14 alarming signs a guy is just stringing you along (and what to do about it)

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You’re in a situationship with a guy and while things are great, it’s moving at a snail’s pace.

A part of you wants to remain patient because good relationships start slow, but there’s that part of you that’s also wondering “is this man stringing me along?!”

Maybe it’s just your anxious mind and you should learn to relax, or maybe you’ve actually been noticing signs that he isn’t taking your relationship seriously.

To help you figure out what’s actually going on, here are the most obvious signs a guy is just stringing you along.

1) He doesn’t call you his girlfriend

Give it some thought. If a guy’s truly into you, he’d be dying to call you his girlfriend as soon as he can.

If he sidesteps every opportunity you give him to call you his girlfriend, especially if you’ve been together for a while, then something’s up.

At best, it could mean that he simply has commitment issues he needs to deal with, or that there are things that make him unsure about your relationship.

But it’s very likely that he’s just stringing you along. He wants to get the benefits of having a girlfriend without actually having one.

When in doubt, you can try to talk things over to figure out why. Every guy thinks a little differently, after all.

Maybe it’s not entirely his fault because he told you he never intended to be serious with you in the first place.

But do what’s best for you. Acknowledge your feelings (that you’re uneasy that you’re still not official), and have an honest talk. Of course, because you suspect that the guy might be a stringer, take his words with a grain of salt.

2) He avoids talking about the future

A big sign that a guy isn’t being serious with you is that gets evasive when you try talking about the future.

Sure, some people prefer to live in the moment and say things like “whatever will be, will be” instead of daydreaming about their future with you. And so long as they tell it to you straight, it’s fine.

What isn’t fine is when he gets evasive when you try to bring up the subject. He might blurt out one day that he wants to live on a farm with you. And then when you bring it up again, he ignores you, tries to change the subject, or even gets mad at you for trying to talk about it in the first place.

If he’s inconsistent and doesn’t like talking about the future, then chances are that he’s stringing you along.

Maybe he just sees you as a side girl in case he fails to get the girl he actually likes. Or maybe he just sees you as a conquest to hold on to until he finds someone “better” to replace you with.

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4) He blows hot and cold

He would be quiet for ages, only to suddenly show up and love bomb you. It leaves you flustered, lost, and unsure how to act.

The euphoria you feel from being recognized after all that silence would make you feel so good that you would forget any misgivings you might have had of the silence.

Now, I’m not talking about those situations where he would genuinely have reasons to disappear for months on end, like being a soldier on deployment or a sailor aboard a cruise ship.

I’m talking about situations where he could literally talk to you anytime and still he’d be absent or give you little attention.

You might see him online in social media all the time and talking to other people… but not you. He leaves you chasing after breadcrumbs, starving you of attention until he suddenly floods you with attention.

This guy is playing games with you.

5) You have a feeling he only cares about sex

Sometimes people get into relationships without any desire to get serious about it. This is totally fine so long as both people involved know what they’re getting into. Some people just like having a reliable bed partner or companion.

Given that you’re reading this, however, means that you want your relationship with him to be more than just that.

Maybe you started your relationship knowing it would be 100% physical, only to later develop feelings for him. But when you tried to talk to him about it, he turned you down telling you that he’d rather keep the relationship as it is.

Or maybe you never talked about it at all, and simply noticed that while he seems to get excited whenever sex is involved, he’s also completely uninterested in anything else.

He doesn’t ask about your interests, or your hopes and dreams. You get the feeling he doesn’t really understand you that well, because he simply isn’t that interested in knowing how your mind works.

But of course, he’d make sure you still get some crumbs so you’ll stay and remain hopeful.

6) He doesn’t seem to be putting in any effort

It feels like you’re the one trying to get things going. He doesn’t bother to call first unless he wants something from you. You try to get to know him, his friends, and the things he likes, but he doesn’t do the same things to you.

Ask him to do something and he would do it, but without enthusiasm.

It’s almost like he isn’t even interested in a relationship with you at all from how half-hearted his efforts are. Well, maybe he’s actually interested in a relationship, but not with you.

This happens especially often if he started a relationship with you to deal with heartbreak, maybe to rebound from a breakup or because the girl he wants decided to go out with someone else.

