Even if he?s having sex with you
Photo by: Dean Drobot / Shutterstock
I fell for John before I really knew him.
He was taking part in a jam session in my friend?s basement. I was high on shrooms and I sat across the room, watching him play bass the entire night.
I just kept thinking, ?Man, I like him! He?s so cute!?
Getting to know John was hard. Figuring him out was even harder. He was very quiet and incredibly reserved. He almost never spoke, even when he was with his closest friends.
We did most of our talking online. He was a lot less shy on Messenger.
I couldn?t figure out how he felt about me, so I figured my best move was to tell him how I felt about him. In one of our long, late night conversations, I confessed having a crush on him.
He changed the subject almost immediately and he avoided talking about it from that point on.
I didn?t lose hope easily. I kept crushing on him and trying to put myself out as a prospect for him, while still knowing he probably wasn?t interested.
The first time I felt like I was getting through to him was at a party where he got a little too drunk. I took care of him instead of hanging out with the guy I was dating.
I held him while he drunk-walked with me. When the night starting winding down, I sat next to him on the ground while he waited for his ride.
He leaned into me. I felt a warm flush when he did, and it only got stronger when he started rubbing my thigh.
?Finally,? I thought, ?I got him to be interested in me!?
The next day, I dumped my boyfriend. Things were hot and passionate between us, but I couldn?t pass up the opportunity to pursue the guy I had been crushing on for the better part of a year.
The following weekend, another party, another night John got really drunk. This time, the alcohol didn?t make him dizzy and wobbly, it made him bolder.
He spent the evening flirting with me. When we all went to sit by a campfire, there wasn?t enough room for everyone, so he told me to sit on his lap.
I spent the whole night on him. He got touchy. He started rubbing my legs. He had already told me that he wasn?t really interested in me, but his hands seemed to be telling me a different story.
?Are you sure you?re not interested?? I asked him, ?Because you sure are touching me a lot.?
He said he didn?t know. And he?d say that again any time I mentioned it. He would blush and look at the ground. And if he was too shy to move things ahead, I was just drunk and uninhibited enough to do it myself.
?You?re sure you?re not interested in me?? I asked coyly.
?I don?t know,? he replied sheepishly.
I kissed his neck. ?How about now??
?I don?t know.?
I kissed him again. ?How about now??
?I don?t know.? He started touching me more.
I kept doing it until we were making out.
That seemed to make up his mind. He took me to his place and fucked me on the trampoline in his backyard.
I felt excited and at peace at the same time. After spending month after month pursuing this guy, I finally had him.
After fucking, we went to a friend?s house and fell asleep cuddling on the floor.
In the morning, everything felt different. He acted cold toward me. He was no longer affectionate. He actively avoided me and talking to me. Hours before, everything felt promising and exciting. Now, it just felt awkward.
I went to say goodbye to him before leaving, and he said ?I?m not ready for this.?
Those words tore my heart in half.
I felt used. I felt stupid. Mostly, I just felt hurt and disappointed. But I didn?t even have a chance to nurse my wounds before he started pursuing me again.
The next weekend, yet another party. I was still very upset about the way he treated me. I felt mad at him and I was just ready to move on with my life.
Then, he saw some guy hit on me, and that seemed to make him jealous enough to start flirting with me, too.
I felt confused. I reminded him that he said he didn?t want to be with me. ?I think I do,? he said, half-pleading. ?I changed my mind.?
I wasn?t sure I had changed mine, though. What he did to me still stung. I wasn?t ready to just fall all over him again.
But he didn?t let up. We sat together on the grass and he spent what felt like hours trying to convince me that his feelings for me were genuine, that he didn?t know what had gotten into him, and that he had really fucked up the last time.
After a while, I started to believe him. He seemed so sincere.
I got excited for him again, for us ? that there could be an us. We had sex in a tent and fell asleep together.
In the morning, he was cold again. He apologized and said this whole thing was a mistake.
This is the part of the story where I really wish I could say that I ended it. I wish I could say that I knew I was worth more than this and that I stopped putting up with his bullshit.
But I didn?t. I couldn?t quit him that easily. He had a way of drawing me back in.
We kept repeating the same pattern. I?d pull back from him, trying to keep a distance that was healthy for me. He?d insist he was all in, that he finally realized that he wanted to be with me. I?d sleep with him and the next morning he?d go cold on me.
I?ve always been too slow to learn a lesson. But I do clue in eventually. There?s only so much I can put up with before it just hurts too much to keep going.
