by Katy Horwood for Metro.co.uk
When it comes to love there are no hard and fast rules.
Feeling it is one thing, but gauging it from others – quite another.
And while those three little words are probably the easiest way to know if your boyfriend loves you or not, there are other ways to tell you are more than just a casual fling.
Regular public displays of affection are a tell-tale sign you are more than just a flash in the pan.
If your boyfriend holds your hand at every opportunity, strokes your back and kisses you spontaneously in the street you either look like Rosie Huntington or he loves you.
‘Put the phone down … no, you put it down, no, you put ….’
Regular texts and phone calls are pretty standard at the beginning of a relationship – and a morning check-in Whatsapp message does not mean your boyfriend spends his lunch break planning an engagement video that might go viral.
However if a high level of contact is maintained once the honeymoon period is over he’s thinking about you, still, a lot.
Which means he should either get himself a more stimulating job, or it’s love.
He cuddles you without trying to get in your knickers
That’s not to say regular sex isn’t always welcome, just that, if your boyfriend likes getting cosy without expecting anything afterwards – you could be talking long-term.
Post-curry flatulence – it’s ok
Love is blind – even when you are tweezering your bikini line wearing a pair of his pants and some hocky socks.
Weekends with the in-laws
Introducing you to his friends means he thinks you’re fit and he wants to show you off.
Introducing you to his family means you’re his girlfriend.
Do not confuse the two.
A healthy dose of jealousy never did anyone any harm and, although there is nothing worse than a boyfriend who accuses you of flirting when you ask a waiter for the bill, an occasional bit of green-eyed monster shows he gives a s**t.
Fancy Cape Verde in July?
And other such forward think questions should please a woman who’s thinking long-term.
Most men think picking up dinner on the way home from work is forward planning – when his time scales change from minutes to months – he’s fallen for you.
You’re a priority
He has interests, hobbies and activities he enjoys outside of your relationship but when it comes to time delegating – you come before an XBox.
You chat for hours about nothing
The man who sees you as nothing more than a fling, does not consider three hours on the phone talking about Downton Abbey a worthy way to spend a Sunday evening.
The man who loves you cannot imagine why he has never done it before.