General Question

afm0ose07's avatar

Would a man really push down his emotions?

Asked by afm0ose07 (78 points ) April 15th, 2011

—- This is long, like a mini-novel, but really I am in need of some good non-biased advice. It’s thought out and chronologically organized though.

I like this guy friend of mine. I am a 21, a junior in college. He’s 23 years old, never been in a relationship and I am his first and only friend that’s a girl. Don’t go judge him based on these facts, please. He very focused on school and will be applying to medical school here in some months, also has 2 jobs. On to my quandary..

I met him last summer and we were just lab partners. We began by just hanging out during class, and then didn’t see each other the few weeks between quarters. He was kind, would get my lab materials for me, offered to do my part of the project when my computer broke, and we would chat on the way to our cars after class every day. I ran into him about 6 weeks after summer quarter ended and we began hanging out at school occasionally and maybe once every 3 weeks hang out elsewhere. We didn’t talk too much outside of school. We went out to a show and he briefly hand my hand afterwards then said “oh sorry”, paid for dinner that night, too. Winter break came around and I had some health issues, he became really concerned called worried 3x in a day and offered to go to my professors and speak to them since it was exam week. After I was on the mend, we hung out before classes were to start back up. On NYE I called him to wish him happy New Year, and I didn’t get a reply of any sort. He called me the next day saying “I think you’re really into me, but I am not looking for a relationship. I want to be able to call you my good friend” He kept asking if I was okay during the conversation. I didn’t really like him like that, so I wasn’t crushed.

When Winter Quarter started we started sitting together on our breaks, just us two, twice a week and hung out every other week after class outside school. It was a mutual initiation and we both would switch off driving. I had some more health issues and he said “I’m not good with emotions.. I never want anything to happen to you ever” and was very emotional. During the same conversation, he told me some personal things about him and his family and how he’s told me things that he hasn’t told his guy friends.

Then comes Mid-February and it seems as if he wants to hang out at least once a week after class and he is the one suggesting it. He always says, “whatever you want to do is fine with me.” He started to put off hanging with his guy friends and put off studying to hang out with me when I told him to go ahead and do those things. He always made sure I was feeling okay and if I wasn’t, did I need anything?

Since then we’ve definitely become closer, emotionally and physically. The hugs, longer and talks are more personal. He has been initiating about 80% of the time. He always let me pick what we do, but has recently stepped up with ideas, like the aquarium because he remembered I like the aquarium. He invited me to his house to watch movies when his mom goes out of town, and we’ve been to the Zoo – even though he said he didn’t like it before.

We went to the Zoo not even a week ago he was very excited. He reached his hand out to hold mine twice, but I was nervous. He constantly kept bumping into me, grabbing my arm, standing very close and grabbed my hand twice because he didn’t want the squirrel to attack me (ok?). We went to the park afterwards and suggested we go there at night. While there, we sat on the park bench, talked and he had his arm around me the whole time sometimes stroking my shoulder and I laid on his. He was going to drop me at my car, because we met in the middle, and he very shyly said, “I really like spending time with you and I want to hang out more, well we do and.. mumble mumble.” Then put his hands over his mouth and giggled like he was five years old.

The next day I get a message saying: “We’ve spending a lot of time together and I’ve been having a great time. It’s just that I feel like as we’re becoming closer, we’re moving away from our friendship and towards something more of a friendship. I really care for you and what we have right now. It’s not something I want to lose by making things weird between us. So let’s continue to hang out and do stuff, but just as friends. I hope you’re alright with this.” I didn’t reply and he said “everything alright?”

