12 Telltale Signs A Man Loves You, From Relationship Experts
Love is about much more than saying "I love you," and whether you and your love interest haven't uttered the words yet—or you have, but you want some "proof"—you might be wondering how to tell if he truly loves you.
To find out, we asked relationship experts what love means to begin with, plus common signs that typically indicate someone is in love with you. Here's what they had to say.
What is love?
Love is as difficult to define as it is to explain, but it can ultimately be boiled down to "an intense feeling of deep affection," according to the Oxford English Dictionary.
It's also important to remember there are many different types of love. As clinical psychologist Kristina Hallett, Ph.D., previously explained to mbg, research has defined two major types of interpersonal love: passionate love (which is what we think of as romantic love, involving attraction and sexual desire) and attachment (also known as compassionate love, which can be between caregivers and children, long-term romantic partners, and other deeply bonded pairs).
The Greeks, however, specified the different types of love even further, identifying eight, which are as follows:
8 types of love:
- Eros (romantic love)
- Pragma (enduring love)
- Ludus (playful love)
- Philautia (self-love)
- Storge (familiar love)
- Philia (affectionate love)
- Agape (selfless love)
- Mania (obsessive love)
In the context of this article, we're focusing on the love present in romantic relationships, plus how to identify it. And as licensed psychotherapist Babita Spinelli describes it to mbg, being in love means "a strong emotional attachment that includes wanting to share your life physically and emotionally with someone."
She adds it involves a desire to be generous, compassionate, loving, and caring to someone, and it creates a strong feeling of commitment. "When you are truly in love, the well-being and happiness of your partner is important to you," she notes.
And of course, along with the different types of love, romantic love also has stages, with the final being wholehearted love. According to licensed marriage and family therapist Linda Carroll, M.S., LMFT, it takes years to develop wholehearted love—but it does often begin with many of the signs of love we're about to get into.
What love isn't.
Physiologically speaking, many of the sensations we associate with falling in love are actually limerence, according to licensed marriage and family therapist Holly Richmond, Ph.D., LMFT. Limerence refers to romantic infatuation, marked by feelings of obsession and fantastical longing.
It's the combination of hormones, endorphins, and emotional prioritization that occur in the initial stages of a relationship, she explains, but it doesn't necessarily equate to or lead to wholehearted, long-term love. That's not to say it can't, but it's important to make that distinction between lust and love.
All that said, here are 12 signs that indicate a man is in love with you, or at least starting to fall.
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12 signs he loves you:
He embraces all parts of you.
To love someone is to accept all parts of them, and as Spinelli explains, if the man in your life has seen some of your less desirable traits and hasn't run off, that's a good sign. "He appreciates you for you and doesn't want to change you. This doesn't mean that we shouldn't desire our partners to grow and evolve, but a sign of falling in love is embracing someone for the good and the messy," she tells mbg.
He talks about a future with you.
According to Spinelli, when someone is in love, they're going to factor you into their future—because they want you there. If a man is in love with you, he may mention things you can do together in the future, whether it's a few weeks, a few months, or in a year. He may also start to say "we" or "us" all the time, and you feel more like a unit or team, she adds.
When a man is in love with you, he wants to see you happy. And one way to encourage that happiness is by supporting your passions and goals, Spinelli says. He'll celebrate your wins with you, comfort you amid losses, and remind you of your own power.
He makes an effort to grow closer.
Whether it's spending time with you, being ever-curious about what makes you tick, or making bids for attention, a man in love will seek ways to become closer to you, Spinelli says. "He may reorder his priorities or make a conscious effort to include you where he can—and this doesn't mean he has to leave behind work and commitments, but he makes sure he has quality time for you."
He's vulnerable with you.
As Richmond notes, the essence of intimacy can be found within the word itself: "into-me-see," as in, being truly open and vulnerable because you love the person enough to do so. And intimacy is, naturally, a prerequisite to love.
Spinelli says a man will begin revealing more and more intimate details about himself, or start to show more vulnerability around you emotionally, as he falls in love.
He prioritizes you.
According to Richmond, priority is a huge tell of someone being in love. As she puts it, "They're letting you know daily, if not multiple times a day, that they're thinking about you, doing thoughtful things, and appreciating you," she explains.
And as Spinelli adds, he'll be genuinely interested in you, and you'll see that he's curious about what makes you happy and sad.
He meets you halfway.
A healthy, loving dynamic is going to involve a degree of compromise, or what Richmond refers to as reciprocity. For instance, she says, he may give you a call to check-in, even though he prefers to text, because he knows you appreciate phone calls.
That's one example, but you get the gist: He's ready and willing to show up for you even when it's not convenient. Or as Spinelli describes it, "He wants to meet you halfway, is willing to make healthy compromises, and he makes an effort to make your life easier."
He values your input.
Whether it's asking for your advice, seeking your opinion, or listening intently when your perspectives differ, a man in love will take what you have to say into account. As Spinelli explains, he'll show love not only by investing time in you and the relationship but also by asking for your input on life matters that are important to him.
He gets out of his comfort zone for you.
Similar to No. 7 and equally important, people are willing to lean into discomfort when love is the objective, Spinelli says—whether it's something as simple as riding a roller coaster with you even though it scares him or something as difficult as working through toxic patterns for the sake of the relationship.
He finds your quirks endearing.
There's a reason it takes some trial and error to find true love: Not everyone is going to understand or appreciate the intricacies of who you are. But according to Spinelli, when a man finds your strange or weird quirks adorable, when he accepts you and it feels unconditional, that's a sign he's in love with you.
He displays any or all of the love languages.
Any extensions of the five love languages (quality time, words of affirmation, physical touch, gift-giving, and/or acts of service) are a good sign that a man is in love. As Richmond explains, physical touch is a primary love language for roughly 60% to 70% of the men she works with, but everyone has different ways of showing love, so look out for things like taking care of chores, compliments, planning dates—anything that feels like a display of affection.
There are no more games or sense of "chase."
Richmond says that when someone really loves you, there won't be a sense of game-playing, stringing along, or second-guessing. "When we're talking about love, we're talking about authenticity and transparency. You're going to know this person is paying attention, and you're not going to feel like you have to read between the lines," she tells mbg.
The moral of the story is actions speak louder than words, so if you're looking for signs that a man loves you, watch out for any combination of the behaviors above—they'll likely start to unfold slowly but surely as you two grow closer.
And if the man in question isn't doing these things, never forget that you deserve someone who does and further, doesn't leave you questioning where you stand.
Sarah Regan is a Spirituality & Relationships Writer, as well as a registered yoga instructor. She received her bachelor's in broadcasting and mass communication from SUNY Oswego, and lives in Buffalo, New York.