Is patience really the best way to a guy with a guarded heart?

I dated my guy friend for a little bit but now we are back to being friends because he was being hot and cold and it was confusing me. I can tell he still likes me but I know he is still scared about getting hurt after his last girlfriend dumped him. I think we both are a little scared of letting someone else in again but I just have a gut feeling that there is something here. He also thinks that I want a serious relationship with him which he isn't ready for and I'm not either... at least not yet. So my question is how should I approach this? Should I tell him I would like to try again or that I still like him or will that scare him off? Or would it be better to just flirt back when he flirts and see what happens/see if he comes to me?


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Most Helpful Guy

  • I'm a guy with a guarded heart, and I'll tell you the REAL secret: The mere passage of time in and of itself will prove nothing. What counts is the experiences you share, milestones, events, seeing how you act and react to different situations, seeing your character exposed. How do you handle it when my dad dies? How about when I lose my job? What about if I get mugged, do you find me less attractive because I got beat up? He has questions about how you really feel, and you haven't answered them. And the more you try to pressure him and "make" him trust you before he's ready, the more you undermine your efforts. He'll trust you when he feels safe around you and not before. The guy has been hurt and it's not that that makes him question you so much as he questions himself, his worthiness, his manhood, his intelligence. That's what gets damaged by betrayal. He can't LET himself love you until he loves himself again, and that's what's been shattered. And you know what? The fact that getting dumped can effect him that much means he was REALLY in love with that girl. And you know what that means? Means he's capable of loving someone that much. So that's a good man you've got there and those are exceedingly rare. Be patient and supportive and compassionate, and when he does open up, it'll be much more rewarding for both of you. He's testing your commitment. "Do you really love me, or do you just think you like me, as long as I do what you want?" That's what he's asking.

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What Guys Said 18

  • Absolutely. If you are with someone and they have commitment issues, or their heart has been broken or hurt to the point where they now guard in very deeply and closely, then cultivating patience is very much the key to unlocking his heart for you.

    Give that you've already stated in your posting he's still healing from the last time his heart was hurt by his last girlfriend, what is happening now between the two of you is NOT surprising, but it is also resolvable if you're willing to make the effort with him. Some girls just are willing to put that much time into a guy and don't have the patience, but if you feel you do, then you can get through to him and help him get past what he's feeling right now due to being hurt.

    The way I suggest you approach him is by letting him know that no matter what you're still here for him. The foundation of your friendship is what's going to help you here in the long run. This is going to be a marathon to the finish---not a sprint. Let him know that as his friend you are here... no matter what else... he can depend on you. This is the start of building trust. Not just as friends, but as potential lovers. It will little by little strengthen your bond and that's key to progressing this back to relationship status.

    You don't want to push. Sure, let him know you're still interested in him, let him know you're not going to be dating or seeing anyone else, because you feel there is something between the two of you, but don't press for a commitment and don't press for him to confess undying affection or love for you. He's not ready for something that serious and it doesn't appear you are either, so again, take it slow and easy...

    A good analogy would be trying to coax a scared and frightened cat down out of a tree or an injured dog from under the house. Soft voice, slow moments... nothing too fancy... just lots of affection and empathy coming from you to him. You take it one step at a time, one day at a time, and as you say when he flirts with you, then flirt back with him. Baby steps.

    Little by little he'll come to see that you're not going to hurt him like his last girlfriend and you're heart will heal too as you bond and interact with him and come to the realization that he's not going to hurt you either. Like I said, it will take time, but if you are truly willing to have the patience and work within the boundaries, you'll achieve your overall goal and that's the whole point in the end. That's the bottom line.

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  • When people are scared of getting hurt again (and we've all been there and done that!,) trying to talk about the relationship triggers their fears, so that is not what you want to do. Instead, just be his friend and look for opportunities to be more than a friend. When he is walking beside you, hold his hand. At the end of your time together, give him a hug with some extra squeeze in it. Follow that up with a little kiss on the lips and then leave without talking about the kiss. Just try to slide back into a relationship gradually without talking about it.

    I know that the usual advice is that good relationships are built on communications, but first you need to re-establish the relationship and I think this is how you can do it.

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    • 2mo

      Thanks! This helps a lot!

  • Ok how will you having patience guard your heart? patience is not a tool to guard your heart. If you want to guard your heart there are only two proper ways to do so:

    1. Establish boundaries with people and the world but don't build any walls around your heart.

    2. Built very high and insurmountable walls around your heart so that nobody and nothing can affect you.

    Anyways coming to your situation. Yes you can definitely tell him that you like him and you would like to try again. Nothing wrong with that and I don't think it will scare him off.

    Always try to be straightforward and direct with men and they always appreciate that.

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    • 2mo

      not guard my heart - i do that just fine haha. I meant he is very guarded and will patience work or is it a waste of time? But thank you for your advice! I will think about telling him I like him one more time before I just move on. I'm just worried about looking like a fool if he says no :(

    • 2mo

      Ok, I might have misunderstood your question then. I apologize.

    • 2mo

      Yes, in that case you can certainly be patience, it's know to work against guarded heart. However as I said you can just tell him directly also. Both are fine.

  • I think you should be patient and even take that a step further -- go date someone else. There are so many things possible here. He may be cautious getting into a new relationship, he may not even want a relationship, and/or he may not want a relationship with you. This is really no different than with any other guy who doesn't show strong interest -- move on and pursue someone who actually has interest in you. It doesn't matter what his excuses are, you have a life too and you shouldn't spend it waiting around for him to figure things out.