We ended up having 2 conversations, Tuesday and Thursday in person. Tuesday went well I thought, he said he didn’t want a relationship, me neither. But I said I had feelings for him, and if I had the choice to not get to know anyone on the level I am with him – he agreed. He was holding my hand during all this. Then he was contradicting himself saying we were very comfortable with e/o and should we give it a shot? No… we just said that- we both lead busy lives right now. He said at one point he wanted to move forward, but didn’t want to – but the feelings are still there. Confusing again.
-I got no closure really, so Thursday we talked and basically said “I don’t like like you. We could try it, but it would not be genuine. I like you, like I enjoy spending time with you, doing things and I don’t want anything bad to happen to you.” I asked him if he had feelings for me because I was his only friend that was a girl he replied with “I’m just being a nice guy” BULL. Guy friends just don’t hold their friend’s hands, want to go the park at night, cuddle on the bench, want to watch movies alone at their house, constantly going to the theater, text me and ask me how my first day of classes went, remember details about me, freak out when I don’t talk to him, spend free time together. He’s fidgety around me, at the movies, when he’s literally arm and arm with me sitting next to me. BULL again. Then he goes “I’m sorry if I sent you the wrong signals.” I cried, I couldn’t help but feel like it was all a lie, but hope he was just pushing his emotions down because maybe he doesn’t know how to let someone like him or how to tell me how he feels. He changed his story in 2 days? Then he said, “We can hang out, just not as much maybe, you’ll get over it with time.” I was at a loss for words and said “I don’t know if I can do this.” He pushed my hair back from my face and told me not to cry. We left, no hug and he was trying to crack a joke.. not funny. He sent me a message last night, about 5 hours later saying – “Look we’re still going to hang out ok?” Another one this afternoon – “Hey text me back, I want to know we’re alright.” He’s got to be kidding me.

I don’t get why he made a point of saying he really liked spending time with me, if he didn’t want to progress further. It sounded like him confessing he liked me. To me, what we have been doing is DATING. I like him in the sense that I want to hold hands and cuddle, get to know him better, but not kiss him.. not yet at least. He’s not ready for that. Possibly a relationship, I just don’t know. I think he didn’t expect to like me, and he began to and wanted to hang out more, I reciprocated and he got scared. Now he’s totally in denial. Is that even possible for someone to do that? I feel like everything has been a dream and I’ve imagined it. This guy is the nicest guy I’ve met – he always makes sure I’m okay and said he “values and cares for me a lot”. He said when we’ve been in an disagreement before “Let me fix this.” Sounds like something a boyfriend would say to his girl. I feel like he’s using this nice guy persona as a cover-up for how he really feels. I’ve told family and friends and they’ve agreed that he’s into me. I just want him to be honest with how he feels, he’s showed it through his actions, so I don’t understand why he’s denying it now?

Thank you for reading this extremely long mini-novel, hopefully you can decode and give me some advice.

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32 Answers

bobbinhood's avatar

It certainly sounds like he likes you. The only things I can think are that he’s convincing himself a relationship would be a bad idea, or he’s afraid. Perhaps you could ask him why he just wants to be friends when he’s acting like it’s more? You can’t very well clear things up if you’re guessing what he’s thinking and feeling.

I would suggest responding to his texts. You don’t have to tell him you’re ok when you’re not, but leaving him hanging isn’t helping if you ultimately want to work something out. You could tell him you’re hurt and confused and need time to think. That would be honest and give you the space you need without freaking him out.

afm0ose07's avatar

@bobbinhood – He mentioned when “acting like it’s more”, well I can’t hold hands with my guy friends. I guess I got really comfortable with you.

Sunny2's avatar

I dated a pre-med student during college. What he did socially depended on his studies. They were most important. We cared for each other very much, but he had a life plan and that came first. (He didn’t voice this, but it was obvious to me.) Pre-med determines if you get into med school. It’s a competition determined by grades, application and attitude. Med school is even worse. There is so much to learn and only so much time to learn it.
Your friend cares for you; you know that. If you want to wait for him to get through school, do it, but don’t tell him. Get yourself trained in something that will support you and him while he goes through internship and residency. Stay friends, but don’t ask for more than he can give right now. In the end, whether you end up together permanently or not, you will have good training to support yourself anytime you need it. You’ll both have life experiences as you become mature adults. But don’t think you can do anything about his concentration on his studies. That’s what med students are like for the most parts. (There are exceptions, but I wouldn’t want one for MY doctor.)

wundayatta's avatar

Just like a woman. Always needing words to explain something that is perfectly obvious. Oh well. That’s what we have to do if we like a woman. Even though it seems like a waste of breath. If you can’t see I love you than what the fuck am I doing here?

