Is he a player? I want to be just friends

Dear Guys,

I was dating this guy for a little over a month and he was emotionally unavailable until I ended things. We enjoyed each other’s company, had great sex, but I couldn’t deal with his emotional baggage and he wasn’t about to start a relationship with me anyways.

About a month and a half later he gets a girlfriend and I don’t see him for a long time, you know, letting things cool off a bit as I was still very attracted to him.

Well the other day he texted me inviting me to a music festival for free. I declined. He asked if I was going to some event the next day, and I said no. Then later, he texts me to hang out and have drinks, to which I said sure.

So we hung out and had a really awesome time. It’s like we have been friends forever and I really enjoy his company and I don’t feel as attracted to him as I did in the past. The problem was he never mentioned his girlfriend. (I think he kept calling her a friend.) He bought me some drinks, and would at times touch me in flirty ways like he used to.

So I guess my question is, is he trying to make me an option? Cause I won’t yield. I really do only want a platonic relationship.


Dear Marni,

Thanks for your question.

He’s absolutely trying to make you an option. Because why in the world would he contact you out of the blue—even while he has a girlfriend—and then take you out to drinks? He’s definitely trying to worm his way back into your emotional and physical space.

And the fact that he’s not admitting he has a girlfriend—only calling her a friend—is a red flag. Things are probably not going well for them, so he’s checking out his prospects, you. As far as we’re concerned, he’s cheating on her. Maybe he hasn’t been physical with you or anyone else, but if he’s not happy in his current relationship he should break it off before he goes exploring other possibilities.

We’d be careful here. If you think you can be friends with him great, but he doesn’t seem like someone you could trust to be in a relationship with. We’d keep it platonic. One cautionary note: We can tell you that the more you hang out with him the more he’s going to try and have sex with you, and each time it will be harder for you to say no.

What are your thoughts on this? Please leave us a comment here in the comments section. We’ll respond here as well. And feel free to ask us a follow up question. Also, check out our “Relationship Memoirs” page. You might enjoy some of the great female guest writers, especially Charlotte Pescale’s “Rebecca, a memoir.” 

Good luck,


ps. Please let your friends know about us. Thanks!

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21 Comments on Is he a player? I want to be just friends

  1. Shakira // June 1, 2012 at 11:59 am //

    My ex-boyfriend messaged me after almost 2 months of us breaking up and said that he misses me everyday. He also called me up a couple of times to meet him for coffee. When I met him the first time, he behaved as if everything was fine. We chatted, cracked jokes and behaved like two friends with neither of us talking anything about the break up or our relationship. He asked me whether I was seeing somebody and I told him no. He also said that he was not seeing anyone. But after we met, he went quiet for a week. I messaged him once asking him how he was and he gave me a curt reply.

    But after a week, he called me out for lunch. We met and had a good time talking to each other. He spoke about moving to a new house, buying stuff and also asked me if I could help him with the move. Interestingly he also spoke about wanting to get married (in general) as he was lonely. Throughout the lunch, he was constantly touching me in flirty ways and also spoke about our relationship before we broke up. He again mentioned that he was not seeing anyone.

    I am not sure what he is up to. Is he just wanting to be friends or is he playing mind games with me and wants to see if I will get back with him. The kind of guy that he is, I think he would have tried dating other women after our break up. I don’t know what to do. I like spending time with him and I do miss him. I want to know if he really wants to get back together or is he playing me and keeping me as one of his options.


  2. @Shakira…..He seems like a player, but only because he’s giving you mixed signals. We don’t like mixed signals. Right now he’s feeling you out to see if you would be open to going back out with him. But is it because he wants you specifically, or because he’s lonely? That’s a question that begs to be answered. Sooner, rather than later. We also don’t like that he didn’t communicate with you after he saw you the first time. What’s that all about? It shows uncertainty on his part, and that we worry about. We also think it seems soon for him to be telling you he’s lonely and wants to get married. We think you should be cautious here. We’d keep things platonic until you’re sure he’s serious. We’d let someone else help him move. Your thoughts? ps. Keep us posted as this progresses. And feel free to ask us another question or a follow up question. Also, check out our “Relationship Memoirs” page, especially Charlotte Pescale’s “Rebecca, a memoir.” You might enjoy it! And let your friends know about us. Thanks!

