When I first met my guy, I didn’t know what to think of him or how he acted. We went on a handful of friendly lunch dates. He definitely seemed interested. But, he’d never make a move.
Finally, I got fed up and decided to get a little daring. I made a pretty blatant comment about finding him attractive. The conversation continued without him making a remark until, a few minutes later, he said, “Oh. I just got that.”
And then he proceeded to do nothing.
In the end, it all worked out. About a week later, he asked me on a formal date. We went out to dinner and dancing, and we’ve been together ever since.
But we’d have never gotten to this point if I hadn’t been willing to wait to figure out his intentions.
So, how do you know when a guy is interested but wants to take it slow, and when he’s just stringing you along until he finds someone he likes better?
Even when someone isn’t telling you exactly what their intentions are, there are a few clues available in their behavior. Some of the hints below can help you figure it out.
12 Signs He’s Interested, Even if He’s Taking It Slow
Is a guy interested if he wants to take it slow? It really all depends.
Some guys who wanna take it slow are really just stringing you — and possibly other women — along as long as they can.
But, there are also a lot of conscientious, smart guys out there who just prefer a more leisurely pace as you get to know one another.
In a world where everyone seems in a rush, they are taking their time and being very deliberate about how fast they go and where the relationship takes them.
If you aren’t sure whether he’s really interested, look for some of these clues.
1. He calls or texts you every day.
If you get little “just thinking of you” messages throughout the day and a phone call in the evening, this means that you are frequently on his mind. Chances are good that he’s into you if he’s thinking of you this often.
Plus, not only is he thinking of you, he wants to keep up regular contact. This is a sign that your attention is important to him.
Even if he wants to start as friends, this is a good sign that things can go further in the future.
However, if he doesn’t call you or text you at all, then that may not be a good sign.
2. He asks you a lot of questions about yourself.
If he is asking you questions, that means he’s curious about you. And, curiosity is a sure sign of interest.
These questions may or may not be big ones. He could be asking about your childhood or asking about favorite foods.
But, in the end, they’re a great way for both of you to gauge compatibility and level of interest.
If a guy is not asking you much about yourself, take a step back and think about whether the rest of the signs point to greater interest.
Because someone who is not asking you questions is likely just passing the time and not looking for something serious.
3. He’s not hiding you from his friends.
Don’t get me wrong. A guy who only ever wants to hang out with you and all of his friends is a problem all on its own.
You need some time one-on-one if there is going to be a relationship.
But, a guy who you only ever see when you’re chilling at his house or going to dates far from where either of you live is a red flag.
It is a sign that he is not willing to show that you are together, no matter whether you’ve declared your intentions or are waiting to put a label on it.
If he’s bringing you around the people who are important to him, that is a sign that he sees potential in the relationship.
He may not have made any proclamations or moved things to the next level, but he’s not keeping the relationship on the down-low, either.
4. He’s a perfect gentleman around you.
On the cult favorite TV show “Firefly,” Kaylee got impatient with how formal Simon was around her all the time.
She took it as a sign of snobbery and one that he thought he was better than she was.
When she confronted him, though, he told her that that couldn’t be farther from the case.
He was a gentleman around her because they weren’t in a place where he felt he could properly court her even if he wanted to. So, he showed his feelings by being polite.
If your guy is doing his best to take things slow and easy, he could be working to show his regards in other ways.
So, he may not give you steamy compliments, but he’ll always open the door for you or carry a package.
Seeing this from him is a good sign that he is pretty smitten, even if he’s staying reserved.
5. You get his undivided attention.
When you’re together, you notice that you two are always making eye contact. Even if there are other women in the room, he’ll seem to only notice you.
You two will spend hours talking to each other, whether it’s in person, on video chat, by text or on the phone.
Anthropology professor Helen Fisher says that, when we’re falling in love, we’ll feel intensely drawn toward the object of our affection.
Every contact with another causes a dopamine spike. Serotonin falls, which researchers believe is linked to obsessive thoughts of the person who we want.
What that all means put together is, if you are getting a lot of his attention despite him taking it slow, he’s probably pretty strongly interested in you.
6. He’s not afraid to be himself around you.
By the same token, him dressing more casually or being up for lazy days at his place eating pizza and watching movies is also a good sign.
