Dating Myths Debunked: Men Aren’t Really Afraid Of Their Feelings

Name: Amymen24
Question: I could really use another person’s point of view! Me and this guy have been hanging out for a little over a month. He invited me over for dinner at his house one night and I went over with the intentions of just getting to know him as a person. We ended up talking all night and I stayed the night in his bed, but we didn’t kiss or sleep together. We just started out as friends. He told me upfront that he was not looking for a relationship because he has always been a relationship man, and that he just wanted to be casual. He has been burned very badly by his ex girlfriends as he is the type of man that wears his heart of his sleeve and does everything he can for the woman he is with.

He said that he felt we had a connection that we could both enjoy and I agreed; I in no way wanted a relationship. As time went on we got closer, he initiated our first kiss and we slept together a few times. He kept reiterating that he didn’t want a relationship even though he was on the one to text me every morning, invite me out to places with his friends and initiate all the time we spent together. I wasn’t being anything other than casual. I let him lead the relationship wherever he wanted it to go. Like I said, I was fine with the way things were.

He expressed to me that he felt guilty because he wasn’t able to hang out with me as much as he felt he should, but that he didn’t want to feel guilty because we weren’t dating. I kept telling him he didn’t need to feel guilty, but he continued to feel bad about it anyways. Finally, he sat me down a few days ago and told me that he was starting to develop some pretty strong feelings for me, and that he thought that we should take some time apart and pick things back up as just platonic friends. He said he didn’t think our arrangement was working for him because he wasn’t really a “casual” guy and he didn’t want a relationship. He said that I have a lot of the qualities that he wants in a girlfriend and that he didn’t want to ruin any potential for what could happen between us in the future right now. He also said that he thought his past crappy relationships with his girlfriend would help him not to fall for me, but that when you meet a good person it’s hard to not have feelings for them. He’s a really nice guy and I want to take him at his word, but of course I’m skeptical. I haven’t talked to him in about 3 days. I really miss his friendship, but of course since he asked for space I will give him the galaxy. What are your thoughts?
Age: 22


Okay. Why would someone tell you that they’ve developed strong feelings for you and then suggest you and they be friends?

Everything he said is nonsense. He keeps reminding you that he’s not looking for a relationship because he’s not looking for a relationship. Either he senses that you are or is just hyper-paranoid about tripping and falling into a commitment.

Everything he said, all the compliments and reassurances that you’re fantastic is just his way of softening the blow. Don’t listen to that stuff. He’s fearing that things are headed into relationship territory, and he doesn’t want that yet, but he also doesn’t want to lose the sex or stop hanging out with you. He likes you. He just doesn’t want to date you seriously at this point.  Personally, I would have blown my brains out a long time ago with this guy. He’s all over the place. Of course, he’s young. That’s part of it. He’s trying to figure out how to put on the breaks while keeping his options open.

Most guys aren’t afraid of ruining the potential. They’re either in or out. Excuses like that are manufactured by women because they’re easier to accept.  These lines are used by men because the woman tends to listen ONLY to the compliments and not hear what he’s actually saying. It’s not you, it’s him. Only it’s not. It’s you. You’re fun, you’re cool, sex is bangin’. But he doesn’t want you as a girlfriend right now. All of the claims to how he wasn’t looking for a relationship were just disclaimers to prevent you from getting too attached. He’ll keep you around while he explores other avenues because he doesn’t want to let go of that branch until he knows if there is another he’s able to grab. Which is what many people do and isn’t necessarily bad. That’s why he wants a little mini-break. He wants to see what else is out there before he settles into something serious.

Give him space, go out and meet new people, and maybe he’ll come around. Or maybe he won’t. That’s not your concern. If you can get him you can get another guy. This one is too messed up and will only end up causing you more grief in the long run.


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8 Responses to “Dating Myths Debunked: Men Aren’t Really Afraid Of Their Feelings”

  1. DrivingMeNutes Says:

    Moxie is exactly right. This is all bullshit, “it’s not you it’s me” crap. Not that this is a bad thing – “softening the blow” is a necessary part of all social interactions. A guy that wants to spend time with you, will. A guy that doesn’t, won’t. His intentions are readily discernible from his observable actions.

    As an aside, guys don’t generally believe women when they say, as you did, “I don’t want a relationship.” Even a young women such as yourself. So, you may as well stop saying it because guys don’t believe it even if, in your rare case, it’s true. And, if they do believe it, frankly, they are inexperienced idiots. That’s why he’s beating this dead horse over and over and over – he KNOWS you want more. I’m not saying you can fix this situation, but being honest with yourself about who you are and what you want will, in the future, improve your chances of getting it.

  2. GI_JANE Says:

    Agree with Moxie, he says too many things that can be taken too many ways, he either likes you too much, or not enough, or just the right amount, but not enough to want to be in a relationship with you, at least not right now, what does that say about the future? Does it matter? Should you wait? Should you confront him about your feelings?

    Too confusing, move on.

  3. fuzzilla Says:

    That’s always a bad sign if you explain someone’s behavior by reading directly from their “press release” (as it were) without reading between the lines or offering critical analysis of your own. Of course, the OP is very young and this dude is all over the place. Of course, before you know better, you hear what you want when someone you’re into says they’re “developing strong feelings for you” (if you don’t want a relationship, why are you writing to an advice columnist about him?).

    I would give my standard advice of, “Hey, he treats you like an option? Then treat him like an option – and have plenty others besides him,” but I think this guy’s too slippery and mixed message-y to make for good FWB material. I think the confusion/mindfuck would outweigh the good times and it wouldn’t be worth salvaging.

    I’ll go Moxie one further on the whole “strong feelings but break, then platonic friends” thing – I think he’s not only exploring other avenues but already has someone else and gave her some “I’m confused” romance novel bullshit rather than the truth. Move on, OP.

  4. Hard ache Says:

    Ha! Nice! I think this exactly what I do.

    I like the woman, love being with them, don’t want to let go, yet want to keep exploring.

    Then I feel like a turd. Selfish. Then I build a giant rationalizing I’m my head. Try it on the woman for size… After the initial disappointment, it feels like she actively participates in it. Guess it’s a woman’s way of rationalizing her own desires too.

    But we want different things. There’s always this tension.

    It feels like as long as we are both playing along, we both get partially what we want. Else we both get nothing. She – affection and attention, me – companionship and sex.

    I do try and explain *exactly* What’s going on and get their buy in, else it doesn’t work. But that never prevents me from feeling like said turd. And I’ve yet to meet a woman who won’t use that advantage to make me feel a little guilty now and then. Not that I don’t deserve it, I suppose. :-)

    • Hard ache Says:

      Also I’ve managed without lying. If I say there’s long term possibility, there truly is. Else I’m honest if there isn’t.

      It still doesn’t make the slippery slope any easier.

  5. coffeestop Says:

    I think he might be one of these “people pleaser” types who doesn’t like conflict so he made up a bunch of BS so he could get out of the relationship/dating thing without feeling like the bad guy. When people develop strong feelings they press forward. I think he met somebody else and just wanted to keep her on reserve. He is a time waster if all the LW wants is a casual relationship she can find one with somebody who doesn’t attach all this woeful victim drama to everything. If she wants more than one this is not the guy.

  6. Chloe Says:

    There is a saying that this post brings to mind ‘If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck and swims like a duck, it’s a duck!’

    The trouble only starts when you imagine that what you’ve got is a swan!

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