Getting Mixed Signals? Signs He’s Falling In Love But Scared
By: Abigail Boyd
Updated December 31, 2020
Medically Reviewed By: Lauren Guilbeault
Getting Mixed Signals?
Have you been seeing someone and you're not sure how he feels because he's giving you mixed signals? Maybe there are signs he likes you but is afraid of rejection? Does he pursue you relentlessly for a while, initiating dates and get-togethers, only to pull back and act distant a few days later? If this distance continues to grow, it can be a sign that the man you're interested in has lost his attraction or is having mixed feelings on whether or not he likes you, he may just be afraid or fears your feelings. However, if you're noticing a cycle of pursuit-withdrawal that keeps repeating, your man might be falling in love but afraid of his strong emotions. It could be one of the signs he's catching feelings and is just afraid.
It can be frustrating having feelings for someone you're dating but not being sure if they reciprocate those feelings. It's rarely appropriate to confront the man you're seeing to make him confess his feelings. Still, not knowing can be stressful and cause a lot of anguish and sleepless nights. You may find yourself caught up in your thoughts, trying to untangle the truth. You could agonize over whether or not you notice some signs he's catching feelings.
Of course, every man is different in their unique ways, but there are a few signs that may suggest what he's feeling: is he afraid of rejection, is he afraid, is he into you? Looking for the following signs, he's falling in love but scared to admit it to gauge where your relationship is headed.
Reasons Why He May Be Hesitant
Before we discuss the common signs that a man displays when he has conflicted feelings, let's talk about the potential reasons behind this ambivalence. Research supports the theory that love and fears can become connected when we go through negative experiences. While you may not have that much information about your guy's dating history, whatever you do know may give you insight into why he would be hesitant to embrace his romantic feelings. He may be afraid or reserved, or he just might not know the next move to make.
Afraid of Rejection
Maybe he's been hurt by a past relationship and is afraid of rejection. Men, just like women, can feel very vulnerable when it comes to loving someone, especially if their heart has been broken in the past, it may make them afraid of the future. Unless you're the first person he's been involved with; he's likely had difficult experiences involving rejection and heartache, he fears this will happen again. Maybe he likes you, but doesn't want to show signs he's catching feelings for you.
If he's been through a significant break-up or divorce, he may be guarding his heart carefully from experiencing the same pain. This is completely normal, it is just his past making him afraid of what is next to come. No matter how much you care about him, you can't force him to rush into things. This kind of attitude will usually only push him away. It is best to give him space and be understanding as he copes with his fears of what is to come.
Signs He Is Falling In Love But Scared
To get an insight into how your guy feels, observe his behavior without confronting him on what they mean, which may put him on the defensive. There may be signs he's interested in you but is afraid of rejection. The following patterns generally occur due to intensely conflicting feelings, a clash between how much he cares about you and want to run away from the intensity of the relationship, so he doesn't end up getting hurt, he may be afraid of rejection. Be on the lookout for the following signs that may clue you into how he feels.
You catch him staring at you often, but then he glances away.
You may see him staring at you from across the room or notice that he's holding eye contact longer than he did before, but then he averts his gaze when he realizes you're on to him. In any case, increased visual attention is a clear sign that he has feelings for and is very attracted to you. The fact that he's looking away is an indicator that the feeling is overwhelming to him, it may be a case where he's afraid of rejection or he's afraid of how you feel.
The particular way he looks at you can also give you insight into how he feels and if he likes you. There's a different vibe to how he'll look at you when it comes from a place of love, versus a place of attraction. It's a softness in his eyes, a longing that's deeper than lust which is yet another of the signs he's catching feelings.
He wants to spend time together, then disappears out of the blue.
This is one of the clearest signs that a man has feelings for you but is scared of getting closer. See if you recognize this pattern: he's acting interested and initiates a few dates in a row. Everything goes well, and you feel good about the relationship. Suddenly, his level of communication plummets, and he's busier than normal. Maybe he's not returning your messages like he did before or avoids your phone calls. If the distance continued to grow, you would probably assume that he's losing interest or lost interest. However, just when you begin to make the distance of your own, he contacts you, and the cycle begins anew.
This common pattern is a telltale sign of a man who is scared to commit, he may be afraid of rejection. When you notice him pulling away, give him space.Don't chase after him, which will only encourage him to start running. Instead, even if it's difficult, focus on your own life and keep busy. The more space he's given and the more independent he sees you, the more likely he will feel comfortable getting closer on his own time. You can stop looking out for signs he's catching feelings, and let him come to a decision about you and whether or not he's afraid of rejection with you.
He listens to what you say and remembers it in future conversations.
