Inconsistent Men – What His Mixed Signals Tell You About His Intentions

Inconsistent men send mixed signals that can drive you crazy. You wonder, “Why does he ignore me if he likes me?” Maybe he calls, texts or even asks you out sporadically. Find out what it all means.

inconsistent menMixed Signals & Confusing Male Behavior

Dear Love Coach Ronnie,

I’ve been talking to this cute guy for three months. We have gone out a few times and it’s been a blast. But he keeps giving me different signals, so I feel confused about us.

Sometimes he acts like he likes me and sometimes he acts like he doesn’t. This is such confusing male behavior!

Why does he ignore me if he likes me? Most of the time I contact him first, usually by text. He does respond, but doesn’t really initiate. What do you think I should do?  What’s your professional opinion on this guy?  Thanks, Texting Gal

Is He Into Me or Not?

Dear Texting Gal,

I realize this is confusing male behavior since he is so inconsistent. You don’t know if he’s into you or not because he’s so on and off again. Any woman would find his mixed signals confusing.

The tendency for most women is to look at his actions that show he DOES like you and rely on them rather than look at the big picture of his overall behavior. Unfortunately, that’s not the best strategy and can easily lead you astray.

That’s why initially, you should let the man lead, just like in ballroom dancing. In other words, don’t initiate anything for the first several (5-8) dates – let him do all the work.

Using this strategy is the ONLY way you can know how interested a man really is. When he makes the effort to get to know you, stay in touch and see you without your prompting, that’s the true test of his interest.

Inconsistent men tend to be flaky and won’t put in this kind of effort.

Why Does He Ignore Me If He Likes Me?


Why would a man who seems interested choose to ignore you, not respond or delay response? It sure isn’t a sign of true love! Don’t struggle trying to figure out his mixed signals. That’s a big waste of your time.

Instead, I recommend letting him run the show and watch what he does. When you sit back to observe his behavior and notice what he does to be with you, that will make it a lot more obvious what he’s up to. If he’s not consistently pursuing you, he’s not that into you.

What should you do in a case like this?

Do nothing! Don’t text, email, call him, or ask him out. Your job at the start of dating is to respond to his efforts, but that is it. When you hold back on reaching out, inconsistent men show their true colors.

His Silence Sends a Message!

why does he ignore me if he likes meIf you’re still wondering why does he ignore me if he likes me, keep in mind: His silence is a form of communication. He’s telling you through his lack of action that he’s not that into you. He absolutely does not care about you the way you do for him. This is NOT a relationship of balanced attraction or interest.

Signs He Cares But Is Scared

Many of my clients are so busy looking for the signs he cares but is scared, they miss the point entirely. He may act like he cares some of the time.

But if he doesn’t initiate and you always text first or suggest getting together, he’s not into you or the right man for you. These are more examples of confusing male behavior.

He doesn’t care ENOUGH to pursue you consistently, so he’s NOT serious. You know this because his efforts of inconsistent men to see you are sorely lacking.

So, even if he says the sweetest things, sends texts with heart emojis, or tells you he thinks he’s falling for you, it’s all smoke and mirrors if he doesn’t take you on a date at least once a week.

Gain a Better Understanding of Men

why does he ignore me if he likes me - man on benchThese are not signs of being scared, but of insincerity. Maybe he wants attention or to build his ego. He might not be capable of a relationship or he’s cheating on his current woman.

That’s why he’s the wrong man. Inconsistent men leave you hanging with their confusing male behavior. The right man doesn’t send mixed signals!

At the start of dating, following the man’s lead will help you gather important information about him. How often does he text or email? And more importantly, how often does he schedule a date? Inconsistent men just don’t have lasting potential as a mate, regardless of what they say or the attraction you feel.

He’ll Show His True Intentions

inconsistent menThat’s why I recommend you hold back from contacting a man. Give him a chance to show you and demonstrate  what his true intentions are. Follow this advice so you NEVER WASTE YOUR TIME again.

Observing a man’s actions is much better than relying on his sweet words to find out how he really feels. This is how you outfox inconsistent men and their confusing male behavior.

