"I started seeing this guy about 2 months ago. We were getting along good. He was always saying stuff about me not breaking his heart and how he's a simple guy, all he wants is to be happy. He said we had good chemistry.
Then 2 weeks ago his ex-girlfriend started playing with his head and saying she is still in love with him. They were together for awhile, had a bad relationship and she now lives with her new boyfriend.
I asked if he was waiting for her to take him back and he said no, and where did I get that from and he knows the relationship with her would never work but he clearly still has feelings for her.
Two days later he said he cant talk about his problems with me because I jump to conclusions. I explained I was just asking, he said to give him a few to deal with his problems and we would see what happens with us.
I left him alone. I heard from him 5 days later.
Since then he has been distant. I haven't seen him much but when I do he wants to cuddle and hugs me tight and complains that I always leave I never stay the night. I said I would and he said no you wont, that he is just not cool enough for me.
But things are not the same as before the ex played with his head.
I try to give him his space and push things and say how I feel about him, but I just don't know how to handle this one. I don't know if I am just his cuddle buddy till someone else comes along, or does he want more but he's afraid of getting hurt. I want to know his feelings for me. How do I proceed? Is he interested or not?"
I can see your confusion and I understand how you feel stuck because of what seemed like a great thing "suddenly" went bad when his ex-girlfriend told him she still loves him.
Here's how I see it - the good, the bad, the worse, and stuff most people miss.
I noticed almost immediately something VERY important which was overlooked in what you wrote.
You mentioned how his ex-girlfriend told him she still loves him, how she's playing with his head, and that is when all the bad stuff started.
Then... since you asked him if he was waiting for her to take him back (and he got defensive about it) I'm to assume she didn't actually say she wanted him back which makes me go in this direction.
Women and men are well-known for telling their ex they still love them.
Sometimes it happens at a random chance meeting - as in when you see them in a place frequently visited by both.
Who contacted who? How did they meet up? What was the circumstance behind it all?
THAT is the information I need before I can determine a "matter of fact" and without it - this is merely a strong gut feelings of mine based on what I'm reading into him. (Unfortunately I tend to be right way too much.)
Seems to me she might've said she loves him BUT it was within the context of,
"Of course I still love you but that doesn't mean I'm still IN love with you. I'm in a relationship right now and we're not getting back together!"
Sure - she could be playing games with his head - he might've told you she was BUT until there's a clear indication of it I can NOT assume that's her game.
EVEN if she was constantly trying to get a hold of him, texting him, messaging on social media, or making plans to accidentally bump into each other to sneak her way back into his life and push you out of the picture; there's something VERY CLEAR here:
HE is ACCEPTING her and ALLOWING it to happen.
Remember - she lives with her current boyfriend which I am to assume she's in an exclusive relationship with her.
He still has feelings for her and this I know because men don't just lose the emotional connection. That process take a very long time to recover from for most men and even LONGER after a bad breakup and even LONGER when you're dealing with a man whose self-esteem and confidence is extremely low.
ALL of which describes him perfectly.
I'll explain further.
When you've only being seeing a guy for a few months and he mentions at any point in time that he doesn't want his heart broken, then you have a problem right away.
When you asked him if he was waiting for her to take him back (another sign that she is NOT playing games - she doesn't want him back and this is all him) he got defensive and pulled away. He claimed you jump to conclusions and got angry with you.
It's one thing to get angry or upset over any line of questioning when it's related to a possible problem in a current relationship. These things happen because men and women (generally) don't have the right communication skills to smooth this stuff over.
So you'll see the anger and you'll even notice a defensive stance is often taken - it's to be expected.
BUT - when it's thrown back at you in a way which accuses YOU of something else, it's a deflection and a maneuver to shift blame - taking the pressure off the the possibly of the real truth coming out.
He said you jump to conclusions - he can't talk to you about this stuff - you're going to leave him (just like her) AND he's not COOL enough for you.
All deflections of a man whose self-esteem and confidence is still tied to his last relationship of which he is clearly not over yet. He still feels rejected and hurt.
This - very unfortunately - and pains me to say...
Makes you a REBOUND.
Of course he's afraid of getting hurt BUT the thing is - he's actually STILL HURTING and (sort of) using you to numb the pain by hugging and kissing and using the intimacy you're sharing to feel better - for the moment.
I'm not saying it can not be fixed or worked through or that it can not turn into something else BUT I am saying...
NOW isn't the time or place it's going to happen because he's just not THERE yet.
His esteem and confidence and inner self is still tied to her and the events that took place and that is something only HE can work through.
ANY attempt to do so on your part or to help him will, if successful tie his new current esteem to you and your relationship making some serious problems in the future as it ALL will happen again - except this time - with YOU and not his ex.
