21 Clear Signs He Is Fighting His Feelings For You

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signs he is fighting his feelings for you
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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 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 in love with me? How does he feel about me?” And so many other questions.

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?

A guy hiding his true feelings for days or even months can drive you insane, right? While you play it cool, on the inside, you might as well be screaming, “Come on, man! Hold my hand and tell me you love me already! What are you waiting for?” Dealing with the signs he is denying his feelings for you can be frustrating, to say the least. However, understanding where this behavior may be stemming from can help you agonize less about all the mixed signals you may be getting. Let’s decode the psychology of a man in denial to help you gain some clarity:

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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. Perhaps this person’s past romantic experiences have been so unfulfilling that he is scared to fall prey to another toxic trap.

Maybe the guy is overwhelmed by his feelings because he is still healing from the last breakup that shattered him into pieces. All these past events and other stuff in his life could contribute to a delay in his making the first move. Maybe, he is prioritizing his well-being to be ready for a relationship.

2. Incapable of handling rejection

“Why are his actions confusing? He makes it very clear that he has a soft spot and real feelings 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 centuries-old 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 in life where we can’t figure out if it’s an infatuation or if we truly have deep feelings for someone. This could well be the reason why he is not acting on his feelings for you. 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 clear signs he’s not being honest about his feelings 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.

21 Clear Signs He Is Fighting His Feelings For You

is he hiding his feelings or not interested
He may be interested but does not know how to show 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.

e’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? Is there a way to make someone fall in love with you?” I, too, wondered, much like you are right now. Anyway, we went through the hot and cold phase 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 genuinely interested 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

As 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 wouldn’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. He may, unfortunately, also have commitment issues. 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
  • Laughter is a constant in your interactions because 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. It is a clear sign 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

My friend, Sarah, who lives in New York, met Paul at work. They 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 gives subtle hints that we may be more than just friends. Why is that?” she asked on one of our FaceTime catch-up sessions. “Well, duh! There is only one reason why he would care who you’re dating?” I replied. If you too are struggling to make sense of this, pay attention to whether your dating prospects make him turn green with envy. Those are the small things that will let you know he’s interested in a romantic relationship but just won’t admit it, yet.

4. He tries to make you jealous

There are many reasons why guys become jealous even if they are not your partner. 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 celebrity crushes

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 he stares at you, he’s doing a terrible job of keeping his feelings a little secret. A Reddit user says “We tend to awkwardly stare at you hoping you notice and then look away the second you look in our direction. We do this for as long as possible until someone asks you out and then beat ourselves for not ever making a move.”

Here are some more obvious signs he wants you real bad:

  • You may notice that he becomes more fidgety/self-conscious around you
  • When he can’t look you in the eyes, it is one of the telltale signs he’s attracted to you
  • He would be more conscious about any physical contact between you two

These are all signs he is denying his feelings for you. 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

when a man is scared of his feelings
He makes you feel like you are so special and wanted

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. If you’re wrestling with the question, “How does he feel about me?”, let me pose another one for you: do you find his presence everywhere around you?

He is on your speed dial, he is your emergency contact, and he is your go-to person for help in difficult times. In short, he’d never let you down when you need him the most, and you know it. 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 does nice things like 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

Let him know how much you appreciate how he handles almost everything. That could be the easiest way to get him to open up.

7. You go on a lot of non-dates

What are the signs a man loves you but is afraid of rejection? If this is a question you’ve been losing sleep over, it’s time to pay attention to how often he makes plans to spend quality time 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 or certain things he did 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. 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 clear signs that he has true feelings for you, but is afraid to express them.

When you notice these signs a man loves you but is afraid, 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.

If a guy is nervous around you, does it mean he likes you?

9. Past labels weigh on his mind

“But we’re the closest friends.” “You’re my best friend’s ex.” “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. 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.

Related Reading: 13 Surprisingly Simple Tips On How To Make Someone Fall In Love With You

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. It was a big deal to Tom as he 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 makes excuses to text you, asks you personal questions, and has deep conversations with you, it’s because there are intense feelings at play.