When I saw him again, I didn?t let him flirt with me. I didn?t open myself up to him. I was livid. I yelled at him. I told him he was hurting me and that I won?t put up with him treating me that way.
Eventually, I shouted something at him that seemed to be what he really wanted to hear, whether he knew it or not.
?If all you want is casual sex, you need to tell me that. You can?t just tell me you want to date me just so you can fuck me.?
I told him he needed to tell me what he wanted and tell me clearly so that I could decide if I wanted it.
He told me that?s what he really wanted. Just casual sex.
And I guess I wanted it, too, because we became fuck friends.
He stopped lying to me. We fucked occasionally. It was nice, but a little part of me wanted it to turn into something more. Another part of me was just satisfied having sex with someone I liked.
We kept it up until I got in a serious relationship. I met my future husband and stopped wishing things with John go somewhere. I was getting everything I needed without him, and I was getting it without any bullshit mind games.
But I think back to those months with John and I wish I could go back in time, grab teenage Emma by the shoulders, and shake some sense into her. I want to show her all the signs that she?s missing. I want to make her see that no matter what he says or does, John?s just not that into her.
But I can?t. All I can do is look out for present Emma by making sure I know the signs so I can fall for it less often.
Watch Out for Love Bombing
There are a lot of ways guys make you feel that they?re really into you when they?re not. Love bombing is probably the worst.
It?s the worst because it feels fucking great. It happens when he lavishes you with tons of love, attention, and constant reassurance that he?s really, really into you.
Those are good things, but love bombing happens way too early and it?s usually over the top. It sets a baseline of intimacy and affection that the love bomber doesn?t intend to actually uphold. It?s just meant to reel you in and keep you hooked.
And unfortunately, that shit works. It?s a tactic used by narcissists, abusers, pickup artists, and just about anyone who on some level knows that you?ll only put up with them and their bullshit if you feel addicted to them.
The worst part about love bombing is that you usually don?t realize you?ve been love bombed until the bombing comes to a stop. While you?re being love bombed, everything feels perfect ? and probably a little too good to be true. You?ve found someone who treats you like a soul mate, like they fell for you at first sight, like you?re the person who will finally complete them.
And then it ends and you feel miserable. But just as you start doubting him and wondering why you haven?t moved on yet, you?ll usually get love bombed again. It can suck you right back in and then you start the whole cycle of wondering why you put up with him all over again.
He Goes in Too Hard, Too Fast
Did he say he loved you on the first night? Even if he kind of felt it, watch out.
Or did he say things like ?You?re totally different than anyone else I?ve ever been with? or ?You?re not like any of the other girls I?ve met? or ?I?ve never felt like this for anyone before?? If he?s had multiple relationships but you somehow topped every one of those women in the first 45 minutes you met, it?s probably not an honest sentiment.
Going in too hard too fast is basically a form of exaggeration. It?s insincere. But it?s also sometimes a tactic. It?s meant to make you fall for them because you feel special (and you feel special because he says you?re special, not because you two actually have something special).
If someone was genuinely into you, there would be a more natural progression. They?d be interested and would want to get to know you, not just jump to pretending they?ve already found The One.
And yeah, I get it, sometimes you can feel like you?ve fallen in love on your first date (I?ve been there). But it?s probably lust. Or maybe you?re feeling excited by the promise of what this could turn into. But you?re not there yet, so even if it feels like love, the sane thing to do is keep it to yourself.
He?s Hot and Cold
Being hot and cold is the dark side of love bombing. After all that love is showered on you, it feels like it?s all been yanked away. That?s how it felt with John every morning. It was like I woke up next to a completely different person than the one I fucked the night before.
It?s normal for things to fizzle out. It?s normal for people to be busy. But hot and cold is different because it?s so abrupt and the contrast is so sharp.
You were going hot and heavy and all of a sudden the flirting stops.
You had this long, deep conversation until four in the morning, but when you text him the next day he seems distant or uninterested in you.
But the cold isn?t permanent. He?ll get hot again. He?ll show some interest out of the blue. Then, he acts like nothing happened. He?ll go deep and heavy as if he hadn?t just spent three days giving you the cold shoulder.
And just when you?re convinced that everything was fine, that you were just being crazy, and that he really does like you, he starts icing you out again.
That kind of treatment creates an addictive pattern. When it?s only good some of the time, you obsess over those times and how you can get back to them. That?s an unhealthy mindset and it won?t do you any good, but it?s actually worse than that because it fucks with your self-esteem.
