own, he is there for you even if it’s inconvenient for him, he sacrifices for you, he puts effort into the relationship. It’s easy to be a great and loving partner when it’s all sunshine and roses, but how does he react when things get real? That is where his true feelings lie.
He doesn’t give up.
Even for a couple who share common interests and who are working toward the same goals, relationships are never easy. But when a man loves you, he is committed to making it work, no matter what. He doesn’t threaten to leave at the first sign or trouble. He is in it and he plans to see it through, even when it gets really tough. He is fully invested—and he wants to do whatever it takes to make your bond not only strong, but amazing.
When you love someone, quitting isn’t an option until all other options have been exhausted. You don’t just leave unless things are clearly beyond repair. If a man isn’t willing—or able—to go all in, then he’s not the right match for you.
He pays attention.
When we love someone, we can’t get enough. We want to know everything, to fully immerse ourselves in their story. When a guy loves you, he pay attention to everything you say and do. He sees your potential, your strengths, your weaknesses, how you experience and process the world. He’s in love with who you are as a human, not just as a partner.
This is different than a man who merely loves the way you make him feel. While this narcissistic type of love has become commonplace these days—it isn’t real. A mature, stable love is when a man loves who you are—and sure, he may feel good being with you—but that isn’t the reason he chooses to stay.
You feel it in your gut.
When a guy loves you, you know it. It feels like peace, it feels like home, it feels safe. You don’t wonder and worry how he feels. You don’t spend each day in the relationship like it could be your last, wondering when the proverbial other shoe will drop. You feel a calmness in knowing.
Now at the same time, some people are carrying a lot of hurt and pain and may have deeply rooted trust issues that make it impossible to ever feel secure. If this is the case, then work on it! Do whatever it takes to break through the walls surrounding you so that you can let someone else in. This is why it’s so important to be your best self before you enter into a relationship, to clear away the clutter and really see what’s in front of you.
Sabrina Alexis is a bestselling author and co-founder and editorial director of A New Mode, a women’s lifestyle site with a focus on dating and relationships. Join the A New Mode mailing list for daily relationship advice and answers to all your burning questions.