Does he want a serious relationship? Should you wait or move on?
The best and most enjoyable relationships are those where both people have a “hell yes!” attitude at the thought of being with another person. People committed to a relationship (both guys and girls) give off a strong sense of emotional intimacy, safety, and an overall sense that you’re home.
Being in a relationship without these feels like compromising on your own happiness.
Not having the certainty the other person is serious makes it hard to emotionally invest, since you never know how long they’ll be there. This is important, because for many people, half of the joy of a relationship is doing nice things with and for the other person.
Signs he wants a serious relationship with you
You don’t have to pursue a relationship with him
Relationships with serious guys have a sense of progression to them. You feel the relationship becoming more and more committed over time, and this happens without you having to pursue or “force” him into it.
Men who are serious value you and the new relationship. From his perspective, he doesn’t want to appear confused, unreliable, or worst of all a “player”. He knows this is a turn-off that will drive you away. He doesn’t want that, he wants to win you over.
As such, a serious man will make his intentions clear through words and actions, and naturally pushes the relationship forward.
He introduces you to friends (and family)
A good sign a relationship is becoming serious is when the guy introduces you to his friends. At this point, he wants to integrate you into all parts of his life, and not keep you tucked away in a hidden corner.
Meeting his family is the next step. A guy will only introduce a girl to his family when he’s sure the relationship will be a serious one.
Think of this from his perspective: no man wants to have friends and family meet his awesome new girlfriend, have them form bonds and attachments, only to break those attachments apart a few months later.
He’d waste not just your time, but everybody else’s. Many parents will even view this as disrespectful since they don’t want to deal with a revolving door of girlfriends. In this case, they’ll either ask him to settle down, or only introduce a girl if he’s 100% sure she’s there to stay.
He does small redecorations around his house for you
We’re not talking anything major here, but small things that make your stays over at his place more comfortable.
For instance, if you’re the coffee type and he isn’t, he might buy a cheap coffee machine or pot just so you don’t miss out on your obsessive coffee habit. Other times, he might clear a few shelves in the closet so you can have room to store a few clothes.
It’s a sign that he wants you to feel comfortable and welcome around him.
He maintains contact even between dates
Partly it’s because he enjoys knowing about your life, and what’s going on in it when he’s not around.
Partly it’s because he can’t stop himself from thinking about you, and not staying in touch just feels wrong to him. From his perspective, communicating and chatting in between dates feels like the right and healthy thing to do.
You’re creating shared hobbies
Many healthy couples will create their own “inside” hobbies that help them bond together. It’s different from one relationship to another, such as long walks to explore unseen corners of the city, going to the gym together, arranging board game nights with friends, have a puzzle night with a glass of wine etc.
He never says you’re “just friends” or casual
Does he ever say “we’re just friends”, “we’re casual, nothing serious”? If yes, you should believe him.
To be fair, some people can shower you with so much affection and attention (called lovebombing) that you let your guard down and overlook those phrases. When this happens, it’s hard to internalize the words and come to terms that he means what he says.
It’s one of those rare cases where you should believe what someone says instead of what they do.
A man looking for a stable, healthy relationship wil never say such things, even as a joke. Even if he tried, he couldn’t say it simply because it doesn’t represent what you mean to him.
The second reason is that he wants to build a relationship, and such comments block a relationship from happening by making you feel he is untrustworthy.
He talks about deeper aspects of his life
For better or worse, most guys are conditioned to come across as stoic, unemotional, unaffected. Him opening up and letting you see his deeper frustrations, scars and worries means he believes you’re someone he can trust and feel safe around. In short, he isn’t afraid to be vulnerable to you.
This can be anything from secret professional aspirations, such as starting his own business or switching careers, to more personal topics such as painful breakups or personal traumas.
He will even talk in-depth about his professional goals, even if he knows you work in a different field and can’t fully understand the context. Simply sharing big plans with you brings him joy.
These vulnerable moments and deeper conversations work to strengthen your relationship and bring the two of you closer together.
He is transparent and honest with you
A very good sign a guy wants a serious relationship is if he’s open and transparent about his day-to-day life, and doesn’t try to seem mysterious and keep you guessing what he might be up to.
