Ask A Guy: Is He ‘Just Not That Into Me?’ post image

Ask A Guy: Is He ‘Just Not That Into Me?’


I met this guy online about two years ago. Everything was amazing at first and we dated for a month before he left for medical school. For that whole month, we saw each other almost every day and he said he really liked me and I was everything he was looking for and all the stuff guys say in the beginning when they really like a girl. After that month he left for medical school in Nevada (I live in California), making it a long distance relationship.

We tried to keep it together at first, I even flew out there one weekend, but he ended up sending me a long email telling me that he just couldn’t handle a relationship at that time because he had just started medical school and he was dealing with a lot. I didn’t talk to him for about six months after that. For the last two years we have been talking off and on but never actually got back together. Recently, we started talking again, but just as friends. About a month ago he confessed that he’d had a girlfriend for the last 6 months and she just broke up with him and he was really upset.

I gave him advice and I was there for him as a friend, trying to make him feel better, all the while still having feelings for him and wanting him to like me. I finally decided to tell him that I wanted a relationship and nothing else and if he didn’t want the same thing I couldn’t handle being friends with him and to not call me again.

Read on for the rest of this question and our guy’s response!

After I said that, he said that he did have feelings for me. We hung out twice after that, but he didn’t make any moves or anything, which is fine because I wanted to take it slow. Plus, he was still on the rebound. When we hung out, I felt like he was into me. I mean it seemed like he was always trying to make an excuse to touch me, or be close to me, and he opened up to me a lot, and talked to me more than he had throughout the whole two years I have known him.

About a week after we had hung out, he called me and told me that he was gonna be really busy the next month or so studying for his boards and he wasn’t going to be able to call me as much anymore. I freaked out because I felt like he was pulling away, and I tried to get him to define whatever was going on, which was probably too premature. But now, he’s not really calling me as much. When I asked him if he liked me or what he wanted, he said he didn’t know and that he wanted to keep things exactly the way they were and go with the flow and not think about the future . He also said that he wasn’t ready to get into another relationship again, which I completely understand, and I have not asked him to get into one with me. I just want him to be honest with me. When we went out, he either felt sparks again or he didn’t but he won’t tell me. He just keeps saying that he doesn’t know and that he can’t think about that right now. I feel like he’s pulling away again.

Anyways…my question is, do you think he really does like me and is just too busy or does need time to get over everything? Or is he “just not that into me”? Should I be patient and see what happens, or run for the other direction?

ANSWER:

Here are my thoughts on the matter:

The first time you guys were going out, it became a long distance relationship and usually that’s bad news. Not every long distance relationship falls apart, but the majority do. So I would say that it’s not surprising that it ended, especially with the amount of pressure of being a med-school student (I dated a medical school student for a year a while ago.)

My feeling is that regardless of whether or not he likes you (and he does, no question), you are talking about pursuing a romantic direction with a guy who’s incredibly busy and just broke up with his girlfriend. I think you’re asking “does he like me?”, but I think the better question to consider is: “Do I really want to pursue a relationship with a man who’s going through emotional trauma and is incredibly busy?”

I’ve been in scenarios like this. My feeling on the matter is that it’s nice to be with a girl that I like (and who likes me too), but it would add pressure to my life having to be “her man” at that moment. Being a boyfriend (or the guy that the girl is “seeing” or whatever you want to call it) is pressure to a degree.

Generally speaking, whenever a guy takes on something in his life, he wants to do a good job at it. You could say that everyone does, man or woman, but what I am saying here is that a guy will not get into a relationship if he doesn’t think he can be the man that he knows the girl wants him to be. And in a way, that’s the ultimate form of the guy liking you – he doesn’t want to take advantage of you or hurt you – if he doesn’t think he can deliver, he won’t get you caught up in something that he won’t be able to do.

I cannot tell you if you should or should not choose this man… nor would I want to do that. There’s no way that I could know everything there was to know about the situation and even if I did, the end decision is your responsibility and can only be answered by you.

However, what I can tell you is what I would consider if I were in your shoes.

