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To The Girl Who’s Lost In His Mixed Messages

Receiving mixed messages from the guy you like? Read this post for my best advice on trying to figure out his mixed signals!
I'm Stephanie May Wilson!

I'm an author and podcaster and my specialty is helping women navigate big decisions, life transitions — creating lives they love.

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Sweet friends, I am so happy to get to share with you the second post, about receiving mixed messages from a guy, in our series: Dear Stephanie: Questions and Answers From My Inbox. I don’t know if you can call something a series if it’s only happened twice, and I don’t know how official this series will actually end up being. But here we are with number two anyway! (In case you missed it, this was the first one: How To Stop Being Afraid Of Losing People You Love)

Oh — there's one more thing you should know before we get started. I've taken out or changed all personal information in the questions I'm sharing. If you ever send me an email with a question, I promise you, your story is safe with me! Okay. Onward!

Here’s this week’s question!

Dear Stephanie, 

I’m in a sort of “It’s complicated” relationship with a guy. I have feelings for him and, from the way he treats me, I think he has feelings for me. But nothing tangible has ever come from it leaving me in a hard place as I try to figure out what these mixed messages mean. I really want this relationship to happen — he’s the best guy I’ve ever met. But I have no idea if it's going anywhere, or even how to know. Do you have any advice? 

Hi sweet friend,

Oh love, this is such a hard spot to be in. I’m so sorry your heart is hurting. And I know it’s hurting because I have totally been there (and I know I’m not the only one — I can hear the chorus of “Amen” and “I’ve been there” already!)

So before we go any further, that’s something I want you to know. You are totally not alone in this, and you’re not nuts for finding yourself in this place. (I always find that I really need to hear that when I’m in a spot like this).

But really, I spent years in this confusing middle ground with guys I liked.

I spent years waiting, and wondering, and hoping, and being in a sort-of-half-relationship, trying to figure out what the heck his mixed signals were trying to tell me, and hoping beyond hope for a happy ending.

And along the way, just like you, I had so many questions:

+ If he doesn’t like me, why would he flirt with me so much?

+ If he doesn’t like me, then why am I his closest confident?

+ I've prayed over and over again, “God, if we’re not supposed to be together, take away my feelings for him.” But God hasn't. Is that supposed to be telling me something?

+ If this isn't supposed to happen, then why do so many of our friends tell me how perfect we are together?

I felt like a detective, piecing together clues. It all felt so complicated, and so entirely uncertain. I looked at relationships around me wondering how the heck they made it happen — how they figured out the whole puzzle to such a stunning result.

But then something crazy happened.

I met a new guy. We started talking, he was friendly and kind, and not too far into our friendship, he told me he had feelings for me. Not too long after that we started officially dating, and we were together for over a year. He met me, he got to know me, he liked me, he pursued me, he asked me out, we were in a relationship. It was so simple!

I didn’t have to make it happen, or pin him down, or decode what he was thinking, because he told me. 

With his words and his actions he showed me what was happening, and there was no mistaking it even for a second. I didn't realize relationships could happen like that! I didn't realize someone would pursue me that way!

So with that experience under my belt, here’s the rule of thumb I made for myself (you know, towards the very end of my dating life long after it would have been so helpful):

I decided that I wouldn't give my heart away again until it was truly asked for — until someone pursued me, told me how they feel, showed me how they feel, and made a commitment to me. I decided that mixed messages just weren’t enough anymore.

And that’s the rule I would make for you too.

Love — everyone’s story is different. But in every story, if the relationship is going to happen, there’s a point when the guy has to make his intentions clear, make a commitment and follow through with it.

And until that point, we can’t give our hearts away.

Now, this is so hard because we are such lovers. We have such huge hearts and want to love and care for and connect with people. We’re all-in, brave-as-can-be, love-’til-the-end kind of people. And I love this about us.

But it gets us in trouble because it lands us in positions like this — where we’re fully invested when we maybe shouldn’t be, hurting, and feeling powerless as we wait for him to make the next move.

Love, I know you have all the hope in the world that this guy is going to get it together, realize what he has, and run to you like he absolutely should. And maybe he will.

But here’s the deal until that happens. Until he comes to you telling you how much he likes you and only you and asking you to be his girlfriend — committed, exclusive, and public — he has no business being in your heart.

He can’t have you anymore until he’s willing to pursue you and commit to you the way you deserve. 

And so that’s what I hope you hold out for, the bar I hope you set for yourself and for the men in your life (men with mixed messages need not apply!!). That’s what it takes to catch a catch like you. You, my darling, deserve nothing less.

Friends — I’d love to hear from you! Have you ever been in one of these middle ground relationships? How did you handle it? Did it end up working out? I'd love to hear the story and any encouragement you have for our sweet friend here! Pop them in the comments below! 🙂 

P.S. If you're wanting more advice when it comes to receiving mixed signals from a guy, be sure to tune into my Girls Night episode where we chat all about navigating friendlationships!

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Receiving mixed messages from the guy you like? Read this post for my best advice on trying to figure out his mixed signals!

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  1. Tori says:

    I have been there! All I can say is “Amen! Amen! Amen!” to Stephanie. She hit the nail on the head.

