It can be productive to assess the state of a romantic relationship at any given time. But the urge to evaluate too easily morphs into over-analysis, which can lead to completely misguided conclusions. When we try to find meaning in each and every thing a person says and does, the likelihood of misinterpretation is greater. Below are 10 of the most commonly misconstrued male dating behaviors.
1. He makes plans for weeks in advance.
Especially in the early stages of dating, women are typically thrilled when asked to accompany a man to a dinner, a concert, or any type of event that takes place weeks in advance. We want to believe this means that a guy’s officially committed–at least for the period of time beginning with the invitation, up until the scheduled future event. But the reality is that most restaurant reservations can be canceled without incurring any penalty up until the last minute, and it’s equally simple to offer extra tickets to a friend without much notice. Even elaborate vacation plans can be cut short, or rearranged. The truth: He’s just a planner.
2. He regularly discusses his desire to build a family.
A lot of women become giddy at the very hint of a man’s intention to get married and have kids one day. In fact, some women prompt the guys they date to discuss family specifically to assess their commitment level. But it’s dangerous to assume that the men who sincerely want these things necessarily want them any time soon, let alone with their current partner. The thing is, hypothetical family chatter is just that. So take it for what it is: A sign that you’re dating a guy who thinks of himself as a family man (at some point, with someone, under as-yet-to-be determined circumstances).
3. He spoils you.
It’s tempting to interpret expensive presents, luxurious restaurant picks, and insistence on picking up the check as signals that a guy wants to take care of the woman he’s seeing. If he’s willing to devote resources to the relationship, he must be interested in moving things forward, right? Wrong. Honestly, the amount of money he spends on you is more likely an indication of how much disposable income he has, and not how invested he is in your coupledom. You might just be dating a rich dude.
4. He’s attentive to your needs in bed.
It’s awesome to sleep with a dude who’s attentive to a woman’s sexual needs—who’s genuinely upset when their partner doesn’t orgasm, and who demonstrates an interest in learning their female partner’s particular sexual tastes. If only concern for female satisfaction were a surefire sign of devotion. It can’t be denied that sexual aptitude is the mark of Lotharios who’ve acquired carnal knowledge through their many experiences with other women. In the same vein, a man’s willingness to pleasure you is sometimes part of a grander scheme to get better at sex.
5. He laughs at your jokes without fail.
There are few feelings more wonderful than making another human chuckle. When your sense of humor is aligned with another’s, the fun factor in any given scenario is multiplied by a thousand. Plus, shared laughter is one of the most effective aphrodisiacs. Sadly, however, there is such thing as a “yes man” who will laugh at just about anything, so reading too much into constant cackling is a bad idea.
6. He acts like a gentleman.
Chivalry isn’t dead, but it’s a lot less prevalent than it once was. So when we do encounter it, it can seem quite special. Waiting for others to exit an elevator and holding the door open can go a long way in the process of courting a woman. However, a man’s tendency to behave politely is probably a function of how he was raised to act with all women, and not you in particular. You might just be dating someone well-mannered, and good manners don’t always translate to good behavior in general.
7. He consistently takes the blame.
Since fighting is inevitable in a relationship, we all want to date someone capable of resolving an argument. Hearing “sorry” from your partner can be satisfying on more than one level. For one, you’ve (obviously) won. Plus, you’re dating an understanding individual. But consider how unpleasant it is to participate in a lovers’ quarrel, and thus how motivated we are to end them as quickly as possible. The truth is that some people are programmed to apologize because they would do anything to quicken the pace of resolution. So if your partner is always the one to accept the blame, ask yourself if you’re dating a guy who values peace and quiet above total honesty.
8. He’s super affectionate.
Since no one wants to spoon or snuggle with a person they don’t like, affection is, in general, a positive sign. That said, the Cuddle Index is complicated by the fact that some people are naturally far more affectionate than others. Some of us instinctively shy away from human contact altogether, while others seek it out aggressively. It’s a mistake to lean on frequent embraces as a measure of how serious your relationship is getting. You might just be dating a hyper-cuddler.
9. He asks you to meet his family.
Too many women think of an invitation to meet the parents as a major relationship milestone. Let’s face it: Everyone loves a buffer during dinner with mom and dad. You might just be part of man’s plan to deflect parental attention.
10. He says “I love you.”
Sometimes, a guy just wants to get laid, and thanks to American Pie, we all know that dropping an l-bomb is one of the quickest ways to achieve that end.