20 Ways To Tell If His Crush Is Only Temporary Or If It's The Real Deal

Imagine: you swiped “like” on a photo, and the person attached to it starts messaging you. You two talk and you find you’ve got a lot in common. You decide to go out for a coffee to break the ice. It goes well, and then the question of a second date comes up. That goes well, and you slowly start to break off contact with other people you might be chatting with. This could turn into something good!

Now, here you are, five dates in and wondering if he’s feeling the same way you’re feeling. You want to shift things to the next level of a relationship, but you don’t know if that’s the direction he’s heading. How can you tell? Unfortunately, we can’t read other people’s minds. We wish we could, but everybody needs to have privacy. Plus, we don’t think the technology is there yet. Due to the fact that we can’t read our crush’s mind, we needed to figure out some other ways to tell if his crush is temporary or if it’s the real deal. We’ve dug through and found some research done by Psychology Today which has helped us pinpoint the 10 signs that his crush is temporary, and the 10 signs that his crush is the real deal.

Continue scrolling to keep reading

Click the button below to start this article in quick view

Start Now

20 Temporary: He’s Not Thinking Past The Dating Phase


How much do you hate when a guy drags out the dating phase of your relationship for months and months? We know that we can’t stand it, especially when the time apart fluctuates from a week to a month. At that point, you’re not really dating. You’re seeing each other, which is even more casual than dating.

If you’re the type of person who talks commitment right away, good on you; unfortunately, that can get a strong (not always positive) response out of your potential partner.

Luckily that’s also the way to figure out if his feelings are temporary or not!

Philippa Perry from Psychology Today writes, “the old cliché, ‘I love you but I’m not in love with you’ describes a transition from one type of love to another. What it really means is ‘I’m moving on because I want to stay with [physical] love and am not yet ready for pragmatic love’.” If he’s pulling this line, we recommend you get out. No discussion of commitment and no desire to develop “pragmatic love” (also known as emotional, typical relationship-style love) means that his crush is living in the physical realm, rather than the emotional. And that fire is bound to fade.

19 Real: He’s Talking About Being Ready To Commit To You


This is one of the most obvious signs, which is why it’s at the top of the list. If you’re not sure if his crush is temporary or the real deal, a great way to try and figure it out is to approach the topic of commitment. If he’s falling in love with you, you can bet that he’s going to start thinking about commitment. In fact, he might have already started. Commitment is one of the biggest signs of love, and it’s also the number 1 sign his crush is the real deal.

According to Philippa Perry, psychotherapist and author of How to Stay Sane, her Psychology Today article, says: “love is not just a non-specific emotion that plays an elusive game with us. It is not merely something we passively fall into.” If he’s talking about commitment, you can tell that he’s ready to start falling in love. Perry goes on to remind us, “love is not static. Feelings of love come and go just like feelings of sadness or happiness. It is commitment that does not waver,” which is why we’re so adamant that this is one of the clearest signs that he’s feeling some real deal feelings. Now the question is… Are you ready to commit?

18 Temporary: He’s Texts When It Suits Him (Think Of Those “U Up?” Messages)


There’s a lot of reasons why him not meeting your communication needs is bad. Sending you a midnight message which clearly has some ulterior motives isn’t a great sign. The longevity of the relationship isn’t going to be built through midnight meetups. Communication is one of the most important things in a relationship, according to Robert Taibbi, L.C.S.W., of Psychology Today.

He notes that when the conversation is one-sided or one-dimensional that, “this is the structure of parallel lives, avoiding conversation about elephants in the room (or, for that matter, conversation in general), side-stepping conversations of any substance or intimacy because of fear of arguing, being dismissed, or confirming that your worst fears are actually real.”

While the comment is made about long-term relationships, the same can be applied to your guy’s crush status.

We hate to say it, but if the conversation isn’t flowing then you might be out of luck… And his crush might end up being more temporary instead of the real deal.

Honestly, though? You’re better off without him if he’s not going to put in the effort to talk to you. You deserve someone who cares (and not just about you being up at ridiculous hours during the night).

17 Real: He Makes An Effort To Consistently And Reliably Communicate


On the flipside of our previous point, does your guy make an effort to consistently and reliably communicate? If your crush is texting you in the middle of the day or sending you after-work messages just to say hi, that’s an excellent sign. In the same way that Taibbi says “side-stepping conversations of any substance” is a bad sign regarding your crush’s feelings towards you, we can assume that the more substance the conversations have, the better. If your guy feels comfortable enough to consistently and reliably communicate with you, it’s proof that his feelings are real.

