"How can I tell," the words to an old song went, "if he really loves me?" Wouldn't you like to know? Every day couples enter therapy hoping to save their first, second or third marriage. We hit the internet for the algorithm for true love. We watch movies, read books, hoping for the Cinderella dream. With the economy in the dump a lasting relationship is worth more than ever. Don't settle for less. You don't need the agony and your kids surely don't need the drama. Find out if your mate really loves you. And I don't mean asking your psychic, find out for real!

Things You Will Need

You will need a clear head, one or two trusted friends (who aren't silly), a pastor or disinterested person who has your best interest at heart and most importantly the courage to call it off if necessary. You will need a clear head to pay attention to every clue thrown your direction. Most people WILL tell the truth about themselves. You hear them say, "you're too 'good' for me." PAY ATTENTION! People so like to be correct, any person who says this to you, means it!

You will need one or two trusted friends. Not the kind of friends who tell you just what you want to hear, but the rather the kind of friends who will tell you the truth. Ask your friends if you complain about your mate a lot. If you are getting off on complaining on the side to make your relationship palatable, something is VERY wrong. A person who really loves you, doesn't make you want to subconsciously complain to your friends. I am not suggesting you play a game with yourself and only say good things. I am suggesting you GET OUT if you are already trading off.

Lastly, find an uninterested observer. Usually not your parents because they have a vested interest in you. Someone more like a pastor who can give you straight observations about your relationship. You may be dating the prettiest girl in the world and think you are quite the lucky guy, but you will feel differently if a disinterested observer points out she's not that into you.

Step 1

Deduce first if the person you are with is even capable of loving anyone. Does your mate like themselves? Guys are you so busy playing the knight on a white horse that you haven't noticed your mate is constantly distressed? A person who can't like themselves will not be able to love your or your kids. Girls, are you so busy figuring he makes bank that you haven't noticed he needs "things" to make himself feel good about himself? Any man looking for a trophy wife will dump you when you get too old. True love is based on a love of the other person's character not attributes.

Money is an attribute, because money can be spent, investments lost, jobs change.
Fiscal responsibility, however, is a character trait.

Looks is an attribute because looks change as people age, or if they are injured or in an accident.
Ethical behavior is a character trait. It does not alter based on altered conditions. An honest person does the right thing no matter who is watching.

Cars, clothing, tickets to a Mets game are all nice and entertaining but not something to base a relationship on. Do you follow the same time clock? Are you morning people or night people? Can you be silent together and enjoy conversation? Does that person encourage you to live your life to the fullest?

Step 2

If your mate is emotionally healthy and functioning, loves themselves, step two is to figure out if they can love you. Some people are so self sufficient, they don't really care to enmesh. If they love you but won't get intimate, you know it and you need to stop ignoring it. Don't think this is something that will change over time. There is such a thing as a confirmed bachelor. If you find yourself explaining your mate or making excuses you already know what's up. It's really not a question of time, it's already over.

Step 3

So you've figured out your mate likes himself, likes other people, is capable of a sustained committed relationship NOW the question is how does he feel about you? Does she care for you more than the relationship? The answer should be yes. A person who really loves you would not care to drag you down if they got into trouble.

The flip side is, any person who lays on you the "unconditional love" line, is using it to cover some bad behavior. Why else would they ask you to love them unconditionally? If you think about it that phrase itself is very silly. Let me draw you an extreme example. Your girlfriend is beating you, breaking bones, stealing money, cheating on your with six guys - you object. If she tells you that you ought to love her "unconditionally" and you believe that - you deserve what you get! Oh Course there should be conditions! Don't love anyone who is manipulative.

Don't manipulate anybody, it isn't nice.
True Love can only exist between two whole people. There is no such thing really, as a "better half." Healthy relationships are not a matter of harmony between two people but a song with two complimentary melodies. Your mate doesn't have to be someone who shares all your hobbies. As a matter of fact that may be a poor scale for rating. Your mate should be someone who encourages you to do what you want, while doing what they want. If that's the same fine, but the point is a person comfortable in their own skin won't weirdly insist on having their own way.

Tips & Warnings

I wish it weren't so, but there are some people out there with manipulation and control as an agenda. Sometimes it is driven by drug and alcohol addiction, sometimes they are just narcissistic. Such people can make eye contact without blinking while telling a bald face lie. The body language never lies. If your mate claims one thing and DOES another. Go with what the actions tell you. The truth always tells out.