signs he is fighting his feelings

If you’ve been dating or hanging out with a guy, you may wonder, “Does he have feelings for me?” In real life, it’s not always a straightforward process to just start dating — even when two people have strong feelings for each other. If a guy is afraid to make the first move, he’ll likely fight his feelings for a while.

I’ve had guys fighting their feelings for me before. Once, I had two guys sending me signals at the same time. However, they both acted utterly differently. One guy was more evident, while the other was harder to figure out. I will share my observations about telltale signs he is fighting his feelings for you. 

Why do guys fight their feelings?

Before I share the list of signs he is avoiding his own feelings, let’s explore some reasons for that. If a guy is secretly in love with you, he may not even admit it to himself. This can seem strange, but there are many reasons a guy may fight his feelings for you.

One common reason is a fear of rejection. Getting turned down hurts, even for the most confident people, and his past relationships may wound him. He may be scared to voice his feelings and lose your friendship if you are already good friends.

If he is married or in a long-term relationship, he may be fighting his feelings to avoid sabotaging his current relationship or hurting his girlfriend or wife. It may be inconvenient for everyone involved, but unfortunately, having a crush on someone outside your relationship is common.

Another possibility is that he is not ready for commitment at this time. He may be focusing on his career, recovering emotionally from a recent break-up, or simply working on himself and learning how to be happy with just his own company.

Whatever his reasons for fighting his feelings are, it can be very frustrating for you to decipher them.

man fighting his feelings for a woman

Surefire signs he is fighting his feelings for you

Whether you are just friends, have been on a few dates, or have been hooking up casually, a man can catch feelings!

While it is not always ideal for someone to reveal their feelings for you, it may be worth letting him know if you feel the same way. Even if a relationship isn’t the most convenient thing for him, you can make things work if you like each other.

But how do you tell if your guy friend sees you as more than a platonic pal? There are many signs he’s fighting his feelings for you. Once you have noticed a few, it’s up to you what to do with that information!

1. He stares at you

When I say he stares at you, I’m not referring to that creepy, stalkerish stare. You’ll know what I mean when you see it. It has a sweet, innocent look, soft, gentle, and happy.

It’s also worth noting that you may only catch a short glimpse of him staring at you. Why is that? Simply put, men get super embarrassed when caught in the staring act. As soon as they see that you noticed them staring at you, they will instantly retreat, look away, and act as if nothing happened.

It is typical behavior of shy men. Men like my husband are the opposite: they might go out of their way to make eye contact with you. They usually don’t intend to creep you out, they just want you to notice them, but they don’t know how to express that in words.

Guy staring at girl from distance

2. He is protective

Is being protective a sign of love? You bet! If a man is protective of you, that’s an obvious sign that he likes you or at least cares for you. My big brother and my dad taught me a lot about this.

Furthermore, it’s only natural for a man to protect the women in his life who matter the most to him. Heck, this is even evident by watching the way male animals protect their females on Animal Planet.

Being protective of you is brilliant, but you should always ensure he doesn’t take things too far and become over-protective. It is a huge red flag if a guy tries to prevent you from being independent or gets very jealous when you spend time with others.

If a guy tries to prevent you from being independent or gets very jealous when you spend time with others, it is a huge red flag. Click To Tweet

3. He’s either attentive or ignoring

When a guy has a crush on you but tries to hide it, he will treat you very nicely. He won’t bring up other girls around you, and he will even focus on you entirely.

On the flip side, depending on the day or the mood, he may resort to ignoring you completely. He may come across as cold and detached. Rest assured, this is likely not the case.

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Probably he has realized that by being so nice to you, he has given himself away. As a result, he ends up pulling himself away, possibly out of fear that he may get hurt or because he worries that you don’t have the same feelings for him.

girl playing guitar to a guy

4. He gets jealous

You may wonder, what right does he have to feel jealous of you talking about other guys around him? I mean, it’s not like you guys are dating or anything.

Well, here’s the thing. The reason he would be jealous about you talking about other guys is not related to the guy you’re talking about but more to him. In simpler words, he’s insecure.

Think about it for a second. If you bring up another guy in your conversation, he may think, “Oh gee, this girl is out of my league. If she’s talking about how awesome this other guy is, I don’t stand much of a chance.”

It tends to be a common train of thought among shy or low self-esteem men. Perhaps this guy has been hurt in the past, so he’s a bit more cautious about pursuing a serious relationship.