Theresa E. DiDonato, Ph.D., wrote an article for Psychology Today about communication, specifically texting, within relationships. DiDonato writes, “texting not only helps the nervous and socially-awkward, it can benefit the status-uncertain. Testing the waters (Does she like me? Is he interested?) is easier in an electronic medium; the casual approach helps shield individuals from rejection. It can be a safe way to figure out if someone is interested,” which is a great way to tell if your guy’s crush is real. Take this as proof that if he’s texting you all the time, sending you cute emojis, and checking in with you periodically, that’s a sign that his crush is indeed the real deal.

16 Temporary: He Talks In “He” Rather Than “We”


Now, we’re not talking about answers to questions like “what did you do last weekend”. If you two are apart it’s only natural that the things he does will be a 'him' rather than a both-of-you. And that’s not bad! You two do need alone time and apart time. However, it might be a sign that his crush is but a fleeting flash if he’s never thinking about doing things with you.

It’s a sign that he’s only thinking about himself rather than about the two of you together.

Bustle wrote, “while it's always a good idea to schedule in alone time — and to do things separately, away from your partner — you shouldn't prefer alone time to seeing your partner, or consistently want to put them on the back burner. If that seems to be your MO, it might mean you're not as invested in this relationship as you should be.” This phrase might be talking about ‘you’, but we’re pretty sure we can apply it to ‘him’ too. If he’s delegating you to back burner, you need to drop him ASAP. It’s proof that he’s not thinking long-term, and is definitely a sign that that crush isn’t going to turn into true love any time soon.

15 Real: His Plans Include You


So, what if he is including you? What if he’s moved past the idea of planning coffee dates and is actually wanting to do a weekend getaway together? Not only is that a sign that you two are moving towards a relationship, but it’s also a sign that his crush is going to hit love-level fast.

We pulled this quote from Bustle, illuminating just how important it is that his future plans start to include you: “It's hard to deny someone sees you as their soulmate when they're discussing future plans with you. "Are they discussing homes, furniture, future holidays?" relationship expert Nikki Goldstein tells Bustle. "If they don't think that you are The One, they won't be committing to future time with you." Take that as proof! If he’s discussing weekend plans, dropping hints about his perfect home, and sending you pictures of dogs to adopt together, you can take that as a flashing neon sign that he’s definitely into you.

The crush is real if he’s talking about real plans, and is willing to adjust his future to include you. Don’t be afraid to return the favor as well! It takes two to build a future after all, and if you’re also thinking in a future-sense, be sure to mention it to him.

14 Temporary: He Keeps His Mask On And Doesn’t Let You In


This is one of the trickiest things to identify. Wearing a mask is basically like hiding parts of yourself that you (or your partner) thinks won’t be understood. Sometimes it’s because we don’t want to be vulnerable in front of our partner, or because our partner doesn’t want to be vulnerable in front of us.

Building a relationship can only really be done through honesty and truthfulness.

Andrea Bonior, Ph.D., of Psychology Today, says on the topic of what a mask looks like, “perhaps you are pretending to be someone you're not, hiding an important part of your personality, or even feigning interest in certain hobbies or activities of theirs to keep them happy, letting them call the shots about how you spend your time. Or maybe you are being yourself — and yet you never feel like your partner actually "gets" you.” If your partner is feeling these things, you’re going to find that their crush will disappear like dust in the wind.

And, unfortunately, there’s not much you can do about it. If your guy has trust issues, all you can do is be your beautiful, sparkly self. If that doesn’t inspire him to take his mask off, then it’s just not meant to be. The crush was temporary, rather than the real deal.

13 Real: He Lets Himself Be Vulnerable Around You


Vulnerability has been talked about a lot lately, especially in the realm of relationships. Look at any healthy relationship how-to and you’ll find that vulnerability usually has one of the top spots. It’s just common sense: if you two want to build an honest life together, you need to be honest with each other. There’s only so much you can do in a relationship if you two aren’t able to be vulnerable around each other. And if one of you is more vulnerable than the other? Well, that’s a sign that things are totally out of balance. Luckily, if both of you are being vulnerable, that’s a good sign that this crush is mutually headed towards a relationship.