Mattress Advisor surveyed 1000 people in relationships to see how long it took them to feel comfortable with their significant other.
And, men typically hit the comfort milestones before women did. While both men and women were worried about different kinds of awkwardness, men typically had lower scores than women did in these matters.
Also, while the study focused specifically on spending the night, that doesn’t necessarily mean jumping into intimate activities.
Only half of the participants said they’d be comfortable getting naked on a first sleepover with a partner.
7. He confides in you.
Men, in general, are conditioned to play it pretty cool. Many are only able to let their guards down around women who they trust and are interested in.
This vulnerability is a form of intimacy and many reserve it for the important women in their lives.
Probably the best thing you can do to advance the relationship is be open to it. A study published in Frontiers in Psychology examined the reasons that people left relationships.
Despite assumptions that women are the ones pursuing emotional intimacy, both men and women marked a lack of it as a reason not to go forward in a relationship.
8. He talks about the future.
Not necessarily the big stuff, but little things. He wants you to see the sequel to his favorite movie coming out in a few months.
He’s dying to share this restaurant with you that he knows you’ll love. If he is looking forward and telling you about it, that’s a good chance he’s looking forward to time spent with you.
9. He likes to help you out.
Men find meaning in their lives by being needed. The time he puts into helping you with big tasks or small is time that he is investing in a future relationship with you.
So, if he shows up at your house to help you out with painting the walls or installing that new ceiling fan, it’s probably not because he’s a big fan of home improvement.
It’s more likely that he’s a big fan of you, and wants to find sweet ways to spend time with you that don’t directly point toward a big, heavy commitment.
10. You laugh together.
When people laugh together, it increases the positive feelings that they have toward one another.
Researchers at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, studied the impact on laughter in relationships and how laughter works as social glue.
What they learned was that a shared laugh can make people feel more strongly toward one another.
But, researchers have also found that people laugh with one another more easily and frequently when they already share a bond.
It’s an external symbol of connection and triggers hormones that make us feel closer to one another.
So, if you two find yourselves in fits of giggles when you are spending time together, there’s a good chance that he is really into you, even if he’s holding back.
11. He likes to spend time with you.
Can you two have a wonderful time together just hanging out waiting for your clothes at the laundromat?
Do you spend evenings on the phone or in chat streaming movies in your own homes together?
We think of romantic interest in terms of big, romantic dates. But, smaller gestures and time spent are just as important.
And, these low-key hangouts have a special purpose for the guy who likes to take things slow.
They allow you to form a bond with one another without having to put in the huge amount of energy a big date would take.
12. He wants to know more about what you like.
You suddenly realize that you’ve been babbling about your favorite novel series for who knows how long and suddenly you feel embarrassed.
But, to your relief, he’s sitting there nodding and smiling, asking questions at just the right times.
A guy who is taking it slow is going to take the time to get to know you. That means giving you chances to rave about the things that make you most excited.
By asking about your favorites, watching the shows you think he just has to see and trying out that restaurant you really love, he’s gauging whether you two have a future together.
10 Good Reasons He Wants to Take It Slow
There are all kinds of reasons a guy wants to take it slow. Most of them are things you shouldn’t worry about.
In fact, they can be good signs that he is super serious about you and wants to make sure he’s paving the way for a long-term, serious relationship.
1. He can’t form an emotional connection if you sleep together too quickly.
With some men, it’s like they have a switch in their head. If they sleep with someone immediately, their brain sorts that partner into “hook-up” and they can’t get past it.
They wind up in a pattern where they get naked then want her to get gone.
Their brain categorizes the women they sleep with right away one way, and they just aren’t able to see the long term potential otherwise.
If he’s aware of this pattern in himself, he may decide to do the work to overcome it by getting to know you first.
By taking time to develop some feelings for one another before you go getting under the sheets, he can make the relationship more meaningful for himself, and probably more long-lasting.
2. He wants to make sure it’s love and not lust.
When you are in the first throes of attraction, it can be hard to differentiate between deep lust and a potential deep connection.
Sleeping together too quickly only makes it harder to figure it out, since our brains start pumping attachment-forming oxytocin when we’re physically intimate.