Yeah. That’s the typical male-female interaction is this kind of situation. And from a man’s point of view, it looks like you’re making him to all the work. Why won’t you express your feelings for him instead of always insisting that you are just friends? Why does he make all the moves and you don’t really reciprocate.

He’s taken a lot of risks here, and as far as I can tell, based on your story, you haven’t taken any. So he assumes that since you never say anything, that must mean that what he’s feeling is wrong. You don’t want to go there. So he backs off. He’s trying to pull back because he’s got all this invested in you and you won’t say anything.

Of course, men do need to be told things because we can’t interpret what you’re doing. It doesn’t make sense a lot of the time. So if you say what you want, that makes things clearer.

You know exactly what he means, and yet you won’t believe it unless he says it.

So, no wonder you guys have crossed signals. You barely even speak the same language.

You can’t expect him to do your work for you, at least not emotionally speaking. He is pushing down his emotions to protect himself because you don’t seem to be giving him any clear signals, except that you want to be friends. He is very inexperienced so he probably has no clue what is going on inside you. It sounds like he wants to be open, but you keep on pushing him away. Despite that, he hangs around, because maybe you really do like him. Do you? Do you want a romantic relationship here?

This reminds me of one of those kids dare games. “You go first.” “No, you go first.” “No, you go first.” As far as I can tell, he’s already gone first. It’s your turn to take a risk.

afm0ose07's avatar

@Sunny2 I am also applying to medical schools (Dec ‘12) so I understand what he’s going through. I also know couples who are both pre-meds, but they’ve been together for some years, so I suppose it’s different for them. I do want to be friends with him and continue whatever it was with him, holding hands if it’s that, but I just need him to be honest with me. I can’t be friends with someone knowing they can’t be honest with me. I want to be there for him when he needs me, whenever he needs me. When I received those two totally different stories, it threw me for a loop. You can have feelings, and we can be friends who like each other. He has to be scared of commitment, and of course school’s baring on his shoulders like it is mine. He needs to be more clear with me.

bobbinhood's avatar

@afm0ose07 Have you communicated your need for him just to be honest? Perhaps it would help if he knew that you were ok with whatever as long as he was up front with you about it.

Also, have you been completely honest with him? It’s not very fair to expect him to be open if you are not.

CaptainHarley's avatar

He’s just young and very inexperienced. Give him some time, and forgive his ineptness.

afm0ose07's avatar

@wundayatta I DO LIKE HIM. I told him I liked him more than friends, but wasn’t ready for a relationship as well. We are both trying to get into medical school. That’s when he told me he didn’t “like like me” and all that misleading nonsense. That was Thursday. Tuesday he said he’d thought about going to the next level, but didn’t want to a little while back, the feelings were still there though. I ask him why and he said “I just didn’t want to.” I do let him know that I like him.. I ask him to do things, text him, but I’m not trying to be clingy. When he had just told me in January he didn’t want a relationship, it’s confusing to think he likes me all of a sudden, then WHAM.. a flood of wanting to hang out and etc.

I am always the one who has to help him express what he’s feeling. He tells me he wants to, but doesn’t know how to say it sometimes. I am constantly telling him how he makes me happy and not to change. Also that I enjoy spending time with him as well.

afm0ose07's avatar

@bobbinhood I told him that he can always tell me whatever he needs to and not be afraid to express his emotions or feelings. He’s cried in front of me once, so that’s something. I have always been honest with him about I feel. Always. I can’t hold back how I feel, and he knows that.