I’ve said before that the more we do for a person, the more we end up liking and investing in that person. Have you ever had a relationship where you weren’t that into it, but you ended up doing more and more for it until all of a sudden, this relationship began meaning everything to you when at first it meant nothing? There are a lot of factors in relationships, but one factor I want to highlight is that the more sacrifices and accommodations we make for another person, the more we invest in that person and, thus, the more that person/relationship means to us.

So if I were in a position where I was casually dating someone who was absolutely, positively buried in work and could not put time into accommodating me, I would not put a lot of time into accommodating that relationship. Again, my reasoning is that the more I end up doing for that other person, the more attached I will become to that other person (who I already know isn’t really available at this time anyway).

Yes, the other person appreciates it. Yes, the other person thanks you. BUT the other person does not end up loving you more for it – you end up loving them more.  For them to love you more (in the sense of binding to you more), they need to be investing their energy, efforts and attention in you.

Think of the guy who bends over backwards to accommodate his demanding girlfriend. He caters to her every wish and does everything. Then they break up… the one who ends up devastated is NOT the girl (who no longer has a guy doing everything for her), but the guy who was doing everything! It’s a weird, counter-intuitive thing in psychology, but it’s true.

Be that as it may, I would say be careful with this piece of information. It would be a mistake to think of relationships like a poker game, where you’re hiding your cards and throwing chips in only if they do. That’s not what I’m saying here - I believe in a relationship acts of love should be given freely without conditions of a return. Love should never be a bargaining chip.

However, I do think you need to consider if you have a guy who is already in a position where he cannot invest love back into you (whether it’s because of his schedule, his lifestyle preferences, his manner, etc.), then you need to consider that you may up investing heavily in someone who will not be able to give back what you need in a relationship. From my point of view, investment determines his level and ability to commit to you, so if you want that you better make sure he is in a position where he can invest time, energy and attention with you.

What if he’s not? Well, then I would say you don’t have to leave, but be mindful of the accommodations you are making to have him in your life. What are you sacrificing? What are you doing for him? What are you putting in? Can he match it (note that I’m not saying will he or does he want to…. CAN he?)

That is what I would consider.

- eric charles

{ 24 comments… add one }

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Jessie

This post was really relevant for my current situation. I’ve been dating a guy in the summer where things was great at first but then turned sour and then he broke it off. I’m still into him and all of the sudden he texted me and now I’m considering whether or not I want him back in my life. He’s this guy with emotional bagage and a busy work life where me might move to another state. But never the less I’m still in love.
Is there any more advice I could read that’s similar to this post and situation? I would love to learn more about “the (maybe) unavailable man and how to tackle my needs/demands if I get involved with him again.

Reply January 21, 2014, 6:33 am

Kate

Geez. This is bad advice too. I’m not coming here again. I was in this situation years ago with my partner. He acted like this and used me for sex. If a man wants you then they will be with you. END OF. They will move mountains for you. This guy is probably keeping you on hold while sleeping around with other women thinking the grass is greener. I know because stupidly I stuck with my guy in the hope it would develop. Yes he stuck with me and we are publically together, almost. It’s been almost five years and he has taken my child from me, cheated on me over six times, gave me an std and just found he has set up secret accounts on the internet to talk to women. Get real, I’m sorry but don’t end up miserable like me

Reply August 28, 2013, 8:51 am

wannabeezinthetrap

I met a guy through a mutual friend, We will call him #M.

I have also been in a relationship for over 3 years with a different guy(we will call #T), whom I met after meeting #M. Anyways, dated #T with no hiccups for 3 years. We were in the process of breaking up when I stumbled on #M again after all these years.