This quote from Bustle highlights what we’re talking about; being able to show his messy, emotional, vulnerable side is “often a sign that someone is secure with you enough to be the real them. No one is perfect, and when imperfections can be shown, it might only be under circumstances where someone feels complete." When you’re wondering if his crush is the real deal, let that be your guide. If he’s able to share those raw parts of himself with you, you know that it’s the real deal.

12 Temporary: He’s Still Looking At Attractive People


Isn’t it obvious? If he’s looking at people (that aren’t you) then his crush is probably a little more temporary than yours is. The Psychology Today article from Theresa E DiDonato highlights just how skewed it can be to have him window shopping while you’re putting your money down.

DiDonato explains, “when people are in exclusive relationships, a fundamental shift occurs in how they unconsciously manage their attentional [outlets]. When an attractive potential partner walks by, research on implicit cognitive processing suggests, committed partners automatically inhibit their attention. If your love interest doesn’t have eyes only for you, it could be a sign that this is really just a fling,” which is disappointing, but probably better to have discovered earlier rather than later.

We hate to say it, but if he’s still looking around (while you’ve excommunicated all past folks and future prospects) then you might want to rethink how serious you want to make this relationship…

Because it looks like his crush isn’t as exclusive as anyone thought. It’s sad, but it’s better to play it safe than to get burned by a lack of faithfulness later on. Trust us: don’t try and turn a temporary crush into anything it’s not.

11 Real: He “Only Has Eyes For You”


On the flipside of that, it almost goes without saying that if he naturally avoids looking at attractive people then his crush is the real deal. While the two of you might still be navigating exactly what your relationship is (or will be), it’s a good sign that he’s avoiding the gaze of any other potential person.

Bustle has a great quote that really highlights this type of thinking, which we’ve quoted here: “when your partner thinks you're "The One," you won't be worrying about them looking at anyone else. ‘You know that they aren’t just hiding those glances from you or scared that you will see them sneaking a peak and get upset,’ says House. ‘They truly, honestly just want you and almost seemingly lost their sight for anyone else.’” As true as it is for your partner, this is also true for you.

If you’re still stealing glances at the attractive server in the restaurant or keeping Tinder on your phone ‘just in case’, it’s a sign that you might not be as invested as your partner is. While his crush looks to be the real deal, you might need to reevaluate your own feelings… Even if the relationship hasn’t moved out of the casual dating phase.

10 Temporary: He Ignores The Problems He Doesn’t Immediately Understand


Honestly, if he’s ignoring anything it’s a bad sign. Call him out on things that he might be avoiding/ignoring. It’ll keep him from thinking he can get away with picking and choosing the parts of people that he likes. To be in a relationship you have to take the whole person, not just bits and pieces of them. In Andrea Bonior’s article on Psychology Today, 7 Signs of a Relationship That May Never Work, she talks about how being understood is one of the biggest reasons that a couple doesn’t work out.

For our purposes, let’s look at it from our crush’s perspective.

She says that if there are “conditions” or “a facade” that surround your partner, it’s a sign that perhaps they don’t feel like they’re being understood.

How does that make you feel? Are you avoiding discussing your problems with your partner, because you worry that they wouldn’t understand them? Or are you pretending like you don’t have any in order to keep the peace? If you feel like you have to keep things quiet, or if you keep getting shut down when you try and approach a discussion about your issues or feelings, that’s a sign that he doesn’t really want to commit. His crush is temporary, and you’re better off finding someone who’ll support you.

9 Real: He Makes An Effort To Understand You (AND Your Issues)


On the flipside of that, him making an effort to understand the things that you’re going through is another big, neon sign that says “HE LIKES YOU”. He’s not going to put effort into something he doesn’t care about; we know we wouldn’t. As we said above, if you feel like you’re being ignored, his crush definitely isn’t real. But if you feel like you can open up, let loose, and talk about anything with this guy, then it’s a good sign that you two are meant to be together and his feelings are the real deal.

Stephanie A. Sarkis, Ph.D., of Psychology Today, says that one of the keys to a happy relationship is being able to feel mutual respect for each other. She writes about how it “doesn't mean you agree with everything your partner says or does. It does mean that you have admiration for each other, and steady undercurrent of love and trust throughout your relationship. You also have each other's back,” even if you don’t understand what each other is going through! As long as he has your back and is making an effort, you can rest assured that his crush is the real deal, and you can count on that continuing.

