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Men who have a guard up when it comes to relationships, what was it that you decided to lower your guard for certain someone?

Hello, l am a 25 year old female who has a really good job, a kind heart and a lot of empathy and is funny, smart and from what others say good looking as well. I am not trying to boast in any way here just trying to paint a picture because it can be hard to figure out with what intentions some men approach me at times. Anyways, I really like a guy (23) that l unexpectedly fell for. Things have been pretty much hot and cold between us and it is really hard to figure him out. He says that he likes me but seems to be reluctant for some reason. He seems to be guarded and l don’t know what l should do about it. Or am l getting played? Is that an excuse guys use? If any wise men that can help my conundrum and voice an opinion, it would be very much appreciated.

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29 Comments

  1. I’m exactly the same. Usually because we’ve been through the motions countless times and I just see every woman as temporary so I don’t bother with getting caught up in all that. Also I prefer being solo, I like achieving my goals, being my own responsibility, my own privacy etc. So it’s nothing against you, if you really like him you just gotta be patient. Don’t force too much on him. If he wants something with you, he’ll pursue when it’s right.

  2. I’m in a very similar situation, but she and I have decided to give it a go and have a more direct and open dialogue.

    Basically, I realized that I’ve never been in a healthy relationship before and if I don’t make an effort to try, I never will be. She kinda feels the same. If we can’t try and repair some damage in our lives and experience well placed trust going both ways, we won’t learn to do it with anyone. Will it work out? Maybe, maybe not. Worst case scenario, we both grow as people and part amicably to seek an even better relationship. Best case scenario we make it work beautifully for the long haul.

    I can’t speak to your situation, but a person can’t move forward if they’re fighting yesterdays battles in their head.

  3. he could be afraid of coming on too strong. restraining oneself tend to fail at moderation. that is, someone very much in love and trying not to be a love sick idiot will tend to come off cold, rather than normal.

    for myself, I didn’t so much let my guard down as she was already inside. like some looney tunes bit where all teh doors get closed and locked and then there she was, right behind me.

  4. I was a serial non committing bachelor for over 20 years. Got married mid 40s.

    A couple of things from my perspective:

    I did not like being forced or guided into commitment. The act of pushing me (nagging) or manipulating me (trying to get me jealous) into committing made me pull back and retreat.

    If he is ambitious, then 98 percent of his thought and energy is on work. Many women thought I was aloof and guarded when in fact I was just preoccupied and in my head, if all my free time was spent with this one woman, then that was a huge sign of commitment from me, regardless of what she thought.

    My wife and I were fwb for years before we started exclusively. She was the only woman that treated me as me me and didn’t try to steer me in a direction or not. She was logical and level headed. She didn’t force anything. She was upfront on what she wanted and needed and wouldn’t put up with. That to me felt like a special person and worth my life long commitment

  5. I was like that at his age (not thaaat long ago). I’d been hurt once or twice and didn’t want to be again. I also wasn’t sure that I wanted a relationship. So I was a bit of a hard ass for ages with my then gf, now wife. Honestly it probably took a year or two. But we’ve now been together for nearly 12 years, just celebrated our 6 year wedding anniversary last weekend. So it could work out for you!

  6. Various possible reasons:
    – you intimidate him
    – he’s working on himself and focusing on himself
    – he is questioning his sexuality (including asexuality)
    – he has a situation that he has yet to reveal: a child, a disease like HIV or Herpes
    – he’s not that into you

  7. I only lower my guard once I trust someone. I’m not a trusting person.

    Trust takes time. Trust takes me getting a feel for you as a person and your personality and ideals. I like to think I’m a good judge of character, and I’ve not be wrong yet, but I’m also the kind of person who is cautious and doesn’t trust themselves anymore than they trust other people. Only once I’m sure you’ll only be a positive influence on my life will I slowly let down my guard. Push too hard and the guard comes back up. If things have been hot and cold, maybe you’re pushing too hard and reengaging his guard.

