You are here:

Mind Games/Is he just playing games with me?

Advertisement


Question
Where to begin!?

Hi, I'm Sarah, I am 23 years old, and I'm having trouble deciding what is going on in this guys mind. We'll just call him Joe for now.
I first want to apologize if this question goes long, because I certainly am one for details.
I met Joe through a mutual friend. Actually, she's my friend, Joe's cousin. We will call my friend Mary.
I met Joe one day when I went over to Mary's house to visit. Immediately there was something there that I just liked about him. Don't know what. I guess he seemed down to earth, very funny, good communicator. We talked a little, nothing too personal.

About 3 days later Mary and I decided to go out to the bar for some karaoke. Joe, knowing I was going to be there, showed up as well. We talked, sang together, played pool, had quite a bit of fun. There was a little flirting involved, but all very minor. He leaned in close when talking to me, smiled a lot, talked a lot with my father (who was also there). Even his mother was there. Her and I hit it off great!
At the end of the night, he asked me for a date. I accepted and we got together the next evening for dinner and mini golf. We were both a little quieter during the date, but still found things to talk about, laughed and had fun. He seemed to pay close attention to my body language, as he did not kiss me at the end of the date. I am not typically the kind of girl that gets that intimate on a first date. I believe my friend Mary might have also mentioned to him that I take things slow.

Well, he texted me only about ten/fifteen minutes after our date and said he had a great time. He also thanked me for saying yes and going. He definitely seemed interested, and used lots of exclamation marks in his texts.

According to my girlfriend Mary, he texted her right after our date and wanted to know if I called her and said anything about him. I thought that was cute. I as well, asked her what he said about me.
Two days after mine and Joe's date, Mary came over to my house to hang out. Joe stopped by for a minute since he was in the area, and Mary wanted him to. He had just got off work so he didn't stay long, as he was tired and dirty. We texted that night as well, but it was that night that he stopped texting, and I didn't hear from him again.

When I asked Mary what had happened, she said he told her things didn't work out.
I let it go, although I was so stumped at what I did wrong. We got along great, seemed to have good chemistry and strong attraction for one another, that it just didn't add up. The only assumption I could make was that I wasn't what he was looking for, or that he was playing the field.

A couple months went by and we ended up together at Mary's party.
He didn't appear put out that I was there, and was friendly. We played pool, him and I on one team, Mary and some other guy on another. Just like the night at the bar, he put his body real close to me when talking. He did this once or twice. He said he thought I was great at pool and that in the future, I had to be on his team. He also put his hand on my shoulder when telling me "Good Job" on a shot.

??What future??

Well that was that, after the party was over I went home and we didn't see each other....Until about three months later. By that time I had met a guy (we'll call him Robert) and was casually dating him. Mary, Robert and I were on our way back to Mary's house after a fun filled day at a water park. We hadn't even changed out of our swimsuits when we got back to her place. As we pulled in Mary blurted out, "Hey, I didn't know Joe was here already!"

I couldn't describe how I felt knowing that he was there, along with my new male friend, and me in a little bathing suit. We went inside and Joe and Robert talked while I changed into the only other piece of clothing I brought (another small and revealing thing- a little black dress). It was weird enough having them talking together in the other room. Mary told me that Joe was waiting for her other friend to show up (Nikki) and that they had casually dated a bit before I even met Joe. However, Joe never asked her on a date like he did me. I think they only got together when Mary was present.
Anyhow, after I changed I wanted to leave. I felt embarrassed and awkward being there. I walked into the living room and right away Joe said, " That's a cute little dress."

I didn't know how to take that. But we left and that was it.

Until a couple days ago, that is. Now Eight months later! Everytime I see him, my attraction for him returns. I don't know what to do. Mary and I went to the bar and he showed up. I was in the bathroom though and didn't know he was there. When I came out, our eyes met and we had a momentary deep gaze at each other. I looked away and pretended to be in conversation with Mary, laughing and having my own fun.
Several times that night we would find our eyes meeting, and he tried talking to me a little bit. For some reason though, every time I do talk to him, a mild insult always manages to escape my lips. And as quick witted on comebacks as I know he is, he seems to take it and not give me any mean comebacks.

I should note that he did get a little drunk the other night while we were there. Another man there kept hitting on me, and then that man and Joe started singing karaoke together. Joe was being a little loud, as if to grab my attention. Well, maybe I shouldn't have, but I took the mic from Joe and took over his song, singing with the guy that was hitting on me.. He didn't say anything. But before the song was over, I tried to give the mic back to Joe, but he said, "No, this is your song." And he gently pushed the mic back to me, brushing his hand across mine. Then he went outside for quite some time. I only hoped I didn't hurt his feelings by taking over his song. ( I am a singer and for no good reason guess I thought I might impress him by singing it better.)