However, in your situation, you’ve already been interacting and dating for a few months. You can’t really start over which makes things more difficult for you.

I’m going to take a risk and be really honest and direct with you since you did ask for my professional opinion.

Inconsistent Men & What You Need to Know

A man’s on again off again efforts to see you and build a strong relationship can be a symptom of several undesirable aspects of his long-term potential. Inconsistent men send mixed signals because they might be:

  • Dating lots of women
  • Not emotionally available
  • Not sure what they want
  • Keeping you “on the line” as a time filler until he finds a better woman
  • Thinking you are better than nothing
  • Wanting to sleep with you without investing much time or effort 

He’s Not Serious about You

why does he ignore me if he likes me In this case I’m sorry to say he’s not serious about you. And when a man isn’t seriously interested, you have no leverage or power to change things. So, please listen to my advice and don’t keep trying.

Make it a point to go out and flirt with new guys to find a man who will consistently call, text and date you. You deserve so much more from a romantic partner.

Don’t put up with this nonsense thinking it’s going to change. If you find yourself wondering “Is he into me?” that’s a sure sign HE’S NOT.

This isn’t a matter of holding out and being patient long enough for him to suddenly get serious and become consistent. Either he is or he isn’t.

No matter how much you like a guy or how good you feel when you are with him, that has nothing to do with his own dating agenda. So many women get caught up in how a man feels vs. what his actions are to win you over. This is where your heart gets broken.

The best thing you can do if you are serious about finding lasting love, is let go of inconsistent men as soon as you see this pattern emerge.

How to Recognize a Relationship Ready Man

On the other hand, there are ways to recognize a man who is relationship ready. It’s time to move on to find a man that wants the same lasting love that you do. Here’s what to watch for to see he might be ready:

  • Calls at least once a week or more
  • Takes you on dates at least once a week
  • Texts in between and stays in touch
  • Wants to get to know you
  • Tries to please you and win you over
  • Introduces you to friends and family (within 2 months or sooner)
  • Asks you to be exclusive (this can take a couple of months)

If you meet enough men, you’ll find a good one and the right one for you!

Wishing you love,
mixed signals


P.S. Ready for more “straight talk” dating advice? 

Single for too long, Ronnie wanted to find love. So, she made a few tweaks and then dated 30 men in 15 months to meet her adorable husband Paul. Discovering the keys to midlife dating, she founded It’s Never Too Late for Love to help other smart, successful women find love too! Her mission is to share her proven dating advice  and keen insights about men with women everywhere who are serious about finding love with the right man. Ronnie Ann Ryan, MBA, CCC is a Certified Coach who has helped 1,000’s of midlife women with her Love & Dating Coach services. She’s been featured on BBC’s 5 Live Radio, NBC, ABC, and Fox News, NPR, eHarmony,,, Connecticut Magazine among others around the world. An established author, you can find her 6 books on Amazon.

195 thoughts on “Inconsistent Men – What His Mixed Signals Tell You About His Intentions”

  1. Hi Ronnie,
    I am in a very confusing relationship – tried to get out of it but couldn’t. I had feelings for my best friend few months back and told him. I thought this might end of our friendship, but it transcended to another level when he said let’s give it a try. Our conversations are like they were before, we did spend some quality time together, went on vacations and we both agree that we had best time of our life. We talk about future what will happen when “we both get married”, but its a casual talk as the topic dissipates into laughter. We have arguments and fight, still we come out stronger. He’s never said “I love you” while I have when I strongly feel it. He says I shouldn’t stop myself from dating anyone in hope that our relation will work out. Once I told him my parents wanted me to see someone they found suitable. He flipped saying “why are you playing with my life? Now I feel insecure. I trusted you with my life”.
    I can’t understand what’s going on his mind. He doesn’t admit he loves me, but he does everything a person would when in love. Not sure how I should react to the situation. Regards, Resse

    • Hi Resse, Two things concern me. 1) He told you to date others – why would he do that if he wanted you all to himself? This is a mixed message leading me to believe he doesn’t know what he wants. I’m not saying he doesn’t like you but he may be commitment phobic or somehow not like you enough. 2) He hasn’t said he loves you. This can take time. But you can also say at some point, “If you love me, I need to hear it. It’s really important that you tell me how you feel if you do love me.” Again if he can’t do it – that tells you everything you need to know about your future.