11. Becomes distant if you drop hints about your feelings

Why do guys distance themselves when you think things are going fine? My former coworker, Charlie, was caught in a similar limbo with Austin. 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 think he may be confused about liking 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 a coffee date

But whenever she takes these unique romantic gestures as a sign that he likes her, he doesn’t reciprocate. “Is he in love with 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. What are the signs a man loves you but is afraid? 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 in love with 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 quashing 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

14. How does he feel about me when he becomes defensive?

Remember the days of childhood crushes and that boy who got dreamy-eyed when he saw his dream girl? You must surely also remember how defensive he would get if anyone mentioned he liked her, right? Well, first forward to adult years and the same may very well apply when a guy is trying to stifle his feelings for you. He may:

  • Avoid particular topics, especially the emotional ones
  • Have a dismissive attitude or downplay discussions that elicit any emotional discomfort, making him seem emotionally unavailable
  • Resort to projection to deflect attention away from what he is feeling
  • Avoid deep conversations or may even cut off communication

Frustrating, isn’t it? You would think he would just make a move instead of wasting valuable time being that little schoolboy once again. Open communication about what you have noticed can break down some of the barriers.

Related Reading: Why Does Love Hurt So Much and What to Do?

15. He overcompensates

Overcompensating may be one of the signs he has strong feelings for you but is scared. It may seem like it’s crazy, but think about it. The guy who eventually confessed his feelings for you may have displayed the following not-so-subtle hints:

  • Excessive friendliness or attentiveness
  • Flirtatious behavior or showing affection openly
  • Acting indifferently to mask his true feelings
  • Lack of emotional depth

All these are signs of underlying feelings that he is trying to suppress. If you peel back the layers of overcompensation, his true feelings will come out.

 16. He talks about others, a lot

This guy would keep on talking about his past relationships and other romantic exploits. I found it really weird until I read somewhere that the awkward conversation was covering a lot. He was trying to distance himself from the emotional discomfort attached to what he was feeling for me. By deflecting and creating the emotional distance, he was trying to focus on external factors, rather than what he was feeling.  

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17. He is nervous around you

Would you stand near a flame and not react to the heat? So why would it be any different for the guy who feels like he will burn up anytime he is near you? You are hot and you make him hot. So, he gets flustered, sweats, avoids eye contact, and even stutters. And yes, these are also signs he has strong feelings for you but is scared. Kinda cute, isn’t it? Take it easy on the poor guy. He may be full of self-doubt because he does not feel safe telling you how he feels.

18. The proof is in the detail recall

Your friends, especially guy friends, don’t always remember your birthday or special days, but he does. I got flowers on my 10th graduation anniversary. Who remembers graduation dates? Well, he did! It’s such little things that showed he considered me more than just a friend. It got me thinking, does he have a crush on me? Paying attention will make you realize he has such an excellent recall of the personal details or the conversations you have had because of how he feels about you.

Related Reading: 13 Signs He Truly Loves You — Gestures We Almost Always Miss

19. He mirrors your body language

You want to know the answer to, “How does he feel about me?” Well, look at his body language when he is around you. Don’t be surprised if he seems to be copying your mannerisms or even body posture. He may do the same for speech patterns and facial expressions. Mirroring is significant because,

  • It creates a sense of connection and rapport. This gives real meaning to “we are on the same wavelength”
  • It shows he is paying higher levels of attention
  • It’s a form of flattery

Mirroring is sometimes a subconscious act, showing the guy is totally immersed in you, so don’t get creeped out by the actions. And if you’re picking up on the cues, let him know that you are feeling him, if you like him as well. A Reddit user says “I’m a bit afraid to show any signs whatsoever because I think I might trespass someone’s personal space or may come out creepy.”

20. He may preen around you

Look at the way the male peacock acts around the females. The splendor of the plume of feathers in full display is the ultimate preening. The guy who is fighting feelings will do the same because he wants you to notice him. He adjusts his clothes, pats his hair into place, spit-shines his shoes, and more. The besotted man is trying to create a good impression so that you can like him. Go ahead, tell him how good he looks, and see how he brightens up. 

21. He isn’t as involved with other women

“He seems to keep away from other women, is he in love with me?”  Yes, he could be. This is one of the most obvious signs that a guy wants you but doesn’t want to tell you. He will simply cut off other females in life, as much as he can. What this means is that he is,

  • Sending clear signals he is available for a romantic not platonic relationship
  • Confirming that there is no one else in his life
  • Emphasizing that other women that he talks to are just friends, relatives, or coworkers

Pay attention to these signs and it will tell you this gentleman has no commitment issues. Almost everything he does shows he is ready to commit. He is past the first step of trying to get your attention and may be ready to go full-scale. 

Key Pointers

  • 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 clear 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.


1. What to do when a guy is fighting his feelings for you?

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.

2. How do I make him confess his feelings for me?

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.

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