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If He’s Not Chasing, Why Are You Investing?

Stephen Hussey

It’s easy to find yourself wasting a lot of time and heartache over guys who were never really serious in the first place.

What usually happens in these stories: a guy approaches you and shows some interest, and you start texting and talking on the phone. Maybe you go on a date. Things seem fun, but after a while his interest just sort of tapers off, or he only makes contact at random intervals, drifting in and out of your inbox.

You feel you’ve already become attached to him, yet you don’t know where you stand.

Now you’re thinking about him a lot, discussing his behaviour with your friend, and over-analyzing every text he sends (when he does bother to send them).

You are investing deeper and deeper in this guy, despite the fact that he’s not showing any signs of chasing.

I know this position sucks, and what makes it worse is that the guy gives you no obvious sign about what he wants.

Chances are, he feels some level of attraction to you, or enjoys your company, but he doesn’t feel enough interest or urgency to seriously make an effort.

Why Guys Show Attention But Don’t Take It Further

Men who string women along tend to be those who need of a lot of sexual validation.

He may not be interested in any kind of serious relationship, but he wants to boost his self-esteem by reminding himself that women are attracted to him sexually. Hence he goes and dates and sends flirty texts even when he has no desire for things to move forward.

So what can you do about this?

The trick is knowing the difference between him pursuing and him chasing

Look for the following signs to know if he’s chasing you:

  • He gets back to your texts and calls in good time (i.e. he doesn’t wait for a week or more before texting out of the blue).
  • He suggests meeting up and actively tries to schedule a date.
  • When he meets you, he expresses a desire to do real dates, rather than just hanging out at his place.
  • He wants to get to know you rather than just sleep with you.
  • He doesn’t express a desire to be single (i.e. if he keeps saying he doesn’t want a girlfriend, take him at his word).

Before a guy does these things, by all means you can be in contact and flirt with him, but don’t hold out a false hope that with enough time he’ll suddenly “get serious” and start pursuing you for a relationship.

In some cases, it is possible that a guy is not chasing because he’s got a ton going on in his life, or because he’s under immense career pressure and can’t imagine a relationship right now, or because he just broke up with his ex and needs to heal first.

The point is, whatever is going on his life is totally out of your control. Our job (men and women) in the dating is not to play the guessing game, or try to change anyone else’s situation. Let people do what they do, and react accordingly.

My brother Matthew has a rule I’ve repeated before: Like those who like you.

I would also amend this slightly: Get serious about people who treat you as serious.

Some people advise taking a chance on the unknown. Others think that’s crazy. I don’t think it is. What is undeniably crazy though is taking a chance with your heart on someone you already know isn’t bothered about giving you theirs.

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Stephen Hussey helped co-write the Get The Guy book and is a wealth of knowledge on dating and relationships.

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104 Replies to “If He’s Not Chasing, Why Are You Investing?”

  • It’s a good question Stephen and one you ask yourself why you ever did when you are lovely and intelligent, and a long time follower of your advice.
    It is crazy to take a chance with your heart, even more stupid to hand it over. The way to a broken heart.
    You do deliver such great advice, a very good article again!

    1. Really kind of you to say Kathryn, thanks. And unfortunately it happens to everyone at points – none of us, however wise, are immune to pursuing people who are bad for us in the long-term!

      Steve x

  • Stephen – In one of Matthew’s Love Life radio segments he talks about being a “salesman” when it comes to an approach with guys who have said it’s not the right time in their life. Can you compare/contrast what you’re saying here with that segment since some of the information seems to contradict? I take Matthew’s point to be that it’s ok to remain on friendly terms with a guy who has been upfront about it not being the right time, while also pursuing other guys and/or areas of my social life remaining active. But this article suggests not wasting any time? Perhaps we are talking about two very different types of guys ;) I know it’s hard to make a blanket statement that appeals to all people in general but I’m in this very situation right now at the moment and I’m wondering whether you could help clear up the confusion? Thanks! :)

    1. I don’t think what I’m saying here contradicts Matthew’s point about not being a “salesman”. I think it reinforces it. Neither Matt or I are saying that you have to just immediately cut a guy off for not wanting something serious, unless of course, you think cutting him off is the only way you can prevent yourself getting emotionally invested in him to the point where you’re now hung up on this guy and waiting for him to change his mind, which is a very bad position to be in.