Afos22's avatar

He’s probably gay. Or he’s not attracted to you. Perhaps both?

afm0ose07's avatar

@Afos22 He’s not gay. The attraction thing, I’m not sure.. I’ve seen him checking me out and he seems to find reasons to “accidentally” touch my chest or back side.

Aster's avatar

I dated a pre-med student and it was so obvious he was not interested in even a hint of a relationship.
I think the guy loves you for a friend. Do you understand? He reminds me of men who date then live with a woman for years on end then at some point they suddenly marry someone else. Clint Eastwood did this. It’s like the chemistry isn’t right. He loves you IMO, yes; but either he’s gay or he’s into his career right now. If it were me, since I’m evil, I’d make him jealous. I’d say, in effect, “oh, I’d love to do that but I’m busy; how about next week?” Then if you are forced into telling him you have a date with someone else you should say, “I don’t like him, really; I just want to go to the _____ with the guy. No biggie.” and see how he reacts.
It really , really sounds to me that his subconscious is not connecting with your subconscious.

Kardamom's avatar

There’s a few things that might be going on.

1. He might be gay or bi-sexual (or unsure of his sexuality at this time, he’s still young)

2. He may be overly shy, although not outwardly with just talking and being friends. You said he’s never had a relationship before, so he may be scared out of his wits to hold your hand (that’s why he apologized, as if he was afraid he did it wrong or you didn’t like it) and he’s probably deathly afraid of kissing you, even though he might want to desperately. If he’s 23 and has never kissed a girl, he may be scared and embarrassed to tell you.

3. He’s been on his career track for as long as he can remember and he never expected to get side-tracked by a relationship. But he has maybe fallen in like/love with you, but doesn’t know how to react, because in his mind (and probably his parents minds) he is on a one track road to his career and that doesn’t/shouldn’t involve getting together with girls. He may feel tremendous guilt that he has feelings for you, even though he’s supposed to be only concentrating on his school and his future career.

4. He may be desperately in love with you, but it may be the first time he’s ever felt this way about anybody and he simply can’t figure out what to do, because he’s scared and anxious. He may be so scared that if you start dating, or even kiss, he may repel you and then he’d lose you as a friend too. He may think it’s not worth the risk.

5. He may have really warm feelings toward you and he may actually want to get physical wth somebody, but he just doesn’t feel “in love” with you or have the right amount of chemistry, even though being a young man, he may feel horny most of the time and you just happen to be the person he’s around the most. So his feelings are conflicted.

6. He may love the idea of kissing and cuddling and holding hands and even having sex (even if he’s never don any of those things) but he was truthful when he said he did not want a relationship with you or anybody else. Men are more easily able to separate the physical goodies from the love and relationship stuff. Women usually need/want a relationship to be able to enjoy the physical stuff (most women, not all).

7. He may have some sort of impotence problem or pre-mature ejaculation problem that he is too horrified to tell you about.

8. He may be interested in or involved with someone else (people are often very good at hiding other relationships from people that they don’t want to hurt or lose, just read some of the heart-wrenching relationship threads on Fluther and you will see that you can easily be deceived or have no idea of what the other person is really doing when they’re not with you)

From what you’ve said, #2 sounds the most likely, but don’t discount any of the other situations. I’ve been in the middle of every one of them except #7. You will just have to ask him directly if he wants to date you and if he says no, be very calm and supportive and ask him Why not? Because it seemed like he was moving in that direction. You could even propose some of the items on this list, just in case he can’t manage to get out an answer on his own. But don’t scold him or cry (if you can help it) and believe him.

If he keeps up with the on again off again stuff. Tell him to poop or get off the pot. So sorry this is happening to you.

bobbinhood's avatar

That’s an amazing answer, @Kardamom.

afm0ose07's avatar

I agree with @bobbinhood, @Kardamom.. great answer! I feel like it’s #2 as well, along with a definitely #3.. he told me he doesn’t go looking for girls. I guess we just happened to start talking, became friends, and it went from there. I haven’t had a relationship since high school because when I entered college, I knew where my schooling was headed- focused on med school too. I KNOW my feelings though.

