We all have doubts from time to time. If you're like many who contact me, you will have questioned your partners true feelings for you on more than one occasion ("hey Michael, does my boyfriend love me?" — so common, guys asking about girlfriends? Less so. But still happens.)
It really isn't so strange to wonder if someone loves you as much as you love them.
Problem with this uncertainty is that it can put an unnecessary level of strain on the relationship. As such, it is vitally important to tackle your doubts as soon as possible. Confirm or squash them, and act accordingly. Otherwise you only prolong the pain, and in turn, further increase the possibility of a breakup occurring.
Below I have identified 3 areas of a relationship you can use to help determine his or hers feelings for you.
3 Ways to Tell if They Love you
There could be many reasons why you have been questioning your partners true feelings for you. Each being a potential clue. But rather than list every possible one, I found it easier to break down a relationship to the following 3 zones, which can then be examined to establish if love has gone cold.
- Presence / attitude
It is my hope that you can use these to help gauge your partners affections for you.
Let's break them down and see how they play out …
As the saying goes, it's not what they say that counts, it's what they do. And while I wouldn't suggest you take that literally (what people say matters, too) this is a great place to begin our investigation.
Have you ever noticed that your partner carries out a fairly regular pattern of actions in your relationship? Here are a few examples of actions that someone may perform regularly in a relationship:
- The giving of gifts, like flowers and chocolates;
- Holding your hand;
- Willing to drop something they had planned to do … for you;
- Taking you out to eat;
- Cooking for you;
- Taking the time to kiss you, even when in a rush;
- Opening doors (especially guys);
- Taking the time check in and see you're OK;
- Will hug you without being asked to;
- Giving massages;
- Running you a nice bath;
- Taking care of chores on your behalf;
- And so on …
I'm sure I've missed some obvious examples. Can you identify actions your partner no longer carries out that could reveal a loss of feeling for you?
You can also include any efforts they make in their overall appearance, and frequency of taking showers etc.
However, something to keep in mind:
The longer you've been dating, the more likely some actions will occur less and less over time. Not because we fall out of love. But because as we become more comfortable and familiar in the relationship, we tend to do less of certain actions.
You have to judge for yourself if whatever reduction of actions you note are due to increases in comfort in the relationship, or a genuine loss of love and affection.
However, if you notice your partner is doing less of something rather suddenly, it would not be unreasonable to wonder why. Because normally actions change gradually. Reduction of doing something deemed "nice" normally doesn't stop overnight. We are creatures of habit after all.
Something to keep in mind.
And what if they're doing MORE of a given action? Well, that could point to guilt. But be careful with that. It might not be guilt. You have to tread very carefully here.
The point here is that there will always be a reason for noticeable changes in your partners actions.
Your job it figure out what that might be.
Using the same principle, we can now look at the other 2 areas for your consideration.
2. Language or Communication
Men certainly differ to women on the communication front. But that is for another article. Instead, we are merely interested in seeing if the pattern of language between you both has changed of late.
Typically you will notice this most in face-to-face exchanges. Especially when you combine it with the 3rd factor, which we'll touch upon in just a moment.
With communication, you may — for example — note subtle changes in telephone calls. Not just in frequency (which is more of an action example,) but in the choice of words and general openness to communicate with you.
It would be silly of me to also not mention the tone and sincerity in their voice as yet another factor to watch, though this will be explained below.
We don't just talk on the phone or face-to-face. You could also note differences in their text messages to you, and emails.
Has the wording (and therefore meaning) changed?
Questions you might ask yourself are:
- Does he ask — and does he genuinely care — how I feel?
- How often does she tell me just what I mean to her?
- Is he as open with me now as he used to be?
- Are her text messages shorter than they used to be?
- Does he tell me "I love you" without being prompted?
Observe how the communication and language between you both has evolved (or devolved) over the course of your relationship, especially of late.
Openness, the willingness to share, that level of intimacy is a sign that someone trusts you and points to a connection. If you notice a reduction of this, you might have a clue that love has gone colder.
The last clue entwines with the above 2 rather nicely …
3. Presence or Attitude
Have you ever felt as though there was a disconnection between you and your partner? Ever been in a situation where everything appeared to be in order, but something was clearly "off" or wrong?
This is what I mean by presence.
This clearly overlaps with both "action" and "language," as it is at the very core of your boyfriend or girlfriends behaviour towards you, and in everything they do. This is something which can not be faked easily, at least not for long periods of time. Some argue that it can't be faked at all, period.
An example of this is when your partner is a little distant with you, as though their mind is elsewhere. This is an invisible factor, but one clearly felt.
Do they sound genuinely pleased to hear from you when you call, or when they see you? You can often tell.
This, out of the 3, is the aspect that is perhaps the most telling. One way to measure it is to monitor your feelings in response to whatever it is your partner is doing at that time. How do you feel when you're with them? Do you feel something is missing, or lacking? You can sometimes use your feelings as a gauge for what is going on.
Caveat: annoyingly, while feelings can be useful, they can also mislead. If you're upset, if something has happened to cause you emotional angst then their usefulness as a tool to guide diminishes.
Be Careful How You Proceed
I have purposely avoided giving you a "if this do that" instruction on this page.
You have to be careful how you proceed based on what you discover. It is quite easy to interpret almost any action, language or presence factor wrongly.
Start by looking at your partners actions, language and presence today, compared to when you felt the relationship was surer or more fulfilling.
What has changed?
Then consider whether any of those changes might be due to factors that occur through the natural ageing process of a relationship.
Allow for natural dips or off-days.
Any number of noticeable changes in your partners actions, language or presence could hint at a problem in your relationship. But? It is also perfectly possible that these changes are caused by something completely unrelated to you, and how he or she feels about you.
This is a point worth remembering. I wouldn't want you jumping to the wrong conclusion.
For example, they may have family problems, stress at work, or a health condition. A different plan would be needed if this was the case. In this instance, the real issue might be why they felt they couldn't confide in you (assuming you didn't know of course.)
However, if you are sure it IS about you and the relationship, here are some common causes of a general drop in interest:
- They may be irritated by something you do (you may not even be aware of it);
- They might feel you are not trusting them fully (perhaps they give you reason not to);
- Perhaps they have misunderstood your good intentions (are you trying too hard to be helpful?);
- It could just be boredom!
Those are the more general causes that you might start with. While the specifics will be unique to each couple, you can generally round them up into issues of trust, freedom, and importance. In other words, we all want to be trusted. And we also want to trust. Secondly, we all want freedom, rather than feel trapped. And lastly we want to feel important as well. I am sure you can think of some others along the same line.
Wrapping This All Up
It won't surprise you to know that relationships have been known to end abruptly, not last forever, or simply sizzle out. Talk about an understatement! But that is just how it goes.
If your partner is beginning to run a little cold in the relationship, it is quite possible that unless you figure out why and act accordingly, you may eventually separate. With that said, I can tell you that if that happens, there are definite steps you may take to not only restore your relationship, but to enhance it too.
Before we end, I have one final question for you: how have YOUR actions, language, and presence / attitude toward your partner changed over the course of your relationship?