In any relationship, sometimes the smallest, most seemingly-mundane signs of affection can actually mean the most. Recently, u/Sidisback asked women, "How did you realize your significant other actually loves you?" The responses were incredibly heart-warming, and gave me an insight into the ways I'd like to show up in my own future relationships:
1."He took the effort to learn about love languages and find out his own. He started paying attention to how often he was doing those things and how often he was doing things in my 'love language.' His love languages are acts of service, time together, and physical touch. Mine are gifts, words of affirmation, and physical touch. I was feeling like he didn’t really love me because he wasn’t 'speaking' in my love language. But then, I started to pay attention to his love language. Every day, he does so much for me in his own. It's made me confident in his love for me again."
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"He will happily stop whatever he’s doing to help me with anything. He starts rubbing my back if I touch him even slightly, and he’s always happy to do what I want to do because he just wants to spend time with me."
2."When he waited in front of an animal shelter for four hours before it even opened so that he would have first dibs on rescuing a dog I wanted to adopt."
3."It was super early on in our relationship. Probably before he even knew he loved me. We went on a quick trip to Washington, DC together. I had never traveled before in my life, and got funding to do some research. I was getting my degree in history and wanted to literally see everything in 18 hours. Most people would have said it was too much. Not him. He even helped me add things to the list. We saw all the major monuments. and even sat in on a session of Congress. This man literally helped me avoid rain puddles, reminded me to eat, and helped me navigate an unknown city. I couldn't help myself — I left the trip in love with DC, and him, too."
4."He celebrates my accomplishments more than I do."
"I hadn’t even thought about this one. My partner does this, and it never occurred to me that it was how he showed me love, but wow, are you right."
5."So many moments. When he let me crash at his house for two months during a COVID-border closure. Also, when he first told his mom about me, and he was excited to introduce me to his family. Then, when we bought a house together, and again when we were in a long-distance relationship and actively putting in the work to close the gap. He video calls my children at dinner every week. I knew he loved me long before actually he first said, 'I love you,' out loud."
6."He makes the biggest effort to understand my mental illness. I‘ve never met anyone who‘s that patient with me, even though I can be the biggest pain in the ass sometimes."
"The morning after I was almost admitted into the psych ward, my partner said, 'I failed you. I was supposed to look for the signs. They’ve been there for weeks.' Now, he checks in with me daily. Since then, he's taken the time to learn all he can about my mental illness, my childhood, etc.
I’m so incredibly proud, and excited to say we’re getting married in August."
7."My husband is a big acts of service guy. He's not big on words, which is my love language. He gets a heating pad out when I’m about to start my period. When we're getting food at a restaurant, he orders something he knows I'd like, too —we always order different things and share. If I text him saying I had a bad day at work, there is a bath drawn when I get home."
8."We were in a long-distance relationship for over a year. We were separated by an ocean. Even with his heavy workload, he bought a flight ticket to see me almost every week. Few things can make a man do this. One of them is love. I'm happy we have each other."
9."I realized it last year, when there was another COVID surge in the UK. It was a few days until Christmas. I was so anxious about getting COVID and not being able to see my family, particularly my Nan. I was convinced I had symptoms. The test center was a fair drive away. I don't drive, and postal tests were delayed. He held me while I was anxious and sobbing. Then, he told me to book into the test center for the morning, and he would stay tonight, and drive me to get the test done, and call in late for work. And that's what he did. All through the night, he kept holding me close and telling me how much he loved me and it would be okay. I still remember feeling so overwhelmed with love for him that night, despite my anxiety attacks."
10."He was a pallbearer for my sister's funeral when she died. He comforted me and supported me while grieving when both of my younger sisters died."
"He also wanted, and chose, to stay with me when I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at 28 years old. His life would have been much easier had he taken the out I gave him when I was diagnosed, but he's still here, 25 years later."
11."We had been arguing and not really speaking to each other, but he still made sure the gate was open by the time I got home from work, so I wouldn’t have to get out of my car to open it."
"It was a small and meaningful gesture."
12."He makes me a cup of tea in bed every morning, he always gives me the last piece of whatever we are eating, he is thoughtful, and he moved countries to be with me."
13."My boyfriend hates alcohol — he doesn’t like the smell, taste, and the effect it has on people. I drink every so often, and he doesn't judge me. One night, I ended up drinking too much too fast and was just cuddled up to the toilet, throwing up. He got me water, sat right next to me, rubbed my back, and kept saying, 'I’m so sorry, love. I love you,” over and over again. He helped me clean myself up, held me in his arms as I felt super sick, and kept telling me how much he loved me. It made me look at him and think, 'This man really must love me.'"
14."She donated a kidney to me. But honestly, I knew long before then."
15."I had been gone for a few days. I came home, and we were having dinner together. He rubbed his head on my arm and just had this puppy-loving look on his face. My heart just melted."
16."I have ADD, and it's pretty normal for me to say 'random' things out of nowhere — it follows my train of thought but no one else's — or put something down, forget about it, and then, my partner will find a random object in a weird place. Shortly after we'd moved in together, I lent him my favorite book. We were cleaning the house one Sunday; I was doing laundry, and he was washing the dishes. I walked into the kitchen and said, 'I love the bit that you're up to,' then walked out. He actually took the time to stop and think about my possible train of thought so he could work out what I was talking about — I'd come out of the bedroom, the book I lent him was on his bedside table, so I was talking about the book."
17."In the beginning, it was just his eagerness to be around me and want to do something or nothing together that made me realize he loved me. And it's the fact that 20 years later, he continues to prefer to do things with me over anyone else that I truly know that yeah, he does still love me."
18."He is attentive and listens to me, even when I have something difficult for him to hear. He sometimes knows what I'm feeling before I do."
19."I made him a birthday card with a tree and a sunset — the roots spelled out, 'Happy,' and behind that, drawn out, was 'Birthday.' He got super happy, couldn't believe I drew it for him, and got even more excited when I showed him what the roots spelled out. He immediately showed it off to his friends in the dorm, then hung it on his wall with a sticky note 'cause that's all he had. He really hyped me up."
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20."I’m a widow now. We were together for 28 years. He helped my family with so many things: moving, giving my sister a car 20 years ago (she still has it), and encouraging me to stay in college when I wanted to give up. He’d get up extra early to have coffee ready, gas up my car, got us a cat even though he wasn’t a cat person. There's just so many little things. He wasn’t a 'grand gestures' guy — he showed his love through everyday actions that were smaller, and more meaningful. He did surprise me with roses to my class and during my vacations a few times, though. I miss him so much. Damn."
When did you realize your current (or former) romantic partner actually loved you? Let me know in the comments.
Note: Submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.