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23 subtle signs your partner is in love with you, even if they haven't said it yet

Look, you didn’t catch them staring at you smiling like a goof because they *don't* love you….

Figuring out whether your crush likes you back is one thing, but trying to find out if the person you’ve caught major feelings for has fallen equally hard can be even more intense. Yes, we’re talking about decoding whether they’re in love with you, and, TBH, it’s a big question. While we wish we could say it’s an easy one to answer, figuring out whether that person you’ve been dating/hooking up with has caught the big-time feels can be pretty complicated—unless of course they straight up tell you.

“The best way to find out whether or not someone loves you is to ask them,” explains marriage and family therapist Alyson Bullock. “Learning the skill of clear, direct communication is one of the most helpful things for your relationship.”

While speaking up about your feelings—especially the intense, romantic ones—might sound spooky, holding back or spending months waiting around wondering how your partner really feels probably isn't doing you (or your relationship!) any favours. “In order to stay grounded in each person’s reality, there must be clear, honest, and direct communication about the feelings each person has for the other,” Bullock explains.

So yeah, if you’ve got those serious feels for someone and want to know if they love you back, the easiest way to find out is, to be honest with them about your feelings and hope they respond in kind. But because being the first to drop the L-bomb can be absolutely terrifying easier said than done, you may want to do a little covert sleuthing to suss out what kind of feelings the object of your affections may have brewing. Luckily, Bullock says there can be some key signs to look out for if you’re trying to figure out if your partner loves you.

In fact, just because your partner hasn't officially dropped the whole "I love you" thing, it doesn’t mean they’re not experiencing all the feels. Bullock says it's entirely possible your partner could be feeling deep love, even if they haven't said the famous three words, eight letters yet. Maybe they've been hurt before, or simply just want to take things slow. Which is, of course, totally valid. This is where respecting boundaries is important!

And while you don't want to read too much into your partner's actions, oftentimes they do speak louder than words. If you notice your partner doing any of the below things, there’s a solid chance they’re moving right along into definite love territory.

1. You're part of their social media.

Like it or not, social media is here to stay, and Bullock says if your partner involves you in their socials, whether that’s posting about you, tagging you, or simply being chill about you looking over their shoulder when they scroll, it might “show they’re not afraid to take you public,” she explains. While that doesn’t mean they have to post about you nonstop, at least occasional social media interaction likely means “they want the world to know you’re an item, and they also have nothing to hide as far as illicit online relationships.”

2. They talk about a future with you in it.

We don’t mean they’ve planned out your wedding, but when your partner mentions something like how cute your kids would be, or how they want to go backpacking with you next semester, Bullock explains that’s a clear sign they can at least picture a future with you. “The future is where people’s dreams live, and including you in those dreams is a pretty sure sign they’re in love with you,” she says.

3. They never leave you wondering when (or if!) you’re going to see them next.

Someone who likes you is going to make plans with you, end of story. Someone who loves you is going to make sure they always know exactly when they’ll be seeing you next. If they’re already planning your next date before they even kiss you goodbye and it seems like all their free time is going straight to you, there’s a good chance love is in the air.

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4. They’re ~emotionally~ intimate with you.

Being physically intimate is one thing, but being vulnerable and sharing intimate details is a whole other, and it could be a sign your S.O. feels safe with you. “These details could be anything from sharing a most embarrassing moment to telling you about their first experience with depression,” Bullock says. “If they trust you with the parts of them that they hide from other people, you can be sure that they care for you on a deep level.”

5. They want to meet your friends and family.

If introducing them to your family is NBD, they actually want to join your friends for brunch, and they can’t wait to be your plus-one to your cousin’s wedding next month, that’s someone who probably has some pretty intense feelings. A person who is eager to be a part of your whole life, including your friendships and family life, is probably someone whose feelings are getting pretty serious. In other words, yeah, they love you.

6. They pick up thoughtful gifts for you.

Even if they're not the best gift-giver in the world, they buy you socks with corgis on them just because they know you love corgis. Know what I mean? They pay attention to things you mention or at least try to find something you didn’t even know you needed.

7. They inadvertently do tasks and chores you hate.

Okay, so some people just aren’t big on gifts, and that’s fine—it’s a love language, after all. But if your partner is doing your dishes, taking your trash out, making your bed in the a.m., or doing any sort of chore/necessity you would otherwise hate doing yourself, it’s a pretty good sign they have the hots for you, says Alex Z., 29. Now we don't mean they're scrubbing your entire apartment (but if so, yay!), but checking off those pesky task items you despise—without you asking—is a v good sign. It's also v convenient when your dishes keep stacking up.

8. They try to get into the things you like.

Like, maybe he sat through an entire season of The Bachelor and listened to you rant about the contestants just because? “If it makes her happy, then it makes me happy,” says Francisco C., 26. This doesn't mean they have to like everything you like or even end up liking it at all, but showing interest in the things that get you excited shows a desire to connect with you on multiple levels.