You may wonder, what right does he have to feel jealous of you talking about other guys around him? Click To Tweet

5. He asks you questions

If he wants to know everything about you — where you grew up, what your favorite food is, what TV show you are obsessed with — this is one of the signs he is fighting his feelings for you. Constant questioning (to the point where it may become annoying!) is common among guys who have a significant interest in you and uncommon with guys who don’t.

Responding to your answers with compliments is another encouraging sign. However, this could also be a red flag, as some men are just looking for a “hit and run.” Make sure you analyze the situation a little more before diving headfirst into cold water.

smiling woman looking at man in restaurant

6. He listens to what you have to say

Often, guys are not as into long conversations as women are. Most men politely zone out when a woman says something to them that either bores them or annoys them. However, when a man likes the girl talking to him, he will take the extra initiative to listen to what she has to say.

The reason for this? Quite simply, you are of interest to him. When someone exciting starts talking to you, you would be all ears too! You can tell if he actively listens to you by memory and body language.

When a man happens to like the girl talking to him, he will take the extra initiative to listen to what she has to say. Click To Tweet

7. He remembers things that you tell him

If a guy actively listens to you and finds what you have to say important, he is likelier to remember things than if he only listens out of politeness. Knowing seemingly minor personal details you shared weeks ago is a sign he’s listening closely.

For example, he “just happens to remember” your favorite song when putting on music at a party. He buys you your favorite snack when you don’t even remember telling him what it was.

These could be signs he’s in love with you! If you’re asking yourself, “Is he fighting his feelings for me?” try to remember instances when he may have done this or something similar.

young couple driving a car

8. His body language gives him away

Actions speak louder than words. However, just like everyone has a different personality, they also have different ways of expressing their feelings through body language.

Some men might trip over themselves and suddenly become clumsy when their crush walks by, while other men might stumble over their words. However, both signs are potential indicators that a guy likes you.

Some men are simply very shy, so this does not necessarily mean he’s in love with you. They may just be a little awkward around people in general! However, when a man seems confident around others but stammers and blushes around you, this is one of the signs he is fighting his feelings for you.

When a man seems confident around others but stammers and blushes around you, this is one of the signs he is fighting his feelings for you. Click To Tweet

9. He makes excuses to talk to you

When a man has feelings for a woman, he wants to talk to her as much as possible! If he calls or messages you for no apparent reason, this is a huge sign he’s caught feelings.

However, he may know that calling up “for no reason” out of the blue might give you the idea he likes you! He may go for a less direct approach and contact you often about seemingly innocent things like work or school. Men with feelings for you often lead with basic conversation starters before moving the conversation to other topics.

young couple drinking orange juice

10. His friends tease him

If the guy has told his friends about his crush, they may start teasing him as soon as you walk into the room. When this happens, he might blush and become embarrassed. He may even yell at his friends or become angry or annoyed with them.

However, if he’s fighting his feelings, he may have kept them to himself and told no one. He might even overcompensate around his friends by speaking to you like you were “one of the guys” or even mentioning other women he finds attractive. Either of these extremes can be signs he’s fighting his feelings.

11. He suddenly starts avoiding you

Will a guy avoid you if he is developing strong feelings? It’s possible.

While sometimes a man who has feelings for you will deliberately try to spend a lot of time with you, he may also altogether avoid you. It’s not because he doesn’t notice you!

This denial strategy is especially common if he’s fighting his feelings and trying not to give in to them. He may be with someone else and trying to avoid temptation and emotional conflict by distancing himself from you.

Sudden avoidance after a period of friendliness is one of the most obvious signs a married man is fighting his feelings for you. Don’t try to talk him out of his resistance in this case — you don’t need that drama!

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If he is single, a man may avoid you because he fears his attraction growing stronger and is trying to fight his feelings with distance. This is more likely when a guy is overwhelmed by his feelings or afraid of his emotions.

guy hiding behind a book

12. He only hangs out with you as part of a group

He may be your workmate, classmate, or someone in your group of friends. If a man shares shifts, classes, or friends with you, he may be unable to avoid you entirely. He may want to continue being friends with you but contain his feelings from developing further.

If this is the case, he may impose limits on how he spends time with you. He may choose only to see you in a group or work setting and decline invites to hang out one-on-one. It may feel like he does not like you, but it could be quite the opposite — the atmosphere of unrequited love is making things awkward.