Kardamom's avatar

Not to be voyeuristic, but I would love to be a fly on the wall, when this guy finally explains to you what is going on with him. Don’t push him too hard though, if you decide to ask him the direct question. Especially if you think he’s the super shy/nervous type. He may not be able to push out the words himself. Sometimes you have to offer suggestions and let him pick one. But whatever he picks, try to keep it together by not crying (at least not in front of him. Some guys are so worried that a girl will cry and they have no idea how to fix it and it makes some of them go ballistic) If he tells you that the answer is one of the more icky ones on the list, then you have to decide whether it is worth it to you to remain only friends or if this will even be possible for you. It never was for me.

Pandora's avatar

I agree with @CaptainHarley. He sounds inexperience. I’ve know book worm guys who have great people skills with the opposite sex and others that do not. If he is really into his school work he may be afraid that emotions will interfere with his academic life. Or he may also just be afraid to go the next step because he’s embarrassed about his lack of intimate skills. Some people skip the teen years because they bury themselves in school work and later on they find they are grown and feel foolish for having the same clumsiness of a teen. He may be worried that you will judge him and find him foolish and clumsy when trying to kiss you or if you ever move on to sex. Also sounds like he will admit to liking you more than a friend but you chicken out. You are his first girl experience and no doubt he doesn’t know how to commit and not end up feeling like a fool. He may also be afraid of losing you all together by pushing a relationship he feels your not ready for, so he is saying he would rather have some of you than none of you.
If you really are not interested but want to remain friends only than make it clear and put him out of his misery. Maybe hook him up with some blind dates. If you want a relationship than ask him what is the real reason he is holding back.
It is possible he has some intimatcy issues from childhood. Maybe sex just doesn’t appeal to him and that is what he is trying to avoid. He may just want a loving close relationship without the sex.

afm0ose07's avatar

@Aster, @Kardamom. @Pandora – He’s texted me two messages since Thursday. One Thursday evening and one yesterday afternoon. They said- “Look we’re still going to hang out, ok./Text me back, I want to know we’re alright” I’ve not responded.

I was thinking about giving it a week. Right now, I am too confused and aggravated with this situation. I would normally see him this Tuesday/Thursday during our school breaks, but didn’t plan on that either. Basically, letting myself cool off for a week and hoping he comes around and says he wants to talk. What do you all think, what would you do if you were me?

Pandora's avatar

I’ve never been one to sit back and wait for anything. I would go and find him and not leave till we were absolutely clear about what we expect out of the relationship. If he is really shy, than a phone call may work better. Some people have a problem with a face to face. But if you want this relationship to take a more personal turn than be clear with him on that. If he says he doesn’t than ask him for a honest response and not to spare your feelings. If he simply has no physical attraction to you than he needs to make that clear. We are still basically animals. His hormones are going to dictate how he feels about you physically. I knew a lot of attractive guys growing up that did nothing for me and some ok guys that made my senses reel. You might be everything he wants in a relationship but he can’t get past the lack of physical desire.
Either way I would want to know if I’m just beating a dead horse or do I have a live one.

Kardamom's avatar

@afm0ose07 If he’s already texted you twice, he’s very likely to text you again. He probably is very concerned that he’s hurt you so badly that you’ve stopped talking to him altogether.

Normally, I would suggest that you do wait, before talking to him. But in this case, if he texts you again (like today or tomorrow) don’t ignore him completely. Send him a brief text saying that you would like to take some time to yourself and then say, “Why don’t we get together on such and such a date to talk.” Then leave it at that. That way, you still get to take your time to cool off, but you don’t leave him wondering whether your sitting home crying or have ran off with some other guy (nervous people tend to jump to lots of conclusions).

