Eight Signs That Your Partner Is Definitely “Into You”

If your partner does these things, the relationship matters to them.

Posted Mar 17, 2020 | Reviewed by Gary Drevitch

Just like every liar has a “tell,” most people have a preferred way of showing others that they are part of a couple and that their partner is “taken.” Researchers call these “mate retention behaviors,” as they reflect actions we take to show others—and our partner—that they are off-limits to rivals.

Buss (1988) developed a scale, the Mate Retention Scale, to measure just how frequently people use particular actions to encourage their partners to stay with them as well as encourage others to stay away from their partner. Not surprisingly, the value a person places on their mate—and their own estimations of their value as a mate—affects the type and frequency of their “turf-guarding” behaviors.

Good Behaviors vs. Bad Behaviors

So, who’s more likely to use strategies that benefit rather than hurt their partners?

People with lower levels of mate value are more likely to use hurtful methods of mate retention due, likely, to their fear of losing a partner. In fact, the greater the attachment anxiety a person feels, the more likely they are to use the hurtful methods of mate retention and the less relationship satisfaction that this couple will experience over time.

Conversely, people who have higher values, themselves, as mates are more likely to use positive methods. As might be expected, we try to positively influence partners we feel to have high mate value to stay, but those who are high in mate value themselves also tend to use strategies that benefit their mates (Salkicevic et al., 2014).

1. Resource display. Giving gifts to your partner or providing opportunities, such as tickets to events, holidays, etc.

2. Intimacy inducements. Communicating your appreciation for your partner in an intimate way, such as through long gazes, making yourself available, and engaging in sexual activities that you know will please your partner.

3. Appearance enhancement. Making an effort to look good for your partner—whether this involves particular clothing, weight loss, make-up, or acts such as “hair-flipping” that may be done unconsciously and work as a method of drawing attention from a potential partner.

4. Love and care. Communicating to your partner in the language of love that your partner speaks and intentionally engaging in behaviors that show how much you care.

5. Submission and debasement. Being willing—sometimes too much so—to do what your partner would like to do and to take a secondary role in the relationship.

6. Verbal possession. Telling others just how close you and your partner’s relationship is and sharing your “taken” status.

7. Physical possession: Physically “claiming” your partner by holding their hand, linking arms, or engaging in PDAs.

8. Possessive ornamentation. Giving a partner gifts to wear, such as jewelry, expensive clothing, or pricey accessories that mark your partner as “yours.”

When it comes to the dynamics of a relationship, actions can certainly tell an observer a great deal more than what partners might say, which might simply be what they want themselves or others to believe.

Facebook image: a35mmporhora/Shutterstock


Buss, D. M. (1988). From vigilance to violence: Tactics of mate retention in American undergraduates. Ethology and Sociobiology, 9(5), 291-317.

Salkicevic, S., Stanic, A. L., & Grabovac, M. T. (2014). Good Mates Retain Us Right: Investigating the Relationship between Mate Retention Strategies, Mate Value, and Relationship Satisfaction. Evolutionary Psychology.  https://doi.org/10.1177/147470491401200512