When I started dating again after my marriage ended, it was exhilarating. To me, jumping back in meant hope—hope that I could find someone fabulous. Hope for something better. Hope is powerful. Hope is good and new and fresh.
But that didn’t mean it was easy. I quickly discovered that I needed a big refresher course. I had forgotten how to date. I had to relearn dating etiquette and how to communicate. Even though I had dated a lot before I got married, it was amazing how much of a newbie I was this time around.
Case in point… The first guy I went out with more than a few times started exhibiting really bizarre stalker-like behavior. I think that I inadvertently led him to believe that I liked him way more than I did. And somehow he thought that we had a committed relationship. It was a mess and kind of alarming. I set him straight on how I felt in a really poor way. Oops. That wasn’t right but I had good intentions. Still, I would have hated to be on the receiving end of that.
And as I talked to friends who were also dating, I soon discovered that the Million Dollar Question was “How can one tell if he really likes me?” I think I’ve boiled it down to these five behaviors that will tell us everything we need to know. If he’s really “into” you, look for these signs:
- He calls or texts you. Often. I don’t care how busy he is, he’ll find a way to be in contact with you every single day. Probably several times a day. Think about the busiest times of your life. If you’ve really liked a guy, you’ve found time to send a text off. I remember being so busy at work that I thought my head was going to explode. I sent a text off to my boyfriend in the bathroom stall. It took about four seconds. If a guy likes you a lot, all you need to do is look at your phone. If he goes silent for a few days, there’s a reason why. He’s not that into you. It sucks but there you have it. Don’t respond by calling and texting. If you do, you’ll just be that annoying psycho girl who won’t leave him alone. One call or text and if he doesn’t respond soon, it’s time to move on.
- He lets you into his inner circle. If you’ve been dating for several weeks and you have yet to meet anyone he knows, there’s a problem. If he has young children, that’s the exception in my book. It took me two months before I let my boyfriend meet my children. That said, if he’s going out of his way to hide you from anyone who knows him, you’re not a keeper. In fact, you’re probably not that important to him either. The reasons why are irrelevant so don’t spend too much time lamenting over it. It’s a bummer but it’s time to move on.
- He dates you. If your “dates” have become late nighters that include some TV time and sex and that’s about it, you’ve become a “friend with benefits.” And if you’ve started sleeping with your guy before you’re sure that you’re both really into each other, you’ve made a big huge mistake and it’s likely not be fixable. Lesson learned. A guy who really likes you wants to go out and show you off. He wants to get to know you and have fun with you. That can include the late nighters and (hopefully) great sex but it certainly won’t be limited to that if he’s really into you.
- He’s affectionate in public. If he hesitates to hold your hand, snuggle up, or kiss you when anyone can see, you’re in trouble. A guy who’s really into you wants everyone to know that you two are together. If he doesn’t, you need to really question your physical chemistry or his intentions. And besides, don’t you want to be with a guy who can’t keep his hands off of you? I do! Set your sights high and don’t settle for less.
- He’s “simple” when it comes to you. If he’s constantly explaining why his life is complicated, that he hasn’t gotten over his last girlfriend (or wife), or that he isn’t sure he’s ready for a commitment, move on! Like immediately. It’s amazing how uncomplicated things are when you’re really into someone. All those trust issues and yearning for the ex simply vanish when you’ve found someone special. Think about it. When you’ve found a guy you’re crazy about, you just want to be with him. Work, ex’es, broken hearts, whatever… they might all exist but the guy you really dig trumps all. It really is that simple. If he’s telling you that he’d like you two to be friends (with some sex thrown in) and see where things go someday, know that you’ll never move past a “friends with benefits” status (or, worse, just a sex buddy). If he tells you that he isn’t ready for a commitment, then that means that he’s not going to commit to you. It sucks but that’s your reality. Move on. Find someone who wants what you do. Find someone who thinks you’re amazing and don’t compromise.
Dating can be fun. And heartbreaking. And frustrating. And awesome. And everything in between. But the worse part about dating is wondering and wasting time on a relationship headed for nowhere. Finding a guy who likes you as much as you like him gives you the best odds possible in finding love. And that’s the best part about exiting a bad marriage and dating again.