If he is looking for a long-term relationship, he’s a smart guy if he takes the time to figure out what is general interest before he starts getting blinded by brain chemistry.
Taking it slow means that you aren’t getting attached to one another before you are sure that there is a deeper basis for what you are feeling.
3. He’s a traditional guy.
The old-school advice about waiting for intimacy may have something to it.
In one study, interpersonal communication researcher Dr. Sandra Metts asked participants about turning points in their relationships.
Those who had sex only after exchanging “I love yous” or making a commitment to be exclusive had more positive feelings about the relationship and the sex they were having with one another.
In another study, researchers found that those who waited to have sex had more stable relationships that were more satisfying, with better sex and better communication.
Those who waited till marriage had the strongest benefit.
However, even those who delayed by a few months still had stronger relationships than those who fell into bed together right away.
4. There are complications that are making him wary.
The number of single parents has doubled since the 1980s.
About 15% of adults have student loan debt.
And that doesn’t even begin to get into entanglements with exes and other issues that could make a relationship more complicated.
The truth is, most of us have baggage of one sort or another. There is nothing wrong with that. We’re human, and human lives are messy.
But, wanting to make sure that you are interested enough in someone to take on their potential issues while dealing with your own, is just common sense.
Taking things slow allows him to figure out whether you two are going to be compatible and whether you are both wanting the same things and moving in the same direction.
5. He doesn’t want to miss any red flags.
We’ve all been there. The bad relationship where, when it’s over, you wonder how you missed all the signs that this person was going to be trouble.
The guy who is taking it slow has probably been there, too.
And, what he’s learned from his last relationship (or the one before that) is that he’s not able to 100% trust himself when he’s in the throes of infatuation.
As a result, he takes it slow. He takes time to get to know someone and let the first butterflies fade a little.
This way, he knows that he knows you well enough to know that he won’t have any serious problems that he should have seen coming.
6. He enjoys the process of getting to know someone.
There’s something to be said for the slow burn.
Learning something new every day. Extending that anticipation makeout session by makeout session without ever totally relieving the tension.
Exploring together and making every discovery an adventure.
You never get another chance to be newly in a relationship with one another. So, why not enjoy it? Stretch out those moments and revel in them.
7. Past relationships have left him gun shy.
If his ex did a number on him, it’s easy to understand why he may not be ready to jump right back into a new relationship.
Taking it slow allows him to feel a little safer before he makes himself vulnerable again.
Take some time to ask him about his romantic history if you think this might be the case. Talking out some of his anxieties may make him feel safer and help him understand his own hesitancy, as well.
8. He wants to be on his own for a bit.
If he just got out of a relationship, he may be enjoying single life a little bit. The only problem is that he just met you, and he likes you as much as he likes being his own man.
Enjoying being single doesn’t necessarily mean sleeping around or partying all the time.
It could mean spending his Sunday morning playing X-Box in his pajamas instead of getting dressed to go to the farmer’s market.
Giving him some time to enjoy his own space, while maintaining your connection, could be just the right thing for both of you.
9. He wants to get to know the real you.
When we first get into a new dating situation, we’re on our best behavior. It takes time to feel confident enough about someone to let it all hang out, so, whether we mean to or not, we put on a bit of a show.
Taking it easy allows both of you to become more comfortable. And, when you are comfortable, you are more likely to reveal the real you that is hiding inside.
10. He wants to be sure he’s over his ex.
Lingering feelings after a relationship ends are natural. You may feel a pull toward someone even if you know, without a doubt, that you never want to be with them again.
Plus, an intense relationship or a bad break-up can be emotionally draining. It can take some time to recharge the batteries before you feel ready again.
By taking it slow, he may be making sure that he is really ready to get into a new relationship again.
He may have had experiences with rebound relationships that happened before he was ready. When he takes his time, he is protecting your feelings by being sure he is not stepping into something committed before he is ready.
There are as many reasons a guy wants to take it slow as there are guys on the planet.
The truth is, you probably aren’t going to be able to know his intentions for sure until he is ready to share them.
But, if you are enjoying his company and don’t feel like you are putting your life on hold, take the time to enjoy a slow start.
You can never go back to the beginning, so making it last can make the whole relationship that much sweeter.
Recommended reading: He wants to be friends but I want more: 18 important things to remember
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