Why Does He Keep You Around When He Doesn’t Want A Relationship?

You've heard that relationships can be hard work, but getting one off the ground can be even harder.

It might be impossible when the person who interests you simply does not want to become your boyfriend.

Confusion, uncertainty, and hurt feelings will consume your mind when you feel like things are headed in one direction and then fall off a cliff.

This process can repeat and put you in an on-again-off-again cycle.

Such a situation leaves you grappling with questions like “Why doesn't he want me?” and “Why does he keep coming back?”

Why Does He Keep Coming Back If He Doesn't Love Me?

The answer to this question varies based on the person involved.

Some men simply have no idea what they want to do.

Others are just using people who are attracted to them.

A man might honestly just be going through the motions of trying to have a relationship and hoping that love develops.

Some reasons that could be motivating him to interact with you in a hot-and-cold manner involve his desire to avoid hurting you.

He sees that you're interested in him and even likes you.

As a caring person, he may not know how to say something harsh like “I don't feel attracted to you enough to become a committed couple.”

Realistically, almost no one is born knowing how to navigate the questions and emotional struggles that are part of romantic situations.

As a result, people make mistakes, send mixed signals, and sow confusion because of inexperience or immaturity.

Signs He Likes You But Doesn't Want a Relationship

You're not the first person to think, “He doesn't want a relationship, but he likes me.”

Although some people say that men and women can't have platonic friendships, the truth is that men and women can feel friendly toward each other.

They can appreciate each other's humor, outlook, and intelligence without necessarily wanting to have a love relationship.

Some men have searched their souls and decided that they want to be single, at least for now.

Just because he wants to stay single does not rule out the possibility that he likes you as a person.

He does honestly like you, but any number of reasons could be keeping him from taking the next step.

Because most people don't tend to be clear about what they're thinking or feeling, you may have to interpret the signals on your own.

Take a moment to consider if you have noticed any of these signs:

13 Reason He Keeps You Around And Doesn't Want a Relationship

1. He Enjoys the Sex

Let's face it. If you've been intimate with each other, he may be enjoying your availability for booty calls.

The friends with benefits situation could be meeting his emotional and physical needs without requiring him to make the efforts necessary to maintain a complete relationship.

This behavior is not necessarily malicious. He probably likes you in many ways but has chosen to stay officially single.

What to Do

If you are happy with a casual, sexual relationship, you don't need to do anything — except maybe clarify that with him. And suggest you both get tested for STDs.

But if you want a genuine relationship with him, being available just for sex may feel demeaning and cause you more emotional pain in the long run. It might be time to say goodbye.

2. He Likes the Emotional Support

A man who texts or calls you frequently is likely just dipping his toes far enough into the relationship pool to get what he needs. He may like having conversations with you and like your attention.

Everyone needs someone to talk to, and you could be filling that role. You're probably hoping that your long chats will result in setting up a date, but it never happens.

What to Do

This guy could legitimately think of you as a caring friend and appreciate your wise advice. But pay attention to how you feel when it comes to his emotional needs.

Do you hope he is falling for you? Does he reciprocate with emotional support for you? Or do you feel used just for your listening ear?

If he hopes to romance you, pouring out his heart isn't the best way to go about it. But sometimes, caring friendships can turn into a romance. If that's what you want, it may be time to ask him, “How do you view our relationship?” Clarity can help you decide where to go from there.

3. You Provide Boredom Relief

Ongoing communications might not quite reach the level of emotional support. When a man likes you but doesn't want a relationship, he will seek out friendly interactions because you're available.

Your willingness to respond to his texts or answer his calls may be all that's keeping him around. Talking to you when he is bored could be helping him pass the time.

What to Do

Ask yourself if you're getting anything out of this dynamic. Do you enjoy the casual exchanges? Do you want more?

If so, don't accept crumbs of communication with no follow-through. Stop responding so quickly or even at all. Let him sweat a while to see if he garners the courage to ask you out or just abandons ship.

4. He Avoids Relationship Drama

Entering into a relationship means that each person takes on the triumphs and tragedies of the other person's life. We all experience ups and downs.

Either consciously or unconsciously, he may have made the decision to avoid complicating his life with the emotional chores that are part of being in a relationship.

Some people in this world are drama machines. Perhaps he was in a previous relationship with someone who always had something crazy going on, and he does not want to deal with that again.

What to Do

If you sense this scenario is the case for him, try to bring it up in casual conversation. Tell him about a past friendship or romance that was drama-filled and ask if he's ever experienced the same.

Invite him to share more with caring and incisive questions. You may discover he harbors some pain or fear around relationships.

5. He Does Not Want to Hurt You

Plenty of men are genuinely striving to avoid hurting other people's feelings. He may have been interested when you first met and thought about dating, but then the feeling faded.

He may not know how to discourage your interest in a relationship politely. As a result, he avoids talking about it.

What to Do

Try to accept his cues, and let him take the initiative for any future texts, calls, or meet-ups. If you run into somewhere, be your friendly self, but don't go out of your way to sidle up and speak to him.

Since you were never in a relationship, he doesn't owe you an explanation. But maintain your dignity and self-respect by backing off without rancor or obvious hurt. Don't make it awkward or uncomfortable.

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6. He Values Friendship But Does Not Feel Romantic

He may truly view you as a friend. Your pleasant interactions may excite you and leave you hoping for a closer relationship.

However, he is comfortable with the status quo and does not want to risk taking the relationship in a steamier direction.

The chemistry may not be there for him, but he does like seeing you and doing things with you.