      My other point is that you are in a relationship (not dating) so the rules are different. You can ask him directly if he sees you two getting married. Then the trick is to not say another word until he answers the question. If he’s evasive, silly, or angry, then the answer is probably “NO” even if he doesn’t say that. A man who plans to marry you will say so. But before you ask him, you must decide what YOU will DO. Don’t bother asking if you are going to be wishy washy and stay any way.

      You said you tried to leave but couldn’t – what is that about? If you base your decision strictly on feelings and are willing to stay, you could end up in a go-nowhere relationship for YEARS. You must be strong in your conviction that either he says you have a future or you walk away. Yes, you may lose him, but the truth is if he doesn’t want to marry you, you don’t really have him anyway. This is not easy but by taking these steps you are honoring who you are and what you want and quite frankly deserve.

  2. Hi Ronnie. I’m confused. I met a guy online, and due to this Coranvirus lockdown we haven’t met, only after lockdown did we make plans. He initiated everything, planned what we going to do, called me etc. We were texting not like crazy but enough and now he’s gone silent. I’m confused because he spoke about a relationship and wanting to see where it goes. He asked in-depth questions and some shocked me because I’ve never come across someone who was that straight forward. Granted, it’s only been a few days, but I’m wondering does that “date” still stand after lockdown? It’s only about two weeks until lockdown is over or am I just being “ghosted”? The last we spoke he said he’ll call me soon, but he was busy with his mother. After that, zero replies. I wished him well for his new term at university. Did I do something unknowingly? Do you think his still interested? Thanks!

    • Hi Confused, No I don’t think you have a date coming up. He wouldn’t disappear if that were the case. A man genuinely interested doesn’t get too busy with his mum to talk with you. My bet is, he was testing you with those questions to see how far he could go. When you answered them all, the game was over for him. He talked about a relationship to get you to trust him, knowing this is what women want to hear.

      Ultimately, I think he was playing with your head. I encourage you to establish firmer boundaries. The answers to personal questions should be a privilege earned after trust has been established and that doesn’t take a few days. For a man (or anyone) to win your trust – that should be given little by little over weeks as you watch his behavior to see if he’s worthy. Firm up your boundaries – that will help in future situations.

  3. We met about three months ago. Our first date was fantastic and he immediately asked me for a second date that night. For the next 6 weeks, we literally spent at least 4 to 5 hours every day texting each other and also occasional calling each other, we also went on dates every week and squeeze in coffees in between for those 6 weeks. I would say he initiated most dates and I initiated some. After the first date I learned from him that he has separated with wife for almost 2 years, and filed divorce paper about 7 months ago. I understood he has his kids 50% of time, he lives separately from wife, and he just started a brand new job so he is incredibly busy now for the last 3 weeks. However I have noticed that he is texting a lot less in last 3 weeks, and once told me our constant communication in those six weeks had impacted his many aspects of life. He had also had some conflicts with his wife recently and she wants him back. He told me he is under a lot of pressure and he wants me to stay as his friend but anytime I try to put some definition to the term girlfriend I don’t think I receive a response.

    • Hi Isabella, The writing is on the wall – he’s back with his wife or maybe they were never really apart. Happens all the time. Separated men ( or women) are not stable or ready for a relationship. This is why I recommend never dating a man who is not yet divorced. He is saying things to push you away. He cannot define a relationship with you because sadly, he no longer wants it.

      Walk away now with your dignity. It’s only been three months. Don’t hang around waiting for this to get ugly. Just say goodbye and give yourself time to recover. Then go meet some new guys and don’t date any men who aren’t divorced for at least 9 months to a year.

      Also, men who when you first meet are all over you, text constantly, want to see you all the time – this is a huge red flag! Stay away from men who act like these because most often it all burns out within three months. Just like this did. They want to be adored but they don’t want a relationship. Avoid the heartbreak if this happens again.

