When A Guy Likes You But Just Doesn’t Like You Enough

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One of the most common areas that trips women up when it comes to relationships is the gray zone, the area where a guy shows interest but nothing really comes of it, and you just don’t know how he feels.

This is usually when I receive the desperate messages from women wanting to know what is going on. They don’t get it. He seems interested … but then he disappears or says he doesn’t want a relationship or just acts shady. But then he comes back and he’s sweet and attentive and now you’re just confused. Does he like me or not?

I get the desperate need to know. It’s a miserable feeling to invest your time and emotions into someone when you’re not sure where they actually stand.

I’ll clear up some of the confusion right now. When a guy likes you, it’s obvious. Through time, experience, and research, I’ve learned that when you have to question how he feels … you already have your answer. He likes you, just not enough.

The problem is so many of us get caught in this trap of trying to figure out why. We can’t understand how he can say so many sweet things, how he can be so open and present when he’s with us, how everything can feel so right when we’re with him … and yet, he just doesn’t reciprocate our feelings for him. He is always out of your reach, and you spend more time analyzing the relationship than you do actually enjoying it.

When He Won’t Commit

If a guy won’t commit, he’s not going to tell you to your face that the reason is he doesn’t like you enough. He’ll tell you something else. Why won’t he just break up with you? Because he does like you. He just doesn’t like you enough to want to be with you.

Maybe he has valid reasons. Maybe he is under a lot of pressure at his job, maybe his parents divorce when he was a kid really did make him stop believing in monogamy, maybe the ex girlfriend who cheated on him really did destroy his ability to trust, maybe he is terrified of commitment … the reasons don’t matter, the facts do.

He probably does care about you, he does enjoy spending time with you, he does like you … he just doesn’t like you enough. Maybe it’s because he’s incapable of liking someone past a certain point (a point that would lead to a relationship), or maybe he just doesn’t see himself with someone like you for reasons beyond your control. It doesn’t matter.

What It Looks Like

If he likes spending time with you and hanging out, but doesn’t want to be official … he likes you, he just doesn’t like you enough.

If you run into each other here and there and talk for hours and maybe even hook up, but don’t hear from him after, he likes you, he just doesn’t like you enough.

If you’ve been seeing each other for a while and he refuses to be exclusive, or doesn’t want to put a label on it … he likes you, he just doesn’t like you enough.

If he says he misses you, but then doesn’t make any attempt to actually see you … he likes you, he just doesn’t like you enough.

Don’t Take It Personally

Sadly, most women see his lack of liking as a reflection of them, they make it their problem. They think if only they did more for him, if only they were prettier, if only they could help him learn to trust again, if only they were a little more of this and a little less of that… everything would be different. It wouldn’t.

If that’s how he feels, nothing you say or do will change it.

His issues are his problems. You pave the way for a lot of unnecessary

hurt when you make them your problem. And maybe he doesn’t have commitment issues, maybe he just doesn’t think you’re the right girl for him and that’s really no big deal.

Trust me, I know how hard it is to extricate yourself from this kind of situation. You’ve invested so much time and energy into the situation and you refuse to accept things as they are.

You pay attention to the things you want to hear and disregard anything that doesn’t align with how you want reality to be. You hold onto cryptic scraps of attention and affection and use them as proof that you and he share a deep connection … and then you feel blindsided when he leaves or says he doesn’t want to be with you, even though you kind of knew this was the case all along.

You ignore the truth that’s staring you in the face because you don’t want to accept that he never reciprocated your feelings because that’s painful. It’s a crushing feeling to realize and admit that someone you care for just doesn’t feel the same way about you. I know it feels personal, but it’s not. Not everyone can be a match and that’s OK.

How to Deal

You may think that the reason it hurts so much is because he was the guy for you and you let him get away, but really the hurt is stemming from your own ego. You feel unlovable and unworthy and worry that you’ll end up alone, or be forced to settle. These kinds of situations tend to bring out the drama queen in all of us.

Instead of thinking of the worst case scenario—that you’ll die alone in a house full of cats—just calmly remind yourself that he just wasn’t the right guy for you and that’s fine. The right guy for you is a guy who wants to be with you. He’s a guy who shows you, clearly and obviously, that he likes you. He doesn’t drop clues for you to uncover.

Getting over a guy you never quite had can be almost worse than getting over an actual breakup because in this case, you’re mourning the loss of the potential of what could have been. It’s not like a breakup where you got to experience the relationship and its demise. In this case, you never even got to base camp 1. You just had a guy you were casually seeing who never wanted to take it any further, and you’re left with these visions of what could have been.

It sucks. There’s no way around it. But you can’t force a guy to feel a certain way about you. All you can do is be your best self, that’s pretty much it. If you do that and he still isn’t interested, then at least you know you did your due diligence and there’s nothing more you could have done.

The best thing you can do when a situation like this ends is look back and try to find any lessons to learn, at least then you know it wasn’t a total waste of time.

Ask yourself what thoughts/behaviors led you into this relationship. What did you bring to the relationship that was good and that you could use in your next relationship? What did you bring that was negative, and blinded you from seeing what was in front of you? What is something you accepted in this relationship that you will never accept again?

Sit with these questions and see where they take you. Maybe you meditate on them, maybe you journal and see what spills out of you.

Either way, it’s important to spend some time looking within yourself so you can come out of the situation even stronger than you were before. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

About the author

Sabrina Bendory

Sabrina Bendory is a writer and entrepreneur. She is the author of You’re Overthinking It, a definitive book on dating and self-love.

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