If he's doing these things, you can be sure he's smitten.
Often the answer is either, "If you have to ask, probably not," or " There's no way to know. Give him time."
But most men are different than we are. Big surprise, right? They're pretty good at staying in the information gathering stage until they see enough evidence that you might be "The One."
That doesn't mean they don’t make decisions soon. They do, but the decision is usually that he likes you and wants to see you again. Simple as that.
What do we do? We decide we like him, but then start listing all the things that might make him a great boyfriend or husband. We replay the date in our heads. We second guess ourselves. Then we make the jump to trying to figure out what he thought and was going to do next.
Rumination is a female art. It’s kinda how our brains work. So when you start going down the rabbit hole, hold tight and try to stay in discovery mode. Keep gathering information. It may turn out you don’t even care if he’s into you.
Here’s the good news: when he IS in to you, you will know it. This is especially true of men dating over 40. Real grownup men don’t play games. When they're in, they're all in.
Here are 4 surefire signs he definitely likes you:
1. He keeps showing up.
He calls, texts, emails, and keeps asking you out. He's on time or he calls if he's a little late. These are all good signs! Remember though, he has a life. At the beginning, give him a little time between contacts if he needs it. But once he has you on his “maybe she’s a keeper” radar, you won't be able to get rid of him.
2. He tries to make you happy.
He's thoughtful about your dates, planning something he thinks you'll like. Or he's sure to ask you where you want to go. (When he does, thank him and suggest something you love that’s maybe out of the norm. Roller skating? Museum and lunch?) He's nice to your dog, he compliments you, and he lets you share his dessert. He makes sure you're warm enough and that your car is safe. These seem like small things, but they aren't. They're big signs letting you know that he cares about you. Pay attention to these and when you receive them graciously, watch his eyes light up.
3. He tries to impress you.
This part can be annoying if you don’t understand it. You may think he’s a bit arrogant, self-absorbed or bragging. If you can just let him have his moment and know it’s coming from flattery, you might actually find yourself impressed by what he’s telling you. You can smile to yourself because you know this means he wants you to like him. (Men don’t generally try to impress women they don’t care about.) It's not exactly the way we girls do it, but it's their way and it pays to understand that. And, again, it's another good sign.
4. He shares with you.
When you're together or talking on the phone, he's present, happy and interested — most of the time anyway. (A bad day at work can make anyone grumpy or distracted.) Overall his mood is good when you're together. He asks you how your day was and asks your opinion. He remembers the name of the person in your office you can't stand, knows what music you like and checks in with how your family is doing. He tells you about his day, his plans and, in general, what he’s thinking.
It’s pretty simple because men are pretty simple. When they like you, they show it. With grownup courtship there should be no big mystery to keep you up at night. No secret code in his emails to decipher. No having to read between the lines when you talk. No going over and over what he really meant. When he likes you, you will know it and feel it!
If you like him, or think you might be into him, I suggest you just be available, accepting and stay conscious of his actions. Remember, he’s a man and may do things differently than you expect.
The flip side is also simple. When he stops calling, he’s decided that he’s not in to you. Period. Even if you think you really like him, you had so much fun together and so much in common, etc. It takes two to tango, and without him the dance ain’t happening.
If you start going down the rabbit hole of worry and doubt, STOP and ask yourself honestly: Am I really that interested in him? Do I even know him? Do I just hope that he is the right man so dating is over? Is it your ego that wants it? Be sure you're not wasting time and energy on a man you really don’t care about.
There's no magic number of dates where one should know. It usually starts more like a simmer than a roaring boil, so it may not feel the same way it did in your 20s.
Until you feel it, he feels it, or you go your separate ways, it’s best if you just live your life and let it be enough that you're both enjoying each other. Besides, isn’t it a relief to just “be” on a date without having to read between the lines?
This is a key component of dating like a grownup. Love has to start somewhere, with discovery, self-awareness, and patience. And when he likes you, you’ll know — you won’t have to ask.
Bobbi Palmer, founder of Date Like A Grownup is an internationally recognized Expert helping women over 40 find grownup, lasting, passionate love with the right man. As a first time bride at 47, Bobbi shares her compassionate but powerful advice in her free video series "The 4 Devastating Mistakes Women in their Search for Love" at DateLikeaGrownup.com.