If you’re a female in a relationship, chances are you’ve come across an article or 300, ruthlessly targeted at you, that’s titled along the lines of 10 Signs He Loves You or 25 Ways He Shows He Cares. Unless you’re the world’s most secure human being, chances are you’ve clicked on one or all 300 of them. They all say things like “He puts his phone down when you’re together,” or “He asks you questions about your future,” or, “He goes out of his way to hold your hand or touch you when you’re hanging out.” A quick Google search will turn up literally dozens of these lists. And the lists aren’t wrong, exactly. But… well, they aren’t the whole story either.
A while back, I clicked through a Cosmo story that was a checklist of all the signs that my boyfriend truly loves me and had a hiccup of panic when I couldn’t identify with more than one or two. No, I’m not in a loveless relationship, I’m in an old one. My boyfriend and I live together, and our conversations aren’t often conducted over an intimate dinner with constant eye contact, they’re shouted across two rooms as one of us is unloading the dishwasher and the other is answering work emails. He never inquires about my hopes and dreams because he knows them all. He’s seen me stress cry when achieving one of them was particularly hard. I stay away from him when we’re lounging on the couch because when he gets home from the gym and hasn’t showered yet it’s not the time to snuggle up.
To some this may sound like lowering the bar. But for every new-love behavior that falls by the wayside, there is another that indicates the deep and comfortable love that takes its place.
So for all the long-attached girls out there, here’s a vastly underrepresented list of signs that he still loves you.
1. He reveres the traditions you share.
This can be anything from a standing date night, to the understanding that you two split up at Costco to get double the samples. If he finds these traditions important, it means he’s established a structure in his life that you’re a necessary part of.