See #M and I always were attracted to each other, yet never acted upon those emotions. So Naturally seeing each other after years brought about a new burst of familiar emotion.
We have an obvious physical and sexual attraction and We could not keep our hands, eyes or minds off each other. We decided to start dating. This was May 5th, 2012, we have been dating for over a month now. We mutually agreed to not have sex until at least 90 days.
I have spent the night at his house and we have fooled around but no sex. Last weekend we had plans to hang out on Saturday and he stood me up. I saw him the next day and he swore he would make it up to me, he was so sorry and blah blah blah. Texts have been cut back dramatically and this weekend he didn’t call me at all. He texted me Sunday night and said “whats up baby??” WTH!! I have not talked to him since Friday night and I will not be calling him at all whatsoever. My question is WTF happened??

important points:
* told him him and my bf were broken up and that he was moving out at the end of the month
* we told each other that we would be 100% honest no matter what
* he voluntarily ran game on me and told me that I was the only one he was seeing

Reply June 18, 2012, 3:09 pm

Mary

Ok, there’s this guy… I was seeing him like four years ago, and we recently rekindled our relationship.. Everything was going perfect, he complimented me cOnstantly, always said the sweetest things, we were seriously so perfect and happy. However, one night my x texted him some horrible stuff that me n him were still hooking up which is totally not true… My n my new guy talked about it and I basically poured my heart out to him. He said he believed me, but then two or three days later, we hadn’t hung out just bulshit texting, he broke up with me. I was really devastated. I couldnt understand how he told me do many things… He kissed me first, he asked me to b his gurlfriend and he even told me he loved me. But now, he says he wants to work On himself and isn’t ready for a relationship, like WTF I wasn’t either but I said yes because of the spark between us… Since the break up he hasnt texted me as much. Sometimes he waits hours to text me back… We hung out a couple times as friends, then the last time he showed me how I was still listed as “my sexxii babyy” in his phone and how he really likes me n thinks I’m a cool person… When he was about to leave he hugged me n I was like hey! An I kissed him… It was a good kiss with real connection and sparks, then he hugged me once more and said he would text me later… He didn’t text til 1130 the next night when I was aready asleep so I text him the next morning saying hey good morning,.. He didn’t text back… Like two hours late i said,” you gonna make some time to chill with me todayyy? Haha” annnnd no effing reply…. I don’t know what to do. Does he really like me and want to eventually be in a relationship again? Idk we had sex when we were going our n it’s the third guy I’ve been with so I feel really stupid and confused. Is he just nOt texting because he is genuinely busy? Or because he doesn’t care and is an inconsiderate ass? Idk… No guy has ever messed with my head like this before EVER! He seems sincere when we are together an he says how he loves to hangout with me and that I’m really cool, and there are definitely sparks.. BUt idk, if he really liked me then wouldn’t he text me or at least text back? UGH HELP PLEaSE!!!! My mind cannot ready and my heart hurts so bad:(((

Reply March 7, 2012, 8:51 am

Tracy

Yea, replying to your text in an untimely manner produces no adverse consequences for him. He just knows that he has the upper hand and he can reply whenever he feels like it and you will be there waiting. Forget about him and go do something else. Stop being his option. In fact if you continue to be so available to him in spite of his emotional abuse, it will just get worse. It sounds like an abuse of power. The person with the least amount of interest in maintaining the relationship has the most amount of power. It may be too late to turn it around, but the more you tolerate the few crumbs of attention he gives you, the worse he will become.