  3. So, I dated this guy for a little over a year. I still have my senior year in high school, but he just graduated. We broke up about 2 months ago, and we decided to stay friends. It was working out ok, but we’re still in love. We only took a break because he “wanted to experience college as a single guy” and I wanted “to see who I am outside of us”, and those sort of reasons. But we’re still in love with each other. The only problem is that 2 weeks after we broke up he started dating another girl. She was his friend while we were dating, and she tried to flirt with him and seduce him multiple times while we were together. And I was ok with them dating, because it was a mutual breakup, and I don’t really have any right to judge or condemn his relationships. But here’s the problem – he’s trying to cheat on her with me. He’s flirted with me a lot, and implied that he wants to be with me still, and wants to have sex with me soon, but he doesn’t want to end his relationship with her. He says that he likes her, but doesn’t love her. But he likes her enough to stay with her, at least for now. And I’m so confused by my own feelings. Part of me hates her because I blame her a little for my relationship ending with him, and I’m still annoyed that she tried to get with him while we were dating. So that part of me wants to let him cheat, so that she can feel some amount of the pain I felt when they started dating, and so that I know for sure that he still wants me more than he wants her. But another part of me doesn’t want to hurt anyone, and I feel bad that he’s willing to cheat on her. That part of me wants to push him away. I don’t want to tell her any of what’s going on because (and trust me when I say this) she won’t believe me. And he would hate me forever. So there’s really no point in coming between them. My question is, do you think I should confront him directly about his feelings for me, or should I let him figure it out on his own? Where we are right now, there’s a good possibility of us getting back together in
    the future, which would make me very happy. I’m scared that if I confront him, all chances of that are gone. Please help me I’m so confused . . .

  4. @Lilly……We understand your confusion. Sorry, this is hard. First of all, you have a good heart. Don’t ever let that change. So our obvious answer to your first question is, trust your gut and your heart, and do the right thing, even if you’re angry. But your second question is more complicated, and quite frankly troubling to us. One of the most common questions we get is: Will he come back? or Should I get back together with my ex? (We’re finishing up an ebook on this very question, along with some other basic questions.) Anyway, the question you need to ask yourself is, Do I really want him back? Maybe you love him, but we think it might be blinding you to his actions. He broke up with you so he could have sex with other girls. And now he’s trying to cheat on the girl he’s with? With no remorse! And he doesn’t even want to break up with her to go out with you again. Lilly, please, you need to think about this some more. We know it’s hard, but truly, is this the kind of guy you want? Sure, some might say guys need that time to be single. Okay, that’s reasonable. But if that were the case then why is he going out with this other girl? Basically here’s what he’s doing. He wants to assure himself of regular sex, so he’s with her. But at the same time he wants to sleep around. He wants it all, and he’s willing to do whatever it takes to get it. Yikes! What do your friends think about all this? (Sometimes they know.) ps. Please let us know your thoughts on this. Also, check out our “Relationship Memoirs” page, especially Charlotte Pescale’s “Rebecca, a memoir.” You might enjoy it! And let your friends know about us. Thanks! And please consider a small donation to THE GUYS. (Use PayPal button on any page.)

  5. Well, he’s not sleeping with her. She’s still a virgin so they haven’t done anything past kissing. I know this might be a reason he wants to cheat, because he was used to getting laid whenever he wanted because we had sex a lot as a couple. So it’s a hard habit to break you know? Also, I know that I want him back. That’s unquestioned. But I don’t know if I should take him back. I know this is a complicated situation for me and also for him, and I don’t know if he’s just handling it the best he can or playing us both. I don’t want to just get crushed if he cheats on her then goes “well that was fun see ya never.” I want to confront him about what it would mean for us, but I’m scared that I would break whatever fragile relationship we’re building right now. Do you think the confrontation would be worth it?

  6. @Lilly…..The question that looms is, if he’s willing to cheat on her now, what’s to say he wouldn’t be willing to cheat on you sometime down the road? The fact that he’s not getting sex with her is just an excuse. If he’s so unsatisfied with her, why not just break up with her and get back with you, or some other girl? Are we making any sense here? We think the two of you have a lot to discuss. Don’t think of it so much as a confrontation, but more of a conversation. If you go in full guns blazing he’s not going to open up to you. If you try to actually have some sort of dialogue, you might learn a lot more about what’s going on with him.