What to Do

This is a tale as old as time and one that often doesn't have the happy ending you hope for. If you have strong feelings for him, it will be challenging to accept just a friendship. He may figure it out anyway by your demeanor (or from a mutual friend).

Of course, you'll want to continue to be around him because you like him and may hold out hope. But if he meets someone, it will hurt you more deeply. If you decide to end the friendship, try to be honest and let him know why. Ghosting a caring friend is also hurtful.

7. You Pay for Things

If you want his company so much that you pay his way when you go out, then he might feel comfortable taking advantage of you.

He does not mind your company, but the fun activities and tasty takeout food that you spring for motivate him to string you along.

Essentially, he likes the material things that you provide, but he is not going to let you corner him into a relationship that he does not want.

What to Do

Girl! Find your dignity and self-respect. Why would you want to be with a guy who uses you for money and things? You deserve so much more. Skedaddle while there's still money in your pocket and your heart is still intact.

This type of selfish leech isn't worth another minute of your time and will never be there for you — no matter how hot and fun he may be.

8. You Provide Access to Something He Likes

An orbiting male who refuses to commit may want something other than a free meal. You don't have to outright pay for things for him to extract value from knowing you.

Perhaps you can use your family's nice vacation home whenever you want, and he likes accompanying you to that fun location. A day at the lake is better than sitting home in front of an air conditioner.

He also might see you as someone who might help him get a job, win a client, or increase his social capital somehow.

What to Do

This guy is just a more sophisticated version of the dude from #7. He's not just lazy or cheap; he's calculating and cunning. He sees you as a ticket for something, and his attention may be a facade until he gets what he wants.

Be honest with yourself about any part you may play in this dynamic. Are you offering him perks to win his affection? Wouldn't you rather be with someone who likes you for who you are, not what you can offer him?

9. He Has a Fear of Better Options

Also known as FOBO, the fear of better options means that he hesitates to date you because he is hoping to meet someone whom he likes better.

He could find you acceptable in many ways but still be seeking more. If he cannot find another person to date, he may even show some interest in maintaining your involvement with him as a Plan B.

What to Do

Sometimes the only way a guy will have clarity around what he wants is if you force it on him. If he's dithering about taking things further with you, then back off. Maybe even break things off, and let him know you're giving him space to figure out what he wants.

In the meantime, go date other people and don't hesitate to hide it from him (without being unkind). He'll either feel relieved or race back to you. But be sure he's all in before you open your arms to him.

10. He Has a Fear of Commitment

People fear commitment for many reasons, and one of them is fear of failure. He may lack confidence in his ability to succeed at the emotional work that a relationship requires.

People fearing commitment know what the variables are in their lives as single people. They don't want to step into the unknown, where they could get hurt or hurt someone.

What to Do

This fear isn't something you can fix or that he'll suddenly abandon because he's met you. It requires work on his part, perhaps months of counseling.

The wisest thing to do is to suggest this counseling and break it off until he is genuinely ready for a relationship. If you want to stick around while he goes through the process (or decides not to), do this at your own risk. Hearts get broken by commitment-phobic men all the time.

11. He May Be Confused about Sexual Orientation

Coming to understand and accept your sexual identity is not always a clear or smooth path. That man you like, and who seems to like you too, might like the idea of dating you but feels uncertainty about the sexual element.

Keeping a female candidate around as a potential dating partner could alleviate suspicions about homosexuality that a person is not yet ready to process.

What to Do

Is he straight? Is he bi? Is he gay? It's hard to know unless he tells you — or you ask. If you suspect he isn't straight, then say something to him like, “I've been getting a feeling that you may like men, in addition to or instead of women. No judgment here, but I need you to be real with me if we're going to have an honest relationship or friendship.”

Be sure to ask this question face to face so you can see and feel his reaction. Hopefully, he'll be fully transparent with you. But if he isn't, you will likely know anyway just by his reaction. Then it's up to you to decide whether to stay or go.

12. He Wants Casual Sex Relationships

Some people know themselves well and have decided that they will not enter into formal relationships. They want the freedom to have sexual encounters with no strings attached.

Such a man may find you physically attractive and appreciate your personality, but he is only interested in short-term gratification.

What to Do

Again, honest communication is always best in these situations. If he hasn't spelled it out, ask him. “Are you a one-girl kind of guy when it comes to sex? Do you ever see yourself in a monogamous relationship?”

Give him the safe space to answer honestly if you want to know the truth. Or spend the next few years wasting your time on someone who sleeps around and won't commit.

13. He's Got Baggage

Realizing that, “He doesn't want a relationship but he likes me,” makes the rejection all the more difficult. You'll wonder what it is about you that is holding him back when he genuinely likes you. You might not be the issue.

He could be recovering from heartbreak or even an abusive relationship. He may have been betrayed in a previous relationship. As a result, his well-being could be in disarray, and he does not want to inflict his issues on you.

What to Do

This is another scenario where he has work to do before entering a healthy relationship. If he's had emotional trauma, it will rear its ugly head in your dynamic and undermine the connection before it goes very far.

If you like him and he likes you, suggest a pause in dating while he works on his stuff. You may want to be his “healer” and caring presence, but a healthy relationship requires two healthy partners — not a mother figure and a wounded man-child.

Final Thoughts

If any of the information presented here sounds familiar, you may already know the answer to this question. However, assumptions are not the best way to manage human relationships.

You could save yourself time and angst if you spoke to him about your hope for a relationship. If he does not want to talk about it, his avoidance is a reliable indicator that he's not ready.

If he says no to a relationship, then you owe it to yourself to look elsewhere for love.

Shifting your focus off of him could make him realize that he does want you after all.