You generally have a good idea of his daily routine, and what he’s doing at any given time of day. You know this not because you ask him, but because he voluntarily shares what he’s up to as a way to connect with you. Things such as sharing random photos of his failed cooking, or of funny things going on around him.
Not only that, but the stories he says and explanations he gives always turn out to be true. You never feel lied to, or that he’s trying to impress you. He truly is the person he says he is.
He invites you to formal and ceremonious occasions
Does he take you to more formal gatherings and ceremonies such as work get-togethers with partners, friend’s birthdays, engagement parties, conferences he’s speaking, etc?
If yes, then in his mind the two of you are a solid couple. He’s basically broadcasting to his entire social circle that he’s a taken man, that the two of you have each other’s backs and will go through important life events together.
You feel valued and your opinions important
Men who want to build a strong, happy relationship that lasts, know that both people must be satisfied, respected, and have their needs met in the relationship.
For this reason, he will consider your happiness and needs a priority, and will always try to make decisions by consensus, where the two of you agree on something.
By comparison, men who are just passing through your life will burn bridges to the long term to get what they want from you in the short term.
He trusts you to stay at his place alone
If this happens, it’s clear he trusts you and feels comfortable enough to not invent a reason why you have to leave. He might even enjoy the thought of coming back to you after finishing his errands.
Also, do not let this opportunity go to waste! Add googly eyes to all of the photos in his house and see how long it takes him to notice.
He sticks to plans (and might cancel others) for you
Serious guys will never cancel plans he made with you just to do something “more interesting”. He simply has too much respect for your time as his girlfriend AND he finds you the most interesting person to be around. In fact, he may even cancel other plans so he can spend more time with you.
In other cases, he might rearrange his schedule just so it will be easier for the two of you to meet up. Things like rescheduling his gym hours, or doing hobbies at different hours of the day so the two of you can share more quality time together.
The only occasion he cancels plans are emergencies, and even then he will do his best to reschedule.
Shows affection like couples do
Does he often hold your hand or kiss you on the forehead? These are forms of affection that are seen as more intimate (by both men and women), and tend to be more closely associated with committed relationships rather than friends with benefits or people very early in the dating phase.
If he does show you affection in this way, then he is comfortable with the idea of being seen as a boyfriend.
Double the points if he does it in public settings or around people he knows.
He wants to know if you’re serious too
Just like you, guys who want something stable will want to know if you’re there to stay or just floating around.
He’ll likely ask questions about where you’re coming from and where you’re going, such as recent breakups, if you plan on moving somewhere else, what you’re expectations are from a relationship etc.
It doesn’t have to be obvious, and it doesn’t have to be all at once. It’ll be a question here, a question there but enough for him to get a clearer picture over time.
He talks about the future
He will talk about his plans for the future, and ask how you see your future as well. This doesn’t necessarily mean he wants to plan a common future with you right away. Instead, he might want to see how compatible your plans are with his.
This could be anything from describing what your ideal home would look like, pets yes or no, children and how many, parenting styles, moving in together or even mentions of marriage.
Even if you’re not immediately compatible on these points, talking about these subjects makes it clear that he’s thinking about the long-term future and tries to picture you in it.
He’s comfortable with labels
As a rule of thumb, guys don’t feel the need to verbalize when the dating phase transitions into a serious relationship. From their perspective, it’s better to let actions speak for themselves and make their commitment clear through what they do, rather than what they say.
However, if you do ask the “what are we” question, he will have no problem saying you’re a couple, in a committed relationship or dating exclusively.
By comparison, a guy who wants to use you will deflect “what are we” questions, say it doesn’t matter if you’re boyfriend or girlfriend, or even make you feel guilty for asking the question in the first place.
Your goals become his goals
Guys who see themselves in your life for a long time to come will become invested in your dreams and aspirations. He wants you to succeed, and will be your greatest supporter through thick or thin.
Don’t be surprised if he’ll learn the basics of your job, just so he can understand what you’re working on, and the problems you’re facing. This applies even if he works in a completely different field (such as you’re a software engineer, and he’s a accountant).
