Getting Mixed Signals? Signs He’s Falling In Love But Scared

By Abigail Boyd

Updated March 11, 2020

Reviewer Lauren Guilbeault

Have you been seeing someone and you're not sure how he feels because he's giving you mixed signals? 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 guy you're interested in has lost his attraction. However, if you're noticing a cycle of pursuit-withdrawal that keeps repeating, your guy might be falling in love but fearful of his strong emotions. It could be one of the signs he's catching feelings.

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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 guy 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 guy is different in their unique ways, but there are a few signs that may suggest what he's feeling. 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 fear 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.

Maybe he's been hurt by a past relationship. Men, just like women, can feel very vulnerable when it comes to loving someone, especially if their heart has been broken in the past. Unless you're the first person he's been involved with; he's likely had difficult experiences involving rejection and heartache. 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. 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.

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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. 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. 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.

The particular way he looks at you can also give you insight into how he feels. 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 acts 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 seems to be busier than normal. Maybe he doesn't return your messages like he did before or avoids your phone calls. If the distance continued to grow, you would probably assume that he had 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. 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.

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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.

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. 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.

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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. 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.

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.

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 doesn't 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 wants to do 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 wants to spend quality time with you. He's introducing you to his friends, admitting that he likes 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 is taking the lead and asking you out and initiating conversations.

How do you get a guy to admit he likes you?

You can't force someone to admit that they like you, but one of the definite signs that a guy likes you is if he's the one making moves toward you and you don't feel like you have to chase him all of the time.

What's the difference between dating and seeing someone?

When you're seeing someone, it means that you found someone special and is trying out a relationship. When you're dating someone, it becomes more serious; it means that that person is your significant other. It's safe to say that if that's the case, he's caught feelings for you. The nuances of dating can be small, and it's essential to clarify with a person if you're dating each other so that you know that you're on the same page.

How do you know if a guy likes you by texting?

A guy will show you that he likes 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 wants you. If the text dialogue goes back and forth and you find that he responds quickly, that's another sign that he's into you and has caught feelings.

How do you know if he's in love with you?

When you're in love with someone, you want to spend a lot of time with the person. One of the most significant ways to know if someone's in love with you is to recognize if they're willing to care about your needs. If they want to include you in their life, show you what's important to them, and listen to you when you talk about what's important to you, that's one of the main signs he's that he does care. He probably has caught feelings for you at the least. You'll know that someone's in love with you if they're willing to be giving with their time and open up about their emotions. That's not only one of the signs he's into you but also one of the signs that you want to be with him. Communication and emotional availability are essential, so him being open with you is an excellent indicator that this could be something special, and one of the signs he's catching feelings.

How do you know he doesn't want 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 refuses when you talk about 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 isn't prepared for it.

How do I know his intentions?

The only way to know someone is to observe their behavior. It can be hard to tell if a guy is catching feelings for you or not. If you're unclear about something, ask him. It's important to advocate for what you want in a relationship and know that you deserve to get those needs met.

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.


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