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.

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  1. 21

    Disagree that you always know a man is into you. Just had a man in my building tell me he’s thought I was hot for a long time, but didn’t think I’d be into him. Have many times gotten to know a man only to find he’s harbored feelings for me for some time. Who knew?

    Many men feel inhibited about putting it out there. They may be insecure, think you already have someone (or you DID already have someone, and it was their friend!) or some other reason. That’s where you express interest. If they need a lot of prompting or propping up after that, it’s too much work, in my opinion. I’ll leave the door open, but I’m not gonna carry them across the threshold; that’s their job!

    But in this case…you can’t tell over the miles, I don’t think. Cool it unless a meeting is imminent.


    1. 22.1

      I had known older virgins!!

  2. 23

    Time to take a trip. They always give a new outlook on life. I love to travel, anywhere. I recommend it to anyone out there. It might be because I am a guy, but give me a 200 pound bag and send me to the mountains of a foreign country for a few months, and I am happy. Set me loose in the dance clubs of some land where English is not the native language and you are sure to meet a lot of new people. If anything, just get out and have in mind that you are going to have a good time. When you are not a native to the land that you are visiting, people are going to come up to you and see who you are. Be prepared to have a good time, but always keep your wits about you and know what you are getting into. I have taken several trips here in the states and abroad and I am a better person because of it. Go, be free, and enjoy life.

  3. 24
    mrs stone

    i believe that although it is possible for men and women to be friends ,friendship is only the beginning of what could become something much more valuable! when we let someone into our lives and hearts as friends, the plutonic love that we feel for that person has opporunity to grow into much deeper feelings. it seems that you two have made the connection as friends already, you need to however not jump to conclusions about his feelings! wait until he flat out says “hey im into you” before letting yourself become too attached to the idea of romance and getting heartbroken if you were wrong about his affection! good luck to you!

  4. 25

    Why do men have to be “cute”?   I thought women were ‘above’ that.   At least that is what they all write on all their blogs.   So, it turns out that women are hypocrites?   That they are really just as shallow as men?   Hey, we men don’t pretend — we admit we are superficial and only interested in a woman’s looks.   But woman have always pretended they were ‘above’ that, and interested in a man’s other qualities.
    They are as shallow as we are.   I just wish that they would admit it.

  5. 26

    Personally for the most part I agree about the guy friendship thing except one of my very best friends in the whole world is a guy and we do NOT want to have sex with each other. I met him when he was 11 years old. He was the younger brother of my husband’s best friend. We both love horses and his family and my husband and I  spent many years hanging out at horse shows. As he grew up we remained friends even after my divorce. He is 20 years younger and I’ve always thought of him as my younger brother/friend. He is married to a gorgeous young woman and they have a beautiful son. We are very good friends and he has always been someone I can count on. Even tho we are both attractive for our respective ages, we are not interested in each other physically. I even dated a guy his age for 4 years lol.

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