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    • 2mo

      I agree with you for the most part. I just don't have a lot of guys show strong interest in me because apparently I am intimidating because I have my shit together. He is sweet and a little inexperienced and so I didn't want to give up on someone I actually like super quickly just because he might be a little scared. I've been open to dating other guys throughout all this... there just haven't been any :(

    • 2mo

      There are gazillions of guys out there. Maybe you really are that intimidating, but I don't know... Have you tried online dating? Even the least desirable women get dozens of replies every day in that medium. There is no male shortage in this world and in all likelihood, there is no shortage of men who would be interested in you.

    • 2mo

      Yep I have tried it. It's the same thing. I went on some dates but none of them turned into anything

  • girlfriend pains is good BS (sometimes real) that over time becomes bad BS and transparent that he's using a gal... usually for sex

    I would find someone more attentive and as mutually attracted to best results
    but if he's the only catch in town
    then be more aggressive & put out the sex he craves until something better comes along or he decides he can get over being hurt again, poor baby

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  • Patience and honesty. Tell him how you feel, encourage him to talk to you and take it slow.

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  • From my own personal experiences with myself being super guarded in regards to my heart. I've found that it's based on the person that you meet. Before I met my wife, I had the run of the mill of women who tormented me (seriously). From cheating, to lying, and threats after I broke it off. I thought I would never recover. Some girls afterward tried to get me to open up. Some waited, some were honest and open. While other's did try to pry a bit, but nothing worked. I attempted with most, but just couldn't open up. Then I met my wife, and within a month of going on a few dates. My heart started opening up, and I felt extremely comfortable with her. We clicked and realized she's everything I've ever wanted. Which I think in a way. That's what it truly takes to let your guard down. To meet the right person that makes you want to lower your guard from the get go.

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  • Yes indeed it is , it's often the best route into a guys heart anyway. People who have been burnt are slow to trust.

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  • Sure patience is a good choice. The only drawback is what happens if in the meantime you or him hook up with other people.

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  • How long was he and his ex in a relationship for? How long between the breakup and you two trying to date?

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    • 2mo

      They were together for like 4 years. But they have been broken up for 2 or 3 years but he hasn't dated a lot since then. And he's only 26 so not a lot of experience total.

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    • 2mo

      Tell him you don't want anything serious (I can't believe this, but whatever).

    • 2mo

      I mean I do at some point want a serious relationship with the right person. But it's too early with this guy to know for sure. I would like to go back to dating/hanging out. I just feel vulnerable bringing it up because he doesn't text me or snapchat me like he used to (I guess I haven't really tried either though) but when I see him in person he is still flirty and people even comment on it or assume we are together.

  • If you love him, it's better to be patient It would not be okay to push him or manipulate him.

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  • Yes, I am shy, I am scared of being vulnerable and so I have a real firm and hard guard, but just proceeding slowly with me makes all the difference. Let me get comfortable with you, let me find my feet, show me that you're serious and be a friend as well as potential girlfriend and slowly but surely as my comfort and feelings grow then I will start to open up.

    The problem with some women is that they rush me and start getting sexual too early and that makes me uncomfortable and so my guard only becomes harder to lower because I am worried about their motives and whether there are ulterior motives at play.

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  • yes baby

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  • Quite frankly In my opinion the trick is to push, push hard and give absolutely no reason for the person to doubt you. Naturally mix in a good dose of attentiveness and being understanding. Even towards nonsense that he has no basis to feel.

    Emotions aren't always rational after all.

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    • 2mo

      So I should just keep telling him I like him?

    • 2mo

      Be honest and upfront. The thing with you being patient is that it will make his head ask questions. If he's already on guard and he starts asking questions he will answer it based on prior experience. Usually not good for you.

      Take away the part where he answers it himself and make it clear where you're coming from. Of course without being insensitive.

  • Just tell him what you feel. That way he knows what you want.

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  • Patience is the only way to get him. It's likely that his other relationships moved too fast and he's making sure you're not just using him the way the others did. He probably wants to be with you but he's learned not to trust things that seem too perfect. Keep working at it, the more work you put in the better the reward.

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  • No. It's to break through their guard or to alleviate his fears. If he truly wants it deep down, and is just trying to defend himself from potential harm, then breaking down his barriers would be more efficient, in my opinion. Making an undeniable and somewhat aggressive move that alleviates any potential doubt that he has.

    If he seriously is fucked up, then he'll deny an aggressive move. If he's just pussing out, then he'll cave. That will at least buy you more information. If he's still all closed off, then it's probably better to just wait and date other guys in the mean time. Maybe that would spark some jealousy in him, too.

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    • 2mo

      So what's an example of an aggressive move?

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    • 2mo

      Thanks for the advice! Yeah I was worried it was just an excuse but the more I think about his actions the more I think he is just a little scared. I mean the last time I saw him he sat super close to me and touched my thigh a couple times. And he smiled and looked at me all night. So I'm trying to give him the benefit of the doubt.

    • 2mo

      Yeah, sounds legit. So you just have to break through the barrier.

  • Wait till he heals

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    • 2mo

      So just be his friend for now?

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    • 2mo

      That's weird. See for me, it was the opposite. The girl would initiate texts, snapchats, and Instagram comments/likes but when I'd ask her to hang out, only once a week, then she'd say she's busy or maybe with no plans to reschedule then she started hitting me up more. Then the last time I sw her, I found out she was sleeping with others while sleeping with her. I didn't say anything about it because we weren't official but she ended up ditching me afterwards and we had plans after that.

    • 2mo

      Aw that sucks sorry to hear :( yeah he would initiate texts and snapchats but not seeing me. He would talk about things he wanted to do with me but unless I made them happen they didn't. He was just hard to read

What Girls Said 1

  • Sometimes you end up wasting your time by being patient so it's difficult to judge.

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