There is something about the holidays that really makes us feel the love and be overwhelmed with gratitude for the special people in our lives. From ice skating while holding hands to warm nights cuddled up with hot cocoa to a perfect New Year’s kiss, this time of year makes our hearts grow three sizes. While we know our hearts are swollen with love for our significant others, how do we know they are feeling the same way? We asked Dr. Carole Lieberman, M.D., Beverly Hills psychiatrist, to find out. Here are some sure-fire ways to know if your beau loves you more than the sun, the moon and all the stars.
1. They make time for you
Though it may seem simple, making a consistent effort to make time for you shows how much someone cares for you and enjoys your presence. We’re not talking about someone calling you every Saturday night at 3 a.m. kind of consistent, we’re talking about someone who makes time for you even when they don’t have it. Someone who truly cares about you will go out of their way to see you, even if it’s just for half an hour between classes during finals week.
Dr. Lieberman says that someone “always trying to persuade you to get together—and not just for sex” is a sign someone is sincerely into you. Someone who truly loves you will make small excuses to see you just because. In truth, they don’t need a reason. Wanting to spend time with you is more than enough.
2. They truly listen
Whether it’s listening to you rave about your new favorite band or complain about a teacher you aren’t getting along with, someone who really loves you will listen to you fully without judgment or distraction. And they don’t listen because they have to, they listen because they want to and they genuinely care about your feelings, thoughts and ideas. There is nothing more exciting than seeing a loved one’s eyes sparkle when they talk about something they love and nothing more special than hearing a loved one open up to you about something painful for them that most people don’t know. These moments foster the special connection that couples who truly love one another have. Dr. Lieberman tells us that in the moment, you can tell they are truly listening if they look you in the eye and respond to you in a way that shows they’re thinking about you.
"If they return what you said in future conversations, or take action on something you mentioned that you would like, this is proof that they cared about what you were saying," Dr. Lieberman says. When someone truly listens, they’ll remember the little details that even you forgot about. Sarah Hong, a senior at the University of Michigan, says that she feels particularly loved when her significant other “remembers the smallest details, things even I wasn’t paying attention to.” It shows that they care about what she has to say, and that they were fully present when they were hanging out. In a time where it’s easy to get sucked into Instagram or distracted by Netflix, it’s hard to find something as comforting as someone who stays with you in the moment and listens to what you have to say wholeheartedly.
3. They care for you when you’re sick
They don’t need to be at your bedside with a cold washcloth and ibuprofen, but when you’re sick they are sincerely sorry and ask if there is anything they can do to help. Maybe they send simple texts throughout the day to ask how you’re feeling or maybe they stop by and bring you soup, saltines and ginger ale. Dr. Lieberman says, "Some small gestures commonly used to express love can be anything from a hug, to bringing you chicken soup when you’re sick.” These gestures are seemingly small, but when you’re feeling low they can mean the world.
Someone who really loves you wants the best for you mentally, physically and emotionally. Josephine Brown, a freshman at the University of Michigan, says that her boyfriend choosing to hang out with her when she’s sick “even if something big was going on that night that he was missing” would really show his dedication to her.
4. They care about the little things
Someone who truly loves you cares about the little things, like how you like your coffee or whether you like to study with or without music on. It’s these little details that make you who you are and because they care for you fully, they care about finding each and every one of these little details out.
Colin, a sophomore at the Milwaukee School of Engineering, says, "Anyone can be pleased by a nice dinner—you don’t know if you’re loved by that or not." But when his girlfriend brought him a fan, which he likes to have on as he sleeps, to make him comfortable when he stayed the night after a family fight, it showed him how much she loves him. It meant a lot to him that she paid attention to something as small as liking a fan on before going to bed and proved to him just how much she cares.
Dr. Lieberman tells us we’ll know if they truly appreciate the little things about us and the little things we do for them if the person smiles genuinely, says thank you “and then does some sweet little thing for you in return.” Relationships are all about give and take, and appreciating and savoring these moments are what makes it all worth it.
5. They tell you they love you
Though it’s easy to be shy about your feelings, when you truly love someone you can’t hold it in. Someone who really loves you will tell you—not only once, but probably a hundred times. Some of those hundred will be with words, and some will be with actions. The actions don’t always have to be extravagant like a bouquet of roses—Dr. Lieberman tells us that sometimes it can be as simple as a hug. She continues to say that “putting in a lot of effort into making your dates special” or “texting you cute messages that make you smile just to let you know they’re thinking about you” are ways that your significant other lets you know they love you without saying it outright. Although, we do love to hear those three little words!
While there are ways your significant other can express their love for you such as bringing you soup when you’re sick or sending you a simple text message to remind you they’re thinking about you, when they truly love you, you’ll just know. Whether it’s from the sparkle in their eyes or a smile they can’t contain, their love for you will be written all over their face. And when you find a love that true, make sure to show them you love them just as much, and don’t let them go.