A Cute Foreign Man Is Flirting With Me. What Are His Motives?

Cute foreign man flirting with a woman on a video call

Hi Evan,

I am a 34 year old woman living in Canada. My first and only boyfriend six years ago pretended to be committed to me, used me for sex because he wanted to be with a virgin, and then he dumped me one month after taking my virginity. As a result of this awful relationship, I have some pretty major trust issues, and find it hard to accept the notion that a man might be genuinely interested in me.

About six months ago, I befriended an extremely good looking man in Puerto Rico through a flirting application on a social networking site. While he initially flirted quite a bit with me, I didn’t pursue anything since he had about a million female friends on his page, and that would make him out of my league.

For the majority of the time I’ve known him, we would chat occasionally, maybe play a game or two of chess online. However, about two weeks ago, things suddenly changed, and it seems that he is really pursuing me. We have both talked about wanting to pursue PhDs, and he talks about how we should attend the same university. Or, how he would like to “rent” a room from me if the job application I submitted to Ottawa comes through, since he could then study at the university in that city. And once I began taking a Spanish course, he has appeared online every night, under the guise to help me with my homework. One other thing, he has removed all his friends from his page as well as all of his own photos.

So the thing is, I don’t know what to make out of all this. What is going on with him? I am definitely attracted to this guy, physically, and intellectually, and I have sort of hinted to him that I think he’s a nice fellow and good-looking, but he never directly comes out and says he’s interested in me. But he hints around a lot, asked if I would ever consider moving to Florida or the Caribbean, and said I should visit Puerto Rico. Is he just being friendly? Is he just interested in helping me with Spanish and nothing more than platonic friendship? Or is there possibly more to it?


Dear Renee,

There’s ALWAYS something sexual underlying the motives of men. If you’re ever debating internally, “Why did he call me out of the blue?” or “Why did he offer me a ride home after work?” or “Why did he compliment my hair?” the answer is always that he wants to sleep with you.

Men and women can be friends if: a) he’s not remotely attracted to her, or b) he’s already hooked up with her and determined that he’s no longer interested.

This friend vs. more-than-friend concept has gotten a considerable amount of airplay, notably in “When Harry Met Sally”, wherein it was determined that men and women couldn’t be friends.

I have an addendum to that: Men and women can be friends if: a) he’s not remotely attracted to her, or b) he’s already hooked up with her and determined that he’s no longer interested. Without either of those conditions, it means that he’s physically attracted to her, the relationship has not been consummated, and therefore, there’s going to be sexual tension.

So even if you haven’t been actively flirting, Renee, after six months of emailing, there’s going to be, at least, a lingering curiosity. Our imaginations are fertile, and we can project whatever we want onto a stranger. Thank god for fantasies. But beware: it’s easy to confuse fantasy and reality. Your fantasy is that this sexy Puerto Rican guy will want to meet you for a hot fling in South Beach. The reality is that it sounds like he just wants to use you to get cheap room and board in Ottawa.

Listen, I believe in the good of people. In most of our hearts, I think we all know the difference between right and wrong. But, when you get right down to it, we’re all acting out of self-interest. You might continue to use him for Spanish lessons even though you’ll never reciprocate anything. And that would be well within your rights – you’re taking advantage of his seeming generosity. However, most people aren’t purely altruistic. We even donate to charity or volunteer because it makes us feel good. So while it’s humanly possible to imagine a universe in which people offer hours of online Spanish lessons free of charge just because verb tenses are fun, it seems more likely than not that he’s come to the conclusion that you’re his meal ticket. Now it’s no longer chess once every few weeks; he’s making the full-court press to show you what an amazing guy he is, and what a perfect roommate he’ll be.

I’ve got no trouble with your crush on him, but let’s be clear: it’s all a game between you and you.

There’s a lot going on here, Renee. But it’s all fantasy. You’re wondering if he’s for real. You’re wondering if he’s interested. You’re wondering why he’s tutoring you in Spanish. You’re wondering why he’s making such an effort. You’re wondering if he’s a friend or a potential partner.

Here’s a crazy idea: why don’t you ask him on the phone?

I know: because it would kill the fantasy and burst the bubble with a hard dose of reality.

