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Is he into this or not?
January 27, 2011 10:09 AM   Subscribe

I'm in a new relationship-like thing but I have no idea what is going on. How do I tell? Should I ask?

I met a guy a little over a month ago and hit it off with him straight away. We've spent loads of time together since then. The sex is phenomenal, he makes me laugh constantly, and I feel at home when we're together. I like him more and more as I get to know him better, and I think that there is a lot of potential there. I have absolutely no idea how he feels, though; we never talk about what we're doing or what we're looking for, there have been no declarations of love/"love', etc. Here's what I've got to go on:

Ostensibly positive signs:
- I've met lots of his friends and even some of his family already.
- He told me that he's not interested in seeing other people.
- He's very affectionate in private and also in public.
- We have planned things together for several months in the future.
- I have a key to his house.
Probably negative signs:
- He is listed as 'single' on all social networking sites.
- He has never explicitly said that he has feelings for me (though his actions suggest that he does).
- He does not talk to me incessantly; we will go entire days with very little to no contact. However, as I said above, we do see each other quite often (3-5 times a week).

I know that I sound a little neurotic. I have a history of over-talking in relationships; my past partners were all kind of pathologically intent on dissecting every feeling that ever passed between us. I don't think that this was particularly healthy so I'm trying to develop better ways of relating to others, but I do worry that I've gone too far in the opposite direction in this case. I mean, I know it's only been a few weeks, but is it unreasonable to want to know what is and isn't on the table? Or is it really better to wait it out a little and let things develop naturally? Does it sound like he's at least vaguely interested?
posted by ashotinthearm to Human Relations (30 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
Your positive signs make it sound like this is a great relationship, that both of you are very into; your negative signs make it sound like this is a new relationship.

None of your negatives are "bad" signs - they're just signs you've been dating for a month and not for several years.

Congratulations, and try not to overthink it!
posted by CharlieSue at 10:13 AM on January 27, 2011 [8 favorites]


Ostensibly positive signs:
- I've met lots of his friends and even some of his family already.
- He told me that he's not interested in seeing other people.
- He's very affectionate in private and also in public.
- We have planned things together for several months in the future.
- I have a key to his house.


Sounds like you're dating to me.

Probably negative signs:
- He is listed as 'single' on all social networking sites.


Many, many people don't pay any attention to those settings even on their own profiles.

- He has never explicitly said that he has feelings for me (though his actions suggest that he does).

Many, many people also aren't good at expressing their feelings, and if YOU'RE not sure how serious your relationship is, who's to say he's not feeling just as insecure?

- He does not talk to me incessantly; we will go entire days with very little to no contact. However, as I said above, we do see each other quite often (3-5 times a week).

You see him more often than a lot of people see their boyfriends. As for entire days without contact - some people just aren't into phone calls, texts and emails. But if you're expecting that, are you initiating the contact at all or just waiting for him? Also, the "declarations of love" don't usually come after a month of dating. Most people just aren't that comfortable yet.

Everything you've said sounds like you're in a relationship to me, but you're not going to know until you ask him. If you're too shy to ask, well, I'd suggest you move past that.
posted by katillathehun at 10:17 AM on January 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


He is listed as 'single' on all social networking sites.

This is one of those things that you can bring up and ask him about. I assume you have had a conversation about whether you're dating exclusively or not [saying you're not interested in dating other people is sort of a statement of feeling, saying you're both not dating other people is more of a statement of relationship boundaries or plans or whatever] and this can be brought up in the context of that. More to the point, something simple like "hey I just changed my facebook status from being single and a bunch of my friends mentioned it..." can open a door to asking about it.

Generally I feel that actions are more important than words for assessing how someone's feeling in the mushy early stages of a relationship but it's worth understanding that "you are warm and soft and friendly and I like to be with you and being intimate with you" is a different thing than "I have romantic fantasies about spending the future with you" This is not a bad thing, but many people have a difficult time seeing how one can be different from the other.

This sounds like a new relationship that is going well, to me.
posted by jessamyn at 10:18 AM on January 27, 2011


It sounds like things are great for being together for a little over a month.
posted by marimeko at 10:19 AM on January 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Talk to him, but keep it light. It's early days and none of the negative things are really bad signs.
posted by lumpenprole at 10:20 AM on January 27, 2011


I was dating and LIVING WITH my SO (now husband) for four months before he bothered to change his Facebook status. Sometimes, guys are lazy.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:21 AM on January 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


ashotinthearm: "He does not talk to me incessantly; we will go entire days with very little to no contact. However, as I said above, we do see each other quite often (3-5 times a week). "

You see him more often then I really see my wife some weeks. This in itself means nothing.

