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10 Underrated Signs that You've Found "The One" And Other Relationship Advice

Updated on September 16, 2014
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Have you found "the one"?


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Is Chivalry Dead?

No, it's not. But when we're looking for it in all the wrong places, then we tend to think the answer is yes.

Romance, like chivalry, depends on the person or the couple. There is no "formula" for love or how to show it; you don't solve equations to get the perfect Valentine's Day gift. Surprising you with flowers is the age-old classic, that, at this point, is so cliche that it has lost its romantic effect. In movies, it's the stereotypical "I'm sorry I screwed up" bouquet sent to an office or the obligatory "It's your birthday so you probaly expect flowers" notion.

Not every romantic gesture has to be dramatic or obvious. Most times, it's the subtlest of hints that let you know your significant other is the right one.

If you're not good at subtlety, here are a few ways to look out for.

BTW - I use "he" the whole time just because it's easier than being grammatically correct and typing "he or she" every other sentence. I completely recognize and support relationships that aren't heterosexual, so apply these hints to your own SO!

To set the mood...

1. He incorporates your interests into his.

My boyfriend loves to play video games, and he knows how much I love Disney. So he went out and bought me Kingdom Hearts and watched me play it because he wanted me to be included in what he loves to do on his own. When he likes just having you around, no matter what he's doing, that's awesome. If he's willing to include you in it and make it fun for you, too? Even better.

2. He talks about your family like they're friends.

Bringing them up casually in conversation, or recalling something they said and telling you about it. That shows that he no longer feels awkward around them, and he doesn't just feel like "the boyfriend" when everyone's together. He has established his presence as part of your family, and feels secure enough that he enjoys their company. Chances are, it's mutual.

3. He jokes about your period.

This may sound weird, but it's true. If he's joking about it, then he's not grossed out by it. This goes beyond just buying you tampons at the nearest CVS when you give him puppy dog eyes or him showing up with chocolate because otherwise your-psycho-hormonal-self will throw him off a cliff if he doesn't. He's comfortable with you if he talks about it after you've brought it up and told him it's your dreaded week, and that, ladies, is a keeper. You'll hate him that week when he makes jokes, but it'll pass. Like the hormones. Hell, you may even laugh with him.

4. He falls asleep every time you hang out.

Again, it's all about comfort. It's not because you're boring. If it was, he would just make other plans with someone else and leave. He falls asleep because he's so comfortable with you that he feels safe enough to be unconscious around you and his body relaxes to the max, even if he's not that tired. Next time he falls asleep on you, don't wake him up - he's perfectly happy with you.

5. He switches between your pet name and your real name.

True story: my boyfriend and I call each other "shmoop" because of an episode of Seinfeld. All our friends and family even know that's what we call each other. But sometimes, we address each other with actual names; that's how we signal to the other one that we're talking about something serious. When he starts a conversation with your real name instead of "babe" or whatever you two call each other, listen up. (For your relationship, it may even be the exact opposite. But pay attention to it regardless.)

6. He uses concrete details when he talks about the future.

Would you rather hear a guy say "when we're married someday" or "when we have a swingset in the backyard for our kids"? When he's willing to give out actual details about how he's planning his future, that shows commitment. Vagueness helps no one and shows that he isn't, in fact, thinking about anything long-term. Or at least, he hasn't started yet. Wait for him to say something like "I can't wait to teach our kids how to ride a bike" - not only is he thinking about the long-term future, but he's planning on you being right there with him.

7. He lets you have the first bite of his food.

Whether it's in a restaurant or just at home, I like to have taste my boyfriend's food if we're eating something different. By now, he knows I'm eyeing it and offers me a bite before he's even eaten any of it. No matter how hungry he is or how much food I have, he offers every time. When your guy does this, know that for him it's more than just giving you a bite of a cheeseburger or a forkful of spaghetti. He's putting you first and ignoring his own needs to satisfy yours, because he knows it makes you happy.

