Home › Forums › Complicated Situation / Mixed Signals › Is he scared or just not into me?
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Started seeing this man a few months ago, and it has been a rollercoaster! He’s unlike anyone I’ve ever met before, and I’m crazy about him – even if he has been sending mixed signals, blowing hot and cold, and is not the best at communicating.
However, we have a really intense connection which seems to have taken him by complete surprise. Whenever we’re alone, we can just talk for hours. I love how passionate he is, and he’s a really deep thinker with a lot on his mind. I’m a curious person by nature, and I love discussing deeper topics, and it has resulted in both of us opening up about a lot of things to each other.
I will always only see him talking about lighter topics with his other friends, small talk even. He doesn’t seem too invested in those conversations, it’s like his mind is elsewhere. But then when we’re alone it’s like he lights up and his eyes are so intense and we just talk for hours about everything. It’s really intense, but I love this side of him.
We started off as friends, and then got intimate after about a month. Initially, I was scared to take this step, because I knew I had already fallen for him and wanted more. The reason for my insecurities about him is also what this whole question is about:
He is 37 and has had one serious relationship that lasted almost a decade, during his 20’s. That means he’s been single for about 7 years now. He talks about relationships in a bad way, how it’s “boring” and is just another problem in your life. I get the feeling he has never experienced a good relationship and that he was hurt pretty badly in the one he has had. He mentioned once, that she cheated. That’s all I know.
He cares a lot about his appearance and works out a lot, smells amazing all the time, treats his skin and hair well and always dresses very well. He is very neat and clean and his apartment is always spotless, nothing is out of place ever. His mindset is a bit old-fashioned, and he sees many things as black and white. He’s stubborn and veeery strict about his schedule. It’s very apparent that he’s used to being by himself and not cater to anybody else.
I feel like he has a lot of insecurities that he hides behind his good looks. He cares a lot about what other people think of him and he loves attention. But I have seen his more vulnerable sides, and he has told me he feels lonely and that ultimately everybody ends up disappointing him. He opens up to me, and then I can see how stressed out it makes him. Once he even told me to “forget that he ever said anything” and that he “felt weak for showing emotions”.
A few weeks ago we had the most amazing day together. He told me a lot about someone really special to him that died and we talked about so many things. I spent the night, and we stayed up until like 6AM, just cuddling, talking and laughing. I can’t remember the last time I’ve been so happy.
Since then I’ve felt like he’s been trying to keep a distance. It hurts me, because I’m crazy about him. I see him a few times a week (we go to the same gym) and he is often staring at me, but when I try to talk to him he seems freaked out. He has the busiest schedule, so I know he’s always in a hurry, but I’m hurt that he is pulling away like this now.
At this point my friends are telling me to forget about him, but I really felt like we had something special, and I can tell he felt something too. I have never been a booty call, and we do tons of things together and he has introduced me to all his friends.
All this to ask: can a man be so scared to fall in love that he would sabotage something really promising? And if that is the case is there anything I can do about it? I realize these are his issues and only he can fix them, but if I can help in any way, I’m willing to try that. I feel like he is actually worth it.
How would you all react in this situation? Thanks!
Yes, of course someone can sabotage a good thing– men and women do this.
The question is, how much time do you want to invest getting this scared guy to open up (assuming that is what is going on– it does kinda sound like it to me admittedly). I mean, you could spend a LONNNNNNNNG time and not really get anywhere, you know?
“I really like you and I’d love to see where it goes. You seem nervous and I understand and am willing to take it kinda slow at first if you think there is potential. If it’s more that you just aren’t into me/the idea of a relationship, I hope you’ll be honest with me”
It’s being vulnerable. You could very well get hurt. But at least you’ll know where you stand.
probably you are going to get a lot of different opinions on here– drop him, he’s just a FWB, whatever. I do sense from what you desribe though that there IS an emotional connection with him and he’s kinda freaked out.