I’ve got no trouble with your crush on him, but let’s be clear: it’s all a game between you and you. When you’re ready to know what he wants, you can pick up the phone and ask him.

Which is probably a good idea anyway before he moves in with you.

Join our conversation (28 Comments).
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  1. 1

    “Your fantasy is that this sexy Puerto Rican guy will want to meet you for a hot fling in South Beach. The reality is that it sounds like he just wants to use you to get cheap room and board in Ottawa.”

    ! Maybe that’s how it is. Or maybe the guy is genuinely interested. Maybe the guy himself isn’t sure. But between the trust issues and the seeming likely looks disparity between the man and Renee, the odds of something working out in the long run don’t seem good.

    1. 1.1

      Not necessary. The whole thing is like a leapt of faith. You dive headfirst to discover if it is indeed a dream come true or my worst nightmare repeating all over. What I would do in situations like this is trying to test the person indirectly to uncover his/her motivations or interests.

  2. 2

    Wow!I’m like Renee always trying to figure out if the guy is a geniune nice guy truely wanting a relationship with me. It’s the tought that someone like that can be real. I did ask the guy who I had a fling of his true intentions. I got my answer (after some drilling questions). And well life goes on. Dissaponting situation? yes. Unforgettable guy? No. We just to keep on going. The right guy will come along.

  3. 3

    “Men and women can be friends if: a) he’s not remotely attracted to her, or b) he’s already hooked up with her and determined that he’s no longer interested.”

    Why so one-sided? What about the woman in the friendship?

  4. 4

    Hi All

    I’ve been pretty much a silent observer on this website until I read this messgae and felt I had to comment. I’ve often seen various comments about European women too (older women-younger men type of thing). Well, I am that European woman, living in Europe.

    I get a LOT of contacts from other countries (European/North African countries being so much more closer geographically). Believe me, they are generally all headed nowhere. It’s a lot easier, psychologically, to write “intimate” emails and messages to someone you know you won’t meet (and have no intention of doing so). I’ve even had guys arrange to come over, and then mysteriously “ooops – can’t make it” at the last moment – I never believed they would – but it was interesting to see just how far they would go, making arrangements.

    Believe me – forget cross-border liasions. Everyone feels a lot safer, the more remote they are – and hence will promise all sorts. I’m an active on-line dater, and I do have 2-3 guys in other countries I talk to – but that’s all it is – talk. I know nothing will ever come of it, but it provides fun, intellectual banter when I’m bored and when no-one else of interest seems to be around. We flirt, we joke, we even talk about meeting, but we both know nothing will come of it. Enjoy it for what it is – but the chances of it growing into anything else are slim. This is even more true when you are in a more ‘desirable’ country that the other person might be seeking to get to.

    My advice – keep looking locally, but in the meantime, enjoy the “feel-good’ factor this guy gives you – the banter, the flirting – but have in the back of your mind all the other reasons he might be contacting you. As Evan says – he just might see you as a meal-ticket, and a cheap bunk for a while.

    I’m sorry if this is harsh advice – but it is well-founded. I believed the first overseas guy I met, and fell foul. I learned my lesson, and now just enjoy the banter of playing back at their own game. Men will talk as talk does, but as Evan has frequently said, it’s what they actually DO that counts.

    If you still think this guy is for real, then offer to help him find a place of his own to stay, where he will pay his own rent – you can easily say that you are aren’t so sure about staying together from Day 1. His reaction to that will probably tell you what you need to know.

    Good luck!
    And I look forward to being a more active participant on here from now on – and yes, European women DO date younger men….

  5. 5

    This situation goes both ways. As she indicated this guy is way above her league especially the kind of men she can get in a non online world. This very attractive guy is living in a less desirable part of the world. Thus they both of something to trade. He wants to live in a better country. She wants to be with a very attractive man. It is a fair trade.

    Remember we are living in reality, we can’t have our piece of cake and eat it to. Accept the reality, either you enjoy it or be miserable.

  6. 6

    Women and men can only be friends if the WOMAN is not even remotely attracted. That’s how it goes in my life, anyway. True, if the man has a little crush on you, you may have to thwart that on occasion. One of my best friends (for years) is now happily partnered and it has rounded our friendship off rather nicely. In fact, I’d say it’s even more devoted than before (I’ve kind of become an honorary sister, and his girlfriend and I like each other well.) He was only sometimes flirtatious with me when we were friends before (testing the waters) and it was not a huge issue.

