What It Means If He Says He Doesn’t Want A Relationship, Then Acts Differently

Hi Heather,

I’ll try and make this short. A few weeks ago, I started talking to a guy I work with. I could tell he was flirting with me so I asked if he wanted to hang out, but he basically said no… then kept flirting with me. He eventually asked if I wanted to go to a concert with him and I said yes. We went with friends, had a great time, and the night ended with us having sex. Awesome. He left his hoodie at my house and I could tell it was probably on purpose. When I told him it was there, he said I could bring it to work or he’d come pick it up. I chose to leave it at my house, of course. Fast forward to a conversation about how he doesn’t want a girlfriend because responsibilities, etc.

Then he comes over again to hang out. This time I left his hoodie by the front door so he could grab it on the way out. It was in plain sight and he basically had to touch it to leave, there’s no way he could have forgotten it. But he left it again. I told him, and he said he needed it – I said I would bring it to work, and he said he’d get it next time he came over. I don’t know what this all means and he’s so confusing. When he told me he didn’t want a girlfriend, I said we could just hook up. I’m mostly okay with it. He says he doesn’t want a relationship, but some of the stuff he does and says doesn’t make it seem that way. He also told me he has two other girls trying to date him, but told me he doesn’t like either of them, so I’m assuming he isn’t sleeping with them. I don’t know what to think and I feel like I should know how to read these mixed signals, but I don’t. Any advice?

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There’s a lot going on here, but I’ll be honest: it sounds like his intentions are clear – but you’re looking for something deeper. Just from first impressions, it seems to me like he’s being honest when he says he doesn’t want a serious relationship. I wouldn’t hope for anything more than that! But let’s analyze this in a little more depth.

From what you’ve written, it sounds to me like this guy feels the need to be the one in control in this relationship. Here’s a personal story to explain what I mean: when I was in college, I was in a friends with benefits relationship with a friend. Whenever I tried to make plans, he would say no and act disinterested. The only time we hung out was when he initiated it. Why? Because he wanted to be in control, making the decisions. Even if this guy isn’t doing that in a manipulative way on purpose, his actions are saying that he wants to be the one with the power in this relationship. Any time someone pulls this kind of move, it’s… not good.

Let’s talk about the hoodie issue. Is he purposely leaving his hoodie at your house so he can see you again? Probably, but that doesn’t mean there’s anything particularly romantic about it. To be blunt, it’s most likely because he wants to keep hooking up – not because he’s trying to seriously date you. It’s an easy excuse for him to come by on his terms, without having to make things awkward. It’s not a sign that he wants to be in a relationship, though. It could also just be that he’s, uh, super forgetful, or not smart. You never know!

Oh, and let’s get into the thing about the other girls. I am assuming he brought it up to further push his point that he doesn’t want anything serious, which is fine, but a little weird. I’m not saying he’s lying about not liking them, but… there is definitely still a good chance that he’s hooking up with them. Don’t just assume he isn’t! It could be his way of saying that he has other options, and he wants to be able to do what he wants with who he wants. It’s fine for you to still hook up with him if he’s doing that, if you’re okay with that, but for your own safety, use protection – or ask him honestly.

Also, I think the fact that he came out and said he doesn’t want a girlfriend speaks volumes. He was being honest with you, and you need to listen to that and remember that. Even if his actions seem different, remember what he said, and take it to heart. If he wanted to be in a relationship with you, he wouldn’t potentially ruin his chances by telling you he didn’t want that. Trust me! Don’t look for signs of something that isn’t there.

Lastly, I want to address your comment about being “mostly okay” with the arrangement. Being in a causal, hookup relationship is tough. You can’t be “mostly okay” with it, you have to be totally okay with it, otherwise you’re going to get really hurt in the end. It’s okay to want something serious! Just don’t hook up with this guy hoping he’ll eventually change his mind. He probably won’t, and in the meantime, it’s only going to make you feel heartbroken. You’re better off cutting ties with him, and being on your own until you find someone who wants what you want.

Good luck!
Heather

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