Thank you so much, Maria. I’m planning on talking to him about it for sure. I miss him like crazy, and I hate how he’s been pulling away lately. Especially when I then catch him staring at me repeatedly at the gym, and sometimes when we talk briefly, I will say something that makes him laugh and he grabs my arm and tells me something he’s really into. And I feel like I have him back for just a few seconds.
I will stop by his place this weekend and tell him where I stand. I get the feeling that nobody has ever really fought for him, and though I think it’s a man’s job to pursue, I can really tell how he thinks I will end up hurting me. He once implied that, and I told him “when have I ever not shown up for you? I never do that, and I never will.” and he just stared at me for a minute. I care about him deeply.
Your paragraph about what I could tell him was wonderful. I will use that when I go to talk to him. I don’t know how much time I should spend. It is risky, because I might just get even more crazy about him.
Thank you for listening! I’m sure I’ll get some people here telling me to get real and move on. ;) Haha!
Are you saying you are going to stop by his house unannounced? unless you guys are already in the habit of that, i don’t think i would do that!
Oh, no I wouldn’t go unannounced! He has told me many times that his home is always open to me, and that I’m welcome anytime. Which I find weird. I told him I’m not going to drop by, and if he wants to see me he has to say so.
His friends drop by unannounced, though. Some even come and bang on his door in the morning, if he’s not answering his phone! He comes from a culture that’s really different from mine. So I think he would be ok with it, but I will make sure to tell him before I go. ;)
I’m sorry but your story is familiar in a bad way. First he is approaching 40, set in his ways and does not seem eager to get into a reltionship Men past 35 who get in a reltionship that leads to marriage are usually seeking it. I know plenty of these guys. They decide not just that they are lonely, but that they are ready to settle down with one woman.
Your guy does not seem in that place. Rather he seems like a lot of other guys I know who are in denial about having a bachelor life and a perfect woman at the same time. They are lonely but don’t want to lose their freedom so they string women a long, various women, for years. They always have the same pattern of having deep conversations with these women and that gives them the needed companionship. Women always take these “deep conversations” as a sign the guy is being vulnerable just to her and hence he must really like her and at some level want something serious. This isn’t true. The man is usually just emotionally using a woman the same way that he uses a woman for sex. I am sorry but it is better to learn this now when later and you are even more attached. You must be direct to give this any chance, “I am looking for a long-term committed reltionship. Is that what you are looking for? I need a direct answer or I will have to move on because I cannot be with a man who has different wants.”
Amanda’s response does not surprise me. The cynicism on this board is off the charts. And often i agree with the cynics–
For some reason in this case though, i think it is worth acknowledging that he might be afraid. While still in essence letting him know what Amanda says, that you want a real relationship.
” I want a long term committed relationship” = eventual marriage/moving in. So be sure that really is what you want if you say it, as that is how it will be interpreted and it could sound like you are demanding a relationship off the bet.
What i’m proposing is surely a risk… and its one i hardly ever propose= but i’m getting a sense from your story this could be the rare occasion it’s worth a bit more consideration… if he’s actually indicated he’s afraid of getting hurt, then that’s a little different than your average guy we hear about on here.
I don’t know. Maybe I’m saying all this because I was skittish once and someone stuck around a bit and waited for me to get unskittish. it made a lot of different in my life. (in my case stuck around meant gave me a few months, not a few years)!
One of the most common problems on the site is that women don’t listen when men tell them exactly what they’re looking for, what they need, and what they want. He told you he doesn’t like relationships, why would you want a guy like that? You can do so much better!!
You are making a whole lot of assumptions about a man who clearly likes to be ALONE. He wants to be a bachelor, or he wouldn’t be, and when you go into ‘convincing mode’ your value plunges.
He’s acting this way because he doesn’t want “to hurt you” (his words) and by continuing this with you he KNOWS he will because he’s not scared, nor is he stupid, he knows exactly what you want and doesn’t want to give it to you. You are not listening, you are projecting by taking these moments and trying to create a picture of a couple in love out of it but you will never achieve it because he doesn’t love you. He enjoys your company from time-to-time but that’s all it is. Men also know there’s a certain point where a woman will want a relationship, so the man naturally WITHDRAWS because he doesn’t—this is what he’s TELLING YOU.