    The phrase I live by now is: “If there’s a question, there is no longer a question.” Meaning if I have to question his intentions, motivations, or interest, I just stop pursuing it.

    God has been teaching me to seek Him in my frustration and loneliness and invest my beautiful singleness, because that’s in His good plan for me too. God has more for you than wishy-washy.

    • Km says:

      Love that phrase you apply to it. This is all so true. Of course ups and downs will come with any relationship and you’ll have to work through things at times. But if you’re starting out with more questions than answers, it’s probably not right.

  2. Anna says:

    I would absolutely agree with this. I also would add that sometimes finding clarity takes a brave, clear conversation. I am currently dating a wonderful guy, but before we started dating, we spent a lot of time together as friends. I knew he enjoyed being with me, but I didn’t know if he saw our relationship going deeper. I finally got tired of wondering, so I straight-up asked him where he thought our relationship was going. It was scary, but to me it was worth it to know exactly what he was thinking, rather than trying to read his mind (because we all know how well that works! 😉 ). It got the conversation going, and he asked me to officially be his girlfriend soon after. 🙂

    • Rachel says:

      I totally agree! Sometimes it has to do with personality or their own experiences with relationships that keeps them from speaking up or being clear.

    • Moriah says:

      This is what I needed to hear! The article was awesome and eye opening.
      Anna your comment has helped me gain a bit more courage in knowing I need to talk to my friend. Everyone is telling me to wait and let him pursue but I know for my health I need clarity. But I am glad to see that another woman stepped out to find clarity in a situation and it’s not only me that feels that I need to do it.

  3. Rachel says:

    Yes! Yes! Yes! I found myself in this position a few different times in collage. This is exactly what I needed to hear then and did eventually figure out but not until much later.

    However, I will say my relationship with my husband did feel similar to this for the first several months of knowing each other. He was trying to do things differently than in his past few relationships in which the girls were the ones pursuing and the relationships with quick moving. He wanted to establish a friendship first, and was trying to learn how to be the persuer for the first time which was a little scary and vulnerable (I obviously learned these things much later haha).

    All that to say that not every guy who is no straight forward right up front is leading the girl on. They may be inexperienced, shy, or intimidated. They may be someone who doesn’t move quickly, someone who overthinks or over analyzes.

    Prayer does make the difference! I prayed in my situation to know if I should ask where our relationship was headed, pull back and give space, or be patience and just trust that God would reveal His plan in His perfect timing. I felt complete peace each time I prayed this and felt lead to the latter of being patient. When my now husband reveal his feels and intentions (just a few weeks later!) he explained that God had been calling him to be the pursuer and to do things in a Godly way and in His timing. He explained how girls had always pursued him and that he was so thankful I had allowed his the pleasure of pursing me. What an answer to prayer!!! We have now been married five years and have two beautiful little girls ?

  4. Anonymous says:


    I’ve probably heard this advice a hundred times and promised myself to stick to this simple commitment- wait to get too involved until he speaks up. Then, it happens AGAIN and all you can tell yourself is excuses “I’m the ONE exception to the rule!” “He’s just waiting for the right time.” “This time is different.” And you do it again! I would say for all those out there going through this just go ahead and tell yourself you are not the exception!!! If you are, you won’t mess it up if you wait, distance yourself and forget it until the guy steps up. Thanks for the post.

  5. Karla says:

    First of all, Stephanie, you have a way with words. I feel as if I am sitting right next to you and comforted in the beautiful atmosphere of a vent session followed by a much needed pep talk. A huge thank you to the sweet, wise lady who messaged you this question. With all honesty, it is what I am needing to hear. I read this blog post during my break at work the day it was posted and caught myself hoping it was what my heart was searching for. In regards to a “you need to move on, he doesn’t deserve your heart anymore.” I am in that place right now.
    Over the years, I’ve dated guys that have been the ones that taught me what my heart is searching for in a husband. Oh yes, that “list” was created throughout the relationships of the 1 week boyfriend that I had in high school to the 2 year relationship that ultimately went nowhere (Thank You Lord!) and so forth. Fortunately, I believe I have a good idea of what my heart and soul desires and deep down inside I know I should not settle for less.
    I’m 24. I just graduated college and have a “starter” job. I have so many options as to where my life can go right now. Doesn’t that sound awesome?! It’s a bit scary, too. It’s an exciting time, to say the least. I am trying to enjoy this season I am in, yet plan and set realistic goals for the next. Planning is my friend and learning to enjoy the season I am in is an acquaintance, who I hope will turn into a strong, growing friendship.
    Back to the situation with the guy- my heart says to move on and that he has had long enough, but my brain says you haven’t given the relationship enough time. What is enough time? How long should I wait? We have been “getting to know each other” for 5 months. I am ready for the next step, but I am wanting him to be the one to take the lead on that. Can I just forward this to him. HAha.. But, seriously. 😉



  6. Hope says:

    I’ve learned to just ask, “does this mean something more than friends to you?”

    Works every time!


  7. Nicole M. says:

    Great advise Stephanie. It took me a long time to learn the importance of boundaries and guarding my heart. We need boundaries around our hearts so that we do not “cast our pearls to swine”. Grace to wait on God’s best.

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