He might try hard at first to make things work, but as he begins to heal, he’ll realize that he doesn’t really have any feelings for you at all. But he enjoys the idea of a relationship at least, and is holding on to you until he finds someone better.

7) He hasn’t introduced you to friends and family

One of the first things a guy would be eager to do if he’s serious about you and loves you would be to introduce you to the people who are important to him.

At the very least that means his friends. And if his relationship with his family is good, then his family as well.

Among other things, it shows that he has nothing to hide.

If he was just stringing you along, he would be careful about getting his friends to know you because they might snitch on him and warn you to stay away.

It also means that he trusts you enough to be part of his friend circle, and that either you’re the one for him, or that if you ever break up you won’t turn his friends against him.

Just put yourself in his shoes. If you don’t see any future with someone, you wouldn’t go through the trouble of introducing them to the people in your life, would you? No. Because it’s a waste of everyone’s time.

8) He’s enjoying his life without you

Simply put, he’s still independent.

Nothing wrong with that of course, but when a man falls head over heels in love, he doesn’t want to be independent. He wants to share his life with his girl! This is a basic truth of love and dating that every girl should know.

That doesn’t mean that he should always rely on you or do things together with you just because you’re together. You don’t want a clingy boyfriend and that’s not how healthy relationships work.

Rather, he keeps on living his life as if he isn’t in a relationship with you at all. He goes out to party all by himself, hangs out with his friends without bothering to invite you or give you even a simple heads-up, and doesn’t do much together with you.

While some people are more independent than others, certainly, being in a relationship means that he should be trying harder to make you part of his life.

If he’s enjoying his life way too much without you in it, then let him be. Don’t cling. Enjoy your life without him too. Wait and see if things will change. If they won’t, he’s probably not that into you.

9) He doesn’t really try to get to know you

He doesn’t try to know what you like, or what you do.  He doesn’t dig deeper at all.

His eyes glaze over when you try talking about your interest or your childhood. He might give you a reaction if you manage to say something interesting, but it feels half-hearted…like he’s just saying it to be polite.

You know when someone is dying to get to know you, right? It doesn’t matter if you’re really an interesting person because they’re interested in anything you have to say. You can just feel it when it’s there, and feel it when it isn’t.

Even if your interests don’t match, if he truly considers you as a potential long-term girlfriend, then he will at least try to understand you. He’d be curious about how you feel and think even if it’s something as girly as make-up or Tiktok.

If he’s putting no effort into knowing more about you than what he can see at the surface level, it’s probably because he simply isn’t serious about you.

After all, why would he try and waste his effort if he knows that you’re not the one for him?

10) He doesn’t make time for you

We all live busy lives, chasing deadlines day after day. Sometimes we have so many obligations that it can be hard to make time for people—even to the ones we really care for.

But the thing is that if he truly wants to, he can totally make time for you!

Chances are that he’s setting you aside because he’s not entirely sure about your relationship.

Men are simple creatures—it’s either he thinks you’re the one for them or you aren’t, no in-between.

I learned this from relationship expert Carlos Cavallo. He’s one of the world’s leading experts on relationship psychology and what men want from a relationship.

As Carlos explains in his free video, most men are unnecessarily complicated when they think about commitment.

According to Carlos, what men really want is to feel that they’ve found the absolute best woman for them.

As if he has won the premiership of love.

Carlos Cavallo shows you exactly how to make him feel like he’s a winner in his new video.

You’ll learn several simple and genuine things you can do right now to stop him from being a player.

You can check it out here.

11) He plays mind games on you

Mind games are, as a rule of thumb, not a good thing to see in a relationship.

Sure, he might get your attention if he tries making you jealous. Playing hard to get can be sexy and maybe it’s his go-to technique to win you over.

However, in the long term, these things wear down trust in the relationship and also ruin your own sense of self. It’s psychological abuse, and studies show just how harmful it can be to you and the relationship as a whole.

Something to keep in mind is that you cannot abuse someone emotionally and genuinely love them.

Mind games, especially when coupled with passive-aggressive behavior, exist to dis-empower the victim, and make them feel superior for it.

In this case, the victim is you.

So as cute as it may seem sometimes—mind games have become romanticized in the media for some reason—you should be alarmed if he plays mind games on you.