Bottom line, go ask. We're not mind readers. Especially when the mind to be read isn't here.
posted by theichibun at 10:22 AM on January 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


People move at different paces.He may consider himself "single" but "dating you exclusively," so he keeps himself "single" on social networking sites.

People also express affection in different ways. His not saying he has feelings for you might just be a natural reticence on his part about saying something like that too soon (or at all...many people just aren't affectionate that way).

People ALSO need different amounts of time alone. You could be "in a relationship" and he'd want some alone time several days a week.

To me, it sounds like a relationship (or the beginnings of one), but you don't know him thoroughly enough yet to read some of his behaviors one way or the other. Talk to him about it, and you may save yourself some relationship-communication-assumption heartbreak.
posted by xingcat at 10:24 AM on January 27, 2011


Congrats, your new proto-relationship sounds great!

he is listed as 'single' on all social networking sites.

That's cuz he is. I'm no expert, but about 10-12 weeks in seems like the earliest you'd want to bring up the "so what is this thing we're doing called?" conversation.  Any earlier than that and you risk heisenberging things.

Overthinking is the deal-killer.
posted by Aquaman at 10:25 AM on January 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


He likely feels *exactly the same way* and hasn't brought it up either because he thinks you are just as likely to say "oh, I didn't think this was anything serious, just a fling" as you think he is.

If it has any chance of working out at all (and it sounds like it does), it's not going to end just because one of you asked this question. Go ahead and ask. I remember having a similar conversation with my wife, way back when. That turned out fine and we decided that yes, we are in a relationship, so lets make it explicit. Now we're married.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 10:27 AM on January 27, 2011


Yep, it sounds like a new, good relationship to me too. I'm happy for you!

As far as the "single" status, don't worry about that. In fact, I was once dating a guy for a week and a half and when he changed his status to "in a relationship" without even asking me, I found it very presumptuous and it was one of the reasons I broke it off. He might simply be cautious about that (a good thing!) Or, he might just see "single" as meaning "not married."

Seeing each other 3-5 times a week is a lot and definitely means he's into you. Sounds like he trusts you if he gave you a key to his house. That's huge. Also, introducing you to people he cares about is great. Making future plans, again, great.

I see nothing but a big green light here. Enjoy!
posted by xenophile at 10:30 AM on January 27, 2011


It's been a month. This sounds about normal as far as I'm concerned.

If someone I was dating wanted to have Where Are We Going With This talks and was already making with the I Love You's, I would be a little freaked out.

All of your possible red flags sound totally normal and non-weird. I mean, to reiterate you've known each other for a month.

Re listing himself single on dating sites - I always forget to change mine or make my profile inactive; I just stop visiting the site and ignore any messages I get. Because I'm too busy being with my new person to worry about some pesky dating website. You might ask him if he is seeing anyone else, though. I don't think that info would be too much to ask for. In my experience with dating online, a lot of folks will hedge their bets by going on a bunch of dates (several of which might lead to further dates), and then gradually wind down to be exclusive with one person who strikes their interest. It's worth seeing if that's the case and where you rank in the scrum.

Though to me seeing someone 3-5 times a week would preclude dating anyone else.
posted by Sara C. at 10:32 AM on January 27, 2011


This sounds good. A dude who gives you a house key is at least into you enough to risk getting his stuff burned in the bathtub when he's not home, so it sounds like he trusts you.

If you want to define what's going on, I would just say, "Hey, so I don't really wanna be seeing anyone else right now. How would you feel about this being a monogamous relationship?" And then if he says yes, you say, "BOO YEAH, BOYFRIEND" and give him a high-five.
posted by Greg Nog at 10:33 AM on January 27, 2011 [7 favorites]


Misread your question - he's listed as single on social networking sites, not dating sites.

Oh, come ON. Now you're just being ridiculous. I didn't change my relationship status on Facebook until more than 6 months into my last relationship. And then it was a Big Deal and the dude in question acted strange about it, and I kind of regretted doing it.

Nobody announces to the social networking world that they are In A Relationship a month after they've met somebody.
posted by Sara C. at 10:34 AM on January 27, 2011


I would take it slow and play it somewhat cool. Meaning "be there" when you are together instead of worrying about where it's going.

Focus instead on the quality and openness of your communication and address observable behaviors in the present. If he says or does stuff to make you feel de-valued, then address the behavior and let him know how you're feeling. XYZ statements help.

