Signs He Is Fighting His Feelings For You
You like a boy, boy likes you back. You both fess up your feelings, start dating, and live happily ever after. Wouldn’t life be so simple if every romantic story followed this linear progression? Sadly, the course of love never did run smooth, not ‘this’ smooth anyway. The fact that you’re looking for signs he is fighting his feelings for you is proof.
Often our past experiences, inhibitions, fear of commitment, and attachment styles get in the way of love. Even if there are strong feelings on both sides, people involved in the equation can’t necessarily vocalize them effortlessly. You know what that means: being caught in an endless loop of guessing, “Is he hiding his feelings or not interested?”
If there is that special someone in your life who’s sending you all sorts of mixed signals, it’s time to look for the signs he has strong feelings for you but is scared. Only when you have some clarity about how he feels can you decide where to go from here.
why is he holding back his feelings?
The key signs he is sprung are all over the place and yet he won’t make the first move. A guy fighting emotions for days or even months can drive you insane, right? I mean, “Come on, man! Hold my hand and tell me you love me already! What are you waiting for?” On a serious note, we can try to decode the psychology of a confused man in love to help you gain some clarity:
1. Traumatic past relationships
In the journey of life, we learn from our experiences, both good and bad. If a certain course of action has proved to be poor judgment on your part, you would try to avoid going down the same path by all means. Little do you know, perhaps this person’s previous love life has been so unfulfilling that he is scared to fall prey to another toxic trap. Maybe the guy is overwhelmed by his feelings but he is still healing from the last breakup that shattered him into pieces. All these past events will contribute to a delay in his making the first move.
2. Incapable of handling rejection
“Why is he acting hot and cold? He makes it very clear that he has a soft spot for me but never takes things forward,” you are probably wondering. To answer in brief, the thought of being shot down frightens him to the bones. Living in a century-long patriarchal society, he is not well-equipped with the emotional maturity to deal with rejection in love sportingly. So, if he gets a sense that his feelings are one-sided, he is likely to be more guarded. Perhaps, he is just trying to gauge your feelings for him to assess whether it’d be a good idea for him to act on his.
3. Skeptical about his own feelings
Let’s face it, we have all gone through that phase at least once when we can’t crack if it’s an infatuation or we truly have deep feelings for the person we have a crush on. That could be the reason behind him holding back feelings. Being indecisive about his feelings is not unusual; you can cut the guy some slack until he figures things out. It’s always better to take time to be absolutely sure about one’s feelings and intentions rather than hastily getting into a relationship. However, when that uncertainty is mixed with some serious commitment issues, it can be a matter of concern.
4. Already involved in a relationship/marriage
Ah, now this one is a real pickle. Say, this person has a commitment to fulfill toward another partner. Now, leaving that relationship solely for your sake would be a little too risky. He will have to put a lot at stake to break it off with his partner so that your love story can finally hit the trail. When you spot the signs a married man is fighting his feelings for you, the odds are stacked against you. We’d advise you to be careful what you wish for in this situation because it is not easy dealing with the psychological effects of being the other woman.
5. He feels like an unsuitable match for you
There are signs he’s in denial and you wonder why. It could be because he doesn’t see himself as a perfect partner for you. Maybe he sees you with someone smarter, more handsome, perhaps with a steady flow of income. Low self-esteem might hold him back even when a guy is overwhelmed by his feelings for you.
13 Clear Signs He Is Fighting His Feelings For You
I, once, fell hard for my ex’s best friend. Given how muddled the situation was – what with him being confused and conflicted about violating the bro code and at the same time wanting to take things forward – it turned out to be the most emotionally draining romantic connection of my life.
We’d have an intense, intimate moment, and then, he’d pull away like I was the last thing that mattered. “Does he have feelings for me?” I, too, wondered, much like you are right now. After all, how to get a guy to admit he likes you without asking him? Anyway, we went through the hot and cold phases for months and ultimately parted ways.