Have you ever been talking to someone and had the unpleasant experience of realizing they do not hear a word you say? In our distraction-laden society, it's an unfortunately common experience. If the guy you see actually pays attention to what you're saying when you're telling him about your day at work or the plot of your favorite movie, it's a sign he's truly interested in what goes on in your head and your life. If he brings these things up in future conversations, you can be sure you're on his mind often, and it's one of the signs he's catching feelings. If he has still yet to take the relationship to the next level he may be nervous or afraid of rejection from you.
He appears genuinely happy and enthusiastic around you, even if he doesn't realize it.
If your guy seems truly happy around you and seems to view you as his respite, that's a clear indication of how much you mean to him. When he laughs at your jokes (even the cheesy ones), tries to make you smile, and relaxes when he's in your presence, he's showing you how he feels without speaking it aloud, and yet another of the signs he's catching feelings.
He goes out of his way to do things for you but shies away from talking about his feelings.
Many men are conditioned not to talk about or acknowledge their emotions, especially those that make them feel vulnerable. That's why to know what a man is feeling and thinking; it helps to pay attention to how he acts. There may be physical actions he takes to let you know if he is afraid of rejection, falling for you, or just nervous around you. If he cares about you, you may notice him making an effort to do things for you. Pay attention if he goes out of his way to help you out with errands or responsibilities.
He introduces you to the important people in his life, and they have heard all about you.
If the guy you're dating has taken the initiative to introduce you to his family, friends, and other people close to him, you can be sure that he wants you in his life, even if he's keeping his emotions vague. He may discuss feelings and hesitations he's reluctant to bring up with you directly with other people he's close to in his life. If you get the indication that you're a frequent topic of conversation among your guy and his inner circle, it can be a strong sign of your importance to him and another of the signs he's catching feelings for you.
He talks about having a future with you but keeps it vague.
This one is a little tricky, but if it's present along with the other behaviors listed above, then it could be a sign he's falling for you. If you notice him talking about the potential of a future with you, but not committing to any solid plans, he might be testing out the idea to become comfortable with it.
What To Do if He's Acting Hot And Cold
Dealing with mixed signals can be stressful and emotionally draining. You may find yourself preoccupied with thoughts of the relationship or wondering if you should break it off to spare yourself heartache down the line. If you notice the types of behavior listed above and you genuinely care for the guy, then try to give him some time and space. Instead of confronting him or trying to talk endlessly about his feelings, give him enough space to work his feelings out on his own.
It can be difficult at first but putting the focus back on yourself will protect your own mental and emotional health. This attitude may give him the security needed to commit to you once and for all.
A word of caution: some men can get stuck in a holding pattern where they seem permanently unwilling to commit, they maybe afraid of rejection, or maybe it's something else. If you've been dating for a long time and you're looking to settle down, but the guy you're with is still hesitant about admitting his true feelings and committing to you, you should give a lot of thought on whether or not to continue the relationship. Research shows that this kind of love avoidance persists unless treatment is sought by the person displaying it.
How A Therapist Can Help
Being on the receiving end of mixed signals can make even the most confident person question themselves, especially if you care about the person you're dating. Getting advice from a third party with professional experience in the realm of relationship counseling can give you a clear picture of the situation, they may explain to you what the mixed signals mean, and whether or not your partner is afraid of rejection.
If you're experiencing issues related to your relationship or dating life, a therapist can work with you to identify any negative emotional or behavioral patterns that may be holding you back or making you afraid to commit. Turn to BetterHelp for online therapy that can help guide you in the right direction when it comes to the future of your relationship.
FAQ's (Frequently Asked Questions)
How do you tell if your hookup has feelings for you?
There are specific ways to identify whether a guy likes you or not. Guys aren't necessarily open about catching feelings. They might keep their emotions to themselves for a while until they are sure how they feel. If he wants to hook up, then he's not necessarily want to be in a relationship with you. A sign that he's only interested in sex would be that all you do when you're together is go to the bedroom. That's one of the signs he's only interested in hooking up, whereas one of the big signs he's into you is that he's interested in doing things with you that don't involve being intimate; you spend quality time together. One of the main signs he's caught feelings for you is if he's initiating the quality time together.
How do you know if a guy is into you or just wants to hook up?
If he's caught feelings for you, you'll know because he's happy to spend quality time with you. He's introducing you to his friends, admitting that he's interested in you, and telling you that you're beautiful or straight up saying that he's into you. Another way to know that he's really into you is if he's initiating it. One of the definite signs he's into you is that if he's putting in the effort to contact you. You're not asking him to hang out all of the time. You know that he's catching feelings if he's taking the lead and asking you out and initiating conversations.
How do you know if a guy likes you by texting?
