there's definitely a connection and he seems to care for me - he was even curious to see my photos in my phone and wanted to know if I still talk to my exboyfriend... he always holds me in his arms and cuddles me and plays with my hair and he even brushed my hair for me...
im usually the one reaching out most of the time... is he shy? Or is he wanting to take things slow? Or is he not that interested?
He's just slow. If he's holding you in his arms, cuddles you and plays with your hair he is interested in you.
You didn't mention how you interact with him other than you reach out. Are you responding in a way showing your interested in him? If you are then be just a little more aggressive, but don't come on strong.
What a good way of being more aggressive without scaring him off?