How do you cope with liking an emotionally unavailable man? How can / should I be there for him?

I'm romantically interested in a guy friend who recently went through a break up involving kids. I know he's not ready for a relationship right now and I'm not pushing the issue. I'm just trying to be there for him. The issue is that he's being very closed off and distant. I only see him once or twice a week and sometimes he's happy to see me and happy to talk to me. Other times he'll act very distant and won't really talk to me at all. I'm trying to be compassionate and understanding while giving him his space, but still trying to be there. It's exhausting though.

Friends who know that I like him romantically keep telling me to just move on and forget about him. They feel he's playing games and that I'll only get hurt in the long run. I appreciate their concern and have been thinking about taking a break from him, but walking away right now doesn't feel right to me. Sometimes staying around him doesn't feel right either. I guess I'm probably just as confused as he is.

Any thoughts? What else can I do?
How do you cope with liking an emotionally unavailable man? How can / should I be there for him?
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