Well, fellas, I’ve shared some sobering advice, as well as seriously sarcastic humor, about the travails we have had with women (and, as applicable, men as well), There’s been positive feedback, and constructive feedback, and I thank each and every one of you who read. Now, it’s time to venture into the territory which is dangerous, dicey, and an all-over risk for a man to do. I’m about to share the signs a man, be it a friend or serious boyfriend, is at the point where he is seriously into you (and maybe ready for a serious commitment).
Ladies (and gentlemen, as applicable), this is a list gleaned not only from years of personal experience, but also witnessing some of the agonizing my male brethren have experienced over the most important, momentous of decisions one could make with regards to a relationship; shifting the gears up to the where words “love,” “serious,” and “commitment” are no longer words feared, but concepts embraced. Yes, we men do have a softer, sensitive side that we rarely show. That side, however, is evident for the entire universe to see when certain factors come into play, and it’s a safe bet when those factors are actually at work, a serious commitment or, at the very least, the desire for a serious commitment is on the short-range radar.
Translation: when these things start to happen (either one or several), it’s a safe bet the man in your life, be it a friend, casual relationship, or steady boyfriend, is really into you and ready to either enter a relationship or, if in a relationship, commit:
- He’s amps up the “neat freak” approach to his place. Now, if he’s already a neat freak, you’ll actually notice differences going from “neat” to “ultra neat!” For the average male, demonstrating a sense of pride in one’s domicile enough to transform it from a “man cave” to a “home” is a monumental step. It means he’s ready to not only welcome you into his home on a moment’s notice, but he’s also ready to demonstrate he’s ready to be a equal in domestic maintenance. This one is huge, trust me. It’s also very easy to screw up – never take it for granted.
- Eating gets healthier or, at the very least, more personal. When a man is at the point where he wants to cook for the person in his life and do more than just make boxed Mac-n-cheese, that’s a big stepping stone. Fewer pizzas and Hot Pocket boxes, and more tomatoes and green peppers in the fridge, is a big deal for any man. Most men are capable of cooking on some level; revealing this skill is entirely different. It takes a serious commitment to not only learn how not only to read a recipe, but take the time and care necessary to prepare a genuinely good meal that’s not loaded with preservatives. This generally means he wants to be with you long-term, and that means a more healthful lifestyle.
- Compliments don’t flow like water, but they don’t dry up. When a man is into a woman and nervous, he will often say some ridiculously romantic things, put you up on a pedestal, or repeatedly say stuff like “I don’t deserve you.” When the pedestal construction ends in a healthy relationship (or the pedestal is quietly dismantled in favor of a realistic lens), things just got real. A good way to tell this is the case is when your man pays you a compliment and tells you how much he cares about you, but suggests a minor tweak. It’s not an attack; he genuinely respects you enough that he is willing to speak his mind, and he’s not afraid of the reaction because he knows he’ll keep his cool.
- He asks you where you want to go first, then wants to discuss it. Rather than simply say “I figured we could…,” he seeks your input. This is important because not only does he value your opinion from a perfunctory standpoint, he seeks agreement. It’s very easy for us to just “go along” with a woman’s decision, it’s another to actually talk about what there is to do there. Now, this doesn’t mean he’s going to suddenly go Martha Stewart at the thought of a wine tasting, but if he says “Yeah, I tried some red wine once and I’d like to see what other stuff is there,” you got a guy who wants to do better for both you and himself.
- Holiday invitations. This seems obvious, but there is a much deeper psychology in play here. When a man is comfortable enough to invite you into his deepest inner sanctum (especially if he has a very close relationship with his family), this is a half step off a full-scale commitment for a relationship, and a surefire sign he is interested in more than just friendship down the road. Now, I’m not saying it’s ring-shopping time, but he’s certainly “feeling out” the situation. Remember, you may think you’ve got to be on your best behavior around the fam, but he’s definitely walking on pins and needles, wondering the opinions of his family, and you can bet he’s praying all goes well, which leads to this next indicator…
- He pulls the classic “I need to go (somewhere). Why don’t you and (mom/dad/family member) talk for a few minutes?”). This is so transparent, it’s comical. If I had a nickel for every time I heard this story (or did it myself), I’d be wealthier than Bill Gates. There is, however, inherent wisdom in this ploy. This is recon; he’s trying to find out what the family thinks of you so he can decide how far to proceed. Bear in mind, family dynamics come into play here, so he will ONLY put you in this situation if he has a good relationship with those he actually pairs you with (if he suggests you talk to the family member who constantly criticizes him, that’s a coin flip). While you’re trying to be yourself as much as can reasonably be expected (any man knows his significant other will be squirming like a worm on a hook), he’s likely turning his stomach in knots because he digs you so much. if the day turns to a “natural feel,” you hit a Grand Slam! (FYI: Women often do the same exact thing!)