8 Temporary: He One-Ups Your Good News Instead Of Celebrating It


Ah, good old one-uppers. Even if you don’t know what they are, we know that you’ve met them before. These are the people who constantly have to top you in discussions, even if you’re not in a whose-weekend-was-the-best competition. When you say “I just got a kitten”, they say “I rescued three of them from under my porch and one of those turned out to be the long-lost runaway kitten from the Queen of France”. There’s just no celebrating around those people unless the celebration surrounds them. You know where we’re going with this, right? If your crush is one of those nasty one-uppers, you might want to move on.

If he never wants to celebrate your good news but expects cake and balloons every time he makes a sale or books a part, he’s probably not as head over heels for you as you thought.

The Independent published an article highlighting some of the keys to a successful relationship. Unsurprisingly, how people respond to their partner’s good news was a big factor in successful relationships. The Independent writes, “one litmus test of a happy relationship is how enthusiastically each partner responds to the other's good news,” and then breaks down the different responses people can have. Guess where one-upping lived? In the “passive-destructive” zone. Anything with the words “passive” and “destructive” attached to it is probably not what you want to build a relationship off of, as it’s a sign that he’s not really invested after all.

7 Real: He Cheers You On


Once again, due to that negative situation we just discussed, the positive side of things is obvious. What does it mean when your partner isn’t ignoring you, isn’t one-upping you and isn’t reluctant to celebrate your work? It means that they’re cheering you on! If your crush is celebrating with you, then it’s a sign that they really, sincerely like you. Bustle gives us two different quotes to support this: “someone who is "The One" will feel like your biggest fan. ‘Your success is their biggest joy,’ says Greene. ‘They do whatever they can to support your dreams and passions, especially if it has nothing to do with them.’” This means that if your guy has a real-deal crush on you, you’re going to know it through their cheerleader style cheering you on.

The other quote is from Jaya Jaya Myra, who tells Bustle, “Maybe they know you've had a long day, so dinner is waiting at home, or they pick you up and take you out so that you don't have to worry about cooking… Maybe they text you throughout the day to make sure you haven't forgotten anything you wanted to get done. Perhaps they do some of your errands to make you forget about having a bad day." These are all examples of more tangible ways your potential partner could act as a cheerleader. If any of these sound familiar (i.e. your crush has done it) then you can rest assured that he’s into you.

6 Temporary: One Fight And He’s Calling It Over


One thing that surprised us when researching these clues is the fact that every couple is going to argue. Psychology Today’s articles almost always mentioned something about arguing rather than fighting, and how “you can argue without fighting. Arguing is non-combative — you and your partner state your points of view without name-calling or raising your voice. Sometimes you agree to disagree — and that's okay,” says Stephanie A. Sarkis, Ph.D., in her article on Psychology Today.

Many people don’t know the difference between arguing and fighting, including (potentially) your crush.

If you two have just gotten into a disagreement about what to do for date night or the fact that you might want to up the time spent together while he likes how things are, how he reacts is a good indicator of where his feelings are at. If he starts to fight with you, not only is he probably not invested in keeping the relationship alive, but he’s also probably going to out himself as having one of those temporary crushes. How he reacts after the fight is also important, as you can imagine.

Bustle reminds us, "if these arguments are not a matter of stay or leave but just each other getting on one another's nerves, then you might assume this relationship has legs and you are both in it for the long haul.” It goes without saying that if dinner plans have turned into “a matter of stay or leave,” then he’s probably thinking about leaving anyway.

5 Real: He Doesn’t Give Up


We want to really highlight one important point from that last paragraph: Bustle’s idea of staying vs. leaving. It’s okay if you two argue about things, and even if you fight once or twice. The important part is how he’s dealing with the aftermath. Preston Ni, M.S.B.A, says to Psychology Today, “successful couples have the ability to solve problems and let it go. They focus on taking care of the issue rather than attacking the person. Even when angry, they find ways to be upset and stay close at the same time. Once the matter is resolved, they forgive and forget.

Most importantly, successful couples have the ability to learn and grow through their interpersonal difficulties. Like a fine wine, their relationship improves with age and gets better over time.” This is true with you and your crush as well. If he’s looking at you and thinking ‘yeah, I can see this going somewhere,’ then you can bet that he’s going to be more willing to let things go. His crush is the real deal if he’s finding it easier to let arguments go and compromise for the sake of the relationship. The only catch? You need to be willing to do the same!

