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Office Hours With Dr. Jim
by James Houran, Ph.D

In this column, "Dr. Jim" honestly and candidly answers your questions about dating, love and sexuality. He doesn’t tell you what you want to hear – he tells you what you need to hear. Dr. Jim is committed to offering you guidance based on responsible clinical practice and hard data from the latest scientific studies. Send Dr. Jim your questions today for consideration in an upcoming issue.

Need Insight into Guy I'm Dating

Quick Access:
Is He Really Interested? Need Insight...

I’ve been highly attracted and interested in a man I've known since June 2007 (former client). We got together four times last year 2008 (dinner, play golf, drove me around for two hours to help me find a place to live). He’s a mid-management level cop, I’m an architectural designer


There are many signs he’s interested in me:
  • Stares into my eyes romantically for several seconds and smiling, often smiling at me...not saying anything.
  • Fixates on parts of me like my hand or feet (staring at non-sexual parts).
  • Quick elevator eyes once when I took my jacket off.
  • Shows interest by asking about my life.
  • Discloses to me his family problems (dad’s health, etc).
  • When I send him an email to include a social invite (date), he will eventually respond with the same line 'I would love to" "whatever works for me".
  • Told me once at dinner that, "I'm glad you came." I asked him, "Do you ever come to LA area?" He said, no, but I can!
  • On the golf course, told me "I look real good swinging the club'.
  • Always hold doors open for me, carried my clubs a long way with his.
  • Calls me by my name a lot .
  • Won’t let me pay for the date when I offer.
  • I feel like he has me on a pedestal a lot.

Signs that he’s ambivalent:

  • Doesn't initiate contact with me to make a date (I'm in the driver’s seat with all this).
  • We've hugged twice and nothing more and he patted me on the back once (ouch.. the buddy hug).
  • He takes forever to respond to an email and then sincerely apologizes and feels bad, lousy.
  • Excuses (busy, buying a house/moving, family).  Didn’t return a phone call once.  Says he’s going to call but doesn't. If he does, it’s weeks later.
  • I offered to help design his house the last time I saw him. He agreed and I said I’d come up (combination Deer in Head lights look/nervously intense look in his eyes).

Please note that this guy is on the quiet side and shy, but acts manly and occasionally loud to cover up his shyness.  Sometimes he has looked at me like a 'deer in head lights' when we’re in his car and he has dropped me off at mine (we live 129 miles apart).  He has a very tense look like I expect him to kiss me and he's worried or something.

And finally, I could be the one here that has created this frustrating problem.  I'm not as good at flirting as I used to be (we are both in our 40's) and I'm not typically shy, but I am shier and very nervous around him because of the intense connection and attraction.

I know you’re busy, but I’d really appreciate a short insight to this.  I’m supposed to see him in a couple of weeks (I haven't seen him in five months).  I did read your Men's dating habits... which prompted me to send this email. 

The fact that you’re writing me, and presenting this level of detail, is a clear indication that something doesn’t feel right to you.  I’ve many questions, but without answers to them, all I can do is speculate.

For instance, he could be shy as you say, but I think there’s something much more at work here. The signs that he’s interested in you listed that you listed are virtually all passive and unimpressive. In fact, those same signals could also indicate a sense of guilt. Guilty about what you may wonder? Well, the signs of his ambivalence that you listed make me think he’s married or already in some type of committed relationship and that he’s playing around with you. It seems everything you two do is at your initiative and within your area. He comes across a bit panicked or highly anxious about you getting to know him too well or come see him. He also only calls or contacts you at his convenience. Men fall in love faster than women, and they get very territorial, very fast. So the point is that a man truly in love is usually more responsive and accessible to his partner than what I see here.

I think you’ve probably made your romantic interest very well known, so I’d recommend asking him point blank about his curious behaviors. Ask him in person, not over the phone so you can properly judge his verbal and nonverbal reactions -- they’ll likely make his intentions very obvious. Either he’s cheating on someone and feels somewhat guilty about it (or has already taken it too far with you and doesn’t know what to do) or he’s terribly inexperienced and ignorant about flirting and navigating a relationship or he truly likes you but doesn’t treat you like the priority you should be. None of these scenarios are flattering and they all end pretty much the same way -- you being hurt and the relationship going nowhere.

Perhaps you two make good friends, but your instincts have probably told you what I just did about the prospects of you being happy with this man.


Dr. James Houran's "Office Hours with Dr. Jim" column is published every Monday.

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