Go ahead and have “the talk” and I can guarantee you will get a lot of excuses such as “your a great gal, BUT…blah, blah. blah….”
No no no. This man is not scared he is not interested. It is not your job to fight for him it is his job to fight for you. He showing you with his actions that he is not invested. Why doesn’t matter. It would be one thing if he was in therapy and trying to get over his inability To commit, but he is not. Please please please please do not chase this man. Men do what they want. Period.
Your feelings do not equal his feelings and you cannot feel enough for both of you.
I just did something similar, and reallllly wish I had not. His actions already told me what he felt. I would have been better ending it right then and looking for a man who would not be unavailable. You sound codependent.
I would go for it. You never know until you try. Talk to him and try to make things clear, don’t be afraid. When things are unfinished there is always a room for doubts and projections like ”what could have happened if..” If you are a normal, reasonable person you can handle it without feeling low value. Remember you are doing it for you, not for him. If he is insecure to open up and make you feel good when you are with him, you don’t need him. But sometimes it is not easy to open up and talk about inner feelings. You should help him to do so, by showing him that you care and that you will be there for him. Then, you will see if he is really worth trying or you are better off without him.
That will help you to know where you stand. If it’s not worth you will discover it on time and you would be able to enter a new relationship without bringing issues from the previous one.
For instance, if your manager tells you that you are fired, would you accept it immediately and just leave without a question? I guess not… It’s always good to know the reason, even if it may hurt sometimes.
‘If your boss fired you would you accept it immediately? ‘ Ummm.. there’s a law called hiring and firing at will in the states. Which means an employer can fire you without having any reason other than they don’t need your services any longer. Kinda like being in a relationship.
He is 37, he has had a very long term relationship, almost like a marriage, so he is careful about getting into another one. Being single for 7 years does not mean he was living like a monk. It means he probably had many short term “deep conversations” relationship, I see that as a very plausible scenario. He has perfected his “technique”. Each woman must feel amazing and that there is something special, but only he knows what he truly felt. Some men marry in their 40s, this is a new age thing, so he might not be a in a hurry and wants to fall in love.
I think the best way would be to leave him alone. Let him find out what he really feels about you. After a few weeks of seeing each other men always need space and time to decide how they feel about you. It would be very hard for him to fall in love, because he’s been doing the same thing over and over. That’s why talking to him and telling him things won’t work, I don’t think. He knows it all himself. He is intelligent and very experienced.
I’d leave him to his own devices and go on with my life, as if nothing happened. If he wants to see you again he will contact you and would be obliged (or make him) to give you an explanation or an account of why he pulled away and what he wants with you now. But do not hope for anything. If he does ask you to renew, make it serious off the bat. Just tell him you want marriage and kids and if he doesn’t, to leave you alone, and give him time to think. Otherwise, he can be fading in and out of your live for another 2-3 years.
This “he has told me he feels lonely and that ultimately everybody ends up disappointing him” makes me think that he is not ready or open to more. I was in love with my BFF for two years. He said this all the time. What I ended up coming to realize is that HE put people in a position to disappoint him so that he could continue to live this story with this identity.
My guy was 42 and never married or even lived with a woman. His relationship history was sketchy and he hadn’t been in a relationship for at least 10 years.
These long, deep talks are a way for him to get that emotional connection without having to actually do the real work in a relationship. There’s a lot of safety in being unavailable, so he can have these talks in this dynamic. I doubt it’d be like this if you were a couple.
Every time I went NC with my friend he’d then go on dating websites. This told me that I filled that need for him unofficially and when I was no longer an option he had to seek it out elsewhere.
All of that said, I do think you should talk to him. Maybe I am wrong… however, if I am right it will give you the chance to grieve this love and move onto someone who can give you more.
Let’s see, you’ve been seeing him a few months, it’s been a rollercoaster, he’s sending mixed signals, blowing hot and cold, and doesn’t communicate well. Let’s add to that the fact he talks about relationships in a bad way as if they’re boring and just cause problems. Then we’ll add that he’s hung up on his appearance, OCD about his place being spotless, inflexible about keeping his schedule and likes to be by himself and not cater to anyone. All these equal a man who is NOT emotionally available!!
