This Guy Loves Talking to Me, But Does Not Want to Be My Boyfriend


Hi Evan,

I met a guy I really liked, whom I was physically attracted to, whom I had a lot in common with intellectually and creatively (we both write). We almost slept together. And then he stopped being flirtatious, but continued to contact me via email and text regularly, talking about film and writing.

I had a feeling he wasn’t interested in me other than as a friend, and gave him many openings for him to tell me so, but he never did. When I confronted him on the phone, he said he’d need a few days before he could tell me what was going on. This sounded so obtuse that I figured it had to be something more complicated than that he was seeing someone else. Two weeks passed, and he finally told me that that was the case – he’d been seeing someone.

Here’s the thing. He tells me he loves talking to me. He’s physically attracted to me and even desires me sexually. He remembers what I say and asks me about my life. He tells me his ideas and asks me about mine. But he does not want me as his girlfriend.

As I mentioned at the beginning, this is not the first time this has happened to me. So, what gives?

I had always thought that the ideal girlfriend/boyfriend is someone whom you consider a best friend whom you also want to sleep with. Am I wrong? If he treats me like a best friend, and also desires me, what’s missing?


Dear Robyn,

Are you familiar with Occam’s Razor? It’s the principle that “All other things being equal, the simplest solution is the best.” I think you’re ignoring the simplest solution to what’s missing in your relationship.


Now I say this without knowing his side of the story. I say this despite your claims that he’s attracted to you. I say this because when you’re grasping for answers as to what went wrong, you deserve a logical answer.

So here’s my logic:

Most men just need to know that you have a pulse.

It’s easy for most men to find a woman that they’re attracted to.

It’s much harder to find a woman who we enjoy talking to, who we pay attention to, who we want to share our ideas with. In fact, most single men who value those traits complain that it’s the main reason they’re still single. Lots of women are hot. Few are hot and interesting.

Thus, if you’re meeting all of his deeper desires and he STILL chooses not to lock you up as his girlfriend, it stands to reason that there’s something fundamentally missing. My guess is attraction.

This may fly in the face of what you’ve experienced with him, so let me explain further.

Most women need to be attracted to a guy AND have feelings for him to take him home. Most men just need to know that you have a pulse. …

In other words, we don’t need attractive or interesting. We need “available”. Attractive is a bonus. Interesting is a fantasy. And that’s where you threw this guy off his game, Robyn. Because you ARE interesting. Because he really DOES like you. Which explains why he wants to get the benefits of your friendship, without any of the obligations of committing to you sexually.

This is confusing to many women because you wouldn’t act the same way. As Alison Armstrong points out, “Men are not merely hairy women”. Stop expecting them to act as you would.

When I was dating prolifically, I hooked up with lots of strangers who I may or may not have been attracted to. Why? Because they were there. The few women I actually LIKED, I treated with more respect. If I got together with them, I didn’t go as far, and quickly downshifted into friendship when I didn’t feel the attraction.

Just like this guy appears to be doing.

I knew from my own experience that I couldn’t legislate attraction.

If what I’m saying is true (and I don’t know it is), I acknowledge it’s a bitter pill to swallow. Attraction’s a funny thing. It’s not always correlated to looks or body type or symmetry. While many people are swayed by the Maxim aesthetic, if you look around at the world, most of us fall below that bar. Thus getting upset that some guy isn’t attracted to you is a futile exercise. Same as some guy getting upset that he’s not your cup of tea. Believe me, it happens to all of us.

Years ago, I remember being told by a highly anticipated JDate (PhD student, thin, big boobs) that she loved talking to me but didn’t feel any attraction. I was devastated — for a day — until I realized that there was nothing I could do about it. I knew from my own experience that I couldn’t legislate attraction.

I’m sharing my personal experience with you, Robyn, just to let you know that being “rejected” because of chemistry is no crime. It’s a universal — and universally painful — experience. But I think it’s better to contend with the facts than to search for some hidden meaning as to why this guy with whom you share a deep connection isn’t reciprocating.

My theory is that it’s not that deep at all — in fact, it’s probably skin-deep, at best.

Join our conversation (141 Comments).
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  1. 21

    It could be as simple as the guy was casually dating two women (nothing wrong with that), slept with one and then put the brakes on with the other afterwords. He doesn’t want to completely break it off because he likes you and wants to keep you as a friend. You and he might share a common bond of some type but he has a sexual bond with her. It’s apples and oranges – the two can’t be compared evenly. She might be absolutely amazing in bed. I can’t speak for women, but as a guy, if I’m having really great sex it would take a lot to get me to break up with a girl. Actually, if I’m getting any sex at all I would be reluctant to break up.

    If you’re truly interested in this guy, I would keep your distance and limit your contact. As long as he’s sleeping with her and getting his intellectual stimulation from you, he has no reason to date you exclusively. Once you’re out of the picture for a while he might get bored with her and realize what he’s missing. My parents started dating about 45 years ago under very similar circumstances.