      The point just that you relegate him to a very minor part of your life (if he says he “doesn’t want anything serious” or he “just wants fun”). Maybe you occasionally text, but you don’t worry about getting back to him. Maybe you’re friendly if you bump into him at a party, but you don’t bother when he asks you to come over to his place late at night.

      If he shows signs of really wanting to take you seriously i.e. actual dates, or he spends time trying to get to know you, you can adjust your investment accordingly. You just gauge his own actions and react accordingly.

      Like I said though, sometimes cutting him off is the easiest option if you sense the guy is a total game-player or someone who will just leave you in constant confusion.

      Hope that helps!

      Stephen x

  • Excellent article. I met a guy on Tinder in Feb and we message most evenings. He works and has had builders in at home so has also been busy during his own time. He has said he would cook me a meal when it is all finished and once all the work is complete he will be free. I have only seen him twice. Other times he has offered to come over late in the evening and I have said no. He has both my mobile and landline numbers but he has still not given me his mobile number but instead given me an excuse, and never called me. I am not waiting around for him and have already made arrangement to meet up with some new guys. The next time we meet I will have a heart to heart conversation with him to find out exactly what it is he is looking for etc. I am trying to build the relationship slowly and have explained why to him but in his messages he is trying to move things along more quickly.

    1. Are you sure tinder is made for slowly-getting-to-know-each other-relationship searching?

    2. Sounds like you are taking the right approach Cheryl. Unless he shows signs of investment, you should keep pursuing other options and maintain your own life separately from the guy.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts,

      Steve x

      1. Thank you for your reply Steve. I still have only had the two meetings with him and he says I have rules and should just go with the flow. I have said I would like some courtship of which there has been none so far. I am not sure what I should be saying to him anymore as I have said I would like to build the relationship, and how can we ever have a relationship if we never meet. Also said there has to be meaning to it for it to go anywhere and actions speak louder than words. He agrees with all of this but does not see me because I will not go with the flow. We have kissed and cuddled so far. Any help on this will be appreciated, thank you.

  • I love this reminder. I would really like to read more about how we develop feelings from just thinking about a man too much. How that is investing, and what are other ways we fall into investing without realizing.

    1. Yes, I fall into investing by thinking about a man too much. I would like to hear more about this topic as well.

    2. Interesting jeri, perhaps I’ll delve into this more in a future post. Thanks for the suggestion!


  • This is great advice as always. One thing I have learned over the years if someone doesn’t show interest or only makes you an option walk away its not worth the effort!

  • I’ve really needed to read this words, thank you Stephen!

    Lately a guy came into my life and things seemed to be going forward…for a while. But suddenly he has being aloof. I’ve waited to see if it was temporary (we had “conversational chemistry”), but no.

    Normally I blame myself and think if it was something I said or that I am and these insecurities come to me…but you make me wonder. Perhaps it had something to do with him and his world, not mine.

    I’ll let go, and also as Stamateas says: What others say or do to you has nothing to do with you, unless you let them ;)

    Thank you! Great article!

  • Last year I dated a guy a few times we definitely had chemistry things did go physical but he fell off map after a while , he’s self employed has a high stress job (all very genuine) recently he’s reappeared we arranged to meet work rose it’s head again, he was hugely apologetic, wanted to take me away to make up for it, and a bit of planning we managed it, had a great time :) hes talked future plans which is great I’m hoping it goes the distance this time as he has definitely chased more than he’s done before :)

    1. Sounds good Vikki – sometimes when a guy makes an excuse it *is* actually valid lol

      Thanks for your comment,

      Steve x

  • I was dating a guy who started off great. He did all the real chasing. Real dates, texts, and he seemed super interested, and then out of nowhere it took him forever to reply to my texts, no plans, and just super cold to me out of the blue, ignored my bday…
    Why do some guys do that? It seemed like the chasing was over out of nowhere, and it left me a very confused and upset. When I finally confronted him he dumped me (via text! Yay ^_^) because “he didn’t want a gf at the moment.” His texts were so cold and unapologetic too. Never a single “I’m sorry but…” Just an overall ass.

