Have you ever found yourself wondering, does he love me? You are far from alone. Not only do I have personal experience wondering this in various relationships over the years, but my research shows that thousands of online searchers ask the same question every single month. Searches like these–
does my boyfriend love me
does my husband really love me
signs a man loves you
–show that we women wondering about these questions in droves.
And it’s no surprise. Love is one of life’s greatest treasures, something we all seek in earnest. Love is wonderful, and we all desire it.
If you’ve been in a relationship for any length of time, you will, of course, question what your partner’s feelings are. Hopefully, the two of you have open communication, plenty of trust, and a solid foundation, but these things take time to build. Even if you and your partner have exchanged the three magic words–“I love you”–you may still find you’re not confident that the love is there.
This post is for you.
When I was wondering about my boyfriend’s (now husband’s) love for me back in the day, I could have used some helpful resources to point me in the right direction. My boyfriend wasn’t always very verbal, and, in fact, he took several months to say “I love you” after I’d said it to him. But in the intervening months, I had a strong sense that he did love me, even if he was hesitant to say the words. They always say that actions speak louder than words, and I believe this wholeheartedly.
Now, years later, I not only get to hear the words spoken every day, but I see piles of evidence that he loves me. It is in his actions and his treatment of me. His willingness to stick it out through hard times, to put me first even when it’s challenging, and simply to show up and be there for me.
What I’ve learned is that love comes in a variety of ways, and so often it is without words. I want to share a bit of what I’ve learned with you, distilled into 10 signs that can help you know you’re loved. I’m not an expert, but I am in a happy and loving marriage of 3+ years with a man I’ve been with for almost 8 years. We’ve struggled and dealt with a lot and come through it stronger and wholly committed for life.
Note: this post isn’t meant to speak only to women or to heterosexual couples. It’s likely that a lot of these ideas will apply no matter the gender of your partner. After all, we’re all human, and we share a LOT of behavioral traits.
But keep in mind that this post has been written from my perspective, that of a heterosexual, married female, with input from my heterosexual husband. So the post comes from that viewpoint. For that reason, this article will probably be most effective for straight women wondering: does he truly love me?
Does he love me? Does he really love me?
First of all, I’m sorry you’re feeling this way, but I totally understand. It’s scary and confusing to be unsure of your significant other’s love.
I went through a long period of seeing the signs that Nathan loved me but still being unable to believe him. This was a painful anxiety I dealt with, but I was able to get through it and completely heal from those worries. If that sounds like you, I encourage you to read my post on seeking constant reassurance in your relationship.
The question of “does he love you” or “does he still love me” is one that can arise at any time in a relationship. For most people reading this, it is probably closer to the start of your relationship. Perhaps you’ve been dating a few months and are wondering if love is truly growing between the two of you. Or maybe you’re going on a few years together and fearful that your love may be fading. I think this article will be of help to you, but we’ve got other resources on the site you may find helpful, too. Some of these may especially be helpful if you’re in a long-term relationship and struggling.
(a post talking about why ideas like soulmates and “the one” might not necessarily be true or healthy)
- 26 Relationship Myths You Might Still Believe
- 8 Real Relationship Goals Worth Striving For
- 6 Things You Can Do Every Day to Strengthen Your Marriage (or Relationship)
- 9 Signs You’re With the Wrong Person
More Than Words
If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it is that love is an action more than anything else. Let me repeat that again for those in the back:
Love is an action, more than anything else.
Words are certainly extremely powerful—and I fully believe that couples should share their love in words daily—but actions are even more powerful. Because actions back up what you’re saying with proof. A man who loves you will show it in how he treats you and the choices he makes.
You’ll notice that, among the 10 signs he loves you I’ve compiled below, I have not included “because he says so.” Anyone can say the words, but those who put real action behind them are the ones truly demonstrating love.
Early on in your relationship, your partner may be slow to say the words, too. This doesn’t necessarily mean the love isn’t there. It may mean that your partner is very cautious with those words and does not take them lightly. It may mean he has some relationship anxiety and has fear about saying them to you. These are normal ways to feel, and perhaps you feel similarly yourself.
