As a society we place a great deal of importance on the ‘L’ word, viewing it as a defining moment in any relationship; however, it is possible that he’s secretly in love with you and just not ready to say it yet. Learn the signs to watch for, revealing how he really feels!

Expressing how you feel can be a scary and daunting experience. You want badly to share how you are feeling with the hope that these feelings will be reciprocated, but there is always that fear of rejection. What if you are falling harder and faster, and sharing this will simply scare your partner away? What if you see this as the real deal, a long-term relationship that could be ‘the one’ but your partner sees it as nothing more than a summer fling? These fears often cause us to bottle up our feelings, avoiding saying them aloud.

However, even if one isn’t ready to vocalize that big ‘L’ word, love can be expressed in a number of other ways. Learning to recognize these signs will help you to gauge where your relationship is currently at. If he’s going out of his way to care for you, protect your and prioritize you in his life, he may just be waiting for the right moment to say it.

Pay attention to these 25 signs that he’s secretly in love with you:

#1 – He discusses the future, and you’re a part of it.

This is a good indication of whether he’s looking for someone to stand the test of time, or simply looking for a fun fling right now. When he discusses his future plans, are you included? Does he talk solely about his goals and dreams, or does he mention your life together and how you’ll work to make both of your dreams come true?

#2 – He is highly protective of you.

It is important to note at this point that there is a difference between being protective and controlling. He is ok with you going out and spending time with the girls, but he will stay awake to make sure that you get home safe, ready to hop in the car to come to pick you up if you decide you’ve had a little too much to drink. He just wants to be sure that you are both safe AND happy.

#3 – When you’re out in public, he’s only got eyes for you.

There is nothing wrong with acknowledging that someone looks attractive, but there’s a difference between noticing someone is pretty and really having eyes for someone special. When you’re out and about, there is no questioning the fact that you are the most beautiful, special woman in the world in his eyes.

#4 – He genuinely enjoys spending time with you.

It doesn’t matter whether you are on some elaborate date together, or simply out grocery shopping, he genuinely enjoys every minute that you get to spend with one another. He understands that life isn’t going to be all about the perfect moments – instead, the best relationships are the ones that flourish in the regular day to day moments.

#5 – He makes an effort to take care of your needs.

Traditional wedding vows include the phrase ‘in sickness and in health,’ and this eludes to one of the clear signs that someone truly cares for you. If you’re having a bad day, whether it is caused by being sick, struggling mentally or overstressed – he will go out of his way to do whatever he can to take care of you. This is the guy that’s delivering soup to your door, holding you while you cry and cleaning up the house when you can’t bring yourself to get off the couch.

#6 – He shows a genuine interest in all areas of your life.

Sure, he may not be running to take part in your book club or learning how to use your favorite makeup products, but if these are topics that are important to you, then he will make them important to him as well. He wants to hear about your day, and not just to start the conversation so he can share about his own. He is truly interested, and he shows this to you on a daily basis.

#7 – He always remembers to celebrate the important dates.

While you want to find someone that makes every day special and memorable, there are a few dates that are particularly important. He never misses your anniversary, your birthday, or the anniversary of something major like the passing of a loved one. He also knows which big days are coming up like a graduation or a major presentation at work and will go out of his way to be there for you in any way that you need.

#8 – He holds your hand in public.

This may seem like a grade school point, that first time that I guy took your hand and made you blush, but there is more to this little gesture than most people realize. When a man takes you by the hand, that is his way of leading you and keeping you safe. He wants you to know that he’s there for you, traveling this journey known as life together.

#9 – When faced with the difficult choice, he always chooses you before everything else.

This one is a dead giveaway. If he is forced to choose between you and his friends or you and his career, he will make you the top priority. This may mean a sacrifice on his end from time to time, but you are so important to him that he doesn’t give it a second thought.

#10 – He is always there when you need a helping hand.

Whether you’re looking for someone to help with the yard work or you simply need him to reach the jar on the top shelf of the pantry, he’s more than willing to lend a hand where it’s needed. He enjoys knowing that he can make your life a little bit easier.

#11 – He will stand up for you in any situation.

He will stand up and defend you, even if you’re actually wrong. Why? He understands that there is more to life than being ‘right,’ and he values your relationship and your happiness far more than his own ego. Whether you’re in an argument with someone online or being treated poorly in real life, he will be right there by your side.

#12 – He truly listens to and remembers what you say.

