When he takes you out to dinner. When he surprises you with presents or takes you shopping. No question, you like it when he makes an effort to do all these things. It tells you he values your relationship.
But certain things your guy does that score points have nothing to do with anniversary gifts or posh restaurants. There are more things he does that fill your heart with so much kilig, it could actually burst into millions of joyful little pieces.
1. When he tries to hide his tears during a sappy movie.
That scene in The Fault in our Stars when Isaac eulogizes about his best friend? You know it made him cry. You also know that he might never admit it. It's okay. In fact, you find it endearing that your supposedly impassive, often unperturbed boyfriend is also susceptible to moving speeches and emotional scenes that depict impending loss. It makes him even more human and your relationship more real.
2. How his face lights up when you cook his favorite meal.
He should see it himself. Eyes wide, mouth hanging open, expression expectant, like (forgive the comparison) a puppy dog waiting to be given a treat. More than anything he can say, that initial reaction, plus a clean plate, is the best compliment he can give. There's nothing more adorable than a man who derives pleasure from simple things like a well-cooked meal.
3. When he plays with kids.
How a man interacts with children gives a clue on how he will be as a father. The minute you see him getting all chummy with little kids, pretending to be the nasty dragon to their valiant knight, not minding if they climb all over him and pull his hair propels your hormones into hyperdrive. You want to marry him.
4. When he tries to explain his favorite sport to you.
Most likely you'll never fully comprehend when he explains the intricacies of kicking a ball into a net or why blurry cars circumnavigating a track again and again and again can be exciting. But it warms your insides because you know he does it hoping it will make you guys bond even more. Also, you get a weird kick out of listening to him geek out on penalty kicks and the aerodynamics of racing cars.
5. How he's comfortable around your gay friends.
Being friendly to your gay bestie is one thing. What does raise the bar is when he sticks around when your amiga forces him to watch Miss Universe clips on YouTube. When he can be friends with your gay friends, you love him a little bit more.
6. When he holds your hand in public.
That simple act of spontaneously, easily, grabbing your hand while you're walking at the mall in full view of anyone who'd notice, tickles you right down to your pedicured toes. It hints of familiarity and comfort and contentment and possession and, perhaps, even a promise of forever.
This story originally appeared in Cosmopolitan magazine, August 2014.
* Minor edits have been made by Cosmo.ph editors