This is a sign that he enjoys playing with you rather than actually building a relationship with you.

12) He seems interested in other women, even when you’re around

Some people hide the fact that they’re scouting out other women. But not him.

He’s all too eager to learn more about the girls that you are friends with.

And when you’re out on a date together, you can see him zoning out and looking at the women passing by. He might even be as shameless as to compliment them straight to your face.

This is a big sign that he’s just stringing you along. Chances are that he’s just having fun with you while he looks for other women he can take to bed.

Of course, again and again, he will throw in some romance now and then to make sure you would still be by his side.

You might try to listen to what other women have to say about him, especially his exes. Sometimes people change as they go through relationships, but that isn’t always the case. And if he has a history of being a sleaze, then you should be careful around him.

13) He makes promises, but doesn’t go through with them

Whether it’s about going out on a date on the fifth or buying you a plushy, he’s all too eager to make promises. But he makes little to no effort in actually going through with them.

And you know that it’s not because he’s forgetful, because he can easily tell you about how your last few dates went or where you placed your keys last week. He’s purposefully ignoring the things he promised he’d do.

When you try booking a date with him, you can show up super early only for him to ghost you. And it happens every time. And a year can pass by with you telling him about the plushy so often and you won’t get it from him at all.

Worse, he might even gaslight you and tell you that you’re being demanding!

That he is doing this means he doesn’t value you as much as you deserve. It also means that you’re going to lose trust in the relationship very quickly. And without trust, what have you?

After all, a relationship is just another promise. A promise to be faithful to one another. If you can’t trust him to honor his other, smaller promises, how can you trust him to honor your commitment to one another?

He gives you those promises to make sure you’re hopeful and hooked. That’s what manipulators do.

14) He only acts when he’s about to lose you

Another sign that he’s just stringing you along is that he doesn’t really act that interested in you, or try to do things with you as a couple… until he’s about to lose you.

He will try to be a better guy—he will probably even give you the plush he promised—but only when you threaten to leave or when someone else shows interest in you.

Men who string girls along are in it for attention. So while he might not care about you, he would care that he would lose someone who can give him the attention and adoration he desires.

You might be tempted to flirt on other men just to get him territorial over you, and the attention you may get would make you feel good for sure. But think about it—why bother, when he’s simply going to get back to ignoring you once the threat has passed?

This is addicting because it can make you feel like you finally got what you wanted, and that you’re adored and desired like you’re the most beautiful girl in the world.

But this is a big red flag, and it means you should cut him out of your life. You may love him—or think you do—but he’s just chasing you for his own sake, and not because he actually sees a future with you.

What to do:

If you were nodding your head while saying “that’s him” in every sign mentioned above, then he MIGHT actually be stringing you along. I say might, because there is still that possibility that he’s actually serious with you but just doesn’t know how to act in a committed relationship.

To know for sure, you have to address them head on.

Here are the steps you can do when you have a strong suspicion that the guy you’re seeing is just stringing you along:

  • Acknowledge how your relationship truly makes you feel.
  • Ask yourself if you truly want to be in a relationship with this guy.
  • Talk to him. Tell him about how you feel—that he’s just stringing you along.
  • Ask him if he wants to be serious with you, too.
  • If he says yes, ask yourself if you can trust his word.
  • Guide him how he can love you better so you won’t feel like he’s stringing you along.
  • Learn how to commit to each other in a way you both feel loved.
  • If he admits he’s just stringing you along, leave and don’t look back.

Last words

It’s hard when you realize that the guy you’re going out with isn’t being serious about your relationship, especially when you expected something real.

He could have been honest about what he wanted out of your relationship—that he’s confused or still not over an ex and therefore wasn’t interested in something more than a casual relationship. At least then you would have known what you were getting into.

You should always try to talk to him about it before you cut him off, but be ready to drop the relationship when it’s clearly not serving you anymore. Sometimes your goals just don’t align, and sometimes people just aren’t good for you.

When that happens, you should cut your losses and leave him. Don’t think that you can change his mind, because you probably can’t. Life isn’t a romantic novel and there are better uses of your time.

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Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 15 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. Check out my latest book on the Hidden Secrets of Buddhism and How it Saved My Life. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Facebook or Twitter.

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