I’m not talking about the big obvious things, any guy that is trying to impress you will make a point of remembering that much. This guy, however, remembers the little things – the time you mentioned in passing that you love a certain movie or the one time you told him how you take your coffee. He truly cares about what you say and how you feel.

#13 – He always makes up following a fight, fusing to go to bed angry.

Regardless of how much he loves you or how good your relationship is, you are going to disagree from time to time. Even the healthiest and most successful relationships experience their share of drama and fights. The difference is that he doesn’t want this negativity to linger between you. He will go out of his way to ensure that you make up after even the smallest fight, putting his ego aside long enough to ensure that your relationship is ok.

#14 – He is honest and truthful with you, even when it’s difficult.

A healthy, lasting relationship is built on trust, and he recognizes the importance of this. For this reason, he ALWAYS tells you the truth, regardless of the situation. There are times in life where it would be easier to tell a little white lie, but he realizes that doing so can tear apart what you have worked so hard to build together.

#15 – He asks for your opinions, and actually considers them.

You don’t want to waste your time with someone that is so closed minded that you’re expected to conform to his every whim. If he respects you enough to not only ask your opinion but truly listen as you give it and consider its merit, that’s a sign that he cares for you deeply. After all, you’re a team so your opinion matters too!

#16 – He keeps you updated on the goings on in his life.

He knows that you don’t expect him to check in every time he leaves the house, or to tell him everything that happens in his life, but he wants to share this with you. If he’s going out with the guys, he’ll fire off a quick message just to give you the heads up. After a fun night out, he shares the details with you, not because he feels that he must, but because he truly wants to share everything with you.

#17 – Regardless of what happens, he just can’t stay mad at you.

You may frustrate him, upset him, or even let you down. While he may show that he’s angry at first, reacting to the situation at hand, he can’t stay mad at you. If he sees that you are down or struggling he will put his own frustrations aside to be there for you because you are still a top priority in his life. He isn’t afraid to be the first to apologize.

#18 – He demonstrates chivalry on an ongoing basis.

Often seen as a thing of the past, chivalry is still alive and well today! The difference is that it isn’t necessarily expected of everyone and anyone. In the past, every man was expected to live by a specific code, today a man that opens the door for you or offers you his coat does so not due to expectations, but because he truly cares.

#19 – He puts serious effort into your relationship.

A relationship is a living, breathing entity that is growing and changing throughout life. He recognizes that it is more than just asking you out one day and slapping on some labels. Instead, a healthy relationship requires daily work, prioritizing one another and showing how much you care. This doesn’t scare him off. In fact, he cares so much for you that it feels completely natural to put this level of effort into your relationship and your future together.

#20 – He shows you complete respect.

This is a HUGE point. A relationship is a team, and it will only be successful if both teammates are working together. For this to happen, it needs to be an equal relationship, with each of you respecting one another. He doesn’t tear you down, question your decisions, cut you off in conversations or ignore you in public. Instead, he shows true respect and simply asks for the same in return.

#21 – He tells you how much he values your impact on his life.

While there are little things he can do on a daily basis to show you how much he loves and appreciates you, sometimes the thing that you need most is simply to be told that he recognizes the value you bring to his life. He shows his appreciation, thanking you for the things that you do for him, showing that he cares.

#22 – He holds you tightly and pulls you close.

Much like taking you by the hand, if he wraps his arms around you, holding you close to him, this is a way of showing you that he’s here for you. He wants you to feel safe, secure and loved, and this is the best way that he knows how to express this physically. Take comfort in his arms.

#23 – He texts/calls you in the morning when he wakes up and just before he goes to bed.

Once again, as with a previous point, he isn’t doing this because he feels that he needs to check in with you. You are truly on his mind, and he wants to talk to you first thing in the morning and just before he falls asleep because you are that important to him. He just wants you to know that he’s thinking about you all day.

#24 – He is willing to sacrifice his own happiness for you.

There is nothing that he enjoys more than to see a smile on your face, even if he has to sacrifice personally to make it happen. He’ll go out of his way to put your happiness first in his life, giving you the bigger cookie, allowing you to choose the movie and passing on a guy’s weekend because it conflicts with plans you had already made. Your happiness is top priority.

#25 – He regularly uses words like ‘we’ and ‘us’.

If you’re looking to understand whether he sees you as someone with long-term potential, or if he’s simply having fun in the moment, pay attention to the words that he’s using. Using terms like ‘we’ and ‘us’ demonstrates that he views the two of you as a team, ready to take on the world together.

Image via Bustle

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