Then, when you do meet, and you are a little calmer you can ask him the direct questions (and offer up the possibilities if he can’t manage to spit out an answer). Now go eat some ice cream : )

Neizvestnaya's avatar

It sounds like he’s very comfortable with you and you’re available for him to do things he’d probably be doing with his girlfriend instead. Does she live far away from him? I’d stop looking for deeper meanings in him and find yourself an available guy to do all these hanging out things with that doesn’t already have a gf.

afm0ose07's avatar

@Neizvestnaya he doesn’t have a girlfriend? I never said that, and it states as so in the first few sentences. I am his only friend that’s a girl and he’s never a girlfriend. Please read the whole question before you answer so you have correct information.

Kardamom's avatar

@afm0ose07 Don’t be so hard on @Neizvestnaya The original questions’s details are very long. I don’t mind reading that much info, but some people just can’t/won’t do it.

Maybe @Neizvestnaya will come back on here and read the whole details and give it another shot. She’s usually pretty insightful about these things.

afm0ose07's avatar

@Neizvestnaya I’m sorry :) I really was being polite! I just don’t want that thought of him having a girlfriend.. like I was some type of trial-run for him. Thanks, @Kardamom.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Ok, so he doesn’t have a gf but he’s definitely reminding you he doesn’t want to be your bf, no matter how much fun you two are having together. If this is ok with you then right on but other guys will think you’re taken. You’ll be left spinning your wheels if what you’d like is a bf to do these kinds of things with- this guy is too inept to just say, “I’m just not into you like that” without feeling like he’s led you on.

afm0ose07's avatar

@Neizvestnaya I’m not sure if he doesn’t like me like “that”. He said he had thought about taking it to the next level, but just didn’t and the feelings were all still there. Then on Thursday he changed his story denying he “like liked” me. He’s always touchy, grabbing my waist and anything else. Seems like he wouldn’t do that if he didn’t see me in some way like “that”.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Oh boy. For some reason I used to love these kind of guys. Used to think they were deep but I just write them off as wishy washy. Nothing so fun as they guys you can’t mistake who like you and let you know yet. Better yet when they can walk their talk.

afm0ose07's avatar

@Neizvestnaya I know, and exactly why I’ve had to resort to asking “strangers” for advice.. very good advice here may I add. This all because he can’t be honest. What do you want?? Just tell me already, because your actions and previous words aren’t matching what you’re saying now. Don’t act like you want to hold my hand multiple times and then tell me it was just because you can’t do so with your guy friends. Yeah, and I don’t hold friends with my girlfriends? Sounds just as ridiculous. He said he shares some things with me that he doesn’t with them.. so I don’t see the issue here. If there’s an issue with inexperience (obviously), being scared with romance or whatnot, it can be discussed in a mature manner. I’ve asked a few others so I will ask you as well. He has texted me twice since we departed Thursday, I haven’t responded. How long do you think I should wait? I don’t have anything to say right now since he’s not asking to talk or anything. I would normally see him on Tues/Thurs, but I wasn’t planning on it this week.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

There’s a possibility you’re his first straight crush; happens all the time.

Kardamom's avatar

@afm0ose07 See, I told you @Neizvestnaya would have some good insight into this situation. So don’t discount #1 on my list of possibilities. It happened to me.

beyonceboy's avatar

men cry too

jlk2525's avatar

If he can’t give you a clear answer then draw the line in the sand for your own sanity. You’ve expressed how you feel, though if there is anything else you need to say then do so. Say that you can’t be his friend and have conflicted behaviors. This is how it is going to be, this is how the friendship is going to work…no hand holding etc and if he changes his mind about what he wants in the future there may be a chance….if that’s what you still want. He really needs to understand that his behavior is hurting you and will continue to do so ‘as a friend’ if nothing changes. If he isn’t capable doing so, then I agree with other posters, you need to have some space for you to sort out your feelings.

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