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What is this married man doing??

Tagged as: Big Questions, Crushes, Dating<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (13 March 2023) 10 Answers - (Newest, 8 April 2023)
A female United States age 30-35, anonymous writes:

So, there is someone I know who I am NOT allowed to date. Think something like teacher and professor, or employee and superior. However, I don’t see him very frequently.

I have a huge crush on him, which I know is awful on its own. Why do I feel that way? He has been very flirty with me, and would touch me all of the time, caress my hand, touch his feet to my feet, tell me that he likes me. He even started giving me hugs. Since I am very lonely, this brings up some very real feelings.

About a year ago I reached out to him on Skype. I have no idea if he got my message (a lot of people don’t use Skype anymore) but said to me recently “I’m not on social media”). I didn’t know if this was in reference to my attempts at contact (to discourage me from doing it) or if it was about something else we were talking about in the context of our conversation…

Anyway, I’ve been a bit worried about him since he’d seemed very stressed recently. I care about him a lot so I was quite worried about his health and mood.

This last time I saw him I told him that I’d been worried and he confided ALL of this stuff in me, about some health problems of family members that he was worried about as well as his own health and some “personal problems.” (His marriage???)

Also, my appearance came up and he said two or three times “you are beautiful” and also he kept commenting on my clothing and how great and healthy I looked. He really was almost acting like he was in awe of how I looked. I mean, he made several comments and kind of kept babbling on about my appearance.

So here is my question. He has toned down the physical flirting. He told me he’s not available on social media. So maybe I’d begin to think he’s not interested in me anymore.

In this context, how do you read the comments about my appearance and the fact that he was confiding so much in me??? I’m not sure I’ve ever had a man I didn’t know extremely well confide in me this much and it makes me feel close to him. Would he do that if he didn't like me?

Also, I found out he has taken an extended leave of absence from work so I won’t see him for some time—if he even returns, that is. I am SO worried about him and SO heartbroken. I truly care for this man and I think about him every single day but have no way to reach him.

Without being hateful (because this is a very controversial topic), can you tell me what you think is going on in our connection? Why would he share so much with me? If he wasn’t interested in me, would he confide in me this way? Does this suggest that he has feelings for me the way I have for him?

View related questions: crush, flirt, heartbroken, married man

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (8 April 2023):

It's me again, original poster. I'm trying to take in everything you all are saying. I guess I have developed eally major feelings for him and can't help but wonder if they are mutual OR if he's just playing me. It's so confusing!!! Plus, everyone says married men are just liars...

Why the mixed signals if he's not planning on taking it any further? Also, unless he reaches out to me or comes back to work in 6 months (the length of time of his leave...and there are no guarantees that he WILL come back) I don't even know what to think. (But keep in mind he could get into trouble if he contacted me and anyone found out, even now. I don't know if that could be why he has hesitated, but I figured if a guy REALLY likes someone he wouldn't be able to resist, regardless of the consequences.)

HELP! This situation is a mess. I think about him multiple times per day. I wonder what he is doing and I miss him. IF I even see him again, how can I tell if he's being genuine towards me?

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A female reader, Youcannotbeserious United Kingdom + , writes (18 March 2023):

Youcannotbeserious agony auntTo answer your second post, I think he knows EXACTLY what he is doing. He is yanking your chain, good and proper. He may even be having a bit of a laugh behind your back about how gullible and naive you are being. People are not always what they seem and he is definitely not a good person if he is stringing you along while his wife sits at home. Wise up and protect yourself, before you get badly hurt.

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A male reader, Myau New Zealand +, writes (18 March 2023):

Myau agony auntI never do understand why people love misery.

There are things you can have and things you cant have. The more time you waste on what you cant have the more miserable you will be.

I think its time you met someone and started a proper relationship. You've been single long enough.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (18 March 2023):

"(His marriage???)"

You won't come right-out and say the man is married, but let's assume he is. It's quite obvious he's testing to see if you're up for fooling around. He has only one interest, and every post sent in response to your post says the same thing. He wants to have sex with you.

Just so you'll know this for future reference. Take it for what it's worth. Guys confiding in you doesn't mean anything. Some confide to prostitutes. It's to make you think he's vulnerable, and it's meant to make you let your guard down. You're being played. The dude is in search of a mistress. You should wonder why he's having family/marital problems?

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (17 March 2023):

He is not interested in dating! He is wanting to to go bed with you, touch you up, kiss you, use you for sex. Not dating, romance, serious stuff. A convenience. Not with feelings, care, love! I knew all of this when I was 16 how come you still cannot figure it out yourself?

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A reader, anonymous, writes (16 March 2023):

"He told me he’s not available on social media. So maybe I’d begin to think he’s not interested in me anymore."

He's either with someone, or he's married. He's not on social media; so being off the grid keeps a wife, or an intimate partner, in the dark about whom you're contacting and what you're up to. His romantic-partner, or wife, may be the kind that checks his phone and trolls his social media accounts.

