How to Know if He/She Really Likes You/Is he just being nice?

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Hi Nicolette,

boy, is this going to be a long one ;)
I've met this guy two years ago, then we met again 10 months ago and started hanging out about six months ago. We're both in our early thirties, he's a couple of years older, and we move in similar circles (we share quite a few friends and acquaintances).
Our relationship began as semi-professional, but we soon started seeing each other exclusively as friends. We go for a coffee and/or attend various events together. He's never cancelled a "date", and if something comes up (e.g. we're supposed to hang out, but turns out he needs to attend something at that time), he includes me in his plans. We usually end up spending the whole afternoon/evening together and see each other at least once or twice a week when he's in town (more on that later) - we're both quite occupied with our professional lives. We contact each other three to four times a week, and sometimes we seek each other's professional assistance (but these instances have become increasingly seldom). We talk about everything and he confides in me, but he's never ever mentioned other women in that sense (he's an out-going person in general, has a female friend whom he calls "a brother", oh my, and another one who's actually friends with his real-life older sister) :)
Our relationship is platonic, we hug and kiss on the cheek. He's extremely polite and nice. My friends regularly tease me for him (go figure), and a close female friend of his has recently made a remark that we should be together - both of us smiled and didn't say a word. One time, he was teasing a friend of his and said "what are you doing here with MY Myrtle?!" (jokingly, of course). And one time, we were on a sightseeing point in our city, and a (male) friend phoned him to catch up with him later, to which he replied "let's make it two hours, we're lingering here" ("lingering" meaning the same as "making out" in our language).
On two occasions, it seemed to me as if he wanted to ask me something. In December, he mentioned that he was going to an out-of-town retreat with three friends for New Year's, all of them were bringing their partners, and he was the only one flying solo. Then he asked me if I had any plans, I said no, but he already moved on to another subject. A couple of months later, I have a feeling that he wanted to take me out to dinner, but the same thing happened.
And NOW we're planning to go abroad for a few days, just the two of us (we live in Europe). This should take place next week and we've already made plans.
Now, the downsides: he's practically married to his work. And when he's out of town (which is a lot), our communication becomes increasingly seldom, sometimes we don't hear from each other for a week or even more. And another thing: not only does he not mention any other women (or men, for that matter), but I sometimes get the feeling as if he's shut down that part of his life. He's a huge mystery in that sense, and I know for a fact that there are other people wondering the same (both male and female).

What's your opinion on this guy? Should I allow myself to hope for something more, or am I deluding myself?
Any answer/advice would be helpful, regardless of the final verdict :)

Thank you in advance, Myrtle

(*I've posted this question two weeks ago - this version is slightly updated - and the system advised me to post it again after it had been moved to the question pool. I hope I'm doing the right thing..?)

Answer
Hi Myrtle,

I don't think there's any reason to be distrustful of this guy, as I believe that he has been honest with you to this point. He seems to be very much into his career, as you've noticed, so therefore, it doesn't seem to me as if he's looking for a commitment just yet. Now, having that been said, I do believe that he is most certainly interested in you and would like to continue to see you.

It seems to me that the problem here comes down to communication. You don't know whether you should allow yourself to hope for more, or if he's seeing anyone else. In other words, you're not sure how to get him to open up to you. In order for him to do that, he has to know that he can trust you, so show him that he can. Be willing to be a bit vulnerable to him and let him know what you're feeling. Let him know that you're enjoying spending time with him, but you'd like to know where his head is at as far as where this is going. If he doesn't want the same thing that you do, then you know you can move on in good faith -but I don't think that that will be the case, here.   If you want to know if he's seeing someone else, then you can have another conversation with him, simply saying that you're not seeing anyone else, and just wanted to know how he felt about it. Again, his response will be very telling. Also, again, I really don't feel he's being shady or dishonest with you, I just feel he's truly giving you what's in his power to give at this point. In order to know if he's capable of more commitment, you're going to have to let him know what you want and see if he can reciprocate.
Don't put it in a pressuring way, only ask him what kind of headspace he's in. If you pressure him, he'll run for the hills before you can blink.

I hope this helps Myrtle, and if you have any more questions, I'd be happy to help.

Always,

Nicolette.

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