The million-dollar question in the early stages of any relationship is always the same: how can I know he’s not playing me? While love never comes with a money-back guarantee, he’s probably the real deal when:
Nothing is more toxic to new relationships than the nagging feeling there is more to your partner than meets the eye. Someone who is serious about you is never evasive or vague. He gives you straight answers about his work, his friends, his past relationships, and how he spends his spare time.
He introduces you to family and friends.
When a man takes you to meet the important people in his life, it means one of the following: (a) he thinks you are wonderful and worth showing off—and is sure others will agree; or (b) he thinks you are wonderful and worth showing off—and doesn’t care what anyone else thinks. Either way it’s a good sign that, to him, you are much more than a casual acquaintance.
He includes you in his other interests.
If he plays softball in the city recreation league, he wants you in the bleachers for the games. If he loves scuba diving, he gives you a brochure about lessons at a local pool so you can one day plan a diving trip together. The point is, he doesn’t compartmentalize his life. He’s serious enough to share it all with you.
He safeguards his time with you.
Everyone is busy these days, with endless deadlines and demands. But someone who is excited about a relationship with you will not let those things rob him of your time together. He’ll go into work early rather than risk being stuck in the office that night when you’ve got a date. He’ll trim the fat from his routine. He’ll turn down competing offers—anything to be with you when he said he would.
He’s more than superficially curious about you.
The difference between common small talk and a genuine desire to know you can be summed up in a single word: questions. Lots of them. If you tell him you studied creative writing in college, the interested man will want to know what drew you to that major . . . whether you write novels or poetry or screenplays . . . your favorite books of all time . . . what you’ve written lately and whether he may (please, please) read it. If you get to the end of an evening and realize the man you’re with has kept you talking the whole time about yourself, be assured that he’s quite taken with you.
He listens to you and respects your opinion.
The man who thinks of you as more than a “date” will involve you in his decisions about everything from which shoes you like best when he’s shopping to how he should handle a crisis at work. The guy who is serious about you is serious about your thoughts and opinions. It goes without saying (though we’ll say it anyway) that the above ideas are posted on a two-way street: these same six signs are how HE will know you’re serious as well.
Most of the triggers that cause a budding relationship to detonate are not that mysterious. Here are nine of the most common: