Confused or Stringing You Along?: What’s Behind The Mixed Signals

July 18, 2011  |  

One minute he acts as if he wants to be with you. The next minute he acts as if he barely knows you. The mixed signals are driving you one step away from turning into a Lifetime movie character. Why is he so confused? You consider all the reasons in your head (and with a little social network snooping) why he’s acting different. Is he really confused or is there someone else?  What’s really behind the mixed signals?

‘They really don’t know what they want’ one of my girlfriends would often say in reference to the men she was dating. Each time she would make the statement, I would quickly respond with my usual ‘nope they don’t’; and let’s not forget the shake of the head in disgust that was usually accompanied by this response.

‘One minute they act as if they want to be in a relationship the next minute they’re not sure’,” she would add. I thought I agreed with this statement, until recently. All men are not confused, all the time when it comes to dating and pursuing a woman. Sometimes the mixed signals have little to do with confusion and a lot to do with stringing you along for selfish reasons. This behavior is not restricted to men. Some women also use men for temporary periods knowing that he is not Mr.Right, despite his interest in becoming so.

“I know if I want to be with a girl after spending time with her after a few dates. If we’ve been talking for months and I say I’m not sure, it’s probably because I don’t want a relationship with her.  I mean, I might like kicking it with you but that’s it. If you don’t have what I’m looking for after a few months, you won’t have it in a few years,” a guy friend said to me after I blatantly asked him ‘what’s up with guys and the mixed signals?” (Sidebar:  I think it’s important on my behalf to note that he was not referring to me but answering a general question as a friend). Still, that question was all I had to say to generate a response. He knew exactly what I meant, as he was guilty of committing the ‘stringing someone along’ crime. Of course this is not a male bashing article, because in retrospect, he had also been a victim before.

So how do you know if he is really confused and isn’t stringing you along until his ‘Ms. Right’ comes along?  I’ve often heard, if a man wants to be with you he will be with you. While I agree to a certain extent with this statement, I don’t think it’s always that simple. Sometimes there really are other factors preventing him from being with you despite the fact that he actually wants to; but most times if a man feels you are the one, he won’t be so confused and his actions won’t change so frequently.

He will do what needs to be done to form a relationship with you; and honestly if he’s that confused do you want a relationship with him anyway? Letting go of a confused man within the first few months of dating is much easier than being left by a confused man after a few years of dating.

Sometimes those mixed signals have nothing to do with the fact that you have been nagging a tad bit too much lately, that you feel your shape is unflattering a few days out of each month, or that he is attempting to ‘get his life together’; instead he may not feel that extra connection that allows him to pursue anything more than being your friend with benefits. It’s important to make sure you both are on the same page with your feelings and expectations. If he says ‘I could see myself with you,’ that doesn’t necessarily mean he wants to be with you.

‘I’ve told women, I could see myself with them before,” said another guy friend after I asked him had he ever spoken those somewhat deceitful words to a woman. “But it definitely didn’t mean I wanted to be with her; just didn’t want to hurt her feelings’.

Relationships can be tricky. Yes, sometimes a man is confused about what he wants; but as a woman, how long do you wait around for him to figure it out? It’s a thin line between a man being confused and him stringing you along; make it your business to find out early on, which is which. Your feelings will thank you in the long run.

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  • KB


  • delaine

    i hope by now the "chicks on here" have already figured out these type men dont care about respect….This about women knowing there worth and having respect and love for themselves. A wise man once said a game cant be
    played unless I continue to play. When women wise up and recognize he cant play without someone to play with……
    Let it be someone else's heart not yours………..

  • delaine

    Yep at the end of the day I bet you got these same indecisive dudes……calling you back And if not I'm more that sure you could care less cuz your smiling it up with the guy who does know what he wants….LOL And that feels
    great, I

  • delaine

    oh by the way ladies dont start making excuses for pride…….Ego dont love nobody but itself!!!!!!!!

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  • Guest

    This article is right on time. I just got out of one these relationships yesterday. While I do believe he really cared about me, he finally admitted that he was not ready for a relationship. I do appreciate the fact that he admitted that he wasn't ready, but in this situation I think he really is not over his issues with his ex. However, I will say this and I think most women will agree if men state their intentions from the beginning we will decide if we are cool with it just being a sexual relationship or if we are looking for more. Men cause themselves to be involved in drama.

  • Anna~nicole

    They do it to get what they want n lead u on i was into a pastor(single) n he played this wit me instead of sayin he only wanted sex he led me on to think he wanted me for a serious relationship i would have respected him more if he was honest

  • Viv

    I've seen this far too many times. Women continuously making excuses for men dogging them out. No he's not confused, or mending from his previous breakup, or getting his ish together….he doesn't want you. It's that simple. When my bf and I began dating/hanging out we both stated that we had no expectations. After two or three months of just casual dating, he made it known that he didn't like the idea of me dating other people and we've been blissfully together ever since. When a man wants you, he'll let it be known. You won't have to wonder. If you're unhappy with the ambiguity, MOVE THE HELL ON!

  • Nic Pal


    Question enough said! I refuse to be lead on by anyone Jesus gave us all months. And yes true our brains may not be on par with our mouths but if you are at a certain age and you cannot open that month then that's on you!

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  • Anna

    Men are an annoying breed… But the big question is: WHY NOT JUST BE HONEST? Why is that so damn hard. I would rather hear five men say they are not interested in me from jump or they figure they can wean me off the relationship than to be in failed relationship after failed relationship because you can't open your mouth. It's a respect thing. Respect for a woman's emotions, her time and her in general.

    • because they would like to get as much out of you, for as long as they can, without possibly messing anything up. As easy as it should be, they'd just rather not chance it.

  • Naomi

    This was very helpful especially because I have dealt with this issue personally, its a blessing to see the issue before hand (i.e confusion) an individual man or woman would not be confused but rather decisive about what they want whether feelings get hurt or not being upfront and honest is the key!!! I think it is just ludacris to string someone along but people do it for many of reasons such as insecurities, just because they can and so forth!! My situation was the saddest he was a narcissist that was so concerned with his own well being we completed graduate school together but he would often be in and out of my life so one day i just asked him what was up with the back and forth and just not being sure and he said "Well im just dating" and that told me right there what he was about and where we honestly stood, although we shared the same goals and aspirations we didnt share the same feelings!! Great Site!!!

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    • GG

      After dating a well educated black woman for three months and treating her very well. I had to call it quits. This is the first time in over 10 years that I can say I put the time and effort into courting a woman. I never felt that “it” factor from her although it was obvious I was really into her. Yes we would talk and chat all the time and go out on a real fate every week, but she never showed me any intimacy. I did ask her about it more than once and even asked her if she just looks at me like a good friend but she insisted I was more than that. After three months of this i had enough and told her I needed more out of our dating. One thing I learned is trust your instincts and if the other person is not making you happy, let them know. If that foes not work then you must leave it alone. Even if it hurts.