About four years later, he slid into my DMs to say that he laments not acting on his feelings when he had the chance and now often finds himself consumed by the thoughts of what could have been. Yeah, you and me both, dude! To make sure, unlike mine, your story doesn’t end even before it begins, let’s decode the signs he cares but is scared that I’ve been able to zero in on with the benefit of hindsight:
Related Reading: 15 Signs An Emotionally Unavailable Man Is In Love With You
1. Inconsistent behavior
Like I said before, in my case, the most confusing part of it all was that he’d seem into me one day and then become distant and unavailable the next. It’d leave me infuriated, often agonizing over what he really wanted from me or why won’t he just see how much he meant to me. Frustrating as it may be, inconsistent behavior is also among the telling signs he has strong feelings for you but is scared.
If you sense he wants more and then he pulls back, it could be because the circumstances or past baggage is weighing on his mind. In this situation, you need to pragmatically analyze if he is capable of getting over these inhibitions and giving you a stable, fulfilling relationship. The answer will determine whether you should give him the much-needed nudge to lay his heart bare or focus on moving on.
2. Palpable chemistry
Whether you’re looking for signs he is fighting his feelings for you over text or in real life, palpable chemistry is one of the tell-tale indicators you cannot overlook. Here are some instances:
- He can sense that you’re feeling low by just the way you reply to a text message
- You finish each other’s sentences
- You have a string of inside jokes
- You can practically read each other’s minds
These are all strong signs he has romantic feelings for you. He may not be wearing his heart on his sleeve yet, but you’re both definitely in sync with each other. This can only happen when he feels a connection with you. He sees the bond as more than just friends and a part of him wants to take things to the romantic plane.
3. Jealousy is among the signs he is fighting his feelings for you
Paul and Sarah met at work and quickly went from being casual acquaintances to great friends, and eventually, caught feelings for one another. However, ambitious and career-driven Paul was skeptical about how dating a coworker may affect him professionally. This resulted in him sending out all sorts of mixed signals. And Sarah was done questioning, “Does he have feelings for me?”
“Paul has been sulking that I’m still active on Tinder. He gets jealous but we aren’t dating. He says we’re just friends but acts like more. Is he in denial about his feelings for me?” she turned to her girl gang for advice. “Well, duh! Why else would he care who you’re dating?” replied Wynn, her best friend. If you too are struggling to make sense of signs of strong feelings for someone, pay attention to whether your dating prospects make him turn green with envy. Therein lie the body language signs he wants you bad.
4. He tries to make you jealous
Jealousy can be a double-edged sword when a guy is trying to fight his feelings for you. Not only will he find himself in the throes of jealousy, but he may also try to invoke the same feelings in you. This typically happens when a guy is overwhelmed by his feelings. So, to test the waters, he may:
- Flirt with others in front of you
- Mention his ex way too much
- Keep talking about his social media influencer crush
He may do all this just to see if you flinch, get edgy, or show tell-tale signs of jealousy at the prospect of him ending up with someone else. While it may not be the ideal approach, this is certainly one of the sure-fire signs he has romantic feelings for you but may be unsure about whether or not to act on them.
Related Reading: 9 Definite Signs His Love Is Not Real
5. He’s self-conscious around you
If you know him well, subtle but definitive changes in his behavior and body language around you could be a dead giveaway. For example, when a guy stares at you from a distance, he’s doing a terrible job of keeping his feelings a little secret. Here are some more signs he can’t resist you:
- You may notice that he becomes more fidgety/self-conscious around you
- When a guy avoids eye contact, it’s one of the signs of hidden male attraction
- He would be more conscious about any physical contact between you two
When a man is scared of his feelings, being in your proximity makes his heart race. Besides, he wouldn’t want to let on his hidden feelings before he has had the chance to work through them and decide how he wants to take things forward. This is a clear indicator that a guy loves you but is too shy to admit it.