  7. Well I guess confrontation is too strong a word. I wouldn’t be able to confront him. I can’t get yell at anyone, ever. I’d just burst into tears. What I meant was conversation. But every time I’ve ever tried to have a serious talk with him, he would always put his walls up and kinda refuse to talk about things. He’d just respond like “k.” or “whatever.” or he’d just give me what I wanted so we’d stop talking about it. We’d always both end up upset because nothing would get resolved. That’s why I’m not sure if the conversation would be worth it. He’s not the type to open up and tell all his feelings. Oh also, he’s with her because he likes her. He likes her enough to stay with her, but not enough to stay faithful I guess. It’s complicated. And he wouldn’t cheat on me, because it’s me he wants to cheat with, and only me. He only wants to cheat because he misses me but doesn’t want to hurt her, so he wants us both? I don’t even understand it. I guess I don’t know if he’ll cheat on me in the future. But I’m the type of person who would forgive cheating, as long as I’m the one he comes home to in the end. I’m a pushover that way.

  8. @Lilly…….Ultimately this comes down to what you want. It’s your decision who you want to be with. But from our perspective—and obviously we don’t know either of you personally—we’d be very careful moving forward with this guy. We’ll say it again: If he misses you so much, he should break up with her, and go out with you. There’s something going on here that he’s not telling you, and since he’s not the kind of guy to open up—maybe he’ll never be—you may never truly know who you’re dealing with. Let’s put it this way, based on his actions, he’s not someone we’d trust. The last thing we’ll say is, don’t settle. You deserve to have someone who loves you and who will treat you with respect, and be loyal to you. There are good guys out there. Don’t be so quick to accept cheating, or some other base behavior from your partner. You’re a good woman, and you deserve to have a good man as your partner. Please keep us posted as this progresses. And feel free to ask us another question anytime. Take care. And please let your friends know about us. Thanks!

  9. Shakira // June 3, 2012 at 1:04 am //

    I agree that I have to keep things platonic. The more I see his behavior, the more I am convinced about it. After our second meeting (over lunch), he had mentioned that he would call me the next day as he wanted me to check out the new house he is moving into and also help him buy some stuff. However, I never heard from him. I was not surprised at all, because this is his typical behavior and I also know that if and when he calls me the next time he will either not talk about ‘not calling me up’ or make up some inane excuse. One thing I am not sure about is whether he is waiting for me to call or message him, just to see how I feel towards him. And should I at all? We both are on messenger and I know when he is online and vice versa. I just feel that he continues remaining online, just to see if I would message him. I neither called nor messaged him after our lunch meeting and don’t want to either. The reason is that I don’t want to get yet another curt reply to my message or have my call to him go unanswered. That would just make me feel terrible. I know he loves playing mind games and maybe this is one such instance. This is so frustrating. Why can’t he be honest about what he wants?

  10. catherine // June 7, 2012 at 7:22 pm //

    So there is this amazing man at the gym, we have talked a lot and he is very inquisitive about me and he is extremely sweet to me. Every time I see him he smiles a huge smile and winks at me – this has been going on for almost a year now, though, sometimes several times a workout. I have asked him if he has a girlfriend and he told me he is “sort of seeing a girl”. I told him once that I was attracted to him, and he said he really respected and appreciated my telling him. Then he asked me a bunch more questions about myself – he always remembers everything I tell him, and he is just always so sweet and cute. I see him checking me out constantly and looking at my booty and my workout partners say whenever my back is turned he is watching me. I also always notice that from across the gym, I have caught him looking at me and he started cracking up, and sometimes he waves. Anyhow, I think he is a gentleman and won’t ask me out because he is in this “sort of” relationship, but our conversations are so real and sweet and always seem from the heart and I just want to talk to him forever. I am drawn to him in a way I cannot describe and everything he says is so intuitive and he is so healthy and we look sort of alike. Anyhow, would it be too aggressive to put my number in a note on his car? He is always working out with a bunch of buddies so I don’t feel exactly confident going up to the group and giving him my number. Why do you think he is hesitating? We both have the same work out and work schedule, and also he told me he works across the street from me, and he lives 3 blocks from me. We also are both single parents, with full time custody of our kids. It seems like our paths/ lifestyles are in sync and I just want to know everything about him and be his best friend, and maybe more if its awesome. I would prefer if he would make a step, but I am willing to put myself out there, if it would be effective, and not turn him off. I am willing to be vulnerable in front of him, but I don’t want to scare him off. Advice needed!! Thank you for listening!