    1. 21.1

      Wow am with u on that

  2. 22

    Loving Annie on post # 20

    You maybe right, not all women give guys erections!……….LOL!…..OMG!….

  3. 23

    The letter isn’t really about the guy being available, unavailable, or a douche, it’s really about Robyn the letter writer. Notice she mentions in her second to last para that “this has happened to her before.” What she really wants to know is how to attract the right men and what to do to find them.

    We know virtually nothing about Robyn, but I’d guess there are issues there are holding her back from attracting them she wants. She should examine her presentation (looks and dress), how she projects herself sexually, and what kind of connection she forms when initially meeting men. If you want to attract a man as a sexual partner, then you need to establish a sexual tone at some point. Also, is she going out to meet the right guys? Just a couple of thoughts.

  4. 24

    Also wanted to respond to Teri’s comment #5. Attraction CAN be anticipated and manipulated. That’s the bread and butter of any pickup or social artist.

  5. 25

    At least this guy was honest about the other girl. He didn’t have to say anything about her and could have kept talking to you and misleading you. It seems that he likes getting sex from the other girl and likes talkking to you. Since you like this guy, I would keep my distance because talking to him will keep you from looking for someone that really wants to be with you. I was in a situation where the guy loved talking to me and we would talk for hours on the phone. We went on some dates and we did have sex. It didn’t seem like he put effort into spending time with me even though he lived an hour away from me. I felt like I always had to initiate when we would see each other. When I finally talked to him about it, he told me that he does what he can. I never undrstood how he liked talking to me and even enjoyed sex with me, but would not make the effort to spend time with me. I just called it off and told him I didn’t want a phone relationship. When someone lies you, they will make the effort. I stopped speaking to him all together because I didn’t want to set myself up. It’s best to keep your distance and if he cares, he knows where to find you!

    1. 25.1

      absolutely 1000 percent truth!!!

    2. 25.2

      so true ! are some guys really that dumb and think we are just looking for a phone buddy lol wtf?   noo but I agree if he likes you enough and cares he knows where to find you and men will move mountains when it comes to the one they love nothing will stop them so we cant make excuses for them

  6. 26

    L J, I think you’re right, it could be that Robyn’s allowing her expectations to get in the way here. Not that this guy is a saint, but that it seems to be a pattern with her. Perhaps Robyn’s being too giving and having expectations about the wrong guys.

    Robyn, I suggest you decide what you want and act accordingly. Easier said, I’m sure, but if this guy’s not giving you what you want, he won’t change so you should move on.

  7. 27
    Cute Redhead

    In a way I’m just thinking “who cares what’s going on with this guy.” Really — he probably doesn’t even know himself. People do and say all kinds of weird things, especially where sex and romance are concerned. What’s troubling is that the OP even cares enough about it to write in. I do understand that mixed signals are maddening and, in an odd way, fascinating. An analogy: If you were struggling on a trek through a desert and spied an Evian bottle in the distance you’d be all excited. But if when you reached it and it were empty, would you keep trying to get drops out of it? And then obsess about why it was empty?
    “Maybe it evaporated. But the cap was on! Can that happen?”
    “I bet someone else drank it. People in the desert are so selfish!”
    “Maybe when it came out of the bottling place in France it was empty and the QC person didn’t notice!”
    “Now why don’t they have watering stations here in the desert, like they do at marathons. Life would be so much better!”

    Except that it isn’t any better than what it is — it just what it is. The guy is a desert.

    1. 27.1

      Love this!!

    2. 27.2

      🌅 I love it!!

  8. 28

    I like the Evian water bottle analogy…..

  9. 29

    Many of us guys are the desert. Most of us remain there, ’cause the average man does not study relationships/human behaviour. And to top off, the few of us that do, rarely find answers…..

    1. 29.1


      but what if you meet someone willing to meet you and be patient with you. Why not take a drink and reciprocate with kindness instead of confusing signals. I guess I am old school and present myself with an open heart. The only thing is, it can be broken…

      1. 29.1.1


        for most men, you have to elaborate on, “reciprocate with kindness.”….

    2. 29.2

      I unfortunately understand that.. to my own demise… Blessings..

  10. 30

    Post 27 Cute Redhead,

    Isn’t that the definition for insanity? Doing the same thing over and over but expecting a different result. We ALL do this occasionally because we want a different result so badly, because we can see ourself being really happy with this person, etc. It’s a very normal experience to have.
    And if it troubles you so much that the OP wrote in about it, then why do you read a dating advice column? Just sayin…

  11. 31
    The Baltimore Babe

    All very good advice above. Keep the guy has a contact, but pull back on the communication and go out with the girls for a couple weekends in a row. Go out to dinner with the gals and just keep too ‘busy’ for this guy. Along the way, Robyn will regain her confidence, have fun, and may meet someone new and interesting…

  12. 32
    C. Crestwood

    I think really whats going on here is two things: The man she had the attraction to probably already was courting the other woman. I myself find that although I may have a woman I’m dating I will still find that there are a lot of interesting attractive women out there I love to be around, and yes I am intersted in going physical. However I have the respect to the girl I’m dating that unless the second option is a lot better and possibly easier than what I have then there is no reason to get rid of what I have. Lazyness drives all of us to a point and its nothing personal.
    Second, is it possible you came on as desperate? After only a little time you confronted him on the phone with the horrible phrase “What are we?” I personally find this as a red flag. I want to be somewhat casual with a girl and if she brings that up too soon I will cut ties, because then I know she will want to rush into everything else, moving in, getting married, and having kids. Personally if thats not what I want right now I don’t want someone trying to pressure me into it.