  8. It can honestly be both. Fuckboys are real. And by Fuckboys I mean men who say relationshippy things to get sex and attention without being transparent with the fact that’s the only thing they’re looking for.

    Hot and cold usually is a bad sign (if he objectively is, it’s honestly easy to feel that way because of our own insecurities). It is usually a sign of attachment issues.

    Do the best actionable advice I can give you is: Watch him closely. Is he there for you when you ask for it? Does he listen? Are you slowly growing into his life over the weeks and months or does he keep you in a spot where you’re available when it’s convenient for him but he gives nothing back?

    Generally what makes men commit is:

    1. First of all he has to be in the right spot in his life.

    Apart from that, he just has to feel like it’s worth sacrificing his freedom. Does the relationship give him what he puts in? For most, good, regular sex is a great start but that’s just the basics. Is she loyal? Is she stable? Will she allow me to do my thing? Does she actually love me or just some idealized version of me? Is just because my dick game strong? Or even worse, is she just there because she likes what I can do for her? Will she still be attracted if I open myself and show more vulnerabities (to which, by my experience, the answer is usually no).

  9. If he’s giving mixed messages/signals, then he’s probably not interested in the same way that you are. If a healthy relationship is starting out, you shouldn’t have to analyze or think about things like this. It should just be natural and fun.

    He’s 23, so to be fair to him, he’s probably still enjoying some youthful freedom. Obviously I don’t know the full scope, but at 23 a lot of guys are still in the partying, hooking up, video game phase. Whereas for you it sounds like your adult life is starting to take shape. You’re likely moving into adulthood while he’s (possibly) still in the waning stages of youth.

    On the other hand, some guys have a guard up, likely because of past rejection. A guy can only build his hopes up so many times and inevitably get crushed.

    But in short… if you have to think about it, it’s probably wrong. From what I can tell, you’d be better off finding someone who doesn’t leave you questioning the relationship.

  10. I’m a shields up kind of guy as well. Vulnerability doesn’t come out all at once, you have to chip away at it and eventually (if he’s into you) he’ll feel more comfortable, realize you aren’t trying to use or hurt him, and he’ll come off as less guarded.

  11. Without knowing him how should we know?

    Maybe he’s anxious and overthinking shit. Maybe he’s not that in to you but stringing you along. Maybe he doesn’t know his own feelings. Maybe he doesn’t even get what’s going on.

    Basically without knowing the dude there’s no way to tell. 23 is admittedly very young, but i remember people being just as complex at that age – just a lot dumber.

    But if you’re talking generally it takes a few years for me to let my guard down, if i ever do. Generally women say they want men that are open with their emotions. This is not empirical truth to most of us. Society will only accept male emotions if they come very well packaged.

  12. It hasn’t happened yet. But I’m pretty sure I know what will do it.

    See, I’m at least 30 lbs overweight. And as much as I pretend I’m not, my sense of confidence is directly tied to the number on the scale. I have this weird idea in my head that, if I get prettier, I will attract a higher calibre of date: less mentally ill, more fit, more accomplished, less insecure, fewer hangups, etc.

    So right now I have my guard up because I don’t feel like I’m worth having (I mean, I’m not right now). Any woman who’s interested in me must have something wrong with her, when she can find a better model in a few swipes. So I keep going into dates on guard for that.

  13. My guard was up the whole time. I didn’t want a relationship because I didn’t think I could handle it anymore. She smashed through all my barriers like the fucking Kool Aid Man and didn’t even realize they were there. In a sense, I didn’t decide at all.

  14. In simple terms I don’t know you so i don’t trust you. It takes a while to get a feel for how people are and see if i consider them shitty or not. I’m not a talker, Speak when spoken too kinda guy so i come off as “Guarded” but ask a question and i will try to answer it. After i feel safe or comfortable around you i will start cracking jokes and being an overall sarcastic pain in the ass.

  15. Maybe its an attachment style issue?

    Could be one of many things. Yes, one of those things is ‘hes a player’. Or maybe he is avoidant attachment style. Or maybe he has just been hurt really bad by someone. Can you try to figure out which?