Yet for some reason you think he has a lot of insecurities that he hides behind his good looks and that he can only be vulnerable, and weak and show his emotions around you. It’s been several weeks since you and “the most amazing day together” yet now he’s keeping his distance and he’s not even hanging out with you at the gym. Only staring at you but not even talking to you because he’s too “in a hurry.” He has shown absolutely no desire to see you again or even do more than acknowledge your presence at the gym.
I’m sorry but I agree with your friends and think Maria is really off base with this one. All the things I listed about add up to a man who isn’t interested in you and certainly isn’t interested in a relationship right now. If you open up to this guy and be vulnerable and tell him how you feel you’re going to get your heart broken. It doesn’t really matter whether he’s scared to fall in love or he’s sabotaging what you see as a good thing. The point you’re not getting is that he doesn’t want a relationship with you. There is nothing you can say or do that will change that.
My opinion is
Narcissistic Personality Disorder
I’ve been on this site quietly for almost 2 years now and if you would spend some time reading other posts, this is one of the most common stories that women post here. I rarely respond to posts and lately the way it’s been I would never ask a question. But to get to my point. I’m responding because I see so much of this here and you are in a position to avoid a lot of heartache if you listen to the right advice – I think telling you to make yourself vulnerable to this man is going to get you hurt. Once you understand men and understand how relationships work, you learn to see very quickly and easily when a man is emotionally available and worth your time getting to know, or not. You need both to be there. I don’t see this man being EA or worth your time, based on what you’ve said.I don’t think that’s being cynical. There’s been good advice here but most of the women who gave thoughtful useful advice are long gone. Here is a breakdown of what I’ve learned by reading here.
1) Women are able to connect with men through conversation. It’s very very common for women to post about having these long, deep talks and sensing a lot of intensity in the man and they get believing that it’s real and he feel exactly the same. Men can easily tell you their deepest, darkest secrets one day and not acknowledge you the next day. They just don’t place the same value on talking and sharing as women do. They are wired differently. I can’t emphasize this enough.
2) There is no “too scared” “too shy” “mixed signals’ or any of that. Those are excuses. When a man knows what he wants, he will go after it and he will not be put off. A guy who behaves the way this man is behaving is not mature enough to be in a healthy, adult relationship. Mature people can talk things through. They don’t do this level of avoidance and blowing hot and cold. Men are generally pretty decisive and goal oriented.
3) This man may not be straight. He may be closeted gay or bi-sexual.
4) When you understand yourself, men and relationships, you do not let yourself get “crazy” about someone who isn’t showing you in a clear way he is crazy about you and wants a relationship with you first. Chasing a man is extremely unattractive. It will repel him.
I don’t see any reason you should go and give the speech Maria suggests. Yes vulnerability is certainly a good thing – with certain people in certain circumstances. Everything you’ve said points to a man who is not emotionally available and has a lot of past baggage and has no idea how to be in a relationship nor does he want to change that. If you did get into a relationship with him, it would be hard work. You will be in the position of chief cook bottle washer and psychologist and fixer. When it doesn’t work out and it almost certainly will not, he will blame you 100% and you will be devastated and blame yourself. This is an accident waiting to happen. Save Maria’s speech for someone who is worth it. Because her speech is good and there are some cases where it is the right thing to do. This isn’t one of them.
Now for the bigger question – why are you attracted to someone who is so clearly not available?? Forget him now and answer that and you won’t even have to deal with men like this any longer. Often times when we are in situations where we have to be the fixer or prove we are so good, we are replaying a past situation, usually with a father or first boyfriend or something not so healthy. Because when you become emotionally healthy, you wouldn’t get past a first date with someone like this, if you even got guys like this at all.
You can do a lot better. You have to want to, though. Good luck. So many women come here asking for advice and then only take the advice they want to hear. The smart ones, who are in the minority, listen to all sides and open their eyes and deal with the real issue, which is themselves and not the guys. I hope you will be one of them.