A guy will show you that he's interested in you through texting if he's flirtatious; maybe, he uses pet names or sends you sweet compliments. One of the other big signs he's the one initiating the text conversations. Guys like to be in charge of the chase sometimes, so if he's the one making the moves toward you, it's safe to say that he's interested in you. If the text dialogue goes back and forth and you find that he's quick to respond, that's another sign that he's into you and has caught feelings.
How do you know he's not interested in a relationship?
Some guys will straight up tell you, "I'm not ready for a serious commitment. I want to have fun. I don't want a relationship right now." Maybe, they'll say that they want to be friends with benefits, and if that's the case, you have to hear what they're saying and ask yourself if that's the commitment that you want. Other times, people won't be as straight forward, and this will be harder to determine. If the guy is nervous about committing you, it's safe to say he's not ready to be in a relationship. If he's against the idea of only dating each other, it's safe to say that he doesn't want to be in a one-on-one relationship. If there's any commitment phobia, he doesn't want to be in a relationship, or at the least, he's not prepared for it.
How A Therapist Can Help
Being on the receiving end of mixed signals can make even the most confident person question themselves, especially if you care about the person you're dating. You're desperate to find signs he's catching feelings, but you can't seem to gain clarity on that. Getting advice from a third party with professional experience in the realm of relationship counseling can give you a clear picture of the situation.
If you're experiencing issues related to your relationship or dating life, a therapist can work with you to identify any negative emotional or behavioral patterns that may be holding you back. Turn to BetterHelp for online therapy that can help guide you in the right direction when it comes to the future of your relationship.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
What do mixed signals mean?
Mixed signals can mean many different things to different people. Sometimes mixed signals don’t actually mean anything and you’re just confused by them. Many common mixed signals can cause people to think that a person is interested in them when they’re really not. Communication is key when you’re trying to avoid misunderstandings. Common mixed signals can occur between friends and it can lead one person to think that another might have romantic intentions. It might be a mere mistake, or it could be that your friend is unsure of how to proceed. Other mixed signals involve being afraid of rejection. These common mixed signals can be frustrating when you’re on the receiving end, but you are better off addressing the issue than leaving it alone.
Determining what common mixed signals mean without discussing it with the person sending the mixed signals is not possible. You can’t definitively say what someone is thinking if you don’t have more information. The person you’re getting mixed signals from could be into you. The person you’re referring to might not be aware that he's sending mixed signals, though. Just have a chat with the person you’re getting those mixed signals from and clear the air. It’s the simplest way to get the answers that you’re seeking.
What do you do when you get mixed signals?
The best thing to do when you get mixed signals from someone is to ask them about it. Maybe they're afraid of rejection, or maybe they're not sure how you feel. This might not be what you want to hear, but you need to be an adult and address things so that you can move forward properly. It isn’t very helpful to shy away from the topic when you’re unsure of someone’s intentions. If you continue reading into these mixed signals without confirmation, then it’s simply going to drive you crazy. Find the real reason why your friend is acting this way and don’t continue reading into things. You can get the real reason for why things are sort of confusing and then you’ll both be better off. Don’t let love languages confuse you into thinking something that may or may not be true.
It’s understanding that you might be nervous about this topic. Some people are afraid to find out that someone has feelings for them and others will be afraid of rejection. You might be worried about sounding silly, but it’s best to try to be confident. All you’re trying to do is to clear up mixed messaging. If someone has made romantic gestures to you that haven’t been clear enough, then you want to know what is up. Find more information by talking to your friend and get to the bottom of this situation.
What is an example of a mixed message?
There are a large number of related stories that you could hold up as examples of mixed messages. For instance, someone might give a gift to you that doesn’t seem like a friendly type of gift. If someone gives you a bouquet of roses for your birthday, but doesn’t ask you out on a date, then that could seem like a mixed message. When you give a gift to someone that seems like a romantic type of gift, then that sends a definite message. Not acting after giving the gift is the part that makes the message a mixed one because it can leave the other party confused or afraid of what is next. When someone throws you a party and imported expensive wine for the occasion, then that seems like a big deal. There’s always the chance that this person would throw a party and import expensive things just for fun, but you can see how that would be considered mixed messaging.
How do you know if you’re sending mixed signals?
Some people send out mixed signals without knowing what they’re doing. Maybe you think you’re being clear with your intentions when you’re really not. The other person may think you are afraid of rejection or afraid to move forward with them. You’ve heard about how people have created and maintained lies or other related stories to protect themselves. Well, sometimes people do things like that without even knowing what they’re doing. You could be holding back on telling someone your feelings subconsciously while making up excuses here and there. Maybe you’re flirting with someone sometimes while you’re ignoring them other times due to your nerves. There are many related stories like this that can show you how you might be sending mixed signals. You might even start to flirt because you’re bored with your social media feed and not because you really mean what you’re saying.