Of course - as always - communication skills are clearly needed as they are in most of these cases which go above and beyond dating and relationships. This is not stuff taught to us, we (mostly) learn them through our experiences in life and in our interactions with ALL people and just do the best we can with them.
Time to quickly answer your questions... and a little help on communication.
You ended your comment with this and I'd like to get into that more.
"I try to give him his space and push things and say how I feel about him, but I just don't know how to handle this one. I don't know if I am just his cuddle buddy till someone else comes along, or does he want more but he's afraid of getting hurt. I want to know his feelings for me. How do I proceed? Is he interested or not?"
When you're giving someone space you can NOT push things at the same time.
Not only is it impossible but it sends very MIXED SIGNALS and the person receiving the contradictions won't trust your intention is real, nice, and will then assume you have an ulterior motive. Making it extremely difficult to communicate what you intended to say.
You can not give someone space while at the same time tell them how you feel because again - mixed signals. The person starts to think WHY are you pushing me away when you're telling me how much you care about me. It actually starts to feel like it's a game.
You CAN and have every right to give someone space. In fact, in any dating experience it's essential to grow into a relationship with someone.
BUT it's not something you can just GIVE. It has to happen naturally.
AND often when it's done because the other person requested it... it's too late and the effect won't bring you together - it will only drive you apart.
You ARE his cuddle buddy. You already knew that.
Somewhere in your heart and mind - your intuition KNEW it was happening because you knew or sensed that without a doubt - he was not over his ex making you the REBOUND as he searches for the intimate connection he lost in his last relationship.
When it comes to men and how they "feel" about a woman - honestly -it's not at all that difficult to figure out because us guys are generally clear about it through our actions.
⇒ What he does with regards to you is EXACTLY how he feels in THAT moment.
⇒ What he does to SECURE a future together with you is EXACTLY how he feels about your future together.
⇒ When a man says, "We have good chemistry." there's no action or DOING in words so it simply means, "It's easy with you. I don't have to work at it. I feel COMFORTABLE with you."
WITHOUT ACTION - that is ALL it means and nothing more.
Does he want more?
EVERYONE wants more. We're quite the insatiable creatures. Nothing is never enough.
Does he want more with YOU?
I'll ask you this...
Is he doing ACTIONABLE things to make it clear he wants something more?
If not, he's still in THIS moment - which is HURT, angry, depressed, and having a difficult time moving on from his last relationship.
When a man finds himself with a woman he feels is the right for him, a candidate for a future relationship AND he's secure in himself and over the past, has some confidence and esteem to go along with it - he WILL take actions which will PROVE it to you.
HIS undeniable action at this point IF he's secure and YOU are the potential one for him - I can almost GUARANTEE he would NOT allow his ex-girlfriend access to his heart in any way shape or form.
His ACTION of PROOF would be to immediately cut ties with her.
Anything short (in this circumstance because it would be different if they had children together and such) of THAT action is merely his way of telling you he's just not ready or convinced that he wants a future with you... right now.
Forever leaving you as his intimate buddy or... on the hook as he works out his problems or feelings and emotional connection to his ex.
Is he interested in you?
Okay... what is INTEREST?
When a man is curious about you, when he's doing what he can to learn about you, when he's asking questions and trying to connect with you on some level - that is interest.
Unfortunately interest is not a determining factor of love or a possible relationship in the future.
Don't define or base any proof of connection with a man by his interest alone,
If he wasn't interested - he would't ask, he wouldn't bother to learn more about you; even in the cases where a man is just looking for sex - he's INTERESTED in having sex with you therefore - he would ask and learn more about how to get THAT from you.
Think about what his actions are giving him...
Think about what he's getting from you consistently...
Because that will TELL you what he's INTERESTED in!
In your case - based on what I've read...
He's interested in (once again) a REBOUND. Someone to numb the pain, distract him, regain the intimacy that was recently lost to which he relied on to secure his confidence and self-esteem. Someone to make him feel what he felt before.
How do you proceed with him from here now that you've been blasted with all this NEW information?
My recommendation based on my knowledge and experience in these matters should never be taken lightly.
Make sure your decision is based on YOUR heart and mind so you feel comfortable and at peace with whatever you choose to do AND that you are also willing to ACCEPT your full responsibility.
I'd say it's time to move on.
He's not in an stable emotional place or mindset to start a relationship.
I'm not saying it can not happen in the future but for it to happen now - there's too much to work through and most of it is stuff he needs to work on his own for himself that don't include you.
Leaving you on the hook - scrambling - trying to always do the right things, say the right thing, constantly trying to make him feel better, etc...
You get the picture, right?
The LAST thing you want to happen here is for him to tie a false sense of raised esteem and confidence to you because that will lead to far worse problems in the future and quite possibly destroy ANY chance of a happy life together without having to constantly overwork through it all.
Thanks for your question and as always - all the best to you.
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