    Having said that, my experience of men from many other (south of here, or, France, Italy, etc.) countries is that they have much more flexible boundaries where relationships are concerned. You’re not in any box except, “maybe.” Or, Monday you can be a lover, Wednesday a landlord and Saturday a girlfriend and…Hey! What’s the problem? Until they wed you, which is a whole other deal, if, in fact, that occurs, it’s much less compartmentalized. Many countries consider Americans rather infantile in their approach to sex and love, or so I have heard.


  7. 7
    Cute Red Head

    Last I checked Puerto Rico is a territory of the U.S., which means that our Spanish-speaking friend is a U.S. citizen. So while he may want to go to Canada, it wouldn’t be because he’s from a “less desirable” part of the world. He can live, study, work and travel anywhere in the U.S. without any problem. He can’t vote if he lives on P.R. itself, though. But he wouldn’t be able to vote in Canada, either. So that would hardly be a motivating factor. I think the motivating factor is online fantasy. That’s what I think.

  8. 8
    Bob S.


    I agree with Evan. The only women I’m friends with are those with whom I’m having sex, or with whom I want to have sex, or former sex partners. I’m friendly towards women I’m not attracted to, but wouldn’t call them friends per se.

    As to your guy’s intentions, who knows. Sometimes I’ll have sex with a woman when I know it’s just a fling (i.e., I have selfish motives). With other women I’m open to the possibility of things turning into a long term relationship. Like Evan said — men seek sex and find love, women seek love and find sex.


  9. 9
    Bob S.


    You asked: “What about the woman in the friendship?’

    I’ve read that the female libido is every bit as strong as the male’s. If that’s the case, then Renee will get just as much out of the deal as the Puerto Rican guy. Like batman said…”It is a fair trade.”

  10. 10

    When I was trying to meet someone on-line, I had reached the point where, if they were from another country, I wouldn’t even respond to them. Not because I have an issue with people from other countries, but I had seen enough um, Nigerian Scam Artists, that I didn’t feel I could trust any of them. I don’t think the OP should be so quick to entirely blame her questioning of this person on trust issues. It was her intuition telling her this situation isn’t quite what she hopes or wants to believe it might be.

  11. 11

    Bob S, I meant, why is the possibility of a friendship between a man and a woman determined solely by the MAN’s feelings??

    I agree, though, that a true friendship is pretty much only possible in a case when the two people were involved romantically and both mutually decided that they just aren’t a good match.

    It’s just that, from what I observe, most men aren’t interested in being friends with a woman they aren’t attracted to. They just don’t really look at women as purely friendship material, so if a woman is not physically attractive to them, she is of no interest whatsoever. (Most men, not all.)

  12. 12
    Cute Red Head

    Again, Puerto Rico isn’t a “different country.” It’s part of the U.S.

  13. 13
    Cute Red Head

    Meaning, it’s a Canadian citizen considering a U.S. citizen, not a First World person (Canadian) considering a Third World person (Nigerian). Long distance is an issue, and his unknown intention is an issue. But the respective priveleges of nationality are not an issue.

    So ponder this: If the guy were from England or Switzerland would there be this same insinuation that he’s out to “trade up” materially or to hitch a ride to another (meaning “better”) country? If not, then don’t be thinking that about someone from P.R.

    He sounds like an intelligent, ambitious guy. And we already know that he’s cute and speaks a couple of languages. He’s probably a great catch. That’s not to say the relationship will or can work.

    How about asking him what he is looking for?

  14. 14
    Bob S.

    Dear Juju,

    You wrote:
    >It’s just that, from what I observe, most men aren’t interested in >being friends with a woman they aren’t attracted to.

    To be a friend, you have to spend time with the other person. Since we all have limited time available, it makes more sense to spend time with someone I’m attracted to compared to someone I’m not.

    I’d ideally like to get to know everyone, since almost everyone has interesting experiences to share. But there’s simply not enough time.

  15. 15
    Karl R

    All other considerations aside, unless you’ve met in person, there’s no guarantee that the chemistry will be there if/when you do.


