Say you followed my advice, took a Thai cooking class, ignored the hottest guy (who all the other women flirted with) and went for 2nd-hottest (who also had a really nice scarf and Love in the Time of Cholera in his bag), looked at the course listings together and decided to take another class together next week and get a drink afterward.
Now it's been three weeks; you've been on four dates, he's cooked you dinner, you charmed his dog, he took you for sushi, you spent the night at his place, he emailed you at work, you called to say hi, he called you back. You think you really like him. Does he really like you too? You have no idea!
Everyone knows the anxiety of the early relationship. Your hope has sprung anew, but you're not sure if he's feeling the same. Is he daydreaming about you too? Coming up with baby names (though you know it's WAY too early)? Sure, you can read He's Just Not That Into You but how do you know when he is into you? And even more to the point, how do you know he's going to stay that way?
The sad answer is that you can't know for sure; people change, novelty wears off, love ebbs and flows (or at least reconfigures). But there is one indicator that I think women underestimate — and sometimes even take as a bad sign: Is he appreciative? Can you tell that he's psyched to be with you? Does he say it or show you in some other way?
Here are 5 signs he's appreciating you and taking you seriously:
1. He's excited to make plans. He carves time out of his schedule for you. Maybe he even schedules the next date with you before you walk out the door in the morning.
2. He responds to your reach-outs (and not by text if you've called!) or he reaches out himself.
3. He wants you to meet his friends, and he's excited to meet yours.
4. He pays attention. How many times did he have to ask if you take milk with your coffee? Only once? Great!
5. You can see it in his eyes. He lights up when you come in. You make him smile.
Now, there is one caveat to all of this: Some of you women, I know from experience, get freaked out when a guy shows a lot of interest. Of course no one wants (or should date) a wet blanket, but too many women seem to feel that if a guy is really enthusiastic about being with them then he must be a loser or not deserving. (It's a slight variation on the old Groucho Marx joke about not wanting to be a member of any group that would let him in.)
It's probably not a good sign if he says "I've never dated anyone remotely close to how beautiful you are," but if he says "You're the most beautiful woman in the world to me," you have to give him a chance.
If you're the kind of woman who responds better when guys act like jerks, guess what? You're always going to date jerks. It's time to train yourself to look for a guy who appreciates you and not hold that against him. It's too easy psychologically to have deep-seated fears that we aren't worthy of affection so when someone cares for us, we push them away. But as long as you do that, the only guys you'll ever want won't really want you back, and you can see where that's headed.
Instead, remind yourself that you are worth it (you are!), that you deserve to be loved (you do!), and then look for guys who show you that kind of affection (they're out there, trust me).
Don't just let the man care for you, insist that he does. Otherwise, throw him back; he's no keeper.
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