You don’t feel the relationship is one bad argument away from breakup.
Healthy and committed relationships have a sense of solidity to them. A single heated argument or debate isn’t enough to break it apart (if both parties argue respectfully). You feel confident holding your ground and argue an aspect of a relationship needs to change (or stay the same), without being afraid the relationship will end.
Arguments in unhealthy relationships, or with people who aren’t invested in a relationship, feel like you’re almost always given an ultimatum: accept the situation or risk a breakup.
Of course, this needs to be taken into context. Every guy has his own dealbreakers they can’t walk away from, no matter how committed they are.
He will talk and work through difficult issues
Guys who aren’t serious won’t bother fixing serious issues in a relationship, since for them it’s not worth the effort to do so. They’ll just bury their heads in the sand, hoping the issue will go away or “fix itself”. Even if it doesn’t go away, they’ll just let it fester because it doesn’t affect them.
By contrast, committed men know that unresolved issues will eat away at the relationship and drive the two people apart. As such, they’ll put in the work to find common ground and reach a solution, even if doing so requires a lot of effort, and/or sometimes conflict.
Even in situations where he can’t discuss an issue right now, he will bring up the topic himself at a later point.
He treats you well even when you don’t do him favors
People who are givers in relationships will often struggle to know if the other person likes them for who they are, or because of what the giver is doing for them.
A man who wants you as a long-term partner always treats you just as well even when you don’t “work for it”.
He absolutely appreciates all the nice things you’re doing for him, but that’s not why he sticks around. He wants to be with you because he likes and enjoys your presence, and feels you’re a positive influence in his life.
Your friends, family and even pets seem to like him
Sometimes friends and family are better at reading a new romantic partner than you are, simply because they’re not emotionally involved and can form a more realistic picture.
If all or most of your friends & family approve of the new guy, that’s a positive sign and shows you’re not the only one who thinks he’s a great person.
He looks after you
Men who care about you are aware of your wellbeing in ways most people are not.
You’ll notice this care and attention in the small, day-to-day gestures:
- After a long day, he’ll ask if you had a chance to eat.
- If you’re visibly tired, he’ll replan the date so you can do something more relaxed rather than a long walk.
- If you’re allergic to an ingredient, he’ll read food labels to make sure it’s not included.
- Random backrubs or massages (that don’t lead anywhere) simply because you’re stressed or in pain.
- He’ll make you tea or coffee in the morning if he wakes up first.
He helps when you need it the most
Life isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, and we’ll often have to navigate through difficult and painful problems. Things like losing your job, death of a loved one, medical issues etc.
If you’ve gone through a rough time recently, but he’s stuck by you through the thick of it all, then there’s a good chance he wants to be with you for the long run.
Signs he’s using you
These can be considered as red flags. But red flags are not stop signs for a relationship. If your gut feeling tells you his intentions are serious, bring up your issues and clear the air.
It is a win-win whichever way it goes. You either figure out he’s not there for the long run, or the two of you learn how to communicate and problem solve to make the budding relationship work.
- He goes cold if he doesn’t get what he wants. He does this partly as punishment to you, partly because he doesn’t care about people who don’t give him everything he wants, every time he wants it.
- He guilt trips you into doing things. Could be physical intimacy, going out on a date or making you forgive for a past mistake of his.
- He pushes you to cancel plans for him, gets upset if you don’t. Your wants or needs are trivial to him, because it doesn’t solve a want or need of his.
- Frequent mentions of the ex. Sometimes you feel you’re there simply to hear him complain. Other times, you’re compared to the ex – and not positively.
- All his exes “were crazy”. Statistically difficult to happen. He might be using the victim card to draw sympathy, or he simply doesn’t have the skillset or emotional maturity to sustain a healthy relationship. His exes likely weren’t crazy, just mad at him for all the mistakes he made.
- Ignores your boundaries, especially physical ones.
- You never feel like a priority. He often makes plans without you. Frequently cancels dates to go out with friends, says he’s not available because he wants to have fun doing X or Y, etc.