Reply March 12, 2012, 12:55 am

Tess

I have a similar story to some mentioned and would really love to be enlightened. I have had this guy in my life on and off for over 3 years now. He is in his early 40′s, as am I. His wife left him for someone else and married the other guy, they have two teenage kids. This happened about 7 years ago, and for me, I separated from my partner around the same time, only I left him.
I don’t feel I have any problems regarding relationships and in fact, am looking forward to one.
I do feel he has a lot of emotional baggage, and I am prepared to walk away, I would just like to understand his behaviour before I do, as I do have a lot of feelings for him.
In the beginning, he was always going on about where we were going, at the same time, he also mentioned that he didn’t trust me. When I asked him if he wanted more, he said this was not what he wanted and walked out the door.
He came back, more phone calls, txt messages, etc, then we go on this merry go round again. I have met his family, kids, friends….
Another time he came to my house with a list of reasons written down about why he did not want a relationship with me lol, then left. I did not see him for about 10 months.
Then he comes back, starts acting like he is into me and if I even hint at this being more, he tells me how much he missed me and felt he made a mistake, but he does not want me.
The thing is, we have the most amazing sex, the connection is addictive, we also talk until the cows come home…..
He will invite me out with his friends, cooks dinner for me, brings me gifts, and the other day, took me shopping and bought me some clothes…..
He has on occasion put himself down, which makes me wonder if he is insecure, calls me princess, jokes with me, teases me, cradles me in his arms until we fall asleep.
It is a sad situation as I feel we have something amazing, and we only got to this point because he kept calling me, in the beginning I did not have a lot of interest in him.
Sometimes I wonder if he is mad, or if he is just scared of being hurt again, or if he is just enjoying this mind game with me.
Its like the more he says I don’t want you, I don’t want you, he has got me….. Maybe I am going mad.
Will a man put a woman through all this just for the sex, I mean I know it is good, amazingly good, but really not worth all this SH.T
I told him the other week I had met someone online, as he is online himself now, and I mean why not, he has told me once to often I am not the one, then in one breath he is telling me, I am not the one for him, in the next breath he is telling me he does not want to hear from me, or see me until I end it with the other guy.
I am not sure which one of us needs the help, him or me. Perhaps both. :)
I can understand the friends with benefits thing, but get confused by his actions.
I would really appreciate your take on this Eric, before I move on.
I do know he feels that what we have is not enough, and there is better out there, the sad thing is, what we have is really great, and maybe he is just keeping me around until he finds it. But as we are heading into our 4th year, the chances of this merry go round continuing is a scary thought.
Tess

Reply January 30, 2012, 4:37 am

tyra

I have been seeing this guy for about five months,he is 32 and single no kids. Im 38 single withsix kids. ages range from 17 to 9 years old. I send the night at his place every weekend. the sex is great. He doesnt want kids. He took me out for newyears eve. The problem is he has a female friend she is 54 but looks like she is 34. She is married,but they have been seeing oneanother for the past ten years sexually. He says they are just close friends.I dont want him to see her, but he tells me they have history together. Im considered just a friend also. he says he is not ready to commit to me. Even though he is dating me exclusively and only sleeping with me exlusively. do you think we have a chance? also i think he loves his friend.

Reply January 29, 2012, 11:41 am

Anonymous

This is a great reading..only the guy I have been seeing pursued me for 10months knowing all along he was not ready for a relationship and he had some issues to deal with but still pursued me.
When I wanted to leave he told me he definitely can see us working towards something and that I am worth it…so obviously I had new hope.
Since we met each other family, spend all off our time together . When I use to ask him what we are he would say we are in a unofficial relationship.
When things got too intense he started withdrawing and then end up telling me, he can’t do this anymore, he cant’ be responsible for someone else feelings, he does not know if he is capable of fully loving me, telling me he realized he have a lot of things he still need to work through before he can commit to someone on an emotional level…and we could talk about anything and everything.
All along he have been stringing me along and pursuing me
I was very disappointed but I have realized nobody deserve crumbs he would like to continue being friends coz he value me so much.
I finally ended being strong enough to break off all contact!!

Reply January 11, 2012, 6:06 am

AB

hmmm…. i am huge FAN of urs Eric… i hve read all that u wrote… u doing a wonderful job… but despite following all you say .. donnu y m nt lucky with my relationships… in few months mostly guys behave in entirely diffrent way with me… Well m still hopefull.. wish you could advice something more about how to keep your GUY…

Looking Forward.. :)

Luv
AB

Reply December 28, 2011, 2:46 am

Tamara

How the hell did you get so brilliant? And can I clone you so your clone can be my bf? lol

Reply October 10, 2011, 5:05 pm

Eric Charles

haha ;)

Reply October 10, 2011, 8:32 pm

Elizey

i’ve got the same question :p

Reply November 23, 2011, 2:37 pm

Wendy

You’re brilliant.

After 1 amazing year in a very committed, devoted and serious relationship, the pressure of a new job with family caused my boyfriend to end things with me saying he just couldn’t balance my happiness and his required high-travel career. In my case, he repeatedly referenced keeping “the door open” for us by taking a decision to split and repeated over and over that I would still see him and that he would call me when he was back from his next trip (spanning the breakup-3 weeks, around 4 days into the future of the time of my writing this). He “couldn’t bear it if I hated him” through prolonged unhappiness in the situation. Weeks later, I understand what happened and why he felt that he couldn’t make me happy, and thus left. Everything you said was dead on and a relief to read, as your matter-of-fact explanation finally switched on the light for me.