6. He wants you to know you can bank on him
How to know if a guy friend likes you but is too shy? He’d go above and beyond to make you happy and be your Mr. Bankable. Even though he may be conflicted about whether or not to take things forward, a part of him wants nothing more than to spend time with you. And that part pushes him to be by your side through thick and thin. Before you ask, “Is he hiding his feelings or not interested?”, tell us, do you find his presence literally everywhere around you? Especially when you are in dire need of someone for help.
He is on your speed dial, he is your emergency contact, he is your to-go person for help in difficult times. In short, he’d never let you down when you need him the most. These little things are a testament to how deeply he cares about you:
- He rushes to your side if you end up with a flat tire in the middle of the road
- He insists on dropping you home after a night of partying
- He brings you your favorite food, medicine and hot water bags when you’re dealing with period cramps
7. You go on a lot of non-dates
How do you tell if a guy is fighting his feelings? If this is a question you’ve been losing sleep over, it’s time to pay attention to how often he makes plans to hang out with you. Here is a pattern I noticed with the guy who was fighting his feelings for me: He suddenly started asking me out for drinks, brunches, movies, dinners, and parties. We were hanging out several times a week.
Whenever we made a plan, he concluded the conversations with a text to the effect of “It’s not a date but I’ll pick you up at 7.” Whenever we were together, there were fleeting moments of intimacy that led to nothing:
- Holding my hands while walking down a street
- Planting a kiss on my forehead when saying goodbye
- Noticing small changes in my appearance
- Paying compliments
Relatable much? Take it from me, these warm and fuzzy moments that quickly fizzle out are among the signs he is fighting his feelings for you. When a guy invites you to his house to hang out alone every day, there’s definitely something brewing. If you’re exhausted from waiting for a breakthrough, just have an honest conversation with him already!
8. He may be wary of one-on-one time with you
While he may go out with you a lot, any hint of developing a strong emotional connection can make him clam up. You may notice that he becomes distant and wary of spending time with you one-on-one for days at a stretch after every such incident. While it can be immensely frustrating, there is a silver lining to this dark cloud: Your man is displaying some classic signs he cares but is scared.
When a man is scared of his feelings, it can help to give him space to clear his head and figure out what he really wants. I made the mistake of demanding too many answers too soon, and that clearly didn’t end well. Let him work through his feelings on his own without making him feel pressured, and if it’s meant to be, it’ll work out.
9. Past labels weigh on his mind
“But we’re the closest friends.” “You’re my best friend’s girlfriend.” “I don’t want to risk what we already have.” These were Mr. Conflicted’s common refrains whenever our conversations veered into romantic territory and he felt the need to pull back.
We’d often spend hours texting each other late into the night but if things got intense emotionally, he’d use one of his classic lines and pull the plug. So, if he says “we’re just friends” but acts like more, it’s probably his defense mechanism and he’s having a hard time accepting that it’s more than platonic.
10. His caring nature is one of the signs he is fighting his feelings for you
Gerri had fallen head over heels in love with Tom, her friend from college. She was hopelessly lovestruck and wanted nothing more than to be with Tom. There was only one problem: He was not as forthcoming about how he felt because he had just come out of a long-term relationship.
However, one thing was clear as day – he cared for Gerri deeply. In fact, over time, it became an unsaid ritual between them for Gerri to text Tom that she had reached home safely after her late-night shift at work. Tom would wait for her text before calling it a night, even though his day started early, and if Gerri missed, he’d call to check if all was well. What does it mean when a guy is overprotective of you? It certainly is a reflection of how deeply he cares about you.
If you too have something similar going with your special fella, make no mistake such rituals are among the most telling signs he is fighting his feelings for you over text. If makes excuses to text you, asks you personal questions, and has deep conversations with you, it’s because there are intense feelings at play. In fact, you can count it as one of the 13 clear signs he wants a relationship with you.
11. Becomes distant if you drop hints about your feelings
Charlie and Austin were caught in a similar limbo. They had been going out for months now but their relationship remained undefined. The “what are we?” question stared them in the face every time they were together, but they’d swerve and dodge it. Finally, Charlie decided they had had enough.