- Your hygiene products are inventoried. This is a humorous way of saying your man is willing to make sure you have enough of the things you need to feel “fresh” and “clean,” and may actually volunteer to purchase said supplies. That said, I will add this – some men have a built-in comfort level with feminine products due to the fact they have female siblings or close female friends and, as a result, never developed an “ick factor.” The difference-maker in this case is when he checks out, and how he handles this purchase. If his behavior is, for lack of better words, natural or, better still, he openly admits to being happy to help you out, he digs ya! That you can take that to the bank! Ditto for if he tells you he saw a coupon for said supplies, double points if he actually clipped or downloaded it!
- Talk of sex becomes rather civilized. This statement, of course, is quite relative to the relationship. What I mean by this that sex becomes synonymous with emotional intimacy for a man when a relationship reaches a positive tipping point. Even if you are just close friends, if he really has heavy-duty emotions, anything having to do with the bedroom will be approached like he’s holding a glass jar full of deadly poison. He won’t be uncomfortable so much as he will become extremely tender and compassionate to your emotions and feelings, and will go out of his way to make you feel like the most important person in his universe because, really, you have become just that. If he’s a close friend, this subject becomes taboo until things go “next level.”
- He goes out of his way to prevent the “Wandering Eye.” Look, some of us just have it; that eye that just wanders and notices another woman in the room. It’s a evolutionary defect (sorry Creationists, you all know I’m right on this one.) Some of us are better at controlling it than others when a lady we like is around us. That being said, when a man actively practices maximum restraint over the dangling optical participle, he’s seriously into someone, or ready to commit. It takes a lot of discipline to put this behavior into practice, so said discipline must be practiced 24/7. If he is caught (and it does happen,) and he feels lower than dirt not for being caught, but for his failure in discipline, that’s a biggie.
- When you’re not around, his energy level is noticeably lower. When a man is around the person he either deeply cares for, or is ready to commit to, the energy levels spike. The blood vessels dilate, which means the brain is getting more oxygen, etc. etc. A man in love and feels hopeful is motivated, willing to do whatever it takes to make a real relationship happen and work, and generally just happier. When you are not around, and he’s emotionally healthy (this is very important – poor emotional health requires an immediate and careful relationship assessment by a trained professional), he’s just a notch lower on the energy scale. He can still perform at a high level, but knowing you’re around just helps him find that “extra gear.”
- Hearing your voice, feeling your touch, or just knowing you in the same zip code is a boost. See #10.
- His friends tell you what he says about you, and he’s fine with it. When a man is ready to commit, he won’t be afraid of what his buddies or lady friends say to you, so anything is on the table. What you hear will be nothing he’s not afraid of you hearing. If he’s nervous about something, he will come to you first and if you aren’t available or it’s a fear about something, he will tell a person he can trust implicitly and leave it at one person told. Now if he’s a friend, that actually reverses, because he’s terrified of screwing up the friendship.
And here’s the biggie, and it goes if he’s a friend or a boyfriend…
- He’s not only ready to meet your family, he is excited. Nothing is quite an nerve wracking as meeting someone’s family for the first time. Especially if it’s the family of the one you want to spend your life with. Being enthusiastic (I mean seriously, not over-the-top faking) is the surest sign a man wants to commit or, if he’s just a friend, really, seriously digs you and wants a relationship. For some reason, women are more amenable to this idea, so this point doesn’t hold as much weight but, for men, this is about vulnerability, openness, honesty, and being sure of one’s own integrity. After all, your man is the pink elephant in the room and when you are that “new guy,” it’s not exactly that easy to “do as the Romans do.” If he pulls it off and feels at ease doing it, touchdown!!!
Now, guys, please do me a favorite and don’t prove me wrong on any of this. Ladies, I know you’ll find some fault or error with some of these points, but I feel very safe in my opinions and experience, and am comfortable that this list is a good foundation to work with. I do welcome thoughts and comments on all my posts, though I may debate your thoughts for the purposes of information and opinion (if I think I’m right.) As always, thank you all for reading.
Coming up next…Transforming weakness to strength, and why it’s an essential (and nearly lost) art.