When you're in love with someone, of course you want them to love you in return. But many times, that doesn't always happen when you want it to happen, and you may be wondering how to tell if your partner loves you. For instance, one partner may be ready for marriage in the next year or so while the other is still in the mindset of taking things day by day. One partner may think they found "The One" immediately, while the other still needs a little convincing. When you realize that your partner likes you, but might not be in love with you, it's not the greatest feeling in the world. But according to experts, there's one really important thing you need to know.
"A partner that likes you, cares about you," relationship coach and expert, Jenna Ponaman, CPC, tells Bustle. "They will pay attention to the troubling and exciting situations you experience, and they want you to be happy."
When someone isn't in love with you just yet, it's easy to be down on yourself for thinking you're not "good enough" for them. But as Ponaman says, that's never really the case. "Don’t ever take it personally if someone you love doesn’t have those feelings for you," she says. "I know, that sounds kind of crazy but when you think about it, but it really has nothing to do with you. When a person chooses not to move forward in love, they have their own insecurity holding them back."
A relationship takes two people to work. If your partner isn't quite ready to take it to the next level but you are, it's really up to you to decide what your next steps are going to be. Unless they've outwardly told you that they're not "in love" just yet, it can be hard to know where you stand with them. So here are some signs that your partner likes you, but isn't in love with you yet, as well as what to do about it.
1. You Still Find Yourself Questioning Their Feelings For You
A partner who is in love will not only care about you, but will make you a priority in their life, Ponaman says. They will be your support system and your number one cheerleader. They accept you for all that you are and they admire your quirks. They'll also above and beyond to make sure you feel loved and happy. In short, you'll know how they feel. "Someone who likes you but isn’t in love isn’t ready for that next level yet," she says. "It may seem very intimate when you're in the honeymoon phase, but when it comes down to the nitty gritty, they’re just not on that level yet." If you still find yourself questioning whether or not they love you, that's a sign that may still be in the "in like" stage. All hope isn't lost, but if you're concerned, talk with them about it.
2. They're Still Seeing Where It Goes
As Anna Morgenstern, Dating and Relationship Coach, tells Bustle, it takes about three months to realize whether or not you're in love with someone. "You may not say it that quickly but that's typically when you first start feeling like this is something special," she says. "If it still feels casual, then that person might really like you but they do not love you." A partner who is in love with you will do their best to fully integrate you into their lives at a healthy pace. They see a future with you and they're not afraid to talk about what next year is going to look like. But if you try to define the relationship and they're still "seeing where it goes," they're still figuring the relationship out.
3. They Might Make Excuses For Why You Haven't Met Their Family Yet
Talking about your families is one really great way to bond. "As partners develop their relationship and break down the initial barriers, it’s natural to slowly allow their [partner] into the intimate aspects of their lives," Caleb Backe, a Health and Wellness Expert for Maple Holistics, tells Bustle. For many couples, meeting each other’s families can be a major step in a relationship which signifies a level of confidence, devotion, and love. "Once someone is in love with their partner, it’s a natural progression to initiate them into their family," Backe says. If your partner has no trouble opening up about their family but has a ton of excuses as to why you haven't met them yet, that can be a major sign that they're just not ready for that.
4. They Neglect The Small Things
A partner who likes you enough but might not be in love with you will neglect the in-betweens. "They're into grand gestures and statement-making leaps, but forget that the in-betweens are what make a relationship sustainable," dating and empowerment coach Laurel House tells Bustle. "Life’s in-betweens are the daily little things that make you smile, that brighten your day, and remind you that you are not alone." These are the afternoon texts that say "I'm thinking of you," or the simple favors like making you coffee in the morning before they leave for work. A partner who likes you won't forget your birthday or your anniversary, and they may even go all out. But as House says, "If they never do the little thoughtful things that can truly make you happy each day, they're not in love."
5. You're Comfortable With Each Other, But There's A Lot Of Emotional Disconnect
If your partner is not in love with you but genuinely likes you, they may stay in a relationship with you because it is comfortable and you are great companions. You're able to talk to each other about anything and everything, and that's really great. However, there might be a major element missing. "You may start to feel as though your partner is like a [sibling] rather than a lover because you are not getting what you need from them in terms of emotion and intimacy," spiritual counselor, Davida Rappaport, tells Bustle. "They may be disconnected from you when you need them connected." If this is the case, a conversation is required no matter how uncomfortable it will be. Sometimes a simple conversation can get you back on track, and sometimes it will make you realize things faster. "Your affection for each other may be genuine," Rappaport says. "But when you realize that you both should move on and find other partners, this can be a relief."
6. The Relationship Happens On Their Time
Someone who likes you enough will make it a point to text you everyday, but getting them to actually set plans and see you might be a challenge. "You are their something to make them happy for a moment," House says. "You might be their daily morning text habit, and they like to have you there to serve that purpose, so they feel like they have some grounding in their life." But outside of your daily texts, they're all about work, family, or friends. "Although texts are nice, they simply aren’t enough," she says. This goes back to making you a priority. A person who is in love will put in the effort to see you as often as they can. They won't keep throwing out the "I'm busy" excuse, when in reality they're just hanging out with their friends for the third time that week. "If someone was really interested, they wouldn’t need to 'find' the time," House says. "They would 'make' the time. They would choose you over others, and incorporate you into their life as much as they can."
7. They Might Not Make A Real Effort To Fix Any Issues In The Relationship
"A partner that is in love with you will treat you like the end all, be all," Rori Sassoon, Relationship Expert and CEO matchmaking service Platinum Poire, tells Bustle. "When they’re in love and something goes wrong, they let nothing get in their way of fixing it." As we all know, relationships take a ton of work. Fights and arguments are necessary in order for relationships to grow. But if your partner doesn't put in their fair share of effort to right their wrongs or "fix" things in the relationship, they may not be in love.
If your partner likes you enough, but isn't in love with you, there's no need to panic just yet. In some cases, sure, patience won't pay off and it may be in your best interest to find someone who's ready for love and something more serious with just you. But people become relationship ready and fall in love at their own pace. Just because you got there faster, it doesn't mean your partner isn't ever going to catch up. If you're willing to wait, then great. If not, that's OK too. Just always remember that you are worthy of the love you truly deserve.