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I wrote this post on a whim years ago for Valentine’s day, back when Illich was just my boyfriend. But people keep on finding it. I think because there are so many young women out there wondering if the guy they are with loves them. If you’re asking if someone loves you, you’re actually asking a more fundamental question: Can you trust this person with your heart?

I wanted to share why this relationship is so much better than any other one I’ve ever had. I’ve been with guys where I’ve justified. You know, that feeling where you know in your heart something is off, but you just sort of explain it away? I did that. A lot.

I don’t have that feeling with this one. I know without a doubt that my fiancé loves me. It’s a fact in my life, like the sun rising every morning. And I know I can trust him. I know that he won’t intentionally hurt me. He is not perfect, and neither am I. But we are in this together.

So without further ado, here are the 40 things that my boyfriend does (and I think every guy should do) that make me confident he loves me:

At a recent party where Illich was DJing, two partygoers made this picture for us. Because they could tell we were in love!

At a recent party where Illich was DJing, two partygoers made this picture for us. Because they could tell we were in love!

1. When I succeed, he gets genuinely excited.

2. When I fail, he tells me he’s really sorry, then helps me brainstorm a solution.

3. When I’m in a totally uncalled-for, pissy mood, he sits next to me and holds my hand for as long as it takes for me to get out of it.

4. He was terrified of meeting my family, but still agreed to meet them.

5. He met my family, and had nothing but nice things to say about all of them.

6. He never takes me for granted. I feel his gratitude every day.

7. When another guy hits on me, he blames the guy, not me.

8. “That girl over there? Sure, she’s hot, but she’s certainly not as beautiful as you.”

9. He’s 6′ 5″ and I’m 5’2″ and when it rains, he just gives me the umbrella.

10. Ladies first. (I mean that in every way.)

11. He doesn’t let anybody, even his friends, be disrespectful to me.

13. He doesn’t kiss and tell.

14. That night at the bar when a drunk girl crawled into his lap and tried to make out with him, and he called me–really upset–to tell me so I wouldn’t find out about it from anyone else. (Which I never did, because it wasn’t a big deal.)

15. He won’t let me get rid of any clothes because he thinks every single thing looks so good on me. (Except for that one vest, which I actually totally agree with.)

Illich Mujica and Alden Wicker

16. His parents know about me, and are under the strong impression that I am beautiful and smart and perfect. (Even though we’ve never met because they live in another country.)

17. His mother once sent an email that said (in Spanish), “… and I love Alden, because I know you love her.”

18. Even though he’s 1 foot, 3 inches taller than me, he walks at my pace.

19. I’ve never lost him at a party. Even at parties with thousands of people.

20. When I give him advice, he takes it almost every time …

21. … and when he disagrees, it’s respectfully.

22. When he’s upset about something, he calls me first.

23. He’s always lending me money when I lose my wallet. (Three times now.)

24. He tells me he loves me every day …

25. But he only says it when he means it.

26. He responds to text messages within the hour.

27. He wants my opinion on big life decisions.

28. He shares my feminist posts on Facebook, encouraging his friends to read them.

29. He sends me funny, interesting or relevant stuff he thinks I would like at least once a day.

30. He’s honest with me about what he’s feeling.

31. He enjoys cooking dinner with me.

32. And he doesn’t mind doing the dishes after.

33. He gives me constructive criticism.

34. For my birthday, he planned a scavenger hunt that led to a hotel room, gave me two necklaces from Artists and Fleas (he didn’t know which one I would like better), gave me two cupcakes with 2 and 7 on them, covered the bed with Reese’s, surprised me with cocktails at a speakeasy, researched the best farm-to-table restaurants in NYC and took me to Rosemary’s for dinner, and made me a special birthday music mix.

35. He turns around the middle of DJ sets and kisses me, just because he’s happy I’m there.

36. When we get in fights, he never lets me leave in anger. He asks me to stay so we can talk it out. He also doesn’t insult me or call me names when we fight. We fight clean.

Illich's kitty, #panchothecoolestcat, giving me hugs

Illich’s kitty, #panchothecoolestcat, giving me hugs

37. His cat likes me better than any other girl.

38. He takes pictures of me when I’m not looking, just because he thinks I’m pretty.

39. When he reads this, he’s going to be so embarrassed, and then he’s going to send me a text that says something like, “Just saw your post! You are the best girlfriend I’ve ever had. Thank you! [Insert sappy emoticons here]

40. I know that next time I see him, he’s going to have a big smile on his face, because he’s genuinely happy to see me.

There’s so much more to say, but I think that’s enough for now. I hope that you are enjoying your Valentine’s Day, whether it involves a nice dinner with your sweetie, or Law & Order reruns and a big box of fair trade chocolate. I’ve done both–self love is important, too!