Sometimes, we wonder how our partners really feel about us.
For various reasons, we might not necessarily believe what they tell us. Many of us have been lied to and burned before, or else we have low self-esteem, which makes it hard for us to believe that others genuinely care about us.
At the same time, some partners simply don’t express their feelings well in words, if at all.
“Some people never say the words ‘I love you’ / It’s not their style to be so bold / Some people never say those words ‘I love you’ / But like a child, they’re longing to be told” sings the legendary Paul Simon in his song Something So Right, and these lyrics might encapsulate both sides of a relationship.
One partner might have trouble with this kind of intimate declaration, but both are likely longing to feel loved.
So how do you know your partner really cares if they won’t tell you or if they tell you but you find words hard to believe?
It’s time to look at actions instead.
If you recognize these nine behaviors, it’s proof that your partner cares about you more than you realize.
1) They’re honest.
Honesty is the best policy when it comes to relationships.
We all know that, and yet so many people fail to keep things up-front and transparent.
In your relationship with your partner, honesty has to mean a lot more than just not lying to one another. It also means not hiding things from one another and putting everything out in the open.
Does this mean you’re partner will never, ever lie to you?
Well, they might still lie to save your feelings once in a while. As long as it’s harmless, this might actually show that they care, too.
But for things that really matter, they’ll be honest and open, and that will show you they care more than you realize.
2) They take time for you.
As far as I’m concerned, time is the most precious thing we have, and therefore, it’s the most valuable gift we can give to others.
But there’s more to taking time for someone than just being in the same place together at the same time.
Truly giving someone your time also means giving them your full attention. That means you focus on them, listen to them, and pay attention to their needs.
It means you turn off the TV, put down your phone, and actually be present for them when they need you to be.
This really doesn’t sound all that hard, but you’d be amazed how many people struggle to give their full, undivided attention to others.
But if your partner gives you their time, wholly and without distraction, it’s a real sign that they care deeply for you.
3) They support you through thick and thin.
Supporting a partner through thick and thin isn’t necessarily about their weight, though it could be!
This saying refers to good times and bad times, though it’s the bad times that most of us focus on.
We know that when we’re down, we turn to our partners for support, and if they care about us, they happily give it.
What many people don’t think about, though, is how your partner can support you when you’re going through good times.
When you succeed and do well, a partner who cares about you will be happy for you and will celebrate your success. They won’t mope and resent your wins, nor will they try to diminish them by acting like they’re nothing special.
They know your relationship is a collaboration, not a competition, and your success is their success, too.
4) They defend you.
If your partner really cares for you, they won’t put up with anyone doing you harm.
Whether this is physical, verbal, or emotional, they’re on your side and will defend you from other people’s attacks.
Or at least they’ll be ready and willing to.
This doesn’t mean that they don’t think you can defend yourself; it just means that they’ve got your back when you need them to.
It also doesn’t mean that they’ll always take your side in a disagreement or a conflict. They might not agree with you, but they have your best interests at heart and will defend you against harm or abuse that comes from outside.
5) They don’t let conflicts linger.
So many couples have conflicts as old as time that never seem to get resolved.
When they fight, even if the current topic is unrelated, these old conflicts seem to rear their ugly heads and come back to haunt them.
The reason is that many people don’t work hard to resolve their conflicts. They just sweep them under the rug and go on with life as usual.
When that happens, the conflicts don’t go away. They’re always there lurking under the surface and that means there is always something keeping the two partners apart.
But when your partner really cares, they won’t be satisfied with simply keeping these conflicts out of sight and out of mind. They’ll actively try to resolve them by working with you to reach compromises and make changes so that you can both be happy and more loving in your relationship.
6) They apologize.
One big part of conflict resolution is owning up to things you’ve done wrong or badly and apologizing for them.
But we all know those stubborn people who will never apologize for things they’ve done.
Whatever it is, if only one partner has to say sorry all the time and the other never does, this shows a real power imbalance in the relationship that’s not going to make it happy and healthy.
So, if your partner can own up to the things they’ve done wrong and apologize, you’re really doing well. This shows that they’re responsible and that they care enough about you to consider your feelings and say sorry when they’ve hurt them.
7) They let you be you.
One thing that you find again and again in struggling relationships is control.
When one partner wants to exercise control over the other by telling them what to do, how to behave, where to be, and who to meet, the other partner can end up feeling really disrespected.
But in a healthy relationship with someone who cares about you, they let you be you.
They also accept who you are instead of trying to change you. They learn to adapt to you so that they can still be happy, rather than trying to bend your actions to their will, which would snuff out your bright light.
If your partner accepts who you are and even celebrates that, it’s a very good sign they care more deeply for you than you know.
8) They’re reliable.
If you’ve ever been in a relationship with someone who keeps you waiting all the time or repeatedly makes plans with you just to blow them off, you know how this can make you feel.
This kind of behavior makes it seem like they really don’t respect you or at least don’t give you the kind of consideration that they should.
Hey, I get that everyone’s busy and struggling to get a multitude of things done.
But if your partner is always the last priority on your list, it’s not a good sign.
Partners who care will put each other high on that list of priorities and let each other know it.
They’ll make plans and stick to them. They’ll schedule times and be there when they say they will. They’ll show that they’re reliable and dependable for the partners they care deeply about.
9) They give you space.
When a person really cares about you, they look after your needs. And one of the needs that all of us have in our relationships is space.
I don’t mean that we need to distance ourselves for any lengthy period of time, like taking a break. I mean that almost all people want to have some breathing room.
We need to take time for ourselves both to maintain relationships with our friends and family and through alone time where we can have some solitude or focus on our own activities.
If your partner cares for you deeply, they’ll recognize that you need space and give you as much as you need without smothering you or guilting you for not spending all of your time with them.
If you recognize these nine behaviors, your partner probably cares about you more than you realize.
They may not be great at saying it, but their actions might speak a whole lot louder than their words. So pay attention to how they behave and how they treat you and you’ll see just how much they care.