Also, drawing from what I've read about gender in relationships, avoid the kinds of conversations that provoke feelings of inadequacy or shame. Conversations about "the relationship" tend to do this, because a guy who confronts the idea of "forever" with a woman, confronts the idea of failure, and thus you flirt with the boundaries of his sense of safety. Seek the kinds of recreational companionship that strengthen bonding with men in general and him in particular.
posted by cross_impact at 10:37 AM on January 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


he is listed as 'single' on all social networking sites.

So am I, and so is my dude, and we've been together for a year and a half and are talking about moving in together. Everybody doesn't use those sites the same way & with the same openness. I don't plan on changing my online relationship status ever, unless he wants me to I guess, because I'm not the PDA type anyway but also because most of my online "friends" are acquaintances & colleagues & etc. and not actual real-world friends. Our actual friends know we're dating because we hang out with them.

Sounds like you've got the beginning of something good going on there. Enjoy it.
posted by headnsouth at 10:38 AM on January 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


He does not talk to me incessantly; we will go entire days with very little to no contact.

Yep, as do my husband and I when we are working odd hours and the kid is sick or whatever.

To me it sounds like you are fine.
posted by gaspode at 10:42 AM on January 27, 2011


Yeah, you need to separate out the "single" status on FB from all the other elements. The problem with social networking relationship status is that you have to make a very abrupt, unnatural leap from "single" to "in a relationship" that doesn't necessarily reflect reality. In my experience, even after a perfect first month together is too early to declare bf-gf status or being "in a relationship." As a result, changing the FB status to "in a relationship" would be too soon, even though "single" is not quite accurate. (This is why I chose just not to have any relationship status listed, but I digress...)

So with respect to "status," look to real life instead of Facebook. And all the signs seem to be green: he's not seeing other people, he's seeing you a ton, and he gave you the key to his apartment, for christssake! A signals are go, as far as I can tell.
posted by yarly at 10:46 AM on January 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Thanks for all the insight so far, everyone.

I guess I have a lot of insecurity because all of my past experiences have been pretty zero-to-love in sixty seconds flat. Again, I think this is totally unsustainable; it's certainly not a genuine indicator of the health of the relationship. I'm sure that what is going on between me and this guy now is much healthier than anything I've ever dealt with, but that doesn't change the fact that it really freaks me out.

It's good to hear that a lot of people don't change their relationship status on social networking sites even years into stable relationships. It sounds absurd but this is actually a little shocking to me.

It looks like there are mixed feelings about whether it's a good idea to try to talk to him about all this or not. It's not as if I'm going to come out and tell him I'm in love with him or anything; it would be more like, hey, I just want you to know that I like you, and I'd like to see where this goes; are you open to something more serious happening between us? But I can see how even that could be ill-advised.

As for whether I usually initiate contact with him: no, I guess I don't. Part of my attempt to "play it cool" has involved keeping that ball almost perpetually in his court. I do occasionally contact him first and I've asked him to hang out a couple of times, but it's possible that my putting the burden on him most of the time is unfair/counterproductive.
posted by ashotinthearm at 10:50 AM on January 27, 2011


The positive things are super positive! The negative things are not really things at all.

If I could boil it down to a simple rule of when to worry and when not to worry in the first 6-12 weeks of a fledgling relationship - and this is vastly oversimplified - don't worry about the "not yet"s. Worry about the "not anymore"s, if they happen. He hasn't changed his Facebook status yet? He hasn't said the L word yet? There's all the time in the world for those things. But if he starts blowing off plans, stops being affectionate, does anything that seems like backing off, that's the time to be concerned.

Bring up the relationship question, but don't bring it up serious-pressurey "where are we going" style. Instead, frame it like an invitation: "I really like you, and I'd like us to be in an exclusive boyfriend-girlfriend relationship. How about you?"
posted by Metroid Baby at 11:16 AM on January 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


So, like, how has he introduced you to friends and family? How does he act towards you when you're with his (or your) friends?

I mean, you say you've met his friends and family, you say he's affectionate in private and public, and those things are a lot more social and real and meaningful than Fffffacebook! ...Where that kind of change would likely attract idly curious questions from at least some of the hundreds of people most of us now have friended on Facebook. (Also, it sucks for exes to see that notification.)

Seriously. Don't even worry about Facebook.
posted by mondaygreens at 11:20 AM on January 27, 2011


Regarding relationship statuses: I've pretty much been "in a relationship" since I started using Facebook. However, I've noticed, in my many years of using Facebook, how much gossip that "relationship status" can start. You change your status to "in a relationship" and regardless of how many of your Facebook friends you actually talk to on a regular basis, regardless of how many Facebook friends you actually have, that one status update inevitably gets filled with a multitude of "likes" and "OMG"s and "Tell me all about it!"s. And then when the status update changes from "in a relationship" to "single," you get just as many, if not more, messages and notes and comments asking what happened.

