By Gina B.
How do you know when he really likes you? Are you looking for the right cues?
Do you measure his affection by the amount he spends on dinner? The number of jokes he told on your last date?
Or is the excitement you feel when the two of you are together?
Perhaps you think your mind-blowing sex is the sign of a real relationship?
Aren't all of those questions making your head hurt?
EVERYTHING IS GREAT WHEN YOU'RE TOGETHER, BUT SOME THINGS DO WORRY YOU.
Like, why does he disappear for weeks without calling? Why is he available to talk only from 7 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday?
WHY DO YOU SEE EACH OTHER ONLY OCCASIONALLY? WHY DOES HE AVOID THE TOPIC EVERY TIME YOU MENTION SPENDING MORE TIME TOGETHER, OR [GASP] MONOGAMY?
Without good answers to these questions, you justify his behavior. You tell yourself that he must be busy - way too busy to call, even though he really wants to. At least that's what he tells you when he finally sends you a text message that's laden with abbreviations and emoticons.
He could still want a relationship, right? Even though you hardly see each other, you're sure he likes you, and that he's always thinking about you.
Still, you're on a big analytical hamster-wheel, and this is so much easier than you think.
There's a direct correlation between the amount of time he spends with you and his feelings for you. If a man wants to see you, he will find a way.
IF HE WANTS TO BE IN A RELATIONSHIP WITH YOU, HE WILL TELL YOU. It's just that simple.
Many years ago, I was dating Ghost Boy, a guy that I couldn't figure out. One minute, he was calling and trying to get together. The next, I didn't hear from him. We would go out on fun dates, but then he wouldn't call for several days afterward.
Ghost Boy kept telling me that he didn't want a real relationship, but I didn't believe him. I thought he would come around.
One of my male friends burst my bubble. He explained that time is our most precious commodity. Men--or people in general - don't spend extraneous amounts of free time on things that we don't value. It wasn't that Ghost Boy didn't like me. He liked me just fine . . . but only occasionally.
The trouble was that Ghost Boy didn't regard me as serious relationship material.
My ego was crushed, but my friend had a point. Why would I waste my time with someone who wasn't excited about spending time with me?
At that point, I decided that I would never be haunted by another Ghost Boy. If dating seriously was my intention, I would only consider a man who had a sincere interest.
HOW DO YOU KNOW IF HE HAS SINCERE INTEREST? THERE ARE A FEW THINGS TO WATCH OUT FOR:
DON'T BE FOOLED BY THE BEHAVIOR OF A WEALTHY MAN WHOM YOU DATE OCCASIONALLY. He will take you out for lavish dinners, and potentially give great gifts. Just because they mean a lot to you, material things aren't an indication that he's into you.
Money isn't his pain point; time is. Expensive meals may only mean that he's hungry and needs companionship.
BEWARE OF THE GUY THAT LIKES TO HANG OUT WITH YOU (AND SLEEP WITH YOU), BUT CHOOSES TO KEEP YOUR "RELATIONSHIP" AMBIGUOUS AND UNDEFINED. This can be a deceptive situation because you like each other and have a lot of fun together. But you should believe him when he says that he doesn't want to seriously date you. Despite the good times that you share, he means it.
DON'T BE DISTRACTED BY THE GUY WHO GIVES YOU JUST ENOUGH. HE CALLS ONLY OFTEN ENOUGH TO KEEP YOU INTERESTED, AND SPENDS JUST ENOUGH TIME WITH YOU TO MAKE YOU THINK THAT YOU'RE REALLY IN SOME SORT OF RELATIONSHIP. The moment you're ready to throw in the towel, there he is again - back to give you hope. This could go on for months if you're not careful.
Before you agonize over whether your affections are returned, study his patterns. Listen to what he tells you, and remember . . . IF YOU DON'T SEE HIM, YOU'RE NOT IN A RELATIONSHIP. IF, WHEN YOU SEE HIM, HE TELLS YOU THAT HE WANTS TO KEEP IT CASUAL, BELIEVE HIM AND BEHAVE ACCORDINGLY.
YOU'LL SAVE YOURSELF A LOT OF PAIN LATER.