When it comes to dating, we women think we are pretty good at telling which "signs" are pointing to a future relationship. After dating someone for a while, we begin to think we have an understanding of what actions are those of a potential boyfriend, and which actions are those of a potential heartbreaker. For example, I know that I, and a few of my girlfriends, have been in the position of dating a guy for a few months, with no talk of being exclusive. But even when there's no talk of exclusivity, or in some cases, an explicit declaration from them about not wanting to be exclusive, we still chat with our friends over lunch about all the "signs" we got from them on our latest date.
Before I was married, I experienced a lot of these signs from many unattainable men. Men that made me think if I just stuck it out, they would end up becoming my boyfriend. But it never happened. No matter how many signs I thought I saw on the highway to love, they always ended up being dead ends. In all honestly, the best sign of interest anyone can ever give you is an honest declaration of their feelings for you. Now, don't think I mean they should rent a billboard or learn how to play a musical instrument and sing you a song about how much they want to marry you. I just mean a simple and direct, "I like you, and I want to be in a relationship with you." Obviously, it takes some people longer than others to open up and let someone in. But if you've been dating for a while now and you haven't had that talk about exclusivity or where you stand, then don't put all of your stock into the "signs."
So, here are some of the "signs" I, and friends of mine, have seen while dating someone and misread.
1. He holds your hand.
Don't think that just because someone is holding your hand while walking through the park one day that they aren't holding someone else's at the movies that night.
2. He invites you on a trip with his friends
While I myself have not experienced this, a few of my friends have. Being invited camping, skiing or anywhere where you can be treated like "one of the guys" might not necessarily turn out in your favor. Especially when you're on a group trip with a bunch of people you don't know. You can end up feeling alienated.
3. He cooks you breakfast in the morning
We've all been there. You don't mean to sleep over, but it's getting late, or it's really cold outside or you just can't fathom taking the subway at this hour. The next thing you know, you wake up wearing his old NYU T-Shirt and he's frying eggs and brewing fresh coffee in his kitchen. Don't confuse good manners with romantic feelings. Yes, it's sweet that he didn't send you packing the moment you woke up, but unless your eggs came with a side of commitment, don't read too much into this.
4. He takes you apartment/house-hunting with him
It's very strange, but it does happen. Every now and then, a guy's lease will be up and he'll ask you to accompany him on his search for the perfect condo. He'll say things like, "I care about your opinion on the place," or "When I move in, I'm sure it will need a woman's touch." This has trap written all over it. I had a guy do this to me the day after my birthday one year. We ended things a week later after five months of him telling me he wasn't sure he was ready for a relationship.
5. He cuddles you while you're sleeping
There's nothing more comforting then falling asleep next to someone you care about while they stroke your hair or even wrap their arms around you. But comforting or not, this display of emotion may be nothing to write home about. Sometimes, people just like to have something to hold. Sometimes, people like to have all of the benefits of a relationship without any of the responsibility of one. And unfortunately sometimes, a hug is just a hug.
6. You ask him a question about his feelings for you and instead of giving you an answer, he kisses you.
For some reason, movies and television have perpetuated this throughout the years. I'm sorry, but a kiss is not an answer!
7. He brings you as his date to a wedding.
While some men believe bringing a date to a wedding is like bringing sand to the beach, others cannot stand to face a party stag. And while at the ceremony, your eyes may tear when hearing the sweet exchange of the bride and groom's vows and you grab your date's hand tighter and he smiles, this doesn't mean he's thinking of getting married himself.
I've seen guys come to a wedding with one woman and leave with another at the end of the night (it actually happened at my wedding!). If you're really feeling romantic at the end of the night, ask the guy flat out how he feels about being with you. If he really wants to be with you, you won't need any signs at all.