It's really ridiculous, and if I were single now, I would just keep my relationship status off my Facebook page entirely.

I really don't mean for this to be a derail--but just to say that relationship statuses on social networking sites are ridiculous and serve only to inform others, not yourself or your significant other. If he's said he doesn't want to see other people, and if he's given you a key to his house, I'd definitely say it's a relationship, and even better, a relationship with quite a bit of investment and trust.

Go forth and be happy.
posted by litnerd at 11:36 AM on January 27, 2011


I guess I have a lot of insecurity because all of my past experiences have been pretty zero-to-love in sixty seconds flat. Again, I think this is totally unsustainable;

Well, you describe this relationship as being a month old with good sex, yet you're still left wondering where the relationship is. You're repeating yourself, if only in relatively slow motion.

Part of my attempt to "play it cool" has involved keeping that ball almost perpetually in his court.

That's not playing it cool. Playing it cool is leaving the ball in your court for a little while. Playing "hard to get" is not ever batting the ball back at all. Batting the ball back instantly is playing it hot.
posted by rhizome at 12:22 PM on January 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Well, you describe this relationship as being a month old with good sex, yet you're still left wondering where the relationship is. You're repeating yourself, if only in relatively slow motion.

Do you mean by this that I probably shouldn't be having sex with him yet if I'm interested in anything more than that?
posted by ashotinthearm at 12:33 PM on January 27, 2011


Do you mean by this that I probably shouldn't be having sex with him yet if I'm interested in anything more than that?

Don't even go there, don't question what you've got going, doesn't even matter what rhizome's answer would be because it's past, trust yourself, don't look for things to worry about.
posted by headnsouth at 12:50 PM on January 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Oh, come ON. Now you're just being ridiculous. I didn't change my relationship status on Facebook until more than 6 months into my last relationship. And then it was a Big Deal and the dude in question acted strange about it, and I kind of regretted doing it.

Yeah, I don't get why people make a big deal about the status on FB. I listed myself as having a complicated relationship with spaghetti, and I've been single for years.
posted by sweetkid at 12:51 PM on January 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


It looks like there are mixed feelings about whether it's a good idea to try to talk to him about all this or not. It's not as if I'm going to come out and tell him I'm in love with him or anything; it would be more like, hey, I just want you to know that I like you, and I'd like to see where this goes; are you open to something more serious happening between us? But I can see how even that could be ill-advised.

I guess you could talk about it with him, as long as you really keep it that casual. But, honestly, I don't see the need. You have a key to his house! That makes you his girlfriend. People don't go around giving out housekeys to people that they're just casually dating, and they certainly don't give them out if they don't think the relationship is exclusive.

As I said, a very casual, hey so this is fun, kind of conversation would likely be ok. But don't do more than that - you don't want to set off his drama alarm, and too many relationship talks too early will do that.

Bottom line: you are in a newish relationship that appears to be going fantastically well. There's no need to worry - congratulations!
posted by Ragged Richard at 2:13 PM on January 27, 2011


Don't sweat the FB thing. Sometimes people feel awkward about changing it. For all you know, he's afraid that you will be weirded out if he changes it. A little over a month isn't very long, anyhow.

Also, drawing from what I've read about gender in relationships, avoid the kinds of conversations that provoke feelings of inadequacy or shame. Conversations about "the relationship" tend to do this, because a guy who confronts the idea of "forever" with a woman, confronts the idea of failure, and thus you flirt with the boundaries of his sense of safety. Seek the kinds of recreational companionship that strengthen bonding with men in general and him in particular.
This is based on views of relationships by those who think that a man needs to bring home the bacon and a woman needs to keep up on chores for them to be happy. Please disregard that advice if you aren't of the same opinion.

posted by elpea at 2:44 PM on January 27, 2011


Aquaman: " I'm no expert, but about 10-12 weeks in seems like the earliest you'd want to bring up the "so what is this thing we're doing called?" conversation. Any earlier than that and you risk heisenberging things."

I know this may be a cultural thing but, just to throw a different opinion out there, most people I talk to think that 4-5 weeks is a more appropriate time, especially if you're seeing each other several times a week already. I agree with most of the above answers though. The most important thing to remember though is that it's only been a month. This is the very beginning of a relationship - it's way too early for "declarations of love".
posted by turkeyphant at 3:06 PM on January 27, 2011


Woops, sorry I was a bit pointed there. I was reading too much into your history, which is more or less irrelevant as far as I can tell. :/
posted by rhizome at 5:40 PM on January 28, 2011


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