- He makes date plans on very short notice – think the same day, or the day after. Could be that previous plans of his got cancelled, or he doesn’t want to bother planning around your time.
- Dates are structured so you somehow spend the night together. It’s never just hanging out for the sake of hanging out.
- He dodges date plans that don’t involve “Netflix and chill” (or variations of it).
- Doesn’t want to label it. Avoids questions regarding the status of your relationship.
- Doesn’t introduce you to friends or family. Conversely, doesn’t want to meet your friends or family.
- He shows (almost) no physical affection outside of the bedroom. Truth be told, some men are the cold, unaffectionate type so it’s not a clear-cut sign of disinterest.
- He always showers you with compliments. Not always a bad sign, but he could be “love bombing” to lower your guard.
- All his friends tell you he isn’t the “dating” kind, either jokingly or seriously. Believe them.
- He agrees with everything you say. Could be lack of personality, or just wants to get in your pants as quickly as possible.
- Your friends and family dislike him. Not always a disqualification, but seeing the man you’re dating from their point of view could at least help you form a more complete opinion of him.
- He’s glued to the phone, but often replies to messages hours or days later. To be fair, he might view messages the same way as email: respond when necessary, ignore otherwise.
- Gives cringy excuses for why he didn’t contact you sooner. Once or twice (or even a few times) is understandable. If it happens all the time it’s obvious he’s not taking you seriously enough to even come up with believable excuses.
- Never make any future plans with you. Planning for an event that is 2 or more weeks away will be met with “maybe’s” or “let’s talk about it some other time”.
- He wants to keep the relationship a secret.
- He doesn’t want to use protection when you are physically intimate.
- Conversations are kept at a superficial level. He doesn’t confide in you about life difficulties, friends, family or ambitions. Depending on the guy, he may want you to talk about these to further string you along, or outright ignore them altogether.
How to tell what a guy wants from you
Some guys can throw a lot of mixed signals, making it hard to tell if he wants a future with you or not.
Others can be very reserved and introverted. They’ll give so little information to work with, you can’t get an accurate read on their intentions.
In cases where the signs of interest alone aren’t clear, learning more about a guy’s background can help you figure out what he wants from you.
Is he a serial monogamist?
Some guys (and girls) have an approach to love that’s called serial monogamy.
In general, serial monogamists focus only on long-term, committed relationships. They’re almost never single, generally dislike the dating phase and have a tendency to transform their flings or friends-with-benefits into serious relationships.
A good way to know if you’re dating a serial monogamist is to piece together a guy’s relationship history timeline.
If he’s only had long term relationships, with very short periods of singledom in between, then he’s almost certainly a serial monogamist.
If this is the case, then chances are he’s serious about you and willing to put in the effort to make a relationship work.
Is he concerned a relationship might change his life?
Many guys are single or casually dating for long periods (2-3 years or more). During that time, they’ll create a lifestyle that is enjoyable and comfortable for them.
Because of this, they tend to be protective of this bachelor lifestyle when dating someone new. They can come across as non-committal, secretive or even stubborn in their way of doing things.
If the right person comes along, he’ll adapt and eventually commit himself fully to a relationship. The process is usually gradual, and involves trust building and learning how to set boundaries around their “guy” time.
Does he have trust issues?
Getting cheated on can create deep-seated trust issues, regardless of gender. People with trust issues are reluctant to commit and can turn to self-destructive coping mechanisms while in a relationship:
- Believing that everybody will betray them at some point.
- Misinterpreting honest mistakes as breaches of trust.
- They might vent their frustrations on you.
Finding out if a guy was cheated on in the past could give you some context for his current behavior. Perhaps he is serious about you, but too afraid to really expose himself.
Is he over his ex?
Habits from the old relationship, risk of getting back with the ex, comparing you to his previous flame etc. are an extra layer of issues that will make it very difficult to build a healthy relationship.
Is a relationship a low priority for him?
Some guys are deeply involved in their personal projects (education, business, sports etc.), and will always prioritize them over any relationship they may have.
In this case, he could be committed to have a relationship, but will come across as disinterested since he doesn’t want to invest too much time and effort into one.