When you first begin dating someone, there’s a feeling of newness. You spend a few weeks delighting in their every glance and hang on their every word. As you get to know that special someone better, one of two things can happen. You either decide they’re not your forever match or you fall head over heels in love. But how can you be certain that your newfound partner reciprocates those growing feelings?

Not everyone expresses–or receives–love in the same language. While clear and honest communication is the best way to root out the answer, that can be an awkward conversation–especially early in the relationship.

Instead of leaving you playing a guessing game, look for 11 universal signs that someone your partner is falling in love with you, too.

Here Are 11 Signs Your Partner Is Falling in Love With You

1. They show interest in your life and well-being

You’ll be able to tell that your partner cares about you as a whole person and not just for a casual dinner and movie when they show genuine interest in your life, opinions, thoughts, and ideas.

If there’s something you’re extremely passionate about, your partner should take an interest in it, even if all they do is listen to you ramble on.

On the other hand, if they are not interested in you on a deep, emotional level, they will lack an interest in the mundane parts of your everyday life. Authentic interest shows that they care.

2. They take care of you when you’re sick

Someone who is just dating you casually has no interest in taking care of us when we’re not feeling well. On the other hand, a partner who is willing to see you at your snot-nosed worst is in it for the long haul. They’ll love you even when you’re not looking your best, and they only care about nursing you back to health. As relationship expert Margaret Paul rightly notes,

“Rather than feeling put upon when your partner needs something from you, you receive joy in being able to give to and support your partner in many ways.”

So the partner who helps you through sickness and has seen you at your worst–and stil decides to stick around–is a real keeper!

3. They want to talk to you and show they’re interested

Initiating conversations is one way that human beings show that they’re interested in what one another has to say. If your partner doesn’t seem interested in engaging in open discussions with you, and you find that you’re always reaching out to them, they may not be interested in the things you have to say.

However, when you find that you and your partner are reaching out to each other in equal amounts, it’s most likely love. Therefore, be aware of whether your partner asks questions to spark conversations. If they do, they love continuing to learn more about you and are probably falling in love.

4. They’re always thinking about you if they’re falling in love

Whether or not this is true, it can seem like it when your partner is really in love. You may find that your partner brings you gifts or sends you flowers, or does something as simple as cooking your favorite meal.

These little gestures are not uncommon during casual relationships. However, when they invest time and energy into surprising you for no special reason, that person is wearing their heart on their sleeve. They are falling in love with you.

5. They want your friends and family to like them

And they make an effort at it, too! People who are only interested in a casual fling or short-term relationship don’t much if you meet their parents. In fact, they might go out of their way to dodge that uncomfortable first meeting and family speculation.

However, when true love is blooming, your partner will definitely want your friends and family to think highly of them. Plus, they’ll put in the extra effort that it takes to make the first meeting a smooth one.

6. They brag about you to their friends

In fact, they probably can’t seem to talk about anything else. Someone who is only interested in a casual relationship might do this too. But the difference might be that they just want to show you off like eye candy.

However, when your partner is falling in love, they’re going to want their friends to know just how much they care about you. And, they’ll take pride in your accomplishments and share them willingly with their circle of friends.

7. They do things they normally wouldn’t do

Maybe your partner really isn’t into sports, or exercise, or attending the ballet with you. But they do those activities with you because you like them. They really put in the effort to stay connected with you and to make you feel like your hobbies are worthwhile.

So even if they don’t especially want to catch the latest chick flick, they’ll still buy tickets for two, stand in line for popcorn, and hand you a tissue during those tear-jerking scenes in that movie.

8. They never put you in an uncomfortable position

Your partner will make extra sure never to pressure you into anything that you don’t want to do. They understand and respect your boundaries, and make an effort to communicate with you to make sure that they know where those boundaries lie.

Someone who is falling in love with you will respect you. They would never pressure you into doing something that makes you feel out of place or uncomfortable.

9. They’re committed to you if they are falling in love

Someone who is only interested in a fling probably shies away from any talk of commitment. However, you know that your partner is the real deal when commitment doesn’t scare them, not even a little. They’re ready to be committed to you and are proud to do so. They’re not pining after other people or ex-partners. You’re enough for them.

10. They’re always truthful and aren’t afraid to share everything

This is a sign of both trust and respect. If your partner isn’t afraid to tell you the truth about everything, then it’s a sign that they’re really with you out of love. They most likely won’t lie to you about big things or little things, and they won’t try to placate you. Someone who is only with you for the short-term may often use lies to manipulate you. But you’ll never feel manipulated when your partner is all in.

a good partner

11. They always make time to be with you

Even if they have a busy day at work or a lot of projects coming up, your partner will always make the time to see you, because you’re just as important as all the other things going on in their life. They’re serious about you when they arranged their schedule to make sure the two of you have time to connect.

falling in loveFinal Thoughts on Discerning Whether or Not Your Partner Is Falling in Love

These tell-tale signs can help separate the people who are genuine about their love for you and the people who only want to date you casually. Whether you’re a man or a woman, your partner should always make you feel safe and loved. You always deserve to have someone in your corner who wants to be with you for you.