Love IS a big deal. To say “I love you” is a HUGE deal. It doesn’t need to be rushed.
You may want to be patient if you’re still waiting to hear those words. How long you’re willing to wait is up to you, of course. It took Nathan seven months of our relationship to say it back to me. I was patient. And oh, it was so worth it!
Of course, if you’re still waiting or wondering, the following 10 signs may allay your fears.
10 Signs that May Indicate He Loves You
This is not meant to be an exhaustive list. Love is complicated, and everyone shows love in different ways. But, one thing is for sure: if your significant other is putting in effort, this is a good sign. Effort is necessary to give love, to become a better person, and to have a successful relationship.
Ultimately, effort is also a sign of emotional maturity. So the signs below may indicate not just love but an ability and a willingness to build a successful relationship.
He shows you genuine respect.
Respect and love go hand in hand. On its own, respect may not be a clear-cut sign of romantic love, but it should always be present in a loving relationship.
If your partner demonstrates respect for you: your choices, your time, your body, your thoughts, this may be a sign that he values you as more than just a friend.
A man can show respect in a variety of ways. For example, one of the ways I feel most respected is when I am listened to. When my partner listens to the things I have to say, is willing to be attentive to my problems or even just my general musings, this makes me feel extremely respected. It makes me feel like I am important to him and that there is value in my thoughts and feelings.
He puts you first.
One of the signs a man loves you is when he frequently puts you first. In fact, this may be one of the deepest signs he really loves you. It is truly an act of love and unselfishness to put the needs and happiness of another person first. This is something we should be doing in our relationships all the time, and truth be told, it can be very difficult.
If your significant other does this for you, whether it be taking care of you when you’re sick, going above and beyond to help you out in some way, or setting aside his own needs to do something for you, this is a strong sign that love is present.
He makes time for you, makes you a priority.
By the same token, a good sign of love is when your partner consistently makes time for you. You should feel confident that you are a priority in his life and in his schedule–not an afterthought.
A loving partner will work hard to incorporate you in his daily/weekly life, even if it’s inconvenient or challenging. He might shuffle his schedule around in order to have a date night with you, stop over to see you on his way to work or class, or even just consistently call you in the evening. These signs of effort are important, and they demonstrate that he cares about you and that you’re an important part of his life.
He makes efforts to fix relationship problems or to change his behavior for the better.
Every relationship will encounter its share of challenges and problems. Conflict is a normal part of life and a very common element in human relationships. What is important is how the two of you deal with that conflict.
How does your partner handle relationship issues? Does he constantly push them aside and avoid dealing with them? Maybe he won’t admit it when there are issues? Or perhaps he is unwilling to change any of his behaviors.
This could be a sign of emotional immaturity, for sure, but it also may indicate that this is not a relationship built on love.
A loving partner will put effort into strengthening and improving a relationship. He’s willing to discuss these issues with you. He will be willing to make changes in his behavior for the good of the relationship.
He shows you his vulnerable side.
One of the signs a man loves you is that he occasionally lets you see his vulnerability. He lets you in beyond the external barrier.
This is definitely difficult for a lot of men. Typically, men are not nearly as in touch with their emotions as women are, and they are definitely not usually as comfortable sharing them.
But a man who loves you becomes more and more likely to give you glimpses into this vulnerable core. This is likely to be a slow process, but when you see signs of him letting you in, it can be a great indication that love is blooming.
His interest in you is not solely sexual.
This is a big one. Does your significant other demonstrate to you that they are interested in what you offer beyond the bedroom? Relationships often begin with tons of passion and excitement, but this should not be confused with real, genuine love. While that can certainly be part of it, love is usually what grows later, as the initial high starts to fade. That early, passionate physical relationship many couples experience cannot yet be called love, but can be called lust.
Do the feelings and loving actions continue beyond that initial glow? Is there more to your relationship than the physical?
Is your partner doing more than the minimum, or is he doing just enough to get you into bed?
These are questions worth examining. When love is truly present, the relationship is more than just a physical one.
He shows interest in the future with you.