    • Thank you for pointing it out. After those six weeks we got intimate and immediately after I sensed the difference in behaviour. Then recently his wife comes back. We women always go in way too deep head on. Thank you again!

  4. i am in a long distance situation for about 4 months now. He travels maybe 2x a month for work to my city and during that period we get to spend time. I had asked him what his intentions where and he says he’s looking for something serious, he has told me that he likes me recently but states that long distance is difficult so he doesn’t know…he texts me maybe every second day when he’s not in my city but he doesn’t call, we video call sometimes not often. Compared to the start of this, if i text him now, he takes about an hour sometimes 3 to respond. He states he’s very busy with work and thats why his replies are delayed and i don’t believe his reasoning. I like him but am questioning a lot of things. I plan on starting the new yr anew and leaving behind anything that bring me stress. what do you think…

    • Hi Amita, His slowing down let’s you know he’s not interested in making that extra effort – which also means he’s not that into you. I’m sure he’s into enjoying your lovely company when he’s in town, but I expect you want something deeper than that. You have already started feeling this – listen to your intuition and know he’s not the right man for you. Let him go and PLEASE look for a local guy. They aren’t all great either but at least distance won’t be an added issue.

  5. Hi Ronnie! I met this guy (26) at gathering, he approached and gave me his number. He seemed nice with manners, that’s why I decided to meet him after the gathering. Now, we’re dating for a month. But, he’d see me every two days in the beginning and now, because of work (from 8 am to 12 pm, and I checked – it’s true), we see each other once a week. I haven’t dated men who are constantly busy, so I wasn’t sure about his intentions. On the second date he said he wanted a serious relationship. I talked to him recently, asked if we are in a relationship, told him my expectations. He told me he wanted a relationship, we’re in one and he had the same expectations. Should believe him? Is it normal to see him once a week? He texts to check if I’m okay. He listens to me and pays attention to details and helped with a problem. I worry he has more “girlfriends” or just wants sex. But, would he spend time on me since I told him I want a serious relationship if he had more not-so-serious girls?

    • Hi Niki, Tough one. 8am – 12am – is that what you meant – 16 hours a day? If that’s his schedule, he’s not doing that 6 days a week (unless he’s a doctor in residency perhaps) that would be 96 hours a week! So, I”m not sure I believe that do you? Or, he might like you but like his space. Sounds to me like your relationship expectations are not being met. You want more. If he’s not capable f more (whether he’s lying about the hours or it’s true), that means he can’t meet your needs. It’s that simple. Staying with him won’t mean he’ll suddenly start seeing more of you unless his job changes. If you’re not satisfied with once a week, tell him you need at least twice a week. If he says no, be BRAVE and MOVE ON. It’s only been a month, so before you get completely attached, take care of this. You deserve the kind of relationship you want and with a man who not only wants the same but can provide that.

  6. I recently started talking to a man, speaking and texting everyday. We had sex and the next day he says he’s going out of town for a couple of days. He rarely texted me and when he did, he says I think I could fall in love with you and really misses me. Today I got one text at 9 a.m. saying he would not have access to his phone for a while and I have not heard from him since. He’s my landlord, but owns several businesses so he doesn’t have to see me. Is there something really going on out of town doing or is he just blowing smoke

    • Hey Beth, I can’t say for sure, but it does sound suspicious or as you call it “blowing smoke”. Why wouldn’t he have access to his phone? This happens all the time – a man sleeps with a woman and then disappears. When a guy texts sweet messages, but doesn’t make time to see you, that’s stringing you along. I recommend you stop texting him and let him go. He’s certainly not showing serious interest.

  7. Hi Ronnie
    I started dating a guy from work 6 mos ago, very platonic for 4 months and didn’t get physical till 2 mos ago. We started hanging out at night. We were good friends and he did lots of favors for me. Chemistry was very strong as well as communication. Then he became hot & cold out of the blue. He disappeared for a week after an evening of being close. No explanation and returned like nothing happened. I started to pull away as I’m pissed off but don’t talk to him about it as I felt he was busy with his normal life (like I am at times). Now won’t reach out but, responds immediately most times. I’m now confused. He stopped asking to hang out, claiming to be busy. And instances where he wont reply to a text. I feel he is starting to ignore me. Is he fading me out? Should I let him go?

