Be Subtle and Stealthy or Honest and Direct

This isn’t middle school. But when you’re trying to figure out whether he “likes you” likes you, it can stir up adolescent memories of mixed messages and awkward moments. Of course, you’re nervous. After all, it’s not just about you anymore. Even something as happy and good as a new relationship can wreak havoc on your life if you don’t begin it on the right foot.


Silently Assess His Behavior

Before you put yourself out there on a lonely limb, look for signs. Pay attention to how he behaves when he’s with you—and when he’s not. He may already be telling you a lot about his feelings for you even if he doesn’t use words. Does he want to spend time with you? Does he seem happy and comfortable when you’re together? Does he call you all the time?

Whether he’s someone you just met or an old friend who only recently stepped back into your life, you may be able to tell what he feels by what he does. If he shares his day-to-day and shows a real interest in what you do, he’s probably into you. He’s okay with meeting your family. He wants you to meet his. These are signs it’s not just a casual friendship.


Ask Without Words

If he’s being less clear, measure his behaviors by putting yours upfront. When you touch him, does he touch you back? You laugh at his jokes; does he laugh at yours? Be careful, though. He may enjoy your company, may even want to spend the night, but sex isn’t love. Especially when the kids are home, you don’t want to introduce him as the guy of your dreams if he’s only interested in a passing fling.


Find Out What He Thinks About Relationships

Before you come out and ask, assess his attitude about relationships in general. If he’s still heartbroken over an ex, you may not want to step in as a rebound no matter how much he likes you. Or maybe he’s a dedicated bachelor who says “never” when it comes to long-term relationships. He may like you for just one reason. And if his ideas about children don’t match yours, he’s likely not for you. You want someone who likes you and all the people you come with.


Set the Mood

Even for the direct approach, set a mood that will help him answer and act. If it’s been casual and fun up until now, it’s time to turn the corner. Invite him to dinner or choose a quiet place with low lighting and just the right ambiance. Dress sexy. Wear subtle makeup and perfume. Give him your undivided attention and maintain intimate eye contact.


Drop a Hint

One way to ask without actually asking is to offer some of your own feelings. Tell him that you really enjoy his company. If he says he enjoys yours as well, tread further. Compliment him and give him the chance to do the same to you. And then just tell him how you feel. Be careful: Choose the wrong “L” word, and you could send him running.


Be Direct

Just ask! If you’re looking for a relationship, you need to know whether he is too. Come right out and ask about his feelings for you. Explain to him that your life is a little complicated and you don’t have time for games. Neither of you may be ready for love and commitment yet, but if he says you’re just not the one for him, it may be time to put on the brakes before you get hurt.