Is He Stringing You Along or Taking It Slow? 25 Signs to Read His Mind

The guy you’re seeing is confusing. And so you’re wondering if he is stringing you along or taking it slow? Here are the signs to help you figure it out.

is he stringing you along or taking it slow

If you have ever been led on by a guy, you know how annoying it is. You know mixed signals. You get excited and then let down and can’t seem to make sense of your own feeling, let alone his. But, when you assume a guy is leading you on, he may actually just be respectful and take things at a slower pace. So how can you tell if he is stringing you along or taking it slow?

Our first piece of advice would be to ask him. Of course, this sounds risky, but give it a chance. If you are confused by a guy’s actions, ask him what’s up.

If he admits he is taking things slow because he’s fresh out of a relationship, great. But, a guy who is stringing you along probably won’t be honest about it.

[Read: The signs he just wants sex and is only using you for his enjoyment]

When a guy is leading you on, there is a reason for it. He wants his ego boosted or he wants to sleep with you or he wants to keep you around just in case. Maybe he even wants to keep his options open. But, he is afraid that if he tells you the truth about being unsure or shares his true intentions, you’ll dump him or worse, tell him off.

So, although we wish open and honest communication worked here, you need to understand that many people lie while dating. So, you may need to try some other things to figure out if he is stringing you along or taking it slow.

What does it really mean when someone is taking it slow?

Before we figure out what your guy is up to, we want to clarify something. When you’re wondering, is he stringing you along or taking it slow, you are probably hoping for taking it slow. You hope he is nervous or hesitant because of his past or maybe he is just super respectful. But, taking it slow, even if he says that, doesn’t always mean what you think.

Although relationship timelines are meaningless and each relationship moves at its own pace, it needs to work for both of you.

If it has been six months and you feel like you should have met his family by now, but he isn’t calling you his girlfriend and you haven’t met his friends, things are off. That may be too slow for you but totally fine for him. [Read: Exactly how slow is too slow in a relationship? The subtle, must-know details]

And when a guy says he wants to take things slow, it gives you hope. You think that means things will progress eventually, but he is taking his time.

Unless he explains why he is taking it slow and you agree, the slowness could simply be an excuse to string you along.

Maybe he isn’t doing it on purpose. Maybe he really does like you, but if he isn’t ready for a relationship and is scared of commitment, that slow pace could last a lot longer than you think.

[Read: Is he a commitment-phobe who’s afraid of a relationship? 30 signs to tell for sure]

If you figure out that he is taking it slow, don’t just accept that and move on. Discuss why he wants to take it slow.

Talk about what your ideal pace is. Are you okay moving slow or would you like him to meet you halfway? Also, find out what slow means to him. 

Does it mean you won’t be having sex? Does it mean you’re having sex but not getting his commitment in any manner? Maybe it means you’re seeing other people. Or does it mean you’re going on dates or just sharing the couch and Netflix?

Ask him what moving slow means to him. Does he know or is he just going with the flow? Without this clarity, knowing that he is taking it slow won’t put your mind at ease. In fact, it may worry and stress you out even more. [Read: Is he leading you on? 28 definitive signs he’s playing you for fun]

Is he stringing you along or taking it slow?

Now that we clarified the meaning of taking it slow, let’s find out if he is actually doing that or if he is in fact, just stringing you along for a bit of fun on the side.

If he is taking it slow, legitimately wooing you, and not stringing you along, he will:

1. Make time for you

A guy who is into you, no matter how slow he wants to take things, will make the time. He will drive to your house if you can’t meet up. He will FaceTime you or call you on the phone just to talk. If you aren’t seeing each other, it isn’t taking it slow, it is staying still. [Read: Is he a player or a gentleman? 13 clear giveaways]

2. Share things with you

Even if you aren’t labeling anything and just getting to know each other, he will share things with you. He will talk about his family, his dream job, and more. He won’t just talk about movies and sports.

When you take things slow, you are aware of your vulnerability but sharing those things that make you vulnerable, even slowly shows you are taking steps forward.

3. Go on dates

You may not be meeting his family just yet, but he will take you out to eat, to the movies, or just for a walk in the park. A guy who likes you will want to impress you with thought-out dates.

He won’t just leave things up in the air or bring you over for takeout from the start. Getting cozy on the couch is not really taking it slow, is it?

4. Include you

Even if you are feeling things out, if he sees a possibility of this going somewhere he will include you.

He will invite you to his friend’s party or introduce you to his roommates. He may not invite you to his family reunion, but he won’t avoid others when he’s with you. [Read: 23 signs he’s falling for you hard and is really serious about you]

5. Make plans

A guy who sees something with you, even when taking it slow will make plans for the weekend. He will say things like, “We should see that movie when it comes out,” or, “We should try that restaurant next time.” It may seem small, but this shows he has the intent of seeing you more often.

6. Be stable 

If he is taking it slow, he will gradually progress. He will still talk to you the same amount. He will go from getting coffee to getting dinner and eventually invite you over. But he will not make you continuously question his interest in you. [Read: How to take a relationship slow, but not so slow that it ends]

7. Make sure his words and actions match

If he says he’s going to take you out on a date on Saturday, you will be able to count on him. You don’t have to wonder if he actually will follow through or not. Whatever he says, he is a man of his word.

8. Make you feel secure

Because he is dependable and consistent, you won’t feel insecure about whether he is taking it slow or stringing you along, or even where you stand with him.

In fact, he doesn’t even want you to feel that way. He might even go out of his way to make sure you are feeling cared about regardless of him taking it slow.