    • Hi Sharon, Is he starting to ignore you? He already has been by not asking to see you, giving you excuses (I’m busy) and not responding to texts. Yes, it’s time to let him go. These are all signs of lost interest. Looks like he has intimacy issues – meaning he’s likely emotionally unavailable based on how he’d disappear about a night of closeness. Sometimes this just happens and you can’t see it coming.

      My only thought is for your future is this…if you want a healthy lasting love, you cannot be afraid to bring up something that is bothering you. When you don’t say anything, you damage your self-worth. You don’t have to be angry. You can simply say, “When you disappeared it hurt my feelings. What was that about?”

      Please know this wouldn’t have brought him back or helped him fear intimacy less. This openness is for your own heart. There are some men who will respond and rethink their actions if you kindly and minimally express your concern. That is how a man who truly cares reacts. You can’t have a healthy relationship if you are unwilling to express your needs – that creates resentment which can turn to lack of respect, which is the end of any relationship. If you are with a man you are afraid to talk to, he’s simply the wrong man for you.

  8. Hi Ronnie, Thank you for a great post. There is a man I’m talking to for 2 weeks he is nice and funny but he texts me mostly midnight. It seems like it’s his schedule and he’s mostly out till midnight but I wonder if he is just hooking up with me and I’m only an extra option?

    • Hi Sofia, Yup, midnight is hookup time. Who needs a man trying to get to know you in the middle of the night? Does he work nights and is bored? Forget him – he’s not serious. Block that guy – you can do better!

  9. Hi Ronnie! Thanks, this clear and helpful. I’ve been acquainted with this guy online for 8 years. We went to the same college but we never got close, but we’ve been contacts on social media since high school. Over the last month, we started talking via instagram daily. Some flirty and get to know you topics. Sometimes I stop replying when the conversation dies and he always initiate the day after. He replies late, though, and am frustrated at how mixed his signals are. I really want to meet in person to be sure about the connection, but he’s based out of town for work. Every time he talks about going out with me, there aren’t any specific plans. But I don’t understand why he keeps reappearing and flirting. I’m tempted to ghost him but, I want to give him a chance, I don’t know if I’m being led on though 🙁

    • Hi Maria, Her’s how you know he’s not serious. 1) Sending mixed signals. 2) Gaps between responses. 3) Vague about dates and scheduling one. Why does he keep coming back? Flirting with you is fun and makes him feel good! A man reappearing means nothing if he’s not scheduling weekly dates. Let your hopes of anything with this guy go – not going to happen. Long distance guys often do this – so you might want to read this post on LDR. Don’t give men like this a chance. The chance any man deserves is within two weeks at the most to see you. (7-10 days is smarter.) After that they are just texting or social media buddies and nothing more regardless of the flirty or seriousness of the content. If you want a relationship, look for love locally.

  10. Hi Ronnie, Was dating a guy from work. He showered me attention to start and uttered all the sweet things a woman wants to hear. I fell for it & believed I loved him. He then started being intermittent & driving me nuts. I scrambled to know where I stood with him. It was painful & I almost lost my job due to poor performance. I ghosted him without explanation, totally fed up and ignored his texts and phone calls. I vanished from his life. Now he texts sporadically asking if I want a ride home, and will be suddenly at places I frequent staring at me. I walk past without acknowledging him. I am done with him but he now appears obsessed with me when he wasn’t “into” me that much to start. He will also now be at my bus stop sometimes which is a bit creepy.

    • Hi Paula, Sometimes men find a woman who pulls away more desirable. They like the chase. But with this guy, if you were into again, he’d probably pull the same crap round 2. Since he’s starting to haunt you, why not just turn to him one time and say, “Sorry I’m no longer interested. Please stop stalking me.” Hopefully that confrontation will deter him. If not and it keeps up, you might need to tell him you’ll go to the police, but I doubt it will come to that.

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