If A Guy Isn’t Sure He Likes Me, I Definitely Don’t Like Him

It’s funny how a guy who’s never given a second thought to my feelings can suddenly become consumed by his own complex emotional state the first time I mention that I’m ready to get serious. My formerly stoic almost boyfriend seems to acquire an overnight PhD in philosophy, reviewing the agonizing pros and cons of whether he’s ready to settle down with me. But the minute he starts equivocating, he might as well show himself the door.

  1. I don’t believe him. All those confessions of uncertainty are so perfectly placed, they’re obviously just the lines in his creepy script. He’s not confused, he’s not soul searching—he’s hoping he can screw me when it’s convenient while also maintaining total autonomy. What he can really do is GTFO.
  2. Even if he’s being legit, wanting me to wait is selfish. Maybe his brain actually IS muddled from a gnarly recent breakup. Perhaps he fears that he’ll let me down and he can’t stand to hurt me. Men have emotions too and I get that. Nevertheless, he shouldn’t leave me to twiddle my thumbs while he’s finding himself. I respect a man who bows out when he realizes he’s unsure about me rather than expecting me to hold a place for him.
  3. I have too much dignity to be endlessly strung along. The chase isn’t much fun when it never ends. If he keeps holding himself inches out of reach, there’s no good option but to let him go. After all, the longer I stay in something, the more it hurts to say goodbye (or good riddance). Better never to let myself get suckered by his weaselly ways to begin with.
  4. I have enough anxiety without worrying how he feels about me. I hate not knowing where I stand. Sometimes I can’t control the circumstances that aggravate my insecurities, but I can definitely control the romantic choices I make. When a guy refuses to share substantial feelings, I’m not about to go running off a cliff like poor Wile E. Coyote. I need solid ground under my feet. If that means ending things with someone who refuses to come clean about his intentions, so be it.
  5. His rejection won’t hurt me. When he tells me the truth—that he has no long-term interest—I feel the sting for a day or two. When he tries to lead me through a maze of deceptions, I waste my time figuring out the pattern. A swiftly delivered rejection is simply the cost of doing business, but his willingness to treat me like a side option while he pretends to think about where we’re headed? That’s unpardonable.
  6. He’s lucky that I get the hint. Whatever story he’s spun, he’s made one thing clear: I’m not the indisputable love of his life. Too bad he didn’t have the guts to make a gracious exit; thankfully, I’m smart enough to take my search for happily ever after elsewhere.
  7. I’m not giving him my body unless I can give him my whole self. It’s a package deal these days: if he wants to get in my pants, he’ll need to get into my mind, heart, and soul—and I won’t share any of those with him until I trust him. The act of trying to wheedle me into bed without considering a more serious connection is a lost cause.
  8. I’ve forgotten how to be the chill girl. I don’t hold my breath waiting for him to initiate “the talk.” I can’t pretend to be easy breezy, fine with any outcome. He either wants to be with me (only me)—and makes that clear—or he doesn’t. Somewhere along the way, I’ve traded my chill for genuine confidence.
  9. It doesn’t take long to make up your mind when something is right. Within a date or two, I know whether I feel relationship-quality compatibility with a guy. If we don’t have chemistry, no harm, no foul. I’m mature enough to gently let him know that we’re not a match. What I don’t do is sleep with him when I’m bored, hand him a stack of “maybes” and refuse to come clean about my true intentions.
  10. I’m not asking him to marry me, for God’s sake. Why does his life flash before his eyes when I nudge for a commitment? I’m not demanding a shared bank account or even shared living quarters. I’m sure the hell not planning our wedding buffet. (Hasn’t he figured out that I’m too busy defending my own independence to infringe on his?) But if he can’t even take my hand and tell me he wants to TRY to make an exclusive relationship work, I can’t keep hanging around.
  11. I need someone who genuinely wants to be with me. I’m not interested in trapping a guy. I’ll never understand how some men conclude that all women want to trick them into commitment. If he’s not looking to stick by my side, he should get gone pronto. Why would I settle for capturing a hostage when I could find a willing partner in crime instead?
  12. He’s not the only one who’ll have to make sacrifices. Some dudes behave as if we females have nothing better to do than glomming onto a man. The truth is, we’re every bit as jealous of our freedom as any guy is of his. For both parties, relationships take compromise. Nobody gets to win all the time. I’m willing to give my all for someone who responds in kind. I’m willing to give nothing for someone who refuses even to acknowledge his honest feelings about me.
  13. I’m too old for that mess. The games, the drama, the stress. Those days are behind me, thank God. If he’s sending mixed signals, I peace out immediately. I’m sometimes lonely as all hell, but I know I won’t sacrifice one precious moment for an unworthy guy. No warm body is worth that frustration.
  14. An adult chooses. A grown man picks a path and follows it. Any route he selects will have its highs, its lows, its long flat stretches. He can experience these variations with me, or he can experience them with somebody else. But if he stands dithering at a fork in the road, I’ll be moving forward by myself.
Jackie Dever is a freelance writer and editor in Southern California. When she's not working, she enjoys hiking, reading, and sampling craft beers.