Eventually he came back inside and said he was going to sing more.
He got close to me and told me what he was going to sing. Then as he walked away, he put his hand on my thigh for a split second, just barely brushing as he went. ( remember he was tipsy.)
Another time that night he walked past me and brushed against my back side, as if there weren't enough room to get by, even though there was plenty. So he obviously kept finding reasons to touch me. I looked at me a lot, talked a little and just seemed all attracted again.

I have fairly decent bullshit detection, but he seems genuinely attracted to me every time we are together.

If that's the case, why did he disappear before? I am SO confused, and so attracted to him it's ridiculous. I just don't know what to do. I can't keep doing this.

Were going to be at the same party this Saturday, and I don't know how to handle myself around him. Is he playing with me? Is it real attraction? He seems like a down to earth genuine guy, and all his family talked good about him. His mother and I get along great, and we see each other sometimes when I go over to Mary's house, since Mary's dad and Joe's mom are siblings.

Anyway, advice would be Sooo much appreciated and I am all ears for an outside opinion! Thank you very much for taking the time to read through my little novel, and I can't wait to hear back.

Sincerely,

A very confused Sarah.

Answer
You certainly are one for details!  Haha!  But, in my experience, most women are.  I think it's both a curse and a blessing.  It's a blessing because it really is a razor-sharp sense of detection for what lies underneath the veneer - and I think we've all been fooled by appearances before - but it's a curse because sometimes it causes you to see things that aren't there, or that aren't that important.  I think this is at least partially a case of that.

Men are usually pretty simple.  Now, by this I don't mean to say that they are direct or straightforward necessarily, but generally your first impression is the correct one.

Let's look at what was involved here:
*Joe knew you were going to be at karaoke and showed up.
*Joe flirted with you at karaoke.
*Joe asked you out on a date.
*Joe didn't kiss you on the date.
*Joe texted you immediately and seemed excited about meeting you again.
*Joe asked Mary about you after the date.  This is around the time he stopped texting you.

Hmm... let's continue, though.

*Joe complimented you at the party and indicated that he wanted to see you again.
*You find out Joe was "casually dating" another girl.

Hmm...

*Joe took your quips and was kind to you.
*Joe flirted with you at karaoke.

Really, this is the meat of the information I got from your story.  There are only two possibilities in my mind:  Either your friend - Mary - said something to him or he was already involved with Nikki.  The first one seems pretty unlikely, but the second one seems very likely and, not to mention, highly common.

So to answer your questions: No, he is not playing with you.  Most men aren't.  At least, not intentionally.  Yes, the attraction is almost definitely real.  But bear in mind, most people do not intend to play with others, but at the same time most people have their own emotional needs FIRST in line.  What I mean by that is, while the most important thing to YOU is to figure out what this guy is about and whether or not he's worth it, the most important thing to HIM seems to be deciding between you and something - or someone - else.  Maybe he wants his freedom now.  Maybe he's not sure if he likes you or this Nikki girl better.  But if he was playing with you, he would have given up by now.  After all, he hasn't even kissed you in... how long?  If he wasn't attracted to you, he wouldn't have flirted.

I'm pretty sure what happened is that he was seeing this girl Nikki while seeing you, and he felt like he "should" be seeing one girl at a time OR he wasn't sure who he wanted to be with.

There's very little you can actively do, and even if you could, it may come across as you trying to "steal" him, which could cause problems down the line.  One of the best - and, consequently most attractive - things you can do is move on.  I don't mean cut him out COMPLETELY but rather, tell yourself that it's not working FOR NOW and continue leading your life.  If he realizes what he's missing, he'll come back.

Hope that helps!  Please send me a follow up if you have any further questions!

Mind Games

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


Brian

Expertise

Besides having an immensely powerful sense of intuition, I am also currently studying (and having been privately studying for years) psychology, and grew up with around psychology and psychologists. I've read considerably in regards to biology, evolutionary biology, genetics, behavior therapy, conditioning and personality. There is almost no human pattern that does not make sense to me (but I'll admit, the opposite sex is a tricky subject!). If someone's behavior makes absolutely no sense to you, I'll be able to help you figure it out, and even give you suggestions on how to deal with it.

Experience

As mentioned above, currently studying psychology, a psychology-influenced upbringing, plus countless hours of giving people advice on the behavior of others.

Education/Credentials
Currently studying Psychology at the California Coastal College.

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.