It messes with your self-esteem because when they go cold, chances are you?re not going to seethe in anger at his bullshit. Chances are you?re going to start questioning what you did wrong. You?ll replay your last conversation and try to figure out where you fucked up. You?ll think back to the last time you had sex and wonder if you were not exciting or freaky enough.
And you?ll feel desperate to get things back to where they were. You want him to come back and be warm again so you can feel like you didn?t do anything wrong.
And when he does come back and acts all lovey dovey and horny for you, instead of being mad and telling him you need to have a serious fucking talk, you might just feel grateful and excited that things are back where you wanted them to be and that he?s interested in you again.
When he?s cold, you?ll probably start coming up with excuses for his behavior. Maybe he?s busy. Maybe he needs a little break after going so hard. Maybe he?s distracted with problems at work.
But it?s important to realize that when someone is actually in, they?re in. Being into you is not a part-time thing ? if he?s interested, he should at least show a little interest constantly and consistently. He might be busy, he might have a life, but he won?t go cold on you.
He Never Compliments You
Love bombing involves giving you too many compliments. But not getting enough compliments is a bad sign, too.
It might show that he?s not all that attentive to you, that he just doesn?t notice things about you.
It might also mean that he?s not interested in putting himself out there to make you feel good, which is not a great sign.
It?s especially harsh when you compliment him and he doesn?t find an opportunity to do it back to you.
And watch out for generic compliments, too. They sound sweet, but they?re more likely to be moves that he uses on any woman he?s trying to sweet talk instead of things he finds genuinely great about you.
When he tells you that you have deep, soulful eyes, he?s probably saying that to every other girl he?s interested in.
He Negs You
Negging is a standard pickup artist tactic. The point is to make you question your value so that you?re more likely to go home with the guy who is putting you down.
But even guys who aren?t actively using the tactic can end up negging you just because they?re interested in fucking you, but they don?t actually respect you all that much.
You?ll know you?re being negged when you feel like you?re getting a lot of backhanded compliments. Or getting small little insults sandwiched in between nice comments.
It?s usually pretty subtle. Like, ?Wow, you?re really smart! I?m surprised you?re so smart. Pretty girls like you usually aren?t.? On the surface, that?s all compliments, but hearing that would probably make you feel a little shitty. And if someone really likes you, talking to them won?t make you feel shitty.
He?s Not Interested in Getting to Know You
Have you ever been with a guy you like and hours into a conversation you realize that he hasn?t talked about anything but himself?
If you already like him, you might not have noticed right away. You?re crushing on him, so you love nothing more than to listen to him and to learn more about him.
But after a while, you have to start wondering if he really likes you as much as he says he does if he can?t be bothered to ask you about yourself.
He probably knows some things about you. But does he know them because he asked, or does he only know because you went out of your way to tell him?
Do you feel like you?re always the one carrying the entire conversation? Is he prone to just babble on about himself unless you interject?
If so, he probably doesn?t like you the way you want him to like you. When you like someone, you?re curious about them, you?re attentive to them, you want to get to know who they are. You can trust your gut on this one ? if you feel like he?s looking past you, you?re probably right.
You Never See the Real Him
Even if he talks about himself all the time, you might still feel like you?re not getting to know him. He?ll brag. You?ll learn about his favorite bands and the shows he binges. But you won?t feel like you can see past the surface.
Talking for hours on end should built some emotional intimacy between you two. But if he?s too guarded to show you who he is deep down, it?s a sign that he?s deliberately keeping things at the shallow level.
Shallow?s fine, as long as that?s what you?re looking to get out of it. If you open up to him but he stays closed off, it means he?s not offering the kind of connection you want from him.
You Have to Initiate Every Conversation
Conversations with him are good. He seems so engaged. He seems like all he wants to do is talk to you (even if he?s really talking at you).
But if you don?t reach out to him, he doesn?t bother reaching out to you.
If you?re initiating every text or phone call, you might not realize it at first. You?re just excited to talk to him, so you reach out. But after a while you start the pattern and wonder, ?Well, isn?t he excited to talk to me, too??
Maybe you even test him. You decide you won?t reach out. You?ll let him make the next move. If you can stay strong long enough, days might go by without him checking in with you.
This can make you feel desperate. You start wondering why you?re texting him again when he only shows interest in you when you?re kicking things off.
If you have to initiate everything, it means you?re not on his mind. When you (or your texts) are not directly in front of him, he just doesn?t think that much about you.
