When it comes to telling someone you love them, those aren’t words you just throw around. They should be spoken in truth and taken seriously. But some may argue that today, the word “love” gets tossed around so much, that it’s hard to know when someone really means what they say.
If you’ve been dating a guy and he says this too you, here are eight ways to tell if he really means what he says.
1. His actions match his words.
If someone truly loves you, their actions will show you.
“If they say they’re going to be there, they’ll show up. If they say they’ll call you, they call you. When they’re around you, they’ll demonstrate positive behaviors and be consistent and reliable in their communication,” says Rachel Perlstein, a relationship coach and co-founder of A Good First Date. “This can go further in terms of them saying they trust you, and then sharing more intimate secrets with you. Or the person telling you that they’re trustworthy, and protecting your secrets.”
2. He says it at the right time.
“When he tells you he loves you can usually tell if he means it or not,” says Laurel Steinberg, PhD, a clinical sexologist and relationship expert. “If he only tells you during an apology or after you ask him if he loves you, then this may be a bad sign.”
Ideally, you’d want him to tell you when you are both at your strongest and happiest place with each other, not in the middle of a fight.
3. He adds on why he loves you.
“If he tells you exactly what he loves about you (e.g. your sense of humor, your kindness, how smart you are) then these are great signs that in fact, he is indeed crazy about you,” says Steinberg.
4. He treats you just as good, or maybe even better, after he tells you.
If a guy loves you, he will continue to court you weeks, months and years after he’s said he loves you. For him, they aren’t just words.
“He will do so naturally because he thinks you deserve the world and he’s willing to make all moments of life as significant as possible for you and him,” says certified dating and relationship coach, Celine Sauvet.
This shows he didn’t just say those three magic words to get something in return (like sex, money, a place to stay). He said them because he meant them.
5. He does things to enhance your life.
This can look different for different people, but overall, a man in love will try to do things that make you happy.
“They may do things to make your life easier,” says Perlstein. “Like doing the dishes, making dinner, or running errands for you. Or they may buy you gifts or start surprising you with things that you like.”
6. He shows love through physical contact with you.
“They start spending more time with you, introducing you to more people they love, and they are more physically affectionate,” says Perlstein. “This may mean that they start holding your hand, start hugging you or touching you more in public, or they may ask you to spend time with you. If you haven’t met all their family and friends, you may start being included/invited to more events consistently and they are very comfortable integrating you into their life.”
7. He doesn’t pressure you about sex after he says it.
Some men say it just to get down a girl’s pants, notes Cherlyn Chong, a breakup recovery and dating specialist. “This guy is a keeper if he still respects your stand on sex, or doesn’t pressure you for sex after. He’s just happy saying it to you and basking in the glow of love.”
8. He doesn’t say it too early in the relationship.
“Sometimes relationships can be super intense and passionate at the beginning, and what feels like love is actually just limerence, or romantic infatuation, in disguise,” says Chong. “If he says that he loves you a few days to two months into the relationship, that’s way too early to build up any sort of unconditional love, and you’re likely to be disappointed when he stops feeling that way six months down the road.”