Credit: The CW

Last night, we got to experience The Vampire DiariesDamon Salvatore (Ian Somerhalder) as The Boyfriend and, we have to admit, he was pretty darn good at it. (Mostly) gone is the reckless, impetuous, homicidal vampire of seasons past, and in his place a caring, considerate, sexy vamp boyfriend. Here are seven reasons why Damon might just be the best boyfriend ever.

He tells Elena he loves her

To the casual observer, Damon might not seem like the overly affectionate type, but he kinda, sorta is. This guy has no trouble uttering those three little words (probably because he couldn’t for so long), and that gives him extra points in our book. We think TVD should probably set a bare minimum of one “I love you” from Damon per episode.

He takes care of her brother

Damon spent much of the Season 5 premiere trying to keep Jeremy out of trouble. First, he has to compel the Mystic Falls High School principal into lessening Jer’s expulsion to a three-day suspension. Then, he has to feed Jeremy his blood to keep him from dying. And don’t tell us you didn’t tear up a little when Damon hugs Jeremy and tells him he doesn’t care that Katherine is gone (implication: as long as Jeremy’s okay). That’s some serious commitment.

He looks great shirtless

As far as we’re concerned, Damon can spend every episode sans shirt. In the Season 5 premiere, we were treated to a scene of Elena and Damon chatting in the Salvatore bathroom. Elena’s in the tub, and Damon is in nothing but a towel and boy does he look good.

He wants to give Elena a happy college experience

Though Damon may talk a lot about his plan to ply Elena with champagne and kisses to make her change her mind about attending college, when it comes down to it, Damon wants Elena to get what she wants, even if it means spending time away from him. And that’s pretty sweet.

He returns her phone calls

We couldn’t help but compare Damon to Tyler in the Season 5 premiere, and the comparison definitely worked in the former’s favor. While Tyler left a last-minute voicemail a voicemail! to tell Caroline that he wouldn’t be attending Whitmore this semester after all of her planning, Damon called Elena after a long day of keeping her brother from expulsion and, you know, death. Not only that, but he apologized for not getting back to her sooner! Take notes, Tyler. This is how you do long distance.

He wants to hear about Elena’s day

Perhaps Damon was just trying to avoid tell Elena about the problems in Mystic Falls, but we couldn’t help but swoon a little bit when he immediately turned the phone convo to a discussion about how Elena’s day went and if she was okay. We were worried that a happy Delena might be boring, but at least for now we could watch these two have long-distance phone conversations all episode and be happy.

He has a mansion

Though Damon’s property holdings are further down the list, we can’t help but think his mansion is a definite plus to dating the vampire. He semi-jokingly asks Elena why she would want to trade the Salvatore estate for communal showers, and we can’t help but see his logic. High ceilings. Cozy fireplaces. Clawfoot tubs. Damon would be a catch if he were living in a tent next to the Mystic Falls transfer station, but his pad certainly sweetens the deal.

Do you think Damon is the best boyfriend ever? Sound off in the comments below!

Catch the next episode of The Vampire Diaries on Thursday, October 10, 2013, at 8 p.m. ET on The CW, followed by the series premiere of Reign.