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Five surprising signs he’s hooked

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Lauren Strong had a good feeling about her new relationship. Tom called when he said he would, texted when she least expected it, and introduced her to his family. Then the unthinkable happened: He called her “Heather” — his ex’s name — twice. “It was just everyday conversation, like when he asked me to hand him something from the kitchen,” recalls the New York woman. Soon after, he brought up being exclusive, and she realized his slip of the tongue was a sign he was starting to see her as his girlfriend.

Surprising Sign #1: He calls you by the wrong name

What it means: It may be counterintuitive, but Lauren’s reasoning does make sense. “His slip reveals that he associates her with his previous long-term relationship — with commitment,” says Debbie Mandel, author of Turn On Your Inner Light. Now, had Tom been dropping his ex’s name all along, it wouldn’t have been a good omen (except, maybe, for Heather). No need to worry if your man of the moment has never confused you with his college sweetheart. Here are four more surprising signs that he’s into you.

Surprising Sign #2: You’ve met all of his friends

What it means: “A guy who introduces you around wants to show you off to his friends,” says April Masini, author of Date Out of Your League. “He’s announcing to the world that he’s dating you.” But most self-respecting men still won’t bring a casual date around a buddy who’s a woman-hater, buffoon, or lothario. Once your guy is comfortable enough with your relationship to trust his friends around you, it’s a sign you’re officially part of his life. So while meeting a buddy or two isn’t a clear clue you’re in, meet-and-greets with pals from different parts of his life (the work friends, his college buddies, his dorky fantasy football league-mates) is a flashing neon sign. Why? It’s proof that you’re getting the thumbs-up all around — most importantly, from him.

Surprising Sign #3: He remembers more about your life than you do.

What it reveals: Are you sitting down? Drum roll, please: He’s been listening to you! “Most guys feel overwhelmed by female chit-chat,” says Mandel. “When a guy actually remembers your words, he’s really trying hard to focus on you and he thinks that what you say is important. He wants to learn more about you to win you over.” You can be darn sure he’s smitten if he keeps your friends straight, remembers which sister never returned your clothes, and points out that the steak you’re about to order comes with your least-favorite food, cooked carrots. Of course, some guys are just spacey and will never retain random info well, even once you’re married with grandkids. But any guy who makes the extra effort to zone in on your fabulousness is trying to tell you something.

Surprising Sign #4: He’s not out on the town as much.

What it reveals: So your man used to hit Vegas at every excuse and stay out past midnight on early nights? No worries — just ask yourself what he’s done lately. “Men who are ready to settle down start needing fewer nights out with the guys and spend more time with their girlfriends and other couples or families,” says Masini. “It’s not that they’re being forced to give all that up. They just don’t want nights out with guys on the prowl because they want a lifestyle that incorporates a serious girlfriend.” Don’t get us wrong: Even if he’s ready to pick out place settings, he’ll still need some guys-only events — and it’s a good thing, too, because otherwise you’d never get away to meet your girlfriends for just-because pedicures.

Surprising Sign #5: He cares if there’s air in your tires. Or whether your work parking lot is well-lit. Or whether you’ve got enough OJ when you get the sniffles...

What it reveals: When your Romeo starts acting more like, well, Dad, it’s because he wants to protect you, says Mandel. “Since he can’t be your bodyguard all the time, he worries about your safety and health,” she explains. “It’s also a sign that he considers you a part of his world, and he wants to keep that intact.” Bottom line: Even though you know you’re perfectly capable of watching out for yourself, humor him by getting that freckle checked out or adding an infinitesimal amount of air to your tires. It can’t hurt to be cautious — and you’ll be dropping your own clue that you’re getting serious, too.

(Lisa Lombardi has written for Marie Claire, Redbook, Glamour, Shape, and Modern Bride.)




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