    It was so confusing because I never really invest in guys who don’t show true interest. But then what do you when out of the blue they change their mind. This was the biggest mindf*ck ever. It was a year ago but I still think about it because it had never happened to me. Like, what the hell??

    1. I just sent an email to a guy I’ve been struggling with better say and ended it. The exact issues that it was mentioned in this article.. I had given him a second chance after he disappeared two years ago, but this time i let him come to me, he chased me, he lives in NYC so he flew me out there, just because he wanted to see me soon!! And then slowly he started to be busy, he still was messaging and calling, and coming to see me, but then he started to say, he’s not sure what date is good for this month for me to go, or he would answer my messages a day later. The worst part is every time I tried to get the truth out of hi and I was so cool and confident about it, and said I’m ok if you wanna be casual, he would say no, it’s just hard long distance.. so finally after this week, when he ignored my messages for few days, I sent the email. And now hoping he would leave me alone without any bad words. I told him I was looking for a guy that intends to date me properly and get serious in the future, and this casual thing is not for me and wish him best of luck. I am going through a pain of what did I do wrong, what could have done better, and constantly editing my behaviour in the last few months. But my dear, we are all in the same boat. And Steven is right, the thing is it has nothing to do with us, it’s their thing and whatever they have going on. It took me a long time to get this: IT IS NOT PERSONAL. I was totally a different person than I was two years ago with this guy, and he behaved the same. Stop editing yourself and stop questioning yourself. Does not matter what his intentions were or why he did what he did, what matter is, we should be true to what we want and respect ourselves enough to follow our hearts, instead of keep ignoring what tells us. I kept telling myself, i don’t trust this guy, but I still gave one more chance after another..
      Be well, as Matt says there isa guy out there waiting to make you happy.
      Think about him instead..

    2. Annie, I can’t tell you *why* he did that, but I can tell you that you’re not alone! This has happened to me and to many of my girlfriends (and probably to a lot of people who read this blog), more than once. The first time it happened to me, it was a mindf*ck, as you say; you take things at face value and don’t expect to be treated in a way that’s so divergent from the way you were treated initially. So you figure there must be a reason, and you worry that the reason has to do with you, like, did you do something wrong? But the answer is that even if it was something to do with you, the grown-up thing for him to have done would have been to communicate with you about it somehow, rather than just throw you over with no warning. Whatever is going on with this guy, it almost definitely has nothing (significant) to do with you–as lulu says, it’s not personal. Maybe he didn’t know what he wanted, or he changed his mind, or something else came up and he was too chicken to be honest about it, or he hasn’t figured out the difference between fantasy and reality. But if he were a person worth losing sleep over, he would’ve treated you with more respect.

      It sucks to go through this, but take heart! It won’t happen with every guy. The crappy thing is that it may happen again, but the good thing is that the more it does, the more practice you will get at getting over it. ;)

      My best suggestion to you is to approach new opportunities with open eyes but also an open heart. If the guy is on the level, you want to make the most of the opportunity. And if he’s out to lunch, and things go badly for you, take comfort from the fact that you tried your best, try not to let it get to you, and move on as soon as you can. Good luck!

    3. Annie, he most possibly reconnected with someone from his past or he met someone else. You two didn’t agree to be exclusive. Of course he wouldn’t be apologetic because he didn’t break any promises. You assumed that you were together and you behaved like if you were in a relationship. He perceived it that you were some crazy woman and he dumped you straight away.
      I had a similar thing happening to me. I was flirting for more than three months with someone and then we dated for a while. He lied to me that he wanted love but after sex he served me with the “I don’t want a gf at the moment. I still have feelings for my ex”.
      It’s not right. It sucks having someone telling you these things. All you can do is assume you are not exclusive or not in a relationship until you have the talk.
      On one hand this is exhausting. On the other you get a free pass too to flirt and sleep with as many guys as you want.
      If you were flirting with other guys you wouldn’t even had noticed that he pulled away.

