The most exciting part of dating and falling in love is experiencing new romantic relationships as they first begin.
During those initial few weeks or months of courtship, you may get a sense that the man you’re falling for is doing the same. But knowing how to tell if a guy likes you as much as you like him can be tough.
Fortunately, there’s far more to communication than the words we say.
When you know a bit about how to read body language and other forms of nonverbal communication, you can a pretty idea of where your boyfriend’s heart is even before he’s worked up the courage to tell you about it himself.
Nonverbal communication, also known as NVC, is defined as “communication through sending and receiving wordless cues.”
This may include anything from “the use of visual cues such as body language (kinesics), distance (proxemics) and physical environments/appearance, of voice (paralanguage) and of touch (haptics) … [as well as] the use of time (chronemics) and eye contact and the actions of looking while talking and listening, frequency of glances, patterns of fixation, pupil dilation, and blink rate (oculesics).”
In general, knowing how to read people is a great skill to have.
And knowing how to read the body language of men can be a major source of help when you’re trying to figure out if a guy’s in lust or in love.
Here are 3 tips on how to read the body language and non-verbal communication of men when you’re stuck figuring out how to tell if a guy likes you.
1. His eyes
A guy who’s in love with you will often steal glances your way, especially when he thinks you aren’t looking.
Whether the two of you are speaking or enjoying each other’s company in silence, he’ll connect with you through his gaze.
But don’t mistake eye contact for love. It can be easy to confuse attraction for connection.
Many sources will tell you to look at someone’s pupils, and it’s true, our pupils dilate when we meet someone we find attractive. But … that doesn’t necessarily translate to falling in love.
If you’re unsure about how a guy feels about you, pay attention to where his eyes wander when you’re together.
If his gaze is at your cleavage more than your eyes, it could be mean his feelings for you haven’t yet progressed beyond physical attraction yet, which is perfectly OK.
And remember, his gaze should only be one of many indicators to watch for in order to figure out whether or not he’s falling for you.
2. His kiss
There’s no doubt that the beginning of a relationship is always hot, steamy, and passionate. But I’m not talking about those kinds of kisses now.
I’m referring to those light, gentle kisses on the forehead and those sweet ones on the hand — just because.
The kisses he gives you at a red light when you’re driving home together.
These little caring, protective gestures tell you that a man more than “likes” you.
A guy who’s only in ‘lust’ will kiss you with the intention of getting physical, but a guy who’s falling in love will kiss you because he can’t not.
3. His protective instincts
A man will instinctively protect the woman he loves. Whether it’s walking her across the road or making sure she gets home safely after a night out, he’ll do everything he can to keep you safe from harm.
He might put his arm around you if you’re walking in a dodgy part of town.
He might move closer to you and casually touch your hair when he sees another guy checking you out.
Of course, sometimes a man might do these things out of good old-fashioned chivalry, and not because he’s in love.
To find out if he’s in love or just old-fashioned, ask him.
The next time he shows his protective instincts, tell him how much you appreciate it. Then, ask him if that’s how he typically handles himself with women.
A man who’s old-fashioned and not necessarily in love is likely to say something along the lines of, “It’s just who I am,” or, “I was brought up this way.”
Related Stories From YourTango:
A man who’s falling in love, on other hand, may say something like, “I like taking care of you,” or, “I just want to make sure you’re safe.”
His actions will be motivated by feelings of love, not habit or tradition.
Keep in mind that knowing how a man feels about you (or anything else) never relies on one factor alone.
You can’t tell a man is in love with you based only on his eye contact. You need to look at all these factors in context.
As with verbal communication, it takes a conscious effort to nonverbally communicate in order to create a deep connection with someone.
Everyone has their own ideal timeline for relationships. Some men take a little longer to decide whether they think a relationship can go the distance, while others like diving in first and working out how they feel later.
Either way, falling in love is a great feeling. Don’t forget to take your time and enjoy it.
Iona Yeung is a dating and relationship coach who works with single women to identify their roadblocks in dating, attract the good guys, and communicate from a space of love and clarity.