5 Surprising Signs He's Hooked

Lauren Strong had a good feeling about her new relationship. Tom called when he said he would, texted when she least expected it, and introduced her to his family. Then the unthinkable happened: He called her Heather - his ex's name - twice. "It was just everyday conversation, like when he asked me to hand him something from the kitchen," recalls the New York woman. Soon after, he brought up being exclusive, and she realized his slip of the tongue was a sign he was starting to see her as His Girlfriend.

It may be counterintuitive, but Lauren's reasoning does make sense. "His slip reveals he associates her with his previous long-term relationship-with commitment," says Debbie Mandel, author of Turn On Your Inner Light. Now, had Tom been dropping his ex's name all along (or in bed), it wouldn't have been a good omen (except, maybe, for Heather). No need to worry if your man of the moment has never confused you with his college sweetheart. Here are five more surprising signs that he's into you.

Giveaway #1: He wants less sex.
What it reveals: Believe it or not, less action but the same amount of together time as before means he's happy and not worried about being a stud, says Marilyn Graman, author of There Is No Prince and Other Truths Your Mother Never Told You. He's not losing interest-he's gaining interest in building a life with you. And research shows that the couples who last in the long run are the ones who are able to move beyond the total infatuation phase to a less physically-focused bond. It's a transition Jack Colt, of Glendale, California, knows well: "Once I reach the point when I want to see her every night but am no longer constantly trying to get her into bed, I'm whipped. Eating Chinese takeout and watching crappy TV with her becomes the ultimate fantasy!"

Giveaway #2: You've met all of his friends.
What it means: "A guy who introduces you around wants to show you off to his friends," says April Masini, author of Date Out of Your League. "He's announcing to the world that he's dating you." But most self-respecting men still won't bring a casual date around a buddy who's a ball-buster, buffoon, or lothario. Once your guy is comfortable enough with your relationship to trust his friends in low places (and all guys have 'em!) around you, it's a sign you're officially part of his life. So while meeting a buddy or two isn't a clear clue you're in, meet-and-greets with pals from different parts of his life (the work friends, his college buddies, his dorky fantasy-football friends) is a flashing neon sign. Why? It's proof that you're getting the thumbs-up all around-most importantly, from him.

Giveaway #3: He remembers more about your life than you do.
What it reveals: Are you sitting down? Drum roll, please: He's been listening to you! "Most guys feel overwhelmed by female chit-chat," says Mandel. "When a guy actually remembers your words, he's really trying hard to focus on you and he thinks that what you say is important. He wants to learn more about you to win you over." You can be darn sure he's smitten if he keeps your friends straight, remembers which sister never returned your clothes, and points out that the steak you're about to order comes with your least-favorite food, cooked carrots. Of course, some guys are just spacey and will never retain random info well, even once you're married with grandkids. But any guy who makes the extra effort to zone in on your fabulousness is trying to tell you something.

Giveaway # 4: He's not out on the town as much.
What it reveals: So your man used to hit Vegas at every excuse and stay out past midnight on early nights? No worries-just ask yourself what he's done lately. "Men who are ready to settle down start needing fewer nights out with the guys and spend more time with their girlfriend and other couples or families," says Masini. "It's not that they're being forced by their girlfriend to give all that up. They just don't want nights out with guys on the prowl because they want a lifestyle that incorporates a serious girlfriend." Don't get us wrong. Even if he's ready to pick out soup tureens, he'll still need some guys-only events-and it's a good thing, too, because otherwise you'd never get away to meet your girlfriends for just-because pedicures.

Giveaway #5: He cares if there's air in your tires. Or whether your work parking lot is well lit. Or whether you've got enough OJ when you get the sniffles.
What it reveals: When your Romeo starts acting more like, well, Dad, it's because he wants to protect you, says Mandel. "Since he can't be your bodyguard all the time, he worries about your safety and health," she explains. "It's also a sign that he considers you a part of his world, and he wants to keep that intact." Bottom line: Even though you know you're perfectly capable of watching out for yourself, humor him by getting that freckle checked out or adding an infinitesimal amount of air to your tires. It can't hurt to be cautious-and you'll be dropping your own clue that you're getting serious, too.

Lisa Lombardi has written for Marie Claire, Redbook, Glamour, Shape, and Modern Bride.

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