It doesn’t take grand declarations of love or over-the-top romantic gestures to show your SO how much you really care about them. There are plenty of subtle things you can do to remind them how you feel, every single day. Because in the end, the little things mean the most.
1. Surprise them with small, but meaningful gifts.
It doesn’t always take extravagant and expensive gifts to make someone feel loved and cared for. You can pick up your significant other’s favorite snack on your way to their place, or bake them their favorite dessert to surprise them with after dinner. You can make a silly card just to say how much you love them, or spend time on a random arts and crafts project that’s personalized just for them. Unexpected treats and gifts, no matter how small, can go a long way.
2. Make an effort with their friends and family.
As your relationship grows more serious, you will begin to spend more time with your SO’s friends and family, for better or worse. Some of them may drive you nuts, but these are the other people that are important to your partner besides you, so they should be important to you too. Make a genuine effort to get to know them, and never try to influence your SO’s relationship with someone else because of your own judgment. Even if you can’t stand their childhood best friend, they were there first, so you must remain patient and kind to prove to your SO that you care.
3. Write them notes.
Leaving little surprise messages for them to discover can really show how much you think about them. Even if it’s just a post-it left on the fridge saying to have a good day, or a note on their pillow saying you love them, it will surely bring a smile to their face.
4. Be spontaneous.
We can all get so comfortable in the daily grind that we forget to surprise our SO and add a little spontaneity to their lives. By doing something fun and romantic on a whim, you show that you still care and are putting effort into the relationship, regardless how long you’ve been together. Whisking them away for a dinner date during the week, surprising them with lunch, sending them flowers for no reason, booking a hotel for a random weekend – you’ll show that they’re still worth it, even when there isn’t a special occasion.
5. Remember the details.
Write things down. Remember important dates. Keep in mind what they might have said they particularly liked or wanted to do. Over time, they might completely forget they said aloud that they wanted to try a certain new restaurant, or that they loved a pair of wine glasses in a store. It’ll be that much more meaningful of a gift when they see that you really listen and pay attention to what they say.
6. Compliment them.
When the spontaneity fades in a relationship, sometimes the random compliments and sincere praises will disappear too. You might see the person so often that you don’t even think to point out when they’re looking especially good, or they did something especially impressive. Every time you compliment your SO, it shows them you still care, and that you care enough to tell them. Everyone loves to be complimented! (But don’t always just focus on their appearance when you do!)
7. Tell them something other than you love them.
When was the last time you changed the word love to another verb? It can mean a lot being told that you’re adored, that they feel lucky to have you, that you’re an important part of their life, that they admire how hard you work. There are many different ways to remind someone you love them.
8. Take care of them when they’re sick.
Even when they’re at their worst – puking, blowing their nose, coughing all over the place, devoid of a shower – step up and be their caretaker. As a youngling, we’re usually babied by our parents when we’re sick, and this inevitably goes away as we get older. So it’s nice to have your SO reprise the role and coddle you when you’re feeling awful.
9. Show interest in the things they like.
Even if you couldn’t care less about video games, cars, football, whatever they’re into, make an effort to show genuine interest. You won’t always have the same tastes, but rather than show indifference, let them explain it to you, show you, engage you. Go out of your way to ask questions, or let them know if you see what they like somewhere. If it matters to them, it should matter to you. And if you care about what they care about, it shows you care about them.
10. Do little favors for them – happily.
If they keep forgetting to buy a new charger, if they haven’t had time to take out the trash, if they’re running late to let their dog out, do it for them! And I made a point to say “happily” here. If they ask you to help them out with something, or if you volunteer to help them on your own, don’t do it begrudgingly. And don’t expect any favors back. I am consistently reminded how much my BF cares about me when I ask him to do small but inconvenient tasks – buy tampons, swing by my apartment to grab something I forgot, drive me to the train station – because he is always willing, he never seems bothered, and he never acts like I owe him afterwards.
The little things are what will keep your relationship afloat, whether it’s a random compliment, a fun surprise, or an unexpected favor. Put some thought and effort into how you can make them feel special and loved, regularly.