9. They remember small details.

Maybe when the holidays roll around they surprise you with the exact bag you mentioned literal months ago, maybe they remember exactly what you were wearing on your first date, or maybe they’ve memorized every detail of that funny story you told them once about that embarrassing thing you did on the bus in high school. The point is, someone who’s paying attention to the little things is definitely falling in love.

10. They're reminded of you All! The! Time!

If they find a way to make every story about you or something that you did together, there’s probably a good chance they have some feels. "When songs on the radio remind you of them or things you did together," says Ross G., 28. Granted, you might not *know* about all of these instances because hi, it's pretty personal. But if you ever get sent a meme or text with a "this made me think of you," things are looking up in the love department.

11. They find any reason to bring you up to their friends and family.

Literally any reason. “When I’m in love, that person typically comes up more often than not in conversation with my friends and family,” says Hayden K., 25. “It’s like everything you talk about reminds you of a story with them.” Since you're probably not always with their inner circle solo, pay attention to what their friends say when you *do* see them. If your S.O.'s pals ask about the new promotion or hobby milestone you def didn't tell them about, that's a sign your S.O. brags about you and wants their friends to like you.

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12. They want to learn about your past.

Someone who loves you is usually pretty eager to know everything about you, including who you were when you were younger and how you became who you are today. If they’re asking a lot of questions about your past, your family, and your background—and remembering the details—that’s a pretty good sign they’re in love.

13. They don't get FOMO when they're with you.

If someone has the option to go out with their friends, 90 per cent of the time, they're going to go out with their friends. But if the question is: hang out with friends or hang out with you, and they make plans with you instead, that is a great sign. “I know I’m not having FOMO when I’m with them,” says Matt D., 25. This is because love shifts our perspective, Bullock says, so hanging with the bros doesn't feel quite as important as it once did.

14. They don’t freak out when you cry.

Okay, yes, so anyone in your life who cares about you should be able to handle a few tears. That said, crying is super vulnerable—especially in front of a (new) romantic partner. If you can have a little breakdown in front of your person without feeling awkward, embarrassed, or worried about “scaring them off,” that’s a good sign you’re both in love.

15. You’re the first person they tell the good news.

It’s a little bit of a cliché, but For! Good! Reason! If you’re the first person they want to tell about their new job, big promotion, or finally scoring tickets to see their fave musician of all time, things are certainly looking like love.

16. They're (almost) always paying attention.

While you can’t expect them to have a perfect memory, they remember virtually everything. Or at the very least, they remember the super important stuff. And when something big comes up, they make it super clear they're all ears. They put their phone down or pause the movie, with the reason being they care enough to focus on you. You’re not an afterthought. “More than anything, just being a good listener is a good sign,” says Carter M., 26.

17. They let you know they're thinking about you.

They might not text you “I love you,” but they message you when they hear that song you had stuck in your head the other day or when someone at work used a phrase you hate. Basically, you’re always on their mind. And when you're in public, they put their hand around your waist and give it a little squeeze at just the right moments. Even more, Bullock says when someone is in love with you, they'll typically go out of their way to create those sweet moments of intimacy.

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18. They drop everything when you need it most.

It’s not even a question. If you need them, for whatever reason, they're there...and they don't drag their feet or complain later that they helped you out. In fact, Bullock says they'll likely change their schedule for you—even if it's inconvenient—if they're in lurve. It's also a good sign if they notice when something is wrong, even if you don’t admit it. (But also, you should just admit it, since they know anyway.)

19. You’re the person they text as a test when their phone is being weird.

Okay, hear me out on this one. You know when you get a new phone and iMesssage takes a little while to sync up, or for whatever reason you can’t send images or whatever and you need to text a trusted person to test if the issue has been resolved? Yeah, that person is your soulmate. Sorry, I don’t make the rules; just facts here. If you’re the person getting those, “Hey can you let me know if this text comes through normal?” messages, that’s love, baby.

20. They know when something’s wrong without you having to tell them.

When the vibes are off and they can tell as soon as you walk in the door—even if you’re actively trying to hide it—that’s a person who is super in sync with your emotions. Someone who knows something’s up with you practically before you do—and who actually cares—is probably someone who loves you.

21. They lean on you for support.

You’re their go-to. You keep their head on straight. They text or call you when they feel like walking out of work or skipping a day at the gym. They trust you more than anyone, and even when you two fight (because yup, every couple has arguments), you're both willing to put in the effort to fix things since you know how strong you are together as a team.

22. They support your dreams.

They're not about to let you quit your job so you can move to Spain and try your hand at bullfighting out of the blue, but they absolutely would help you open your own restaurant, or go back to school to major as an engineer. Or… if it made personal sense to you, become a bullfighter. And yup, they brag about you. Sometimes you feel like they're more proud of your new job than you are.

23. You catch them staring at you and smiling to themselves.

Bullock says that giddy, butterflies-in-the-belly feeling is thanks to the ~love hormone~ called oxytocin. When you experience these feelings and hormone surges long enough, real, lasting love can form. And if you’ve ever witnessed the cuteness of your S.O. just gazing at you with adoration, it’s safe to say they're crazy about you.