If one or both of you is dating someone else, he could be trying to avoid causing concern to anyone’s partner! Even if he’s single, maybe he doesn’t want to deal with other girls getting jealous and starting drama when it becomes obvious he’s interested in you.

He may want to continue being friends with you but contain his feelings from developing further. Click To Tweet

13. He buys you things

Whether it’s Christmas, your birthday, or no occasion at all, a man fighting feelings for you might surprise you with a cool present.

It’s not about the cost of the gift he buys you but the type of gift. Good friends and coworkers buy little gifts because they genuinely care for you and want to cheer you up or have a special occasion.

If a man buys you a pretty necklace, bracelet, watch, candy, or flowers, that’s a typical sign he wants you to know he’s interested in you. There’s little ambiguity with an approach like that!

A gift that doesn’t seem like a big deal might tell more of the feelings he is fighting. If he buys you a bag of your favorite chips, it could signify that he has a crush on you, but he’s not ready to admit it yet.

guy giving gift to a girl

14. He seems nervous in your company

Men get nervous when they are in the presence of a girl they like. For instance, when a guy sits across from you, watch to see if his legs start bouncing around. He may feel anxious because he’s reluctant to express his desire for you.

Another thing to look for is fidgeting. Does he touch his face a lot? Does he keep fiddling with his hands? He acts like that because he wants to make a good impression but isn’t sure what to say or how to behave.

However, he may also go to the other extreme and attempt to impress you by acting super cool.

When a guy is sitting across from you, watch to see if his legs start bouncing around. Click To Tweet

15. He tries to impress you

Another sign that a guy likes you is that he tries to impress you. Animals, for instance, have a method of courting one another. In many bird species, the male often has the most colorful feathers. The reason for this is so that the male can attract a female mate.

Humans are the same way. Perhaps he’ll try to impress you with his new car or talk about his driving skills. Whatever the case, don’t necessarily assume that the man is cocky. Maybe he’s just desperate for you to notice him.

young couple flirting in a cafe

16. He is extra confident around you

Yep, this seems to contradict the previous sign! However, all men are different and will respond differently to their feelings. If a man interested in you is feeling nervous, he’ll perhaps go the other way and overcompensate by suppressing his emotions and acting like he’s Definitely Not Nervous At All.

Overcompensating around you is one of the classic signs he denies his feelings to you, others, or himself. Guys use this defense mechanism in many ways, but the next sign is the most common.


17. His mood and behavior change frequently

While a man is fighting his feelings, he may be extremely friendly and caring one moment and distant or even arrogant the next. He may seem nervous around you — except he’ll also have sudden performances of confidence.

This change in behavior and emotion is because he is going through a period of emotional conflict. Fighting his feelings is taking its toll on him, and he is probably torn between admitting them and cutting you out of his life. Anyone in this situation knows it can feel like you are losing your mind!

That said, if you really can’t get a clear idea of what’s going on with him, you may want to check whether any of the other signs on this list are present. If not, someone who acts in a truly chaotic and unpredictable way might have bigger issues than fighting feelings for you!

young man looking arrogantly

18. You go on non-dates

You haven’t started dating him officially, but you often hang out with him. Although you might worry that you’ll be stuck in the friend zone forever, non-dates can be the first step toward dating life!

19. He puts effort into your relationship

You don’t have to be a relationship expert to figure out that a single man who puts effort into your relationship might be wondering whether you are the one for him. He’ll probably keep his cards close to his chest until he’s ready to declare his intentions definitively.

Perhaps he’s still a little self-conscious regarding his developing interest. Once he gets to this point, you may need to start looking for signs he wants to confess his feelings!

You don't have to be a relationship expert to figure out that a single man who puts effort into your relationship might be wondering whether you are the one for him. Click To Tweet

20. He comments on your social media

You might have a lot of friends or followers on social media, but you probably hear from some more than others. If the man you’re wondering about always seems to comment on your posts, no matter what you post, he could be fighting feelings for you!

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21. He talks to others about you

If you hear from mutual friends that this dude continually finds excuses to bring you up in conversations you’re not part of, you’re definitely on his mind. Talking to others about you clearly shows he’s fighting feelings for you.

