By Marina Bennett  

The human body doesn’t keep secrets. This is one of the most important things to remember on a first date. When a person is romantically attracted to their partner, it shows — and it’s more obvious than you’d think.

To find out more we spoke with body language expert and bestselling author Dr. Lillian Glass, featured on The Nature of Things documentary Body Language Decoded, about the subtle cues we should be looking for. With some careful observation, she says you can tell whether your partner is truly interested — or completely checked out.

Is it love? (Or at least ‘like’?)

According to Dr. Glass, signs of genuine interest are easy to spot. “When I look at people, I look at the whole person, I don’t just look at one thing,” she says.

Some body language gestures that show genuine romantic interest from your date:

  • Smiling and playing with their hair
  • Touching you gently
  • Pointing their toes toward you
  • Leaning into you
SCENE FROM THE FILM: Dr. Lillian Glass analyzes a couple's bond through their gestures of physical affection.

The desire for physical closeness is at the root of all of these actions. If your date is really into you, they’ll want to be near you and make contact with you, even if that just means facing you directly.

Will and Kate in a poppy fieldThe Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visit Tower of London's Ceramaic Poppy Field. Photo Credit: Oli Scarff/Getty
Famous and in love 

In the world of high-profile couples, we can glean a lot from the way they interact. The body language between Prince William and Kate Middleton is typical of a couple that is very much in love, says Glass. They smile easily around each other and lean closely together in public. All this despite the fact that PDAs are generally against royal protocol.

Actors Sacha Baron Cohen and Isla Fisher also embody strong romantic chemistry in their relationship. When they’re together, they’re often smiling, holding each other, and going along with each other’s sense of humour.

“He adores her and she adores him,” says Glass. “Humour-wise, they both respect each other, they’re both intelligent, and they’re just very like-minded, and it shows tremendously. That’s the key to a successful couple.”

“It’s not you, it’s me.”

On the flip side, there are ways to tell that a person is not romantically interested in their partner, says Glass.

“The body doesn’t lie," she says. "You can’t fool people unless you’re a phenomenal actor.”

Evasive — that’s the best way to describe the body language of someone who’s just not that into their partner. Keep a sharp eye out for these telltale signs:

  • Avoiding direct eye contact
  • No teeth — keeping their mouth tight-lipped or frowning
  • Licking their lips
  • Pulling their nose or scratching themselves

Nervous fidgeting is a symptom of discomfort in the autonomic nervous system. Glass says this behaviour is a side effect of the body working twice as hard because it desperately wants to be away from the other person.

Each of these raises a red flag that your date might not be into you after all.

Famous couples who look like they’re faking it

“David and Victoria Beckham — I don’t know why they’re together,” says Dr. Glass. According to her, the celebrity couple’s romantic body language is… not all that romantic. They appear stiff and disconnected in public, notes Glass, like they’re posing together instead of genuinely interested in one another. They also make little eye contact and don’t often face or lean into each other. It’s possible that they’re both uncomfortable with public displays of affection, but their body language suggests that they just don’t share much romantic closeness.

Kanye and Kim on red carpetAccording to Dr. Glass, Kanye and Kim don't demonstrate love in their body language. They're pictured at a MOMA fundraiser in New York. Photo Credit: Mike Coppola, Getty Images

The same can be said about power couple Kanye West and Kim Kardashian West. They rarely appear at ease around each other. Their eye contact is minimal, there’s a rigidity to their embraces, and they rarely smile around or at each other, at least in public. “There’s always a tinge of anger between them. There’s not a lot of love and affection that we see,” remarks Glass. In her opinion, their body language may tell a story, but it doesn’t look like a love story.

Body Language (Mostly) Never Lies

Romantic body language can’t be faked — at least not successfully. If a couple has a strong romantic connection, it’ll come across through their body language whether they know it or not.

Glass' recommendation? Hold back on the booze for the first few dates. She says that alcohol clouds body language, making people do or say things that they might not ordinarily do. This keeps them from being their true selves, making it harder to read their real intentions.

Watch Body Language Decoded on The Nature of Things to learn more.

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