    4. I am sorry to read about your experience. That sucks. But like others have pointed out, it is not uncommon. Guys have disappeared on me too. I just didn’t all that invested in them.

      But you see, a guy can always change his mind for a myriad of reasons which are not worth dwelling over. You can never really know what is going on with someone and even if they tell you–it might be just some BS or sugarcoated lie. You might not even learn anything useful from it to improve yourself. So what is the point?

      Yes, the honorable thing to do is to be honest and clear but many people aren’t like that. We can hardly expect any explanation from others if no formal commitment has been made. And even then, people do get dumped out of the blue without any explanation.

      The only thing we can do is stay in the present and always know in the back of our mind, the possibility that this guy, however sweet and serious, can do an about turn anytime. Even after marriage.
      It doesn’t mean it would always happen but it CAN. Anything can happen. Who knows if either you or I will be alive tomorrow? There are no guarantees in life.

      All we can do is take every interaction as an end in itself and be happy with that. Not expecting things to work out a certain way, or people to behave a certain way, building castles in the air and dreaming of the future are ways to minimize hurt if not eliminate it. This will set you free. It is difficult to do but it comes with practice.

    5. Thanks for your replies, everyone! That is awfully sweet of you all. Thank you for sharing your experiences with me. I guess this is why dating is hard. You just never know what can happen. You try your best and you still get unexpected results. I wish it wasn’t this complicated, but like my friend and I always say, the most reasonable explanation is always “maybe he’s just not that into you.” No point going crazy I guess.

      Again, thanks everybody for your advice and encouragement <3.

      1. Hi Annie,

        Sorry I’m late to the party with this comment, but it looks like the previous excellent commenters answered your question for you!

        I agree that it just doesn’t pay to ask “Why?” forever when it comes to other people’s behaviour. Eventually that becomes a dead-end and doesn’t really solve the immediate pain anyway.

        The fact is, it just could be *any* reason:

        (1) Maybe he did reconnect with an ex (as the previous response suggests) – this happens quite often
        (2) Maybe he changed his mind
        (3) Maybe he just had a big relationship and really needs time off from getting emotionally involved
        (4) Maybe he’s moving country in 3 weeks and doesn’t see the point
        (5) Maybe he’s an asshole

        I could make this list infinite, and that’s really why in my experience it’s so fruitless to sit and understand everyone else’s behaviour. It tends to take focus off of what we need to do next. As long as we react in a way that is true to our own values and that allows us to move onto bigger and better things, then we really don’t have to worry what other people’s motives are.

        It sounds like you have a great attitude and I’m sure you’re ready to find someone who actually wants you enough to show you the respect you deserve. Hope Matt and I can help in any we can!

        All the best,

        Steve x

        1. Hey Steve! Something told me to read this great article again, and here is your reply! Thank you so much for taking the time to respond. You and your brother have definitely helped me a lot with all your useful advice. I’ll try to not obsess again next time with the “whys” and I’ll try to get over it faster, because the reason why it took me a bit to move on was that I didn’t understand what happened. No point in asking so many questions, because I’ll never know. But I stayed confused and it took me a LONG time to get over it. Though at times I’m still like “wtf did I do??”

          Getting mixed signals also sucks, so if he’s sending mixed signals RED FLAG, don’t invest. Best to keep our options open. Thanks again! and you know what, maybe you should write a post on mixed signals, red flags, what to look for, maybe? :). Because I only focused on the happy signals: they way he looked at me, how much he told me I was his type, his sweet texts, the good time we had in general, the attraction. And maybe I missed other stuff until it was too late.

          Thanks again <3

  • 100% Co-sign.

    In the past, whenever a guy has been seriously interested, there has not been any doubt on his part about his interest or pursuing. So we should let go of anyone who doesn’t meet the bar.