    -C. Crestwood.

  13. 33
    Cute Redhead

    LJ: It doesn’t “trouble” me.

  14. 34

    Relationships between guys and girls are always complicated. It never fails that one person is always more into the relationship than the other. The situation varies either one is feeling the chemistry while the other is feeling the friend vibe.

    I constantly was encountering this in the dating world. I just recently joined one of those dating services and men and women are open about what they want. Before you meet someone you get a look at them – personal life – what they want out of relationship. From there you say yes or no to meeting them. If you aren’t interested after meeting them your open and honest about it before it goes further. It seriously eliminates the heartache.

  15. 35

    Cute Redhead…go back and read your post, these were your words…

    What’s troubling is that the OP even cares enough about it to write in.

  16. 36
    Cute Redhead

    LJ: Maybe we’re just parsing words here, but I don’t see how you got from my saying something is “troubling” (to me a minor throw-away comment) to the OP’s contribution being something that “troubles me so much.” It doesn’t “trouble me so much.” It doesn’t trouble me at all. You exaggerated my degree of discomfort with the situation and I felt sufficiently troubled by that to correct you.

  17. 37
    Anony Mononny

    I’m a young woman who has a tendency to over-analyze things, big or small, to the point of exhaustion (and the exasperation of my peers). If I were Robyn, I’d cut the bastard loose; if he wants an intellectual equal to talk to, he should go find someone where attraction doesn’t even fit into the equation (i.e. a male friend).

  18. 38

    I agree with the posters who have suggested he was casually dating Robyn and someone else (perhaps more than one?) at the same time and picked the other one for romantic purposes. I’ve been in situations like this before–both as the one who was “picked”, as well as being the one who wasn’t. Always a disappointment when you think the guy really likes you and you find out –uh, well, he likes someone else more.

    Robyn, I think all this “talk”, intellectual stimulation, is merely this guy’s way of keeping you “on the back burner” in case his current relationship doesn’t work out. If you are okay with that, fine. If you can ‘just be friends’ with him, fine also. But if you are really attracted to him, your sanity is better served by making yourself unavailable to him. And as far as this having happened before–it really is simply a matter of finding that person who connects with you on ALL levels and that can mean getting 10 -20 “No’s” before getting a “Yes!”. Try to be patient. You will find the guy who picks you over anyone else.

  19. 39

    I think that guy is attracted. I just think he is keeping his options open. probably flirting around, trying to find the best match for him…trying to figure out things before he commits to you. he is quite smart, you should do the same!! 😉 enjoy the friendship, it is how the greatest love stories grow…why look for a ridiculous label for it “boyfriend-girlfriend” & “dating” are notions that didn’t even exist back in our grandparents days. just enjoy the friendship, go out, live your life and see where everything leads. stop having expectations!! learn to love someone without expecting something in return from them, without it being necessary to fit into a description of something you have to label and must explain to others.

  20. 40

    Oh Julia, what a lovely thing to say ” ..learn to love someone without expecting something in return from them…” that is so soothing a comment, oh it is…

    1. 40.1

      im sorry but screw that -i used to think that way too but you need to have expectations when it comes to men or you will be used. So he wants to keep his options open and keep you on the back burner. If you’re not his first choice and his  main   priority hes not worth your time of day. He gets the emotional/intellectual stimulation from you while hes giving his physical love to another woman and  that should not be overlooked.

      As women we bond emotionally through conversation and im going through the same thing my neighbor who im attracted to and have been physical with continued to call me and message me and stop by  even though he  stopped hanging out with me like he did before and when the weekend rolled around i never heard from him at all. I finally told him that im not interested in friendship and id rather keep my focus and attention on someone who wants the same things as me and id rather he not contact me unless he its important and he needs something-no reply.

      I don’t care if i made things awkward between us because i didn’t appreciate the way he was making me feel. He can go call up the girls that he’s f*%king. Im not going to be used as a sound board or a therapist and provide emotional support to someone who obviously doesn’t give a shit about me. I tend to lose interest in people who don’t show much interest in me. In the beginning he did but he was more attentive and would hang out with me. Anyways in the end its all about the way hes making you feel now. If hes not making you feel special or that important to him cut him loose. Focus your attention on people -friends, family and other guys who actually care about you they are the ones that deserve it not these lames who don’t know what they want or aren’t mature enough to decide they want to settle down with just one woman

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