Basically, choosing to share how you honestly feel is the best course of action. If someone seems unsure of your romantic intentions, then this is a sign that you’re not being clear enough. Wires get crossed when you don’t take the time to explain yourself. Try to avoid situations like this if you can and think about whether you’re communicating properly. You should remember actions speak louder than words as well. You can say one thing, but if your actions don’t back up your statements, then you’re sending mixed messages.
How do I stop sending mixed signals?
You can stop sending mixed signals by taking the time to be clear about your communication. Be mindful of the things that you’re saying to other people and consider how others might interpret your words. You also need to think about your actions and how they will be perceived. When wires get crossed due to miscommunication, it makes your life more difficult. Remember that affectionate gestures can be viewed by some as friendly and will be seen by others as romantic in nature. If you can be better about sending clear messages moving forward, then you can avoid problems.
Why is my ex giving me mixed signals?
Determining why your ex is giving you mixed signals might be tougher than you’d hope. Sometimes an ex might send mixed signals because they sort of want you back. Other times, you might just be reading into things without there really being anything substantial there. Some exes try to remain friends after breaking up and this does work out okay in certain circumstances. Just remember that tension can arise from a partner if you’re talking to an ex. Would you find it alarming if your partner spent time with an ex? If so, then you might want to be sure that you don’t have a double standard when it comes to yourself.
Exes will sometimes send mixed messages and this can be frustrating. For example, maybe your ex boyfriend will leave the bathroom door opening while he's showering. This could make you think that he's trying to flirt or entice you into a sexual encounter. You should bring to their attention the fact that this situation makes you feel awkward. If an ex is sending mixed messages, then you likely need to talk about it. If you want to remain friends and they won’t stop being hot and cold toward you, then things aren’t going to be positive. You can bring about real change if you’re mindful of this and address these actions when they occur. Give your self absorbed partner no shade while addressing things and just try to focus on getting back to an honest place.
How do you tell if she’s into you?
Being able to tell whether a girl is into you will depend on the situation. A woman might give you certain signs such as talking to you in a flirtatious manner. Certain women might try to cheer you up when you’re feeling blue or whips you into shape when you’re struggling with motivation. Some women might even show physical signs of affection. Not everyone is the same, though. There are many girls that might be a bit shy and this could cause her to give you mixed signals. She might be afraid of confrontation and this could make her be a little less obvious about her feelings. Many people are afraid of rejection or being made fun of. These could mean that her signs of being into you will be very subtle.
If someone tries to spend a lot of time around you, then they might be very interested in dating you. She could also just want you as a friend, though. Generally, you want to be able to feel like someone is attracted to you and see signs of that so that you know how to proceed. It might be up to you to move the relationship forward if she won’t come out and confess her feelings. This can be a bit one sided when you’re talking with someone who is shy, but it’s usually best to talk to a girl about things.
How do you tell if he’s into you?
For the most part, men are usually a bit more obvious when he's into a woman. You can usually tell that a guy is into a girl by the way that he's acting around that girl. He might try to get a little closer to the girl than usual or he may change suddenly when he's aware that you see him looking. The same can be said of gay men who are showing interest in other men. Men aren’t always confident enough to come out and say “I like you.” Some of them will have confidence in spades while others will search for the right opportunity for far too long. If you pay attention to his body language and demeanor, then you will probably be able to tell if he's interested in you.
- Getting Mixed Signals: https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/love/getting-mixed-signals-signs-hes-falling-in-love-but-scared/
- Mixed Signals: Are They Emotionally Unavailable? https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/relations/how-to-tell-emotionally-unavailable-men-characteristics/
- Using Body Language To Decipher Mixed Signals: https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/body-language/22-examples-of-body-language-attraction/
Therapy is a personal experience, and not everyone will go into it seeking the same things. But, keeping these nine things in mind can ensure that you will get the most out of online therapy, regardless of what your specific goals are.
- RAINN (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network) - 1-800-656-4673
- The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline - 1-800-273-8255
- National Domestic Violence Hotline - 1-800-799-7233
- NAMI Helpline (National Alliance on Mental Illness) - 1-800-950-6264
- SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) SAMHSA Facebook, SAMHSA Twitter
- Mental Health America, MHA Twitter, MHA Facebook, MHA Instagram, MHA Pinterest
- WebMD, WebMD Facebook, WebMD Twitter, WebMD Pinterest
- NIMH (National Institute of Mental Health), NIMH Facebook, NIMH Twitter, NIMH YouTube
- APA (American Psychiatric Association), APA Twitter, APA Facebook, APA LinkedIN, APA Instagram
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