Ah, the future. This can be a scary subject for many couples, and my experience in my 20s showed me that the topic especially scared a lot of twenty-something guys!
But one of the signs he’s in love with you is that these conversations are able to happen, even subtly.
Now, your boyfriend of a few months probably isn’t ready to talk marriage and kids yet. But someone who loves you (or is on their way to loving you) will include you in their future plans.
This could be subtle mentions. Maybe he talks about vacations you might take someday, or he speaks about an event a few months in the future and includes you in the plan. These are signs that he’s picturing you as part of his future, or actively incorporating you into future plans.
On the other hand, if your boyfriend doesn’t even want to nail down plans for next weekend… he might not be ready for a loving relationship with you.
He wants you to feel cared for.
One thing my husband always says to me is how important it is to him that I am happy. This means the world to me.
I got this sense from him even when we were first dating, even when he didn’t say it in so many words. I could tell that my feelings mattered deeply to him, and to me, that was one of the most clear-cut signs that he loved me.
What does your partner show you in this area? Does he clearly prioritize your needs, wants, and desires? Does he go out of his way to do things that will make you happy or make you feel safe? Does he try to make you laugh, to brighten your mood when you’re feeling down? Again, these can be subtle signs, but they often show a deeper love brewing within.
He introduces you to important people in his life.
Have you met your partner’s parents? What about your boyfriend’s friends? One of the strongest signs your boyfriend loves you can often be this one: does he introduce you to the people he loves?
There may not be an opportunity to meet the parents if they live far away, but your man can also demonstrate this love by telling them about you. It’s not guarantee of love, but knowing that you’re important enough to be introduced to/mentioned to these people is a telling sign for sure.
He makes you feel good about yourself.
How can you tell if he loves you? One way is to notice how he makes you feel. I’m not talking about flattery and feeling like a pampered princess. Does your partner make you feel like you are a person of value? Do you feel treasured? Do you feel respected? Do you feel like this person brings out better qualities in you? Makes you want to be a better person? Does he highlight your best aspects?
A loving partner will not make us feel worse about ourselves. He will not make us feel disrespected or unimportant.
He may not always make us feel amazing, or constantly feel our best, but overall, someone who loves us should make us feel worthy of love.
He Doesn’t Love Me–What Should I Do?
So you’ve read all the signs above and very few apply to your partner. Perhaps none apply. Does this mean he doesn’t love you? Not necessarily.
If you’re unsure about your partner’s feelings, the best way to get your answer is to just ask him. This might not easy if it’s very early in a relationship, but after a few months together, you should definitely be able to have an honest conversation about your feelings for one another and where this relationship may or may not be going.
Having a talk with your partner can be very illuminating. If he hasn’t been displaying the signs above, such a talk could potentially wake him up and let him know he’s been slacking. Relationships are a skill. If he’s willing, a partner who wants to put effort in can become a better, more loving partner. In all honesty, we could all afford to be more loving in our relationships. It would not surprise me if you saw in the signs above some advice on how you yourself could better love your partner.
What if your partner won’t say I love you?
This is a tough situation. If it has been many months or even years and your partner won’t or can’t say I love you, you may need to make a decision. How important is it to you to hear those words? For me (and probably for most of us) it is absolutely necessary. My primary love language is “words of affirmation.” I feel most loved when my husband says he loves me or says other words of love and affection. Without this, I would not feel fulfilled and happy in a relationship.
If that’s how you feel, you need to talk to your partner about this. It’s fine to be patient–for awhile–but after a significant time together, I’m of the opinion that he should be able to profess his love for you in no uncertain terms.
What if he doesn’t love me?
If it turns out that your partner doesn’t love you–he won’t say it or show it–my heart goes out to you. Finding out the person you with doesn’t love you is heart-wrenching. I had an experience of my own discovering that my boyfriend of several years was cheating on me and no longer loved me. You can read my story below, plus my best advice for getting through heartbreak. It’s not easy and it takes lots of time, but healing is possible and there’s often something so much better on the other side.
There are men out there capable of love, I promise you that. And I think you can absolutely find the right one for you.