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Mind Games/I dont know what he wants..!


There's this guy I've been talking to and hanging out with for the past few weeks, although I've known him for a few years. We've recently gotten physical, as in holding hands, cuddling, and making out. We hold hands wherever we go and aren't afraid to show some PDA lol. So we're kind of like boyfriend and girlfriend. Well when we first started hanging out romantically a few weeks ago, he was on a "break" with his girlfriend of 10 months. A couple weeks later, his girlfriend officially broke up with him for good.
Ever since he's started hanging out with me, his ex has been crazy and super jealous. She's texting him angry messages all the time trying to control what he does, telling him not to be with me, that he's an asshole and that he's just trying to make her jealous, etc. Yesterday me and him went to a high school football game, and his ex was there. She started cussing us both out in front of me and whenever we'd run into one of her friends, they would cuss us out too and start screaming at him for hurting his ex. It was such a mess, and I kept being dragged into it because I was the "new girl." I hate drama, so I was really frustrated with all of it and I told him that and he felt really bad.
Later that night I pulled him aside and I was just like "So are we together?" And he's like "Well, not yet we're not." And I was like "Why not yet?" And just to kinda paraphrase what he said, he's like "I have all this drama to deal with with my ex and it's such a mess right now, if we become too official it's just gonna make this situation even messier. I love spending time with you and I like you a lot, but as far as becoming official, I just want to wait to do that until after all this is resolved. It's not fair to you that all this is happening and you're in the middle of it. I just need time to think about all that's going on before jumping into a relationship. But until then I really do want to keep seeing you." And then he's like "I really don't want to break your heart, so I'm gonna try my best not to do that. There's no reason that I would want to stop hanging out with you." He even told me he'd be jealous if I was hanging out with other guys.
So I'm just confused on the whole situation. Is his excuse for not wanting a relationship right away amidst all this drama with his ex a valid excuse? Or do you think he's just making up a stupid excuse because he just doesn't like me enough to be official with me? I just feel like he's playing mind games with me, I'm so confused, please help! Thank you for your time!

Hey Gabby!

Drama!  Yup, not fun.  I totally understand that.  As much as it can be difficult being an adult, that's one thing I definitely don't miss about school: all the drama you are more or less forced to deal with.

In any case, you asked a pretty tough question: Is his request valid?  This is a situation where no one has done anything blatantly bad, so it's not easy to say.

I'll get to that question, but before I do I want to first establish that I highly doubt he's playing any mind games with you and I think you can rest assured he likes you.  He seems to have little reason to play with you or to lie to you about how he feels.

So with that aside, let's get to the more complex issue: the two of you want two different things.  I think it's safe for me to assume that you want a relationship with you, and his request is to put that to the side for now.  The key point in situations like this is to not look at it in terms of who is "right" and who is "wrong", but rather in terms of - as you put it - whether or not each person's request is valid and then whether or not and then an honest assessment of how much and what you are willing to tolerate.

While I realize that relationships are highly emotional and rightly so, it is times like these that using your head can be to your long term benefit.  Most of the time, especially when it comes to simple decisions, how something feels to you is sufficient for knowing what to do.  But some decisions aren't so clear.  In these cases, it's worth it to think long and hard and really consider what the consequences of each decision are and how you would really feel, long-term.  Each decision has a potential risk: If you decide to end things with him, you may lose that opportunity, you may lose him.  If you decide to put the relationship on hold, it may not work out after all and it may add extra stress to your life.  On the other hand, if you end things with him, you wouldn't have to deal with the worry and you may make yourself available for someone else.  If you take the risk, things may turn out alright in the end and then you can feel more secure in knowing how he feels about you.  The question that you have to answer is which risk are you willing to tolerate, and which reward is more worthwhile?

Yes, he is acting in his own interest.  But we all do: your confusion as to what to do is confusion about what is best for YOU, and that's ok.  We should be acting in our self-interest, as long as it doesn't harm others.  I would say that if he liked you more, he may have been willing to tolerate difficulty.  But then again, if he liked you less, he may have ditched you altogether.  It's less a matter of how much he likes you than it is a matter of his priorities at this point.

I also want to note that you don't necessarily have to make a final decision right now.  You could keep all this in mind while taking it one day at a time.  Decisions like this often take time, and eventually something may happen that helps you make your decision or your emotions may sort themselves out and the answer will come to you more naturally.

Either way, I hope things work out in the end!  Take care!

Mind Games

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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.


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

Currently studying Psychology at the California Coastal College.

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