  11. @Catherine……It sounds like a nice connection. Of course the fact that he’s not asking you out even though you’ve made it clear you’re attracted to him is not the best sign, but that doesn’t mean he’s not interested, it could just mean he’s involved. We don’t see a problem with you giving him your number. But why not do it in person? Just hand it to him and tell him that if/when he’s single again he should call you. But we would not get involved with him until he IS single. You don’t want to get in the middle of that, and frankly, if he tries to date you while he’s with someone else, that doesn’t speak well to his character. Hope this helps. What do you think? And feel free to ask us a follow up question. Or another question anytime. ps. Also, check out our “Relationship Memoirs” page, especially Charlotte Pescale’s “Rebecca, a memoir.” You might enjoy it! And let your friends know about us. Thanks!

  12. Shakira // June 14, 2012 at 7:57 am //

    So after meeting my ex for a couple of dates, I have kept things platonic as advised by you. We were to meet again last week, but that did not happen as he called in last minute saying that he was busy. I was quite pissed off but I did not bother to call or text the whole week after that. Then he called me yesterday and asked me whether we could meet. But I declined saying that I was busy. I did not want him to get the feeling that he could just call or text and expect me to meet with him every time he was available. However, we did speak to each other over the phone. He kept making light jokes around sex, how he is hunting for the perfect woman to get married to and also wanted to know more about a guy who has of late been showing keen interest in me. I did not share any details with him and told him that it was not his business. I am quite confused as to what he wants from me. When I am with him, I can feel the chemistry and the connect and I know that he feels it too. This may sound silly, but I really want him to ask me if we could get back together and I don’t know how to go about it. I definitely don’t want to take the first step here as knowing him, he may just play really hard to get. Please advice!

  13. @Shakira…….Isn’t this way past the point of worrying about him playing hard to get? Just ask him what he wants. Don’t tell him what you want, but ask him straight up why he keeps calling you, and giving you mixes signals? Is it because he’s just possessive and doesn’t want you moving on? Some guys are like that—actually most guys. They don’t their ex dating anyone, even if they don’t ultimately want to be with you. It’s that whole, “my domain” bs. Our sense, is that’s what could be going on here. Ask him and see what he says, and then gauge whether or not you believe him. But don’t reveal your cards yet.

  14. Well, I have decided it’s not worth trying to either become friends with my ex or getting back with him. It is very clear now that he is playing me and taking me for granted. He called me up today and asked me out for coffee. We fixed the time and place and I confirmed with him whether we were meeting for sure or not. But he never did turn up. I reached the venue, called him and even texted him. But I did not hear from him at all. I waited for 10 minutes and then left. I was very angry and felt terrible. I sent him a short text saying that I should have realized that he was never planning to meet and hope he had a good laugh over it. I don’t know if he will call me or text me again. Even if he does, he will either completely ignore this incident and behave as if nothing has happened or try and sell me some of his excuses. Do you think I should take his call if he calls me just to see what he has to say or should I just ignore him completely hereon? I don’t want him knowing that I am upset with his behavior.

  15. @Shakira……..His actions tell the story. No use wasting any more time on him, or the situation. He’s a player, and he’s playing you. There are good guys out there. It’s time to be open to new possibilities. Don’t let this guy chisel away at your emotional health anymore. Take care of yourself.

  16. Shakira // June 18, 2012 at 9:34 am //

    Thanks guys! That’s what I have decided. He is a jerk and in no way do I have to tolerate his behavior. He is out of my life for good. Thanks again for all the advice. Really appreciate it.

  17. @Shakira….You’re welcome. Take care and keep in touch. Let us know if you have another question sometime.

  18. I’ve been seeing a guy for 2 years we split 3 months ago. I invited him for a drink and he said no but next time. He told me last week that he is going oversees but wanted me to know that he is travelling with a mats not a women. When I replied a few days latter he refuses to answer my calls or SMS. I sent him SMS and asked whether he wanted to remain friends and he did not respond. Is he playing me? Or basically a user?

  19. @Mich…….The only thing we can tell from your note is that this guy has moved on. If he was playing you he would be intentionally trying to deceive you. We don’t have enough information to glean that fact. Same with being a user. It’s hard to say. But we do think it’s clear that he’s detached emotionally from you. This is something to consider as you process the relationship and decide what you now want to do. Do you have any follow up questions? Feel free to ask away. ps. Please share our site with friends. Thanks. We appreciate it.

