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I love you. It’s probably one of the most common 3-word phrases we say, and we say it for just about everything. So, even if your boyfriend, fiancé or husband says, “I love you”, how do you know he really loves you?

If you know what to look for, there are some sure signs that he loves you. Here are nine of them.

Actions speak louder than words

Your guy might be a man of many words, or he might be more reserved. Either way, he may or may not say the actual words, “I love you.” And that’s okay. It doesn’t mean he doesn’t love you.

And if you’re looking for love only in what he says, then you might be looking in the wrong places. Instead of focusing on his words, focus on his actions. What does he do?

These nine signs are all about actions, instead of the magic words, “I love you.”

  1. He trusts you

Are you familiar with that famous Biblical quote, “Love is patient, love is kind”? Well, toward the end of this famous scriptural passage, it goes on to say, Love “always trusts”, and whether you’re religious or not, it’s safe to say the Bible was on to something here.

If your partner loves you, he will also trust you. So, if he’s suspicious of you whenever you go out with your friends, or anytime you’re separate, that’s not a great sign.

If he doubts or questions what you say or do – especially when it comes to other men – he might like you a lot, but it might be a sign that he’s possessive and insecure, rather than loving.

  1. He lets you be yourself

Do you feel like you can be yourself with him? Apart from having good chemistry, one reason why you can be yourself around someone who loves you is that he loves you. That means he loves your quirks, your idiosyncrasies and everything that makes you, you.

You don’t have to be perfect around him, or censor who you are. He lets you be yourself and doesn’t judge or mock you for it.

  1. He doesn’t try to change you

It’s important to be with a guy who challenges you to be a better person. And it’s good to be with someone who will hold you accountable. But that’s not the same as someone trying to change you.

If he’s always telling you to dress differently, that’s one minor way he could be trying to change you. Or, if he dismisses your dreams and goals and tells you to do something else, that’s a bad sign, and one that says he doesn’t love you, and what you’re meant to do.

  1. He introduces you to his closest friends

Does he want you to meet his close friends? That’s a great indication that you’re not only important to him, but that he’s also very proud of you. It’s true that meeting his friends can be nerve-wracking, especially if they’ve been in his life for a long time.

But take a deep breath and enjoy it – it’s your moment to shine, and boy, does he want you to. Introducing you to his friends can be his way of showing that he’s not afraid to invest more time with you, and to start including you into his social circle.

  1. He includes you in his future plans

If it’s June, and he’s talking about a winter getaway with you, that’s something to celebrate. That’s because he’s looking into his future and seeing you there with him. What’s more, he’s taking steps to plan and build this future with you.

  1. He pays attention and his gifts prove it

It’s easy to spend time with someone. We have bars, restaurants, art shows, concerts, and so much more to do together. But after a while, it’s important to see if he’s actually paying attention to you. Does he listen to what you share? Does he know what makes you tick and what lights you up?

If he’s been paying attention because he loves you, he’ll be able to give you gifts that are truly personal. That’s why it’s important to not get hung up on what media and society say.

For example, your guy might not give you flowers, jewelry, and romantic Hallmark cards, but that’s okay. Because after he gets to know you, he can find something even better and fitting for you.

  1. He shares you on social media

Social media is a little tricky, and if your guy doesn’t really use his social media accounts, then you can probably ignore this sign. But if he does use Instagram or Facebook, and he’s not afraid to post about you and your time together (along with all his other posts), then that’s a great sign.

That’s because he’s not afraid to show people that he has someone special in his life. In a way, it’s how he publicly says how much he likes you. That, in and of itself, shows how much he’s into you.

  1. He teases you

Romeo and Juliet didn’t tease each other, and neither do many famous, fictional couples. But that’s not real life, it’s romance and fiction. In real life, however, guys love to tease their friends, and if he teases you, it’s because he loves you.

He’ll tease you because he sees you as more than just a sexual excursion. Instead, he’s treating you like he would treat a best friend, and that’s a sign of growing intimacy and even love.

When it comes to teasing, guys love to see that they can make you laugh, but they also want to see that you can tease back. Men love to be challenged by women they love, so don’t be afraid to tease him, too.

  1. He loves spending time with you, but still hangs out with other friends

This might seem like a strange way to tell if a guy loves you, but here’s why this is a good sign. If a guy wants to spend all of his time with you, chances are he’s possessive, clingy, needy and insecure. This can be exhausting, suffocating and a sign of co-dependency rather than love.

When your guy isn’t afraid to part ways for a night or two, it means he has a separate life, and so do you. Instead of becoming enmeshed in a dysfunctional relationship, being able to do things separately without trust issues or suspicion is a great sign of love.

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