Intimating your personal-business to people you're in no kind of established close-relationship with, other than a therapist, is over-sharing. If you're a player, narcissist, or manipulator; showing vulnerability lowers the guard of a potential victim.

Inappropriate compliments and commentary on your appearance is testing your boundaries and gullibility. A man of character, and of substance, mentally has a built-in gauge and warning-system as to what should be confided in people of no intimate or definitive attachment; and bears in-mind where lines are drawn when you are interacting with a co-worker...especially, a female! Where there are no particular established social or romantic ties to speak of. Your connection to this man is professional; but his approaches are unprofessional. He seems to be testing the waters to see what he can getaway with.

He senses your loneliness, and you're probably sending all the signals you can to show him how especially sympathetic you are. I can only speculate that you're responding to his compliments about your appearance in a positive way. Accepting the touching of your person, without setting proper parameters for a co-worker; and maybe without sufficient consideration, if his motives are on the up and up. Your post indicates none of this is fully understood. You also seem uncertain of what boundaries to set, in order to remind him that touching a female-coworker, and hugging; might be inappropriate, or too personal among colleagues. That is, considering he hasn't asked you for a date; but feels free to make passes, and send romantic-signals. While leaving you confused. Quite effective for a predator; when the prey doesn't know whether to fight or flee!

All of the above is not how a guy acts who has interest without ulterior-motives. He'd be open and honest of his intentions, and would seek permission before he acts; and would express his interest openly enough that you don't need to guess. I don't/won't touch anybody affectionately or intimately; unless we have an established and definitive "relationship" and understanding of some sort. Those are social-boundaries we should have programmed into us; as generally set by society, proper behavior, and the law. They don't have to be constantly reaffirmed, they should be well-known and practiced.

If you suspect he's married, he remains a great mystery, yet overshares personal-information (excluding whether he is available, or married); should alert you that he's too weird, quite suspicious, and crosses a lot of lines without first establishing if he has romantic-interests; and wishes to seriously pursue them. He keeps you guessing; because there's something he wants without any strings attached. His personal-problems may be real; but the way he's interacting with you is highly suspicious. Like he wants to build your interest and intrigue, but always keep the upper-hand. That's not paranoia, that's commonsense. His personal-problems may be legit, but they're also convenient; if you want to use them to disarm someone who is crushing on you, but there may be something you're hiding. Proceed with caution, my dear!

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (16 March 2023):

Original poster here. I guess I am wondering, does he realize that he is making me feel close to him by sharing things with me after flirting with me so much? If so, why would he do that if he doesn't want something to happen with me? But if he does, why does he give me such mixed signals?

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A female reader, Youcannotbeserious United Kingdom + , writes (15 March 2023):

Youcannotbeserious agony auntThe question you SHOULD be asking is "why am I so lonely/insecure/[insert whatever description fits] that I am bowled over by a married man who I KNOW is out of bounds?"

Given his comment about not operating on social media, I would lay money that he DID receive your message but wanted to discourage you from trying other ways of reaching him. The references to your appearance were probably his way of telling you that you have a lot to offer (looks wise at least) and should put yourself out there and find yourself someone who is free.

So he confided in you in a moment of weakness? So he's flirted with you a bit? Big deal. He has a wife and family. Let THEM worry about him. It is not YOUR place to worry about his wellbeing.

Take this as a wake-up call that you need to do something with your life, rather than wasting it mooning over someone who is not available. Get out there and find yourself someone who is free to love you back like you deserve. This man is not for you. You deserve more.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (14 March 2023):

Come on now. He just wants you for sex. Married men are often bored at home and wanting a side piece. Otherwise it damages their bank balance if they have to pay a professional woman to help them out with casual sex. Of course he says nice things, he has to give you something - he won't give love or money so he gives you flattery and maybe promises that later get broken. I had tons of guys trying this crap on me when I was young. Selfish users and liars.

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A female reader, Honeypie United States + , writes (14 March 2023):

Honeypie agony auntYou need to start by setting some firm boundaries.

Shut down flirting and touching. It's not helping the situation.

Whatever issues he has in his marriage... it is none of your business or problem. That is for him to figure out... with his wife. And you ought to tell him that. YOU two are not close friends so I would PRESUME that him telling you this, is to make you FEEL sorry for him or soften towards his advances. It's kinda "cheater 101" - my wife doesn't understand me, boo hoo.

"Does this suggest that he has feelings for me the way I have for him?"

No. It doesn't. He is TESTING the waters to see if you would be dumb enough to bed him.

Calling you beautiful is a lovely compliment but it's also used to keep YOU sweet.

Having a crush happens. But you know this guy is off limits and perhaps YOU keep him around because you KNOW it can't really go anywhere (at least not anywhere good). That way you fan the flames of this crush so that YOU don't have to make the effort of finding a SINGLE man who would want to be with you and you want to be with. He is like a "fantasy guy", unobtainable.

Come on, OP

You know better so DO better and BE better. And also know, you DESERVE better than some wife's leftovers.

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