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 avoiding his feelings for me?”
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 romantic feelings for you but is trying his best to rein them in. 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 clear signs he has strong feelings for you are all over the place and yet he won’t make the first move. A guy fighting his feelings for you 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 fathom the psychological aspects of a man holding back his feelings even though he feels a connection with you:
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 relationships have 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 his delay in expressing his true emotions.
2. Incapable of handling rejection
There is a normal person’s ego and then there comes the ‘male ego’ in the size of a mountain. “Why is he fighting his feelings for me? He makes it very clear that he has a soft corner,” you are probably thinking. 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. There would be nothing more embarrassing than a simple ‘no’ from a girl. So, he is just trying to gauge your feelings for him before spilling the beans.
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 love the person we have a crush on. Being indecisive about his feelings is not a federal crime; you can cut the guy some slack here. When that uncertainty is added with some serious commitment issues, that can be a matter of concern. There goes another reason behind the signs he is running from his feelings. However, it’s a lot better to take a good amount of time to be absolutely sure about his feelings and intentions before hastily getting into a relationship.
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 of him admitting those emotions are 50-50 here. Don’t get your hopes up unless you think you would be able to put up with the psychological effects of being the other woman.
5. He feels like an unsuitable match for you
There are signs he is denying his feelings for you and you wonder “Why?” It’s a possibility that 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. Financial instability might hold him back even though the 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. “Is he avoiding his feelings for me?” I, too, wondered, much like you are right now. After all, how do you tell if a guy is fighting his feelings when his behavior remains ever so unpredictable. 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 is fighting his feelings for you 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 doesn’t want to give them away.
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 give 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, a palpable chemistry is one of the tell-tale indicators you cannot overlook. For instance, you may notice that he can sense that you’re feeling low by just the way you reply to a text message. Or perhaps you’ve reached a level of intimacy where you finish each other’s sentences, have a string of inside jokes, and 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 you as more than a friend 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 counting the signs he is running from his feelings. On the one hand, he avoided talking to Sarah about how he felt, and on the other, got extremely jealous of any progress in her dating life.
“Paul has been sulking that I’m still active on Tinder but at the same time doesn’t want to talk about where we stand. Is he avoiding 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 he is fighting his feelings for you, pay attention to whether your dating prospects make him turn green with envy. Therein lies the answer to how you can tell if a guy is fighting his feelings for you.
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 throes of jealousy, but he may also try to invoke the same feelings in you. This typically happens when he is unsure of your feelings toward him.
So, to test the waters, he may bring up his dating exploits 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
How do you tell if a guy is fighting his feelings? If you know him well, subtle but definitive changes in his behavior and body language around you could be a dead giveaway. You may notice that he becomes more fidgety or may hesitate to meet your gaze. A guy fighting his feelings for you would be more conscious about any physical contact between you two.
Being in your proximity makes his heart race, and since he is fighting his feelings for you, this can make him unsettled. 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
One of the telling signs he has strong feelings for you but is trying to fight them is that he’d go above and beyond to 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 be with you. And that part pushes him to be by your side through thick and thin. Before you ask, “Is he fighting his feelings for me?”, tell us, do you find his presence literally everywhere around you? Especially when you are in dire need of someone for help.
From rushing to your side if you end up with a flat tire in the middle of the road to insisting on dropping you home after a night of partying and bringing you medicine and hot water bags when you’re dealing with period cramps, he’s always there for you. He is on your speed dial, he is your emergency contact, he is your to-go person for help because there is enough evidence to suggest he’d never let you down when you need him the most. That is a testament to how deeply he cares about you.
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 to 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, and 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. 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 is denying his feelings for you.
At this stage, I’d recommend you 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 such great 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 the 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. If you too have experienced that this special somebody in your life actively tries to hold himself back from letting on his true feelings, count it among the signs he has strong feelings for you but is trying to rein them in.
10. He cares about 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.
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 you don’t go even a day without texting each other and are always aware of what’s going on in the other’s life, it’s because there are intense feelings at play on both sides.
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.
They told Austin that they liked him romantically and wanted to take things to the next level. And Austin just couldn’t bring himself to respond. Leaving their 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. “If he doesn’t want me, why doesn’t he just come out and say it? That I can take, it’s the not knowing that is painful,” they said.
Charlie’s friend advised them, “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 delivered to her doorstep. 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 too, he doesn’t reciprocate one way or the other. “Is he avoiding his feelings for me?” This question can drive anyone up the wall when your boo becomes a walking, talking transmitter of mixed signals and so it did with Claire. Guess what? Her hunch was absolutely spot-on as she soon discovered his 3-year-long married life. These gestures of love are among the clearest signs a married man is fighting his feelings for you but doesn’t want to let them on.
13. How do you tell if a guy is fighting his feelings? Blurred lines of intimacy
Things between Mr. Conflicted and I 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 wouldn’t make sense for us to go down this road, 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. Such blurred lines of intimacy, where you crisscross between platonic affection and intense sexual encounters, are among the unmistakable signs he is fighting his feelings for you. His emotions fuel his desire to be close and intimate with you, and at the same time, the confusion in his mind would make him want to hold back. This can result in a hot mess of an on-again-off-again connection, so you need to tread carefully and know where to draw the line.
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 only 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.