  16. Met her through family instead of online so I didn’t think I’d have to worry so much about the complete disaster loser things that usually kept my guard up and would have me bailing quickly. I’m independent and have a good career, own my home, have a vehicle, stay active, etc. but only attract the polar opposite. Turned out as promising as she looked in the beginning she was also a complete disaster. Driving with a suspended license and no insurance and eventually lost the car, just quit the full time job for a more fun part time job Rather than higher pay or a second job to get her shit together, and more. Your mention of a really good job would go a long way with me, especially if it was at one of the local companies that requires rather rigorous background checks. Unfortunately those are all ~80% men though. But thats specific to me and my guard being up specifically against losers and mooches.

  17. As someone who probably still has his guard up, it’s very much so a product of painful memories and pasts. Not wanting to be hurt again, having unpleasant experiences the last time opening up. And honestly, I sometimes wonder where the mask ends and where I begin. I suspect many of us, not just men, have guarded our emotions because we’re afraid of the pain and ridicule that come with opening up and making ourselves vulnerable. And so we’ve hardened ourselves to avoid that in the future.

    The best advice I could give is to just have an open and honest dialogue with him. Don’t try and force anything, just let him know you’re here for him and he can open up on his own time. I think for me, it’d take a deep trust and knowledge that the other person truly cares about me and I don’t have to worry about being hurt. And even then, I’d be reluctant.

  18. I only let my guard down for one person in my life, and they ended up ghosting me because they didn’t feel the same way that I did. I don’t think I’ll ever open up to anyone again, it’s just too much of a gamble when things could go wrong.

  19. This is tough because there could be different reasons for his actions. When I was 23 I was in a similar situation where what began as a casual hookup quickly developed into strong romantic feelings. I was entirely not ready for that type of serious relationship, though. I was still in college, worked at one of the more popular bars in town, and wasn’t ready to settle down with one person. It was a confusing time, because I knew I loved her but I also knew I liked to go party and be carefree. The withdrawing could also be a sign of sexual abuse as a child. Best thing you can do in my opinion is just talk to him, be open about how you feel, and be open about how his behavior is making you feel. I know that when my partner told me about how I made her feel way back when it was a real eye opener for me.

  20. From my experiences, i had few girls who would genuinely express their love or says “I like you.” or straight up said “i love you” to me in high school; it was difficult for me to reproduce the feelings in return very quickly when you really don’t know them very personally and you would feel like you’re lying if you said you love them too but you don’t have any feelings for them.

    Typically, i give it a week or two and you’ll notice their interest immediately starts to diminish and then they turns on you, moving to another man very quickly. I had my feelings hurt for the first few times, but afterward, i became a cold-hearted man toward those types who would do it so often.

    So i’m certain that he may be in the similar situation and he’s very uncertain about it like, do you actually, genuinely like/love him? or do you just want him for something else (commonly just for sex one-time and then ditch them)

    If it was up to me in your position, i would genuinely give them time and space, to let them warm up to you over time and maybe get know you better, which would requires you to be very patient and wait for him to do that. (Kinda like you would do with a very scared, nervous dog after adopting one) and i’m sure, soon enough, he’ll like you better once he know you personally.

    (Hopeful if this make any sense to you)

  21. Please don’t take this as an insult, I’m just going to tell you what I’ve experienced.

    In my experience, when a woman says “I’ve got XYZ going for me, all the basics covered, definitely a catch, etc. – so why doesn’t this guy like me?” 100% of the time it’s because that woman is exhaustingly high maintenance.

    You can objectively tell if you’re hot. You can objectively tell if you have a good job, if you’re educated, all that stuff. But most people can’t objectively tell if they’re *chill.*

    If you’re hella high maintenance, you might just be too much work to be worth it for a lot of guys, no matter how great you are otherwise. Like, I could be dating a perfect 10 and I’ll still dump her the first time I get a text saying “why haven’t you called me in the last four hours” or saying “do you think that other girl is prettier than me” or even “why do you wear *those* jeans?”

    So that *could* be it.

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