    I agree that sexual tension will be present in almost all situations when a man is interacting with a woman that he finds attractive. I disagree that it prevents a friendship from forming.

    EB is a friend of mine from yoga. She’s a hot older woman, and she lives a few blocks from me. On one level, I’d like to have sex with her. However, I don’t have sex unless I’m in a long-term relationship. Neither of us is interested in pursuing a long-term relationship with the other (we’re at different stages in our lives).

    Sexual tension isn’t necessarily an impedement to a friendship. Acting on it certainly can be.


    JuJu stated: (#11)
    “from what I observe, most men aren’t interested in being friends with a woman they aren’t attracted to.”

    There’s something to what you say. But the situation may be a bit more complex than just sexual attraction. Upon meeting someone, people have the ability to make a very quick (and reasonably accurate) determination of whether they will like that person.

    If you remind me of several people I like, you probably share some characteristics with them. If you remind me of several people that I dislike, you probably share some characteristics with them. Without being consciously aware of it, I will make a judgment call about whether you’re likeable or not, and my initial attraction to you will be influenced by that.

    A lot of your appearance is under your control: hairstyle, makeup, clothing, posture, expression, and mannerisms. If you’re a high-maintenance woman, I’ll be able to tell in a second. If you’re intolerant and judgmental, it might take me several seconds (or even minutes) longer.

    But since most of this occurs at a subconscious level, I probably won’t be able to verbally explain why I’m attracted to someone.

  16. 16

    You never can tell what this guy’s motives are, only he knows, he is the only one that can see what he is thinking.

    In general, some people get fed up with their local selection when it comes to get their “mate on”. When looking for a partner, I have known that some people find it extremely arousing when they meet someone that is not from the same town that they grew up in. He might be in a situation where he is looking to break free from the spot he grew up in and, in general, dislikes the people that surrounds him.

    If he is one that is looking for greener pastures, then a foreigner or someone that lives far away from his home turf is going to be exotic and tempting. I do not know, but this is a possibility.

    I have been around a number of women that would not spit on me if I was on fire. Yet when they come to find out that I am from 1,000 miles away or a different continent, they want to buy me dinner. While we are eating and they are asking me a million questions, they now want me to stay for awhile and chill with them. Those are always nice, because they will even pack you a few meals to take with you.

  17. 17

    I agree with most of what eveone’s saying here. Renee, you’ll never know what’s up with this guy until you both meet in person.

    It’s easy to be behind a computer because it’s safe. But you don’t know what this guy’s about or his real motives. if he’s really serious he’ll want to see you in person and not make it seem as if you’d have to put him up for even one night. A descent guy in this position would make arrangements to stay in a hotel before meeting you. And if things progress, take it from there.

    There’s a lot of bs out there, and the internet makes it easier to bs. You sound like a trusting person, but just be aware or you’ll get duped again.

    just my 2 cents.

  18. 18

    Like some others already, I have to say that I disagree with this statement:

    “Men and women can be friends if: a) he’s not remotely attracted to her, or b) he’s already hooked up with her and determined that he’s no longer interested”

    Although the reasons why two people become friends rather than lovers can be complex, it definitely happens. My best friend is an astonishingly attractive woman, and without doing a long-winded analysis of why we never dated, I can say (1) we have always shared a mutual attraction, and (2) we have never hooked up. We are, simply stated, ideal friends. Think of how you feel about your own best friend of the same sex – that’s how I feel about her. It’s a real sit-in-the-sun-at-the-caf -together-and-debate-nonsense type of friendship.

    Is there some sexual tension there? I guess so. Are we ever going to act on it? Nope. After all these years of knowing her, it would seem extremely weird to me, and I’m sure she feels the same way.

    All that being said…. these types of friendships probably are pretty rare. Of all my other female friends, I can’t think of a single one that I was ever attracted to.

  19. 19

    So, how about that forum, Evan?
    When could we expect it?

  20. 20
    Hot Alpha Female

    I think evan is really onto something.

    I think that men are really obvious and if you are a woman and you are confused about how a guy feels about you … then he is just not that into you.

    I think if you come from this assumption all the time and cont on your life and that relationship with that assumption things will ride along much more smoothly.

    Hot Approach Coach
    Approach Anywoman, Anywhere, Anytime

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