Real love isn't always shown in grand gestures. I learned this when I wrote about the moments women knew their partners actually loved them. I uncovered even more of the man I want to be in my next relationship when more of y'all chimed in with your own moments of realizing your partner loved you:
1. "Two years ago, I mentioned wanting to buy my nephew the Nintendo Switch Lite for Christmas. After checking the Target website and realizing the color option I wanted was sold out online and at the locations near me, I gave up. The next morning, my boyfriend woke up at 5 a.m. and drove to a Target store an hour away from us to get to the store before they opened. He stood outside for nearly an hour and spent his own $200 on the Nintendo Switch Lite I had tried to get. When I woke up, he surprised me with it. He was genuinely excited to see my nephew's reaction to opening the gift. I already knew he loved me, but that was the very moment I knew this man not only loved me, but my family as well."
2. "He was the main income provider when we had our first baby, so after only about two weeks, he had to go back to work full time. Every morning before work, we would wash all the bottles and all my pumping parts together. Then, he'd clean the kitchen and made food for me just to make my morning easier. And after coming home from a long work day, he would take baby so I could get some rest."
—Bree Reyes, Instagram
3. "I mentioned to my husband that A&W root beer reminded me of growing up in Michigan. My pap-paw used to use them as an incentive for me to walk on my crutches as I have spina bifida. There's a case of A&W in the fridge right now."
4. "I was in a really bad situation with my roommates who constantly crossed boundaries with me and treated me poorly. The last straw was when they moved someone into my room that I was still paying for when I was stuck in another country early in the pandemic. My boyfriend asked me to stay at his place until my lease was up, and assured me it wasn't a problem at all. We had only been dating for three months, but I was in such a bad situation that I accepted. I felt like a burden, but never voiced it. One day, I came back to his place, and he had bought me a little dresser, probably like $20 on Amazon. He said, 'I got it for you so you could stop living out of a bag and you don’t have to take so many trips back and forth to pick up clothes.' My heart melted."
5. "I went out drinking with the girls, and there was a glass of water, aspirin, and a puke bucket by my side of the bed when I came home."
—Sandra Libro, Instagram
6. "We had been arguing to the point that I thought our relationship was over — I'd even started looking online for a flight back to my hometown. I had to go to scuba diver training, and it started raining sideways while I was out there. He knew my schedule. When I got out, he was there with hot coffee in one hand and warm clothes with a raincoat in the other hand. I was still upset, and all I could say was, 'Thank you.' In the afternoon, I asked why would he do that if he knew we were beyond repair. He said, 'That doesn't mean I don't want you to be comfortable.'"
7. "I had to have a colonoscopy when I was 27 years old due to severe health issues. My boyfriend took time off to drive me to and from the colonoscopy. The day before the procedure, I had to be on a strict liquid-only diet, and I was having an extremely hard time with it because I just felt so horrible. I started crying from the combo of nerves, being overwhelmed, and extreme hunger. He was extremely supportive and held me while I cried. He went out and brought me everything I needed: baby wipes, hemorrhoid cream, a Squatty Potty, and even my prep mix. He waited to fall asleep until after me, and even woke up with me in the middle of the night when it was time to take the second part of the prep. After the procedure, he helped me get dressed and cleaned up, and walked me where I needed. Not once did he act like I was more than he bargained for. I know I can count on him for far worse if need be."
8. "He died four years ago. There were so many moments when he was alive. He decided to become a teacher so that we could have a better life together because when we got together, neither of us were working. After I’d been talking to my sister about a particular chocolate that we'd often had as kids, I mentioned it to him in passing. Next time he went out, he bought me one. He always encouraged me to follow my dreams. With his encouragement, I became a personal caregiver, went to nursing school, and became a nurse. He did so much for me every day."
9. "When he noticed I hadn’t eaten, he made two grilled cheese sandwiches, one with normal cheese and one with extra cheese. He then let me take a bite of both to decide which one I wanted. It was a small moment that revealed so much to me."
10. "We were only dating for a few months when I ended up with a pretty severe disc herniation that required back surgery and months of healing and over a year of physical therapy. He still came to my house just about every night, even after he was working outside carrying drywall in the hot/rain/snow for over 12 hours, five days a week. He showed up to help me with cooking, cleaning, my exercises, and even helped me shower and wash my hair. Then, he'd rub my upper back until I fell asleep. After a few weeks, he ended up packing his stuff and moving in because he couldn't stand the idea if I fell and he wasn't there."
"We've been together nine years now, and it's been the best nine years of my life."
11. "'Hey, I think you parked where they are going to tow in the morning,' he said to me. 'I’ll move your car for you.'"
12. "I moved to his country around Christmastime, and saw some stores were selling lebkuchen, a type of gingerbread. I'd never had it, but when I first tried it, it was like heaven in my mouth. I told him I could marry those cookies because I was so in love! Since then, when stores start to sell it, he gets a package randomly for us when he goes grocery shopping. He loves me like I love those cookies."
—Erica Cristina, Instagram
13. "My husband knows that my job is rough, so he does what he can to alleviate my suffering. If I’ve had a particularly rough day at work, he’ll set up a nice game of 'Sizzle Frizzle,' which is filling up super soakers with hot oil and squirting each other, and our neighbors. By the end, I’m laughing like hell, and the pain of my job is nothing more than a distant, burning memory to me. It’s little things like these that show me how much my husband loves me, and I am beyond grateful for my darling."
14. "My husband puts my comfy clothes in the dryer on cold nights to have them warm when I get home late."
15. "I had 13 surgeries last year, and because of that, I have a bad leg and don’t walk great. Everywhere we go, I watch him scope out the safest way to walk. He always grabs my hand to walk down stairs and never makes a big deal of it. He just does it out of instinct to make sure I don’t fall. There’s so many things he does that are loving and kind, but this showed me his true concern and love for me."
—K Sin, Instagram
16. "I knew when we unexpectedly found out I was pregnant. We had known each other for over a year and had just started to date seriously. We weren't even living together. The day we found out, I was scared out of my mind. He grabbed me by the shoulders, looked into my soul, and told me we could do this. When I asked how he knew, he told me he loved me. Almost 14 years later, another kid, and he’s still the most amazing husband and father ever."
What's the moment you realized your own boyfriend, girlfriend, or partner truly loved you? Share it in the comments.
Note: Submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.