  20. First of all, I wanted to say that I had the pleasure of dealing with this site last summer. As much as I didn’t like the advice I received, you were DEAD ON ACCURATE. Not only was the guy cheating, but with his bestfriend’s daughter who happened to be 20 years his junior. So thank you for that perspective. Since that was so accurate, I am back again with another issue. Hopefully your advice is just as right on. Quick background on me again. I’m legally married, have not initiated divorce. Been married for 13 years, 3 kids, two of which have severe special needs. Hence the reason I stay. I also believe that I stay due to the “sheltering” I receive from this man. I moved right from my parents taking care of me to him taking care of me. 20 years later, here I am. Unhappy, miserable, & lonely. I met a man by chance about 5 months ago. Immediate connection, lots in common, we enjoy each other’s company. He’s 45, got divorced Feb 2012 after 13 years of marriage. It’s his second divorce. He got married out of college as well, that marriage lasted 18 months. He’s currently attempting to get full custody of his 12 year old son & just recently experienced an income loss of $200,000. I understand these are all big things. Two months ago, I had no doubt that he was interested in me. However, a few weeks ago, during sex, he blurts out “I love you”. I was so shocked that I had to ask him to repeat it. He immediately said, “I’m sorry”. Of course, it hasn’t been repeated. I think that the moment he said that, it was a game changer. Prior to that, I was content seeing him once every two weeks. Since that time, I find myself wanting to spend more time with him. This is somewhat difficult due to our schedules, not to mention he gets his son on my free weekends. It’s pretty big about not introducing his son to women he doesn’t intend to marry. He’s hasn’t been someone who is good at planning things in advance. However, now I feel as if I push the issue to secure time with him. We had a couple of talks over the last week regarding where this might go. Below are his exact messages:

    “I have to decide what I want in terms of lifestyle, not just now but for as long as I live. You may very well be ideal. There is still a part of me wondering what I should do for me….that is all….nothing about you.”

    “My questions regarding what I want revolve around your gender…not you. What do I want & how do I want to live for the next 45 years. This has nothing to do with you, you are better than most people I have known. What I am considering is, do I want to share my life with anyone in terms of a wife again. I am not convinced and yet you present a nice possible option, I just need to consider all of that.”

    He further suggested that we remain friends until I get a divorce settled. States that I need to do it for me and not because he is waiting for me, because “he might not be”. I had been relatively certain that he and I had some sort of future together. However to hear this, I wonder. His exact words were:

    “I feel things but I am unsure of what I want & am not so fond of your current marital status. I am SO not fond of it that I am willilng to rationally consider myself first & also put you on hold romantically untl such time as you remedy that situation & also grieve over your loss for sometime. This will not only serve you but also, if meant to be, serve me & provide me for a nice girlfriend, eventually wife. I think you would be ideal, and I really care for you.”

    Sounds like a fricking contract!! Can’t believe a man actually communicates like that. 🙂 He also seems to have some sort of hangup with women who are short, with dark hair & dark eyes. He says that they are his “type” and that they have always had any effect on him. I of course am tall, blonde, & blue eyed….the exact opposite. He said that he needs to figure his type out. He’s also fixated on the fact that he continually makes bad choices in love. I’m just overwhelmed. I’m not sure whether this guy overthinks things, he’s playing me, trying to blow me off in a nice way, is having a mid-life crisis, or is so emotionally scarred that there is no help for him. Any thoughts?

    Thanks so much!

  21. @Steph….Plenty of thoughts. But the one that stands out is something he said: If you do decide to leave your current situation you should do it because it’s the right decision for you NOT because of this guy or any guy. Our suggestion would be to focus on what you really want and work towards achieving that goal. We assume your happiness should be a priority. You’ll be better for your kids if you’re happy. That said, these are complicated issues that deserve lots of thought, and possibly discussion, counseling, etc. As per this guy. He sounds uncertain. And saying “i love you” during sex doesn’t count. Guys do that shit. If he says it when you’re fully clothed and talking about the future then that’s another matter entirely. So assume it’s 50/50 with this guy. It could go either way. Focus on your current situation and try and figure that out first. Good luck. And thanks for checking back in with us. Glad we gave you good advice last year.

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