I have to agree with you crisula… so many features that I would encourage the OP to look up the personality disorder and read through the list, I have been with one and here is what I know to be true:
It feels like a rollercoaster of extreme highs and lows. The lows are more frequent then the highs, but the highs are so great that it keeps you hanging on for th brief high
He becomes what he has to with the people he is with. In your case he is ‘deep’ with others he acts the way he needs to in order to meet their needs. Men like this morph into what they have to in order to attract the person. Or if he feels he can’t gain anything from that person he will out in minimal effort or ignore them
Preoccupied with self. What other people think about him is primary driver. Is insulted easily.
Plays the role of a victim masterfully. Nothing is ever his fault. He is the victim. In your case, he was with an abusive woman, women hurt him, bla bla bla. These people are so skilled at making you feel as if they are the kind person that people just take advantage of
They pull away to test your loyalty. Usually it’s under the guise of ‘feeling depressed’ ‘not sure if you really love them or care’ or some other victim excuse. They know by doing this you will flip out and try to get closer. It’s a masterful game and it’s a way to manipulate you into thinking that you are the only person in his life he can trust.
Since they don’t really have feelings, they are wonderful actors. They can change emotions on a dime. They feign vulnerability because they know this draws the person in.
They tnare d to work more than one person at a time. Which is why they can disappear for periods of time. They always have a backup plan. Because they tend to run off to the next person you nice they no longer have a need for you or you catch on to their game.
I think Lane is spot on.. I have a son just like Lane described. He is cute, sweet and kind and women fall for him. The problem is.. He enjoys being a bachelor!
He does exactly what Lane described!
Lol Kathy…I have one too! He just turned 25, very handsome, and has absolutely no desire to ‘settle down’ or be in a relationship—loves his freedom. He responds with “I would make a bad BF” when I ask if he’s met anyone. My oldest son is in a love (age 27) and they are talking and planning a future. It ultimately comes down to TIMING (readiness) and meeting the RIGHT WOMAN that will determine whether a man moves forward her or not, if she chooses him of course!
Lane your sensible approach is appreciated. I’ve watched you get criticized for being too blunt at times but you are one of the few who still posts here who gives practical advice based on actual successful relationship experience. Clearly you get men and you know your own value and standards and you don’t settle for less.
You have gotten a lot of advice and different opinions. Bottom line as long as you talk to him this weekend about your feelings you will at least know where he stands. You feelings are going to be hurt either way because you are already invested. If you keep it in you’ll never know and things will continue to be weird. If you tell him how you feel he may or may not feel the same way. If you want to be vulnerable why not, your feelings have already been invested you can still walk away with your dignity.
Your guy may be afraid, so just talk to him. Brace your self. Prepare for the worse hope for the best. He’s an intellectual so don’t let him dance around the topic. Anything less than him wanting to pursue something serious is a red flag.
“He is 37 and has had one serious relationship that lasted almost a decade, during his 20’s. That means he’s been single for about 7 years now. He talks about relationships in a bad way, how it’s “boring” and is just another problem in your life. I get the feeling he has never experienced a good relationship and that he was hurt pretty badly in the one he has had. He mentioned once, that she cheated. That’s all I know.”
It’s very possible he gave her some good reasons to cheat.
Given what you said here… I have no idea whatsoever why you think this man is such a prize. There are deep seated issues here that you cannot fix. One of the biggest mistakes women make is to fall in love with a man’s potential. You’ve done that. He’s already made it clear with his behavior he doesn’t want a relationship with you. Or anyone really. I’m not sure why some advise talking with him. Talk if you want, but I think you should be careful what you ask for, you just might get it. I think you only want him because you can’t have him. I think he will be a nightmare to be in a relationship with. But perhaps you just have to learn that by experience. Let us know what happens.
Thank you Selene!
I liked your post and glad you came out :). I was very lucky to have a father guide me through the dating process and it’s sad to see woman flailing about in the dating sea without a paddle. I just try to steer them straight like my father did with me and t