8. He does not get jealous.

This may come as somewhat of a shock, but jealousy is not something to look for in your guy. In fact, it's a sign of insecurity. Do you want your guy to be insecure about your relationship? Didn't think so. You want him to be completely secure with it, not treating it like you're his favorite toy that no one is allowed to play with but a trophy he admires and respects as his own. Instead of hoping he'll want to fight any guy who looks at you, look to see if he does things like taking your hand in public or draping his arm around your shoulders. This is a nonthreatening mature way of showing who his girl is without letting jealousy or possessiveness even creep into the situation. You don't want to be possessed - that invites a dangerous power-dynamic struggle that no one ends up winning; you want to be acknowledged as together. You should want to make other people jealous of how great your relationship is, not the other way around. If he's jealous, maybe it's because of something you're doing wrong.

9. He actually says the words "I don't care if you shave."

Guys and girls everywhere recognize this universal fact. Completely self-explanatory. A guy who doesn't care if your legs are like coarse wool socks that could cut steel? Lock him down. A girl who doesn't mind that your beard is so long you look like Santa Claus or even homeless? Definitely a keeper. But maybe consider some upkeep at least once in a while. If he can tolerate for you, you can "tame" it for him.

10. He suggests that you go to the gym.

Before you freak, hear me out. When a guy says this to a girl, he's not telling her she's fat. The last thing a guy will ever tell a girl is that she looks fat (unless he's an asshole, in which case he has no problem saying it and she shouldn't be with him anyway). He wants you to take care of yourself when he's not there himself to take care you - in a way, he's trying to be protective of you since he'll be absent. A guy knows that working out makes him healthy and helps him feel good, so why wouldn't he suggest something like that to you? For him, it's not about weight. It's about spending your time in a positive way that is overall beneficial to you. Additionally, if he wants you to go to the gym with him, he wants you to join him in his activities (like my first point). Despite what you may think, the gym is not just for guys, and he doesn't see it that way either. You may not go toe-to-toe with him in the weight room, but you can certainly plop down at a bike and watch an America's Next Top Model marathon for an hour.

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I admit, I'm biased towards this subject. The aforementioned boyfriend and I have been together around five years (his name is Zach, just in case you were wondering) and I've pieced these 10 signs together from my own personal experiences. Of course, it didn't all come from my own relationship. Couples I see in public that I don't know, my friends and their SO's, my parents' marriage: inspiration for this is everywhere.

Don't look for the romantic hero in your fairytale story. Sorry to break it to you, but most likely, he's not going to be like a character out of the fiction novels you read. He'll have flaws. He'll make you mad. You'll fight, get mad at each other, say things you don't mean. You're both human (I hope) - it happens!

Zach and I may not be perfect, but we're pretty damn close. And if you notice any of these 10 things in your own relationship, yours is probably pretty damn close, too.

Of course, being surprised with flowers is still great when it happens. Just don't put all your relationship's merit in how often there's roses waiting for you when you come home from work.

Do's and Do Not's of Dating

Situation
Do
Do Not
He's running late and hasn't contacted you about it.
Send a text or call to see where he is and if he's okay. You have a right to be mad, but it's not the end of the world.
Call him 14 times and leave him 8 text messages. If he's not responding, there's a reason, and it's probably not that he's in a ditch somewhere.
You want him to meet your family.
Tell him how important it is to you, and understand that it's not going to be easy for him to meet your whole family.
Get mad and defensive if his first response is no.Talk it through.
You two are fighting and it won't end any time soon.
Think: what are you fighting about? Will it matter tomorrow, or a year from now? What better way can this be handled?
Refuse to apologize first. Swallow your pride and try to resolve things before you do something you regret.
He has that one friend you just will never like.
Consider if why you dislike him is for an actual reason, and not just for something petty. Former: bring it up. Latter: keep it to yourself. Overall: avoid him if you can.
Tell your boyfriend and expect him to choose between the two of you or to cut the friend off. No one wins when that happens.
Your family or friends don't like him.
Talk about all the great things he does for you. Don't force them all to get along, though.
Complain to them about him at all. If they already don't like him, this will only make it less likely that they ever will.

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