Here are some subtle and not-so-subtle ways you can tell if this is going to be your year:
- For at least the last week, he's remembered to put the toilet seat down, and it isn't your birthday.
- Your mother (or best friend) has suddenly decided he isn't such a disappointment after all. (One or both of them are in on the secret!)
- He's asked you for your ring size or jokingly wrapped a twist tie, piece of string or rubber band around your finger.
- Out of the blue, he's asked you if you love him. Most men try to avoid direct references to the L word unless someone is going away on a trip or there's nudity involved.
- The last time the two of you accepted a wedding invitation, he didn't complain about having to dress up.
- He doesn't mind spending time with your family.
- He's been more attentive than usual and may actually have said he wants to grow old with you. (You took this as a sign that those gray hairs are growing back.)
- He's made long-term money plans, and they include you.
- You can't remember the last time he went out with the guys for a night of drunken debauchery.
- When he has to work late, he calls in advance to apologize.
- He mentioned Valentine's Day this year without prefacing his remarks by saying that the holiday is just a marketing gimmick for the florists and card companies.
- He doesn't look at other women much anymore, and when he does, he looks guilty about it.
- He keeps looking in jewelry store windows.
- He's suddenly interested in your feelings about having kids.
- He says you look cute in the morning.
- You keep catching him looking off into space like he's worried about something.
- He took great care of you the last time you were laid up with the flu.
- He uses the "we" word more than the "I" word these days.
- You've caught him snooping in your jewelry box.
- He's keeping his Valentine's Day plans for the two of you a secret.
The signs are subtle, but you'll probably have a sixth sense feeling that will alert you anyway. Put a few of these subtle signals together, and you may be looking at a Valentine's Day worthy of a big celebration. Once you've made the transition from being a playmate to a helpmeet -- that's an old timey word for a partner -- a St. Valentine's Day proposal will be the icing on the cake.
If you still have doubts about the institution of marriage, consider a 2006 Pew Research study that reflects the observations of many psychologists: It found that 43 percent of married respondents felt they were "very happy." On the single side, only 24 percent of responders could make the same claim.