22. He wonders about other guys

Drama is a real pain, so a man who thinks you are already taken might not want to get involved. Are you taken, though? If he seems overly interested in any ambiguity surrounding your relationship status, this is one of the most significant signs he is fighting his feelings for you!

couple flirtling at the bar

23. You get mistaken for a couple

Sometimes it’s easiest to see the truth from a distance. If people who don’t know you well start to get the idea you and him are together, perhaps there’s something to it, no matter how confusing the situation looks from your vantage.

24. His friends are asking questions

When a friend is playing a wingman for him and trying to get information out of you, this is an obvious sign the guy is interested in you. If his pal seems as confused by the situation as you are, the man has conflicting emotions!

When a friend is playing a wingman for him and trying to get information out of you, this is an obvious sign the guy is interested in you. Click To Tweet

25. There’s tension between you

Trust your gut on this one. If you’re feeling an atmosphere of tension between the two of you, there’s probably something to it! You’ll also need to use your intuition to determine when to make your next move.

26. He rejects advances from other women

Maybe this man has a blatantly obvious opportunity to pair off with another woman in your circle. If he’s not taking it, perhaps he’s conflicted by desires for you!

girl touching guys cheek

Signs he is fighting his feelings for you over text

You might have a hard time gauging the real feelings of your special guy over text messages, as that’s a form of communication where you don’t get to see body language like stealing glances. However, signs he is fighting his feelings for you can appear there too!

1. He texts you for random reasons

You might know your crush from school or your past job. Maybe he’ll pretend he has something to say about that over text — and then start bringing other stuff into the conversation. If a man texts you every day, it is a telltale sign that you are always on his mind.

2. He asks personal questions

When a man is fighting feelings for you, he will notice the little things that give him a clue about how you are feeling. He may ask if you are having a bad day.

Giving an honest answer can encourage the man to open up more. However, if he is fighting feelings, he’ll perhaps choke up instead of keeping the conversation flowing.

3. Deep conversations happen

Even though a man fighting feelings might avoid eye contact in person, that awkwardness can be lessened when you are texting. If the honest conversation seems to flow over text but not when you are together, that can be one of the telltale signs he is fighting his feelings for you.

If the honest conversation seems to flow over text but not when you are together, that can be one of the telltale signs he is fighting his feelings for you. Click To Tweet

4. You share a little secret with him

As you spend time texting, it can be easy to develop fun inside jokes. If you have a little secret with him, no matter how trivial, that’s a big sign he’s got a soft spot for you.

5. You get mixed signals

One of the biggest signs he denies his feelings for you is inconsistency. If he seems to have you on speed dial and sometimes leaves you reading for a long time without responding, this confusing pattern could suggest he’s in denial or conflicted about his true feelings.

6. He sends you good morning messages

A man fighting his feelings for you usually finds excuses to check in by text. Sending sweet good morning messages is one of the key signs he secretly wants you to be part of his love life!

young woman in bed using her mobile phone in the morning

What to do when he is fighting his feelings for you

And there you have it! These are surefire signs a man is fighting his feelings for you. While every man is different and responds differently to feelings, these signs usually indicate that you mean much more to him than he would admit.

Men acting differently from how they usually behave around you is a key sign of conflicted emotions.

A man fighting his feelings may be the life and soul of the party but blush and stumble on his words when you’re around. Alternatively, he may be a timid wallflower who starts to perform as soon as he sees you enter the room!

There may be a valid reason for him to fight his feelings. If he is in a relationship with someone else, it makes sense for him to try to bury these urges. He’ll also probably step back if it appears you’re already taken, as he wouldn’t want any dramatic conflict to happen.

Even though you may like him back, it is best not to act on it if this is the case. Passions often come and go, and throwing away a solid relationship to pursue a fleeting crush is usually regretted. People fall in love at the wrong time, which is a sad fact.

However, it may be that he is simply scared of getting hurt or thinks you will not like him back. I’ve seen many people hide their feelings from each other and refuse to admit their mutual chemistry! If you are both single and interested, it would be a shame to miss out on a potential boyfriend.

Men often feel less comfortable sharing their feelings and emotions than women. If you want to pursue this man, be patient, and give him a chance to open up to you.

Don’t push him to reveal how he feels before he’s ready. However, giving him a hint and showing some signs that you’re interested can give him the idea it’s safe to approach. He may turn out to be a real keeper!

Brittanie is a southern belle born and raised in North Carolina. She of British, Irish and Filipino descent, and she is married to a Filipino man. Brittanie has learned quite a bit about marriage and relationships. She shares her advice on her blog Britta's Walk the Talk.

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