She told Austin that she liked him romantically and wanted to take things to the next level. And Austin just couldn’t bring himself to respond. Leaving her words hanging in the air, he left. Over the next few days, they barely spoke to each other. Gutted, Charlie turned to a friend for counsel. “I know he’s confused about his feelings for me. But if he doesn’t want me, why doesn’t he just say something? That I can take, it’s the not knowing that is painful,” she said.
Charlie’s friend responded, “Don’t you see? These are all signs he is fighting his feelings for you. I’m not saying that he is right in doing so but there is certainly something holding him back from acting on his feelings. It’s up to you to decide whether he is worth the wait and agony.” If you too are going through something similar and your emotions make him recede into a shell, this advice holds for you too.
Related Reading: 5 Odd Signs That He Loves You
12. Random gestures of love are signs he has strong feelings for you
Claire has been noticing a recent development of a closer connection with her colleague Josh:
- They had a tiff over texts, and the next morning, she woke up to a beautiful bouquet and her favorite cupcakes
- They are dancing together in a club and he suddenly pulls her close and plants a kiss on her cheek
- She had a bad day at work, and he shows up at her place to take her out for a bike ride and coffee date
But whenever she takes these unique romantic gestures as a sign that he likes her, he doesn’t reciprocate. “Is he avoiding his feelings for me?” This question can drive anyone up the wall and so it did with Claire. But even when a guy becomes a walking, talking transmitter of mixed signals, his feelings will become evident in the care and concern he has for you.
13. How do you tell if a guy is fighting his feelings? Blurred lines of intimacy
Things between Mr. Conflicted and me started off with some innocuous flirting that quickly escalated to full-blown make-out sessions. Yet, there was no talk about what this meant for us. Were we going to date? Was it headed the friends-with-benefits way? Tired of guessing and wondering, “Is he avoiding his feelings for me?”, I decided to talk to him about it. He said things were too complicated and it’d be best if we went back to being friends. A classic right person at the wrong time situation he called it.
Crushed as I was, I was also relieved to have clarity over where we stood. Then, at the end of the evening, he leaned in and kissed me. While that messed me up six ways to Sunday, when I look back, I can see it was an expression of how strong his feelings for me were. If you’re in a similar situation, don’t overlook these unmistakable signs he is fighting his feelings for you:
- Blurred lines of intimacy, where you criss-cross between platonic affection and intense sexual encounters
- His emotions fuel his desire to be intimate with you but the confusion in his mind makes him want to hold back
- Your bond is a hot mess of an on-again-off-again connection
- A guy who has feelings for you may not always be forthcoming about it
- From past experiences to attachment style, commitment issues, fear of abandonment, low self-esteem – a whole of reasons can inhibit him from wearing his heart on his sleeve
- When a guy is scared of his feelings, you may notice he only shows affection when he’s drunk; likewise when a guy jokingly calls you his girlfriend, it’s an indicator he has feelings for you
- Being overly caring and protective, being jealous of your romantic life, playing hot-and-cold but always being there for you are some other signs a guy likes you but is hiding it
When someone is conflicted about their feelings for you, it can leave you feeling just as confused about your own. Seeing the signs he is fighting his feelings for you is definitely encouraging and can put your mind at ease. In the end, the one thing that matters is whether he can get over this phase of uncertainty and make a decision, one way or the other. For your sake, we hope it is him deciding that you’re worth fighting all odds for. Because you are.
Here’s a trick you can try: Keep your Tinder life active and go on a few dates. The green-eyed monster will flare up in his head seeing you with another prospective partner. And he would rush to confess his feelings before someone else sweeps you off your feet.
You can try to create a space of comfort for him so that he can easily approach you with his thoughts and emotions. Once he starts getting vulnerable in your presence and sees how empathetic you are, he may eventually come up with those three magical words and a bunch of roses.