That means he?s not really into you. Or it means you?re only on his mind when he?s feeling horny or needy. Which means he?s not really into you ? he?s only into what he can get from you.
He Closes the Lines of Communication
I hate receiving a text and not knowing what to do with it. I?ll stare at my phone and think, ?What the hell am I supposed to respond to this??
Good conversation means leaving the lines of communication open. It involves giving someone something to respond to, something to work with, something to springboard from.
The easiest way to open up communication is to ask questions. If he tells you about his day but doesn?t ask about yours, that shuts things down. But even without questions, there are ways to communicate that signal you?re giving the person you?re talking to an opening to respond.
If he?s not giving you that, it might feel like he?s looking for an opportunity to end the back and forth. His texts are vague and don?t really give you a clear sense of what he?s thinking or how he?s feeling. If you keep it going, you?ll feel like you?re the only one really participating in the conversation.
Sometimes, he won?t even let you get your first words in. He?ll act weird when you text him something very ordinary. He?ll respond in a way that makes it seem like he?s bothered by you reaching out to him.
When he gives you a lot of closed comments, chances are he?s simmering you. He doesn?t want to nurture your connection unless he wants something (let?s face it, it?s probably sex), but he also doesn?t want to push you away completely so you?ll be ready when he comes for it.
He Showcases His Love Life
Does he constantly talk about other women to you? Worse, does he constantly talk about one particular woman to you?
Sometimes, it?s other women he sees as prospects. Maybe it?s a side piece or two. But usually, it?s an ex that he just can?t shut up about. He?ll talk about her often, like an unusual amount, and he won?t give any indication that he realizes how that might be weird for you.
Take it as a sign. If he?s talking to you or spending time with you but it?s other women that are on his mind, he?s not serious about you at all.
It can also be a tactic. Talking about the other women in his life is like using them for social proof. It makes him look like a hot commodity. He might be hoping you jump on him quick before you miss your chance.
Sadly, that works sometimes (yeah, on me, too), but it?s never a sign that he?s legitimately into you. He?s not trying to build a relationship with you ? he?s trying to make you panic so you make a split-second decision to pursue or fuck him. And that?s not the behavior of a guy who is in it for the long haul (or even the medium haul).
He?s Always Busy? Even When You Know He?s Not
If he leaves you on read in the morning and then spends hours responding to people?s Facebook posts, you?re a low priority to him.
And if he?s serious about you, he?ll make you a priority. And not just when he?s horny and lonely at 2am.
He Bails When You Have Problems
If he doesn?t show any empathy or sympathy for you when you?re going through something, then he doesn?t really give a fuck about you.
If he doesn?t at least try to be there for you, that means he wants you for something but it?s not something serious.
You would be there for a friend going through something difficult. You?d probably even be there for a familiar acquaintance. So, what does it say when he bails on you when you?re in the same situation?
Don?t Get Sucked In
I write articles like these because I want to help people. But I also write them as reminders to myself. I?ve got some daddy issues, so I?m really prone to falling for some of this bullshit. When a guy I really like goes hot and cold on me, I start to feel really shitty about myself. And when I get love bombed by someone I crush hard on, it makes me act in ways that I?m not super proud of.
So it?s a really good thing I?m a semi-demisexual and don?t often get crushes.
But just because I have a hard time following my own advice doesn?t mean it?s not worth listening to. I always end up coming to my senses ? too late, usually, but I get there eventually.
So, I?m reminding myself how to spot the red flags, and not to charge at them like a desperate bull when I see them waving.
I?m reminding myself that men often have a way of playing it like they are more serious about you than they are. John pretended he wanted to be my boyfriend every time he wanted to fuck. It was dishonest and underhanded, but I can?t say it was rare. I?ve seen that behavior over and over in my brief 32 years of life.
So, learn these tactics, because even when guys only want you for sex (or validation, or distraction), they?ll often act like they?re in love until they get what they want.
And at the end of the day, if you?re wondering whether he really likes you but you can?t tell if he does, he probably doesn?t. It sucks. It?s sometimes the last thing you want to admit to yourself, but you can save a lot of heartache if you just accept it. I?ve never found myself spending hours dissecting and analyzing a guy?s behavior with my friends and it ends up in my favor.
If you feel uneasy about a guy?s behavior, take that feeling seriously. You might not be able to trust him, but you can trust your gut. Move on and find something (and someone) worth your time.
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