    I have had many guys pull this on me–for various reasons, validation probably being one of common ones. This used to leave me confused and frustrated and if I liked the guy–disappointed, despite having past examples of sincere interest from guys.

    But now I just assume a guy isn’t serious until he shows me and some guys have left good examples in the past for me to know what that looks like.

    Dating is like Tango. He leads, you follow. He makes a move and then you make a move. You don’t do anything until he gives you the signal. Your job is to pay attention in the present moment at all times. You dance the whole dance but one step at a time. You have to be centered yourself, do your own thing, remain connected to your partner, yet unattached.Chaos ensues if the connection is broken. You are free to leave when the song is over.

    Works like a charm.

    1. Hey kish,

      Haha I like your Tango analogy. I’m not sure if it’s so much that the guy leads, but you are right that it’s definitely a dance where you always react based on the moves someone else makes, rather than just constantly moving toward them.

      Thanks for the comment!

      Steve x

      1. Thank you both, Kish and Stephen ♥
        I know I’m getting anxious when he doesn’t text, but it’s all in my mind (the fears). I’ll let him be, while living my life. Hope for the best and expect the worst. I just pray he’s not waiting for me to make any move, it wouldn’t be logical according to men’s mind, right? So far he shows every sign of chasing ♥ he’s awesome, but he won’t be MY awesome guy if he doesn’t invest or treat me well :) [I do have the book ;)]

  • Awesome article, Stephen! Very helpful for understanding men’s behavior. And yes, I am guilty of over-analyzing every text. Lol

  • Hi. This is still very confusing for me.
    I think that he’s chasing me but I’m Not sure. We meet together and we cuddle, we hold hands and Kiss and we sleep together in the same bed (without having Sex). My last relationship was 1,5 years ago and it was with domestic violence and he ended his very unhealthy relationship about 2 months ago… I believe that he needs time but I am Not sure about it. (Btw I am 25 and he is 37)
    I don’t want to ask right away “are we a couple Or Not” because I don’t believe that is very wise…
    It is so complicated and frustrating. =(

    1. Hi Anika,

      I feel your uncertainty. Guys sometimes can enjoy just being affectionate and cuddling with a woman even if they aren’t sure whether they really want a relationship or not. My guess is if he’s not bringing it up at all, then it’s ether too early for him (since his last relationship only ended 2 months ago), or he just sees you as someone who makes him feel good but that he doesn’t want to see seriously at this stage in his life.

      Look for signs that he wants to invest more time in seeing you (outside the bedroom), and see if he talks about integrating you more into his life, i.e. meeting his friends, bringing you into his world.

      Don’t afraid to ask him casually if he sees this going anywhere. If he’s cagey when he answers or says “i’m just having fun” that’s probably a sign that a relationship is not on his mind, and you may then want to think about not getting emotionally involved to save getting hurt later down the road.

      Thanks for commenting!

      Steve x

  • Hi Matthew,
    My friend and I have been living in London for a while. She’s spanish and I am italian. How do we get british men to come talk to us in pubs or clubs? We are def not used to make the first move as in our countries, women just wait for men to come talk to Them. Plus british guys seem to be intimated by us for some reason. We are very out going and fun, def not the kind of girls you should feel scared to approach. How should we approach them or make them approach us?
    Thank you very much for reading this, hope you can help us
    Take care

    1. Check out Matt’s video on this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tM6gjM2N64c

      Plus there’s a ton of approaches in the GTG book if you don’t have it already!

      British guys can be more reserved, particularly compared to Spanish and Italian men. Generally it helps if you follow Matt’s white handkerchief approach and just give the guy a very subtle opening or a signal that it’s ok for him to talk to you. After that he’ll make a lot of the effort for you if he’s interested.

  • Hi Steven, what if he started showing signs of being serious, you moved in togather as house mates, were stressed out and afraid of reciprocating constant expression of interest because you were afraid he was a player and because you felt things were going so fast; he then felt that you werent interested and felt rejected and now, you have moved out and the guy no longer wants to remain in contact. Can it be salvaged? Is it still the case that he needs to do the chase again? :(…. ( ARRGH , help!)