Coming from a very rational and panic-free place, and confident that the emotions are deeply rooted on both sides, I have decided not to give up. I have shifted the focus back entirely onto my own life and happiness, given nearly 3 weeks of minimal contact space, the dust has settled and as I near the time when I expect to hear from him I find myself willing to hope.

Can I take your advice a step further and ask what the next steps are for walking through this “open door” and into a reunion? What is the best way to encourage getting back together?

Reply June 25, 2011, 8:00 pm

Katie

Hi Eric,

Interesting read again, i really like the way how you put things into some refreshing perspectives, so thanks for that.

Regarding to this post, i do actually have a slightly different opinion.

I do believe somehow we human are just really basic, we go for the things we really like and in this case i just cannot be totally convinced that this guy really liked her that much, i mean it takes a lot of sensibilities and self control to actually withdraw from someone who you really like, just because of your work committment/other stuff that is going on in your life. For me personally, I will work my best to accommdate the relationship even if I am super busy with my work, but i will only make this kind of sarcrifises only when i think that person is special and deserves my efforts, I think i would have behaved like the way this guy did if I didnt think that something special would happen between this guy im dating and I.

But this is only my personal oponion and i am happy to hear your thoughts on that.

Thanks
Katie

Reply May 3, 2011, 5:26 am

andrea

I have been going through this thing feeling confused and alone, foolish at times. But after finding this thread….

Your comments Eric Charles are so helpful, not only do I believe they are sincere. Your comments do not generalize men. Neither do they judge, and at the same time your words are not sugar coated or vague. To be honest your better than Dr. Phil.

life is cut and dry only your cutting a brick with a butter knife.

Andrea

Reply December 18, 2010, 5:34 pm

Tressa

I know this is about a year later, but I was searching on the internet and found this; Eric Charles, you have a soothing way of giving advice. Its not harsh; it’s a removed perspective with gentle words. I love this piece.

The whole idea of what you invest in them is equivalent to how much they mean to you– this is absolutely true. So it entirely makes sense that someone that doesn’t have much time in their life wouldn’t want to invest in something that isn’t guaranteed (i.e. new relationships). They’re time is being spent investing in things to build stability (studying for degrees, getting their emotional footing back). Investing in something unpredictable takes courage and A LOT of effort. Therefore, if it doesn’t last, the whole investment was counter-intuitive to those other moments invested in FINDING stability.

This is just like that famous idiom: Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket.
For me, I tend not to like spreading myself thin socially, so I enjoy investing time in specific relationships, situations, etc. It is tiring to spread put all of your eggs in one basket, if the basket gets dumped, all the eggs are cracked, and naturally, you lose it all.

However, KNOWING, not questioning, is what lets us know its safe to fill one basket.

If its not known, I don’t put my eggs in other social baskets,
I put them in my basket. It sounds self-centered, but it’s more self-love. When I am seeing myself with (I love how Bella put it) ‘question marks’ over a relationship, I take those eggs I’m contemplating putting into the ‘questioned’ basket, and instead put them into something I love, like painting, drawing, dancing, etc. And they are self esteem builders that are internal, not external. I stand to lose nothing from them, only fill my soul.

I really love this thread. It gives me hope in my own gut instincts. When I feel its off, my gut is feeling it may be losing some of its…
haha eggs…
haha! So I stop, listen, and put my investments in something joyful, not tentative, until I feel its right.

Reply August 31, 2010, 11:42 pm

Eric Charles

Well I mean… you don’t have to do anything. All I’m sharing here is my perspective and doing my best to give you where guys are coming from.
.
Does it mean I speak for all men and all perspectives? Definitely not. But it’s not like we as guys are conspiring to create a “game”. Speaking for myself, there’s a lot of things that women have done that rubbed me the wrong way, but in the woman’s mind she probably felt I should have reacted differently.
.
When you get down to it, the way people “should” act is the way that they actually act. You can either accept it and learn to make it work for you or you can resist it and you’ll get the results that resisting it gives you.
.
I’m not trying to be mean when I say that, but there was all sorts of beliefs that I had about women at one point and about how things “should” be in general. Regardless of whether or not my feelings were good or right, things WEREN’T that way and they continue not to be. So instead of getting angry about it or blaming women or pouting about how unfair I think it was, I learned to make it work for me.
.
Again, I really do not intend to be mean when I say this – I hope my comment doesn’t come across that way. Actually, I really appreciate your comment so thank you for posting it.