9. Ask for exclusivity

Just because he is wanting to take it slow doesn’t mean that he doesn’t want to be exclusive with you. He likes you, so he wants you to himself. So, he asks if you would like to date only him.

Now, that doesn’t necessarily mean commitment, but it does mean that he’s just not seeing anyone else while pursuing you. [Read: How long should you casually date someone before it gets serious?]

10. Not shy away from defining the relationship

Just as we just discussed regarding asking for exclusivity, he doesn’t seem scared when you ask about where you stand. He is honest and upfront about how much he likes you and doesn’t want to date anyone else. It will be easy for him to reassure you that you are important to him.

11. Talks about the future

Now, we’re not talking about marriage and babies here. But he doesn’t mind talking about planning on going to a concert with you next month. Or, if you have a friend’s wedding coming up, he’s excited about being your date. Talking about the future with you doesn’t bother him. [Read: 35 signs a man is emotionally attached to you and ready to get closer]

12. Be consistent with his communication

He will have a very recognizable pattern of texting and calling you. It doesn’t have to be 24/7, but he doesn’t go days and days without talking to you.

You can predict when you will hear from him and what you will likely talk about. [Read: How to keep a text conversation going with a guy and keep him hooked]

13. Let you meet his friends or family

He doesn’t shy away from letting you meet people in his life. He may be taking it slow, but he probably sees a future with you, so there’s no reason to hide you from people who are important to him.

If he is stringing you along, he will:

Now that you know the different things a guy does when he’s genuinely taking things slow because he cares, let’s take a look at some of the glaring signs a guy isn’t taking it slow and is clearly stringing you along only because he’s having a fun time with you.

14. Give mixed signals

This is the number one sign a guy is stringing you along. If he is all in one day and then he disappears off your radar for days only to reappear without explanation, he is not taking it slow. He is riding a roller coaster of your emotions. [Read: Mixed signals from a guy – How to read the signs and interpret his intentions]

15. Make last-minute plans

A guy who is taking it slow will make plans ahead of time, but someone stringing you along is not making you a priority. He will reach out to see if you want to grab a drink or come over the night of because he was waiting to see if something better would come up.

This probably sounds harsh, but it’s true and you deserve better. [Read: 15 things immature men do and why you should avoid them]

16. Avoid deep conversations

If you mention something about the future, he will change the subject or not answer. He will talk about movies, complain about his ex, or even mock people who are in serious relationships but won’t be vulnerable with you.

If he does cry or open up but won’t support you when you do the same, he is only in it for himself.

17. Stay in

A guy who is stringing you along will not be putting in a ton of effort. He won’t be taking you out to eat. He might get some fast food and invite you over for Netflix, but probably won’t clean his room for your benefit. This guy isn’t trying to impress you.

18. Make excuses

He will make excuses in every sense of the word. He will make excuses as to why he hasn’t gotten his brake lights fixed. Then, he will make excuses as to why he never called when he said he would. He will also blame his mixed signals on someone else instead of taking responsibility or accountability. [Read: 20 signs he doesn’t want a relationship with you and just wants some un on the side]

19. Want sex

A guy who is stringing you along will not be waiting to have sex. Maybe a couple of dates, but beyond that, he only wants one thing.

If he asks for dirty photos, tries to have phone sex, or invites you over at night because he is lonely, he is stringing you along and will keep doing it because he is getting what he wants with no strings.

20. Is flakey

Maybe you had plans to meet at 7:00, but as you are walking out the door to meet him, he calls and said “something suddenly came up” and he can’t meet you. He cancels plans with you and you can’t depend on him. It’s not unusual for him to flake out on you and be unpredictable.

21. Avoids defining the relationship

If you ever ask him “what are we” or “where are we going,” he will respond with “Let’s see where it goes.” He will never ask for exclusivity and certainly won’t ask you to be his girlfriend. [Read: When to define the relationship – 20 signs it might be right now]

22. Is inconsistent in his communication

He might text you 24/7 one day, and then not or another week. You don’t know when or if you will hear from him. It’s like he just communicates with you on a whim and you don’t know what to expect.

23. Makes you wonder if he disappeared

Because he’s inconsistent with his communication and because he’s flakey, you often wonder if he’s ghosted you. The longer you don’t hear from him the longer you are convinced you will never hear from him again. [Read: Am I being ghosted? 20 signs you’re on the verge of being ghosted]

24. Doesn’t pay for dates

If you do go out, he won’t offer to pay for you. Even if he does, he doesn’t take you anywhere that he has to spend a lot of money on you. Or maybe you go to places that don’t require money. He’s telling you that he doesn’t want to make any financial investments in the “relationship.”

25. Lovebombs you

It might be confusing when he is stringing you along because he might lovebomb you. He might pay you a ton of compliments and tell you that he’s so lucky to hang out with you. You might even believe him for a while. But his actions never back his words up.

[Read: The decoding guide for how to tell what a guy wants from you]

So, is he stringing you along or taking it slow? We hope you got the answer you wanted. If not, good riddance. You are better off enjoying yourself than being with a guy who disrespects you.

Liked what you just read? Follow us on Instagram Facebook Twitter Pinterest and we promise, we’ll be your lucky charm to a beautiful love life. And while you’re at it, check out MIRL, a cool new social networking app that connects experts and seekers!

Preeti Tewari Serai
Preeti Serai
Preeti, the founder of LovePanky, is an eternal optimist and believer in the beauty of love and life. With an exhaustive experience in love, relationships, and ...