It’s nearly Valentine’s Day, which is the perfect excuse to guilt-trip your bloke into showering you with gifts and taking you out for the best meal in town.
And it’s also a great time to take a few minutes to re-evaluate your relationship.
OK, he’s good looking. He turns you on. He’s great to wake up to on cold winter mornings and he’s got smiley eyes and a wicked sense of humour.
But is he The One? Here are 12 ways to tell that he just might be.
He’s a looker
Shallow? You betcha! Let’s face it; a keeper is someone you’re going to want to look at first thing in the morning and last thing at night…for a very long time. So it’s important that, whether it’s because of his chiselled jaw line or just his kindly eyes, you find him attractive.
Everyone is different, of course, but does your man have large eyes, a high forehead and soft features? Studies have shown that many women like masculine features (low foreheads, wide jaws and strong features) for one-night stands, and more feminine faces for the long haul.
Of course, the only really important question is this: do you fancy the pants off him or not?
He looks like you
Some married couples look quite similar, and that might not be a coincidence. A study by psychologists at the University of St Andrews found that the faces we find most attractive are quite like our own. Other studies have shown that married couples often have a correlation in other physical qualities, like neck and wrist circumference and middle finger length.
So if you’re alike in so many ways, he could be your perfect man.
You accept his flaws
Nobody’s perfect. But if you silently rage at his fingernail biting or football obsession and think, ‘I must change that’, he may not be for you. If you accept his flaws as just another part of the man you love then start planning for your future together.
He makes you laugh
We all like someone we can laugh with. And relationship experts confirm that the most successful relationships are those peppered with gentle banter, mickey-taking and joke telling.
If he makes you cry laughing, you won’t be tempted by the hard-bodied but humourless lothario who serves your coffee. Not now. Not ever.
Or if he’s not employed, he’s bright and ambitious. Sorry to come over all practical here, but we can’t escape evolution. Women are drawn to men who can provide.
You may not want children for ages, or at all. But part of you is still attracted to a man who either has resources, or who looks like he will get them in the future. In the distant past, when desires evolved, it was the man who would literally bring home the bacon and make sure your children survived.
Your friends like him
Sometimes love – or even lust – can blind us to the truth. But your friends know what you like, value your happiness and can take a view of your boyfriend not influenced by a crashing avalanche of sexy hormones.
And if, in their opinion, he’s a good bloke and right for you, it’s worth listening to.
You like his friends
By our mid 20s, we tend to have chosen our friends pretty wisely. They’re a bit like us, and they tend to like a lot of the same things. If you like his friends, it means the way he is with you isn’t an act. He really is a kind, funny, decent feller – and he has the kind, funny, decent friends to prove it.
You argue well
Show us a couple that doesn’t argue and we’ll show you, well, a very unusual couple. Arguing doesn’t make you incompatible – but arguing badly might.
If your arguments are bitter, personal and endless, you probably already know, deep down, that he might not be The One.
But if your arguments are more like two people debating an issue on which they disagree, avoiding insults and personal language, you may be good for the long run. A life together invariably involves compromise. If you’re both prepared to seek it when things get feisty, you’re in with a very good shout.
You trust him
If he tells you he’s planning a big night out with the boys and a swarm of butterflies immediately takes off in your stomach, you’re in no position to say if he’s a keeper or not. Trust is an essential ingredient for long-term love. Wait for it to evolve (if it does) before you start making plans.
He’s from the right family
We don’t mean he has to be the heir to a fortune (though that might help). But you want to be with someone who is also in it for the long term. How can you tell if he’s going to stick around?
Well, if he clearly adores you, that’s as good a clue as any. And there is some suggestion that the likelihood of divorce is written in our genes. In twin studies, it was found that men who went through lots of marriages had a brother who was likely to have done the same.
That suggests a tendency to stray might be inheritable – so if his parents are together and his siblings are in strong relationships, it’s a good chance your bloke doesn’t have the divorce gene.
He likes the real you
You’ve got no make-up on and you’re slobbed out on the sofa in an old pair of jogging pants and a T-shirt that probably used to be white. And he still says he fancies you like mad. Now that’s a good sign.
Your gut tells you…
Do you have a gut feeling that your man might The One? It might be all you need. When researchers at University College London used functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) to take pictures of lovers’ brains, they found the area responsible for gut feelings was particularly active.
Gut feelings, or a lover’s instinct, are not guesswork. If you have a gut feeling about him, it might simply be the unconscious expression of all your experiences with other men allied to your emotional intelligence. You might not know why this time is different, but you know that it is all the same. If other signals confirm the feeling, it might just be worth letting your woman’s intuition take control.