Reply March 26, 2010, 8:51 pm

Deepthi Warier

hi Eric,
After reading what you wrote i think you will be the best person to make me understand what is happening with me. I met this guy in net two yrs back ,then i was in a relationship and so we were just friends. We started getting really close and comfortable though there was no physical attraction or such. After a year i broke up with my boyfriend for which he really encouraged me.Then we met for the first time .It wasn’t a date as such we just wanted to know whom we are speaking to.After the meet we started speaking things like how it would be if we were in a relationship.So i thought this guy was in love with me and i proposed him.he said no he wasn’t so i stopped talking but then after a month he flew to my place and said he wanted to know take this relationship forward.we kissed and has a chemistry then he went back after two days and then he started saying things like he isn’t sure if its love but loved my company and never had Friend like me and didn’t want to spoil this relationship by love . is he in love with me or was he fooling me

Reply November 11, 2011, 7:02 am

Nelsie

Ok, I totally agree with what Eric says. But. Why do I feel like we have to wait for guys to come around and open up to us, with their real feelings. This really sounds like we always have to wait and not do certain things because we risk losing a really good guy. At the end of the day we are all human, we need to love, feel, want, express ourselves in our own way. I just hate this whole game thing that everyone plays. If you feel, want, love and hate then express yourself and if he’s worth it he’ll stay. It will be his loss not yours if he doesn’t stick around.

Reply March 24, 2010, 11:01 pm

liz

im going thru the same thing maybe you should move on before you get youre heart broken like me:(

Reply January 17, 2010, 9:41 pm

Rhonda

Geez… Wish I’d read this A YEAR AGO !!! :((

Thank you for your insight. “Killing Me Softly” needs to be playing in the background right now.

You were right on the money with this one. Bookmarking for the days when I feel weak.

Thank you again !!!

Reply December 6, 2009, 6:14 am

Sinta

Not only did Eric answer right, but he also asked the right questions that you should be asking yourself. Good luck.

As for long distance relationships, yes the majority fall apart. Thankfully mine for 4 years succeeded :) Now we have been living together for 5 years and I’m getting married this Oct!

Reply August 23, 2009, 3:04 am

mbaleman

“bella”, thank you for your comment! eric charles’ response really helped, but what you wrote hit right on the mark. the difference is, i’ve yet to find a man that make me as happy as yours does, although i’m glad you’ve found him after what you went through; it gives me hope!

good luck!

Reply July 17, 2009, 7:43 pm

Bella

A very similar thing happened to a couple of years ago, the comments resonate deeply with me, although at the time I may not have fully appreciated everything that’s in the response here, now with hindsight I can totally see that my unrewarded efforts to keep that man in my life were making me feel more for him, and doing nothing for his affections. I also think my behaviour said more about my lack of self esteem, to allow myself to remain focused on a man who could not give me what I was looking for in a relationship.

Like your man, he was kind enough to eventually say (after having said and done many things to suggest it could go further than it would) that he was unable to give me what I wanted from him. I initially took it as rejection and felt hurt, and like he had been initially misleading. It turns out he was just confused, in an equally bad emotional place and simply willing, but unable, to focus on a relationship.

I am now extremely happy with a man who loves me, and who I love, and we give and receive it without any pressure and without expecting or wanting anything else in return. It is easy, it is fun, and there are no clarifying question marks over our relationship status. Much better!!

My suggestion would be that you maintain some space from him, focus on your social life away from him, accept that if he wants you he will come to you, and that maybe he never will, and that whatever happens, you will be happy. (which you will, because he is not the answer to your happiness, you are.)

Good luck! x

Reply July 7, 2009, 12:38 pm

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