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Mixed Signals 101


fonoma

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So I got to know this guy through my running group. I didn't know who he was at first but he started talking to me on facebook 2-3 months ago about what races I was doing and general running things and he always started the conversation and was usually the one to end it (they didn't last very long nor were they that personal.) Over the holidays I was having some doubts about my relationship with my bf at the time and this guy was starting to talk to me a lot more and provided one of the only outlets I had to vent and talk it out. He flirted with me a few times before I broke up but didn't push anything on me and I didn't really reciprocate his flirtations until more recently.

 

He was always really interested in my personal life and when I asked him about his he said he didn't do much and would rather talk about me, though over time he did get into some more personal family history and upbringing such as the fact that he had to learn to fend for himself since he was 10 since his parents were always working and that he had one or two long term relationships that he referred to as "degrading" or some form of the word– I can't recall. Either way, they were pretty negative, but he's been single for the past 2 or 3 years by his own choice he says.

 

We got to talking almost every day by text or facebook and he came over to my apartment one evening to give me something that was kinda random that we were talking about which was nice but not necessary since I would have seen him the next morning at an event. He's since told me he thought I was extremely attractive, that he thought about kissing me one night when we were at a bar meet-up with our running group, and that he would have asked me out if I were single (back when I wasn't really). He keeps asking me about things I like to do and tells me he has a crush on me (or an even bigger one when I tell him about any of my nerdier hobbies.) Anyway, last week I asked him when he wanted to hang out a handful of times since we never really had (I never usually take the initiative like that but since he always was I thought I'd give it a shot.) Last Thursday he freaked out and started not responding to me very quickly and gave me a rain check saying he had plans but never gave me a date that could work. I eventually wanted to figure out why he shut me out like that and he explained that he felt I was looking for commitment (??) and that he'd make a good friend or a good lover, but a poor boyfriend. In his words "I'm really attracted to you, but I don't know that I can be your boyfriend". I was kind of hoping to just meet up with him for coffee but I guess down the line I would've liked to date him.

 

I was pretty hurt because since I split with my bf I have no close friends of my own and was really feeling lonely. Two days later I saw him in the morning after a long run and he caught my attention to say hi. There were a lot of people there so I was distracted but he had stuck around the place for a long time and loitered around a bit before leaving (not sure why he was there for so long because he was done with his run over an hour ago.) He texted me later when I got home saying it was nice to see me and asked if it was awkward for him to talk to me. I was still upset but I didn't want to be petty so I told him no it's fine. The next day I had a lovely trip with my parents to a vineyard and they put up photos on FB. Later he texted me saying how he loved my family (he knows my dad through running too) and wished his parents did stuff like that. He hinted that he was still working on making friends and how he wished we were friends. I'm guessing he was pretty moody and lonely that day.

 

Anyway, every day since then he has been messaging me in the morning after he gets to work to say good morning and ask how I am and even asked if I was safe one day when we had a lot of ice on the roads. I never initiate anything, I just reciprocate the conversation once he starts it. The talks are usually light and he always works in something flirty or a compliment and I just take it and sometimes say I'm flattered. But what I really want to know is what is going on?? I'm 65% certain I'm being played or just used as humorous text-buddy but he's brought up the fact before on his own that he's not looking for casual hook-ups. He seems way shyer in person and I'm actually still shocked that he's the same guy in person versus in texts. I'm trying to just play it cool and not really get emotionally vested again but I slip a little on occasion and start missing the security of my last relationship. Should I just try to wait it out or am I denying something really obvious?

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Sounds to me like you're in the friendzone.

 

However, he is somewhat physically attracted to you. But it's probably just at the level that if you guys got drunk, he'd probably have sex with you... and awkwardness would ensue afterwards.

 

My advice is to continue treating him as a friend, not a romantic interest, and look towards pursuing other people. Maybe he'll come around, maybe not. But from what you've written, it's probably not wise to count on his feelings getting stronger.

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Ya, I could see how you would be confused, geez I would be too! especially after this

he explained that he felt I was looking for commitment (??) and that he'd make a good friend or a good lover, but a poor boyfriend. In his words "I'm really attracted to you, but I don't know that I can be your boyfriend".

 

Believe this ^^ I would take it that he isn't interested in dating you, but likes to flirt with you. If that's ok with you, then don't take what his flirting seriously. But if you can't deal with the confusion, and if you feel that you can't be friends with him then cut him loose. Do you like him? does he know that? The flirting/compliments may be him just trying to keep you sweet on him, some people need to have the validation of knowing they have an admirer.

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I think he's lonely, but I also think he isn't looking for a relationship and really, really doesn't want one and is trying to keep you at arms length. If he hasn't asked you out on a date and freaked out when you offered it then no, he isn't going to ever be anything but a text/running buddy. He's got some serious emotional issues and the background he has given you makes that pretty clear: neglected childhood and relationships he considered degrading (?) plus being single all this time adds up to the guy is not emotionally healthy and ready for a serious relationship. Heck, he's not even ready for dating.

 

If it was me I'd scale way back on the texting and treat him strictly as a friend. Drop the flirting and the responding to him right away and keep looking for someone who is more available. When they won't date you it's always a clear red flag that there is something wrong and they do not want the same thing you do. You can wait forever for someone like this and because he's lonely and/or feels good in your company he'll flirt and pay you compliments, but that doesn't mean he'll ever date you or let it progress beyond what he's doing now. He told you straight up what it is with him, so be glad for his honesty and take his words to heart. He isn't boyfriend material.

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some people need to have the validation of knowing they have an admirer.

 

I think that's me : ) But maybe not to self-destructive ends thankfully.

 

Thanks, those are all really good offers of advice and I agree with all of them. I have a hard time putting myself in this guy's shoes because I have no idea what it's like to want to act this way around someone : p I'm not taking it to heart anymore but I wonder why he doesn't really seem to even want to be my real friend. He vaguely suggested I meet him up for a walk for some ice cream since it was so nice out but it was 3pm, I'm at work, and my office is not exactly walking distance from his which I assume he knew. I'll wait a few weeks before I ever bother asking him what's going on and keep looking around in the mean time : ) Hopefully my search to find better friends pays off soon...

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I just wanted to put this out here for anyone else reading this and going through something similar– this may not apply to your situation but I actually just found out this guy is seriously screwed up. I wish I could have continued this a little longer to really find out but I'm afraid if I did now he would think I'm not over him or something.

 

He was really flirting today and insinuated that he wanted to come over to see me but it wasn't definite and I didn't believe him. But he was really laying the flirting on thick. He didn't show up and I went out for dinner with my parents and some other friends and saw that he wasn't online for the whole evening. When I wake up I find he has one life event, in a relationship with someone I heard rumors he had been seeing in the past. Who'd have thought?

 

While at dinner I heard all sorts of things about him through a friend about how he was actually sleeping with an older married woman in his group too, and leading this poor girl on that he's now with. Should I break this out to her if I see her some time? She doesn't deserve to be treated like this with a guy.

 

I am just still so shocked because I thought this guy was a genuinely nice person. I guess I'm starting to experience real life. I'm extremely thankful he never let anything between us get serious.

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ya, this guy is a basket-case. wow,

 

Should I break this out to her if I see her some time? She doesn't deserve to be treated like this with a guy.

 

Do you know this girl personally? I would be inclined to stay out of the situation because all that stuff you heard about him is all hearsay, it's gossip and may not be true. If you tell this girl it could end up looking really bad on you, and then you would be causing drama anyway. Just stay out of it, and stay away from him. If he tries to flirt again--and i suspect that might happen if he and this new girl don't work out--then tell him that it makes you uncomfortable and to stop.

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