4 Temporary: He Doesn’t Think Of You When You’re Apart


Absence makes the heart grow fonder? Not for this guy, who doesn’t seem to think about you when you two are apart. It can be hard to get him to admit that you’re not the first thing on his mind every minute of every day, but there are some ways to tell.

We’re taking this as a fact through a study that actually proves thinking about each other is a good thing.

Independent quoted a study that was done which asked people about relationship characteristics and happiness. Independent states, “certain relationship characteristics were linked to stronger feelings of love. One especially interesting finding: The more often people reported thinking about their partner when they were apart, the more in love they felt. The same study included a follow-up experiment with nearly 400 married New Yorkers, which found that difficulty concentrating on other things while you're thinking about your partner is also linked to strong feelings of love — especially for men.”

So, we’re confident in saying that if your crush isn’t thinking about you, he’s probably only got some temporary feelings.

Getting distracted by you is one thing, but getting distracted by most things that have nothing to do with you? That’s a negative sign that screams temporary crush, rather than real deal love.

3 Real: He Sends “Thinking About You” Reminders


...Or just tells you that he thought about you all day. Everyone has a different idea of what healthy communication is. Some people like to be in constant contact, and some like to catch up once a day. What you might find is the fact that even if he is thinking about you, you won’t necessarily hear about it until after. Bustle says that “if your partner is the one dishing out all the love in your relationship, you might also notice they're always thinking about you,” which is totally true.

Theresa E. DiDonato has an article on Psychology Today that focuses on texting in relationships. She mentions how “for Millennials, who comprise the now- and next-generation of men and women navigating the dating game, texting is a socially acceptable way to flirt, check-in, ask questions, gossip, make plans, or otherwise connect with potential or current romantic partners,” which is just another way of saying that we like to text each other for a bunch of different reasons, and those reasons usually help our relationships. If he’s sending you little messages throughout the day to check in, you know that his crush is real. Even if he mentions it to you the next time you meet up, as long as you’re on his mind you can bet that you’re in his heart.

2 Temporary: He Politely Laughs At Your Jokes


Ugh, what’s worse than this? We get it, people get nervous on first dates. Some people who get nervous politely laugh when there’s a joke being said. They might have good intentions; they don’t want to offend, or they want to flatter their potential partner. Unfortunately, it does more harm than good. If your partner doesn’t genuinely enjoy laughing with you and spending their downtime with you, it isn’t going to work out.

Andrea Bonior, Ph.D., wrote for Psychology Today and said, “sometimes someone might feel constantly exhausted by a partner — even if that partner isn't really doing much to be exhausting. When you are always frustrated by a partner, and you feel that you need a break from them far more often than being with them provides a break — that is a sign that something is seriously off.”

Laughing out of obligation could be a sign that you two are more draining for each other than you think right off the bat.

It’s likely that even if he hasn’t consciously understood this fact, he’s subconsciously doing it. And that means that his crush isn’t the real deal… It’s a temporary interest and one that’s probably not going to last.

1 Real: He Laughs Loud And Plays Along


Finally, we’ve come to the sign that he really, genuinely likes you. While many relationships start due to a physical interest, that’s not the way to having long-term success. The Independent cites a conversation the founder of eHarmony had with Business Insider to back this claim: “humor can be a 'social lubricant' in a romantic relationship… Having a "private" language with your partner — i.e. nicknames and jokes that no one else would get — can help facilitate bonding and often predicts relationship satisfaction.”

So, if your crush is making inside jokes with you after two or three dates, cracking jokes that he thinks you’d find funny, and playing along with all your ridiculous and hilarious comedy routines, you’ve found yourself a winner.

You can rest assured that if your comedy is on point with each other’s, his crush is probably the real deal. But remember: all of these tips are just guidelines. The best way to figure out if his crush is temporary or real is to just ask. Have a conversation about commitment and see how he reacts. If it’s positive, you’re probably in a good place to assume that he really, really likes you. And if not, you’ll need to make a judgment call on whether to continue or not. Hopefully, these signs help to give you something to think about!

References: independent.co.uk, psychologytoday.com, psychologytoday.com, bustle.com, bustle.com, psychologytoday.com, psychologytoday.com, psychologytoday.com, psychologytoday.com, psychologytoday.com,

More in Love