    1. If he no longer wants contact, then I’d be inclined to leave it there. You don’t want to ever be chasing someone who has no desire to even be talking anymore. It sounds like the guy might be quite impulsive, which could mean he changes his mind constantly and would likely cause problems in a relationship anyway.

      1. Thanks Steven, this makes a lot of sense. Also, you’re completely right, he is very impulsive and has several narcissistic tendencies. I guess being an ENFP I just hate when things don’t work out but I take your point,I’m going to have to let this one go. Thank you so much for your time you gus are doing such an amazing job. THANK YOU :) XX elle

  • Hi Steven,
    I have this close friend who keeps investing in me and he gives me all his time talks to me for hours and do really great things. Lately he told me that he loves me a couple of times, I wasn’t sure what he really meant so I just took it as a friend and I were really afraid to bring the subject up. But then after a while I started having feelings for him so I told him I need some space to deal with my feelings he said that he doesn’t want a relationship and he loves me in his own way, and it wasn’t the right time for this to happen. He started begging not to go away from him and crying and chasing me for a whole week, and when he saw me he started kissing my hands and my forehead and hugging me. I tried to be distant but he always texted me and sent me love songs but he still didn’t want a relationship.. What’s strong Steven with this guy? Please I really need an advice. I’m so attached to him I am not being able to cut him out of my life but at the same time I can’t be around him with these strong feelings. It’s like I’m in constant pain both ways.. What should I do? I’m feeling very weak.. Please any advice ?

    1. If he says he doesn’t want a relationship just take him at his word and begin to distance yourself from his life. It doesn’t have to be an immediate cut-off, just gradually phase him out and spend less time with him. Maybe even don’t spend any alone time together so you don’t develop even stronger attachment to him. Even if he says sweet things to you, if he tells you he’s not interested in being with you seriously you will only hurt yourself by getting more and more involved.

      Show him (and yourself) and that you have the self-respect and strength to move on unless he actually steps up and wants something serious.

      All best,

      Stephen x

  • That is the story of my life – men who show attention but do not take it any further. But when I was thinking about it I realized that I was choosing such men on a subconscious level because I preffered the relationship in Neverland. If there was a guy who was genuinly chasing me I rejected him right away. He was a danger I would rather live in my fantasy that the ‘player’ type would finally make a move and in the meantime I was daydreaming about how good the relationship would be and so on. It was out of fear and other reasons I would not mention here.
    More and more I am convinced that we only get what we are searching for and when there is a conflict between what we want consciously and subconsciously the subconscious side wins and thats why we end up miserable.

    1. That’s really interesting Rukia, it’s a good thing you’ve noticed that pattern in your own behaviour and I commend you for the self-awareness it takes to realise how you are making your own choices with the guys you date in the first place.

      Hope you give men other than the “player type” a chance from now on! :)

  • Hi:)
    What do guys in general/you, find most attractive in girls? Both on looks and personality.

    Love your posts, have a nice day.

    1. Hi Marte,

      As far as looks go, I’ve read in various places that universal traits for guys are: fit/toned and healthy body shape, a good smile and teeth, nice skin, general grooming, not having too much make-up (i.e. somewhat natural looking, even with cosmetics). Some studies also say that lots of men are attracted to long hair on a woman because it signals femininity, but the jury is out on how subjective hair length is for guys. Of course with looks, we are always dealing with what *generally* men like – there will always be outliers and exceptions.

      Apart from that I think taste in looks vary greatly. Some men love pale-skinned redheads, others go crazy for dark-skin and brown eyes. Some men are picky about a certain minimum size for a woman’s breasts and bum, others prefer very skinny petit women.

      Personality wise? – Check out one of my previous posts on traits men love: http://www.gettheguy.co.uk/blog/what-really-matters-to-men/

      Hope that helps!


      1. Thank you so much for replying! I want to thank you for putting the time, and effort into answering me, it means a lot. I hope you are proud of what you have achieved, you sure have reason to. Keep up the good work.

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