Is He Just Keeping You Around For His Ego? As Told By A Nice Guy And A F*ckboy

by Adam Shadows
Kylah Benes-Trapp

Dear Nice Guy and Fuckboy,

I met this guy about seven months ago online. I'm 28 and he's 35. We had instant chemistry, good banter and the conversation flowed effortlessly.

After about two weeks of constant messaging, without him asking me out or even asking for my number, I got a little irritated and took control of the situation. So finally, we ended up meeting that weekend.

In person, we had crazy sexual tension and such a strong connection. We started seeing each other regularly after that, and he was great. But I did get the feeling he might have commitment issues.

Things fizzled quickly between us, and I think the big reason for that is simply because I wasn't ready. I was dealing with a lot of personal issues, and I sabotaged a good thing. Overall, we still ended on good terms, and I took this opportunity to really focus on repairing myself.

However, two months after we stopped seeing each other, he texted me out of the blue. Up until now, we continued to stay in touch every couple weeks. We were being extremely flirty with each other, and my gut feeling was that we both did still have feelings for each other.

But soon, I learned that he had a girlfriend — a serious one, considering they traveled to a different country together.

A week after he got home from that trip abroad, I got a pretty flirtatious text from him. I called him out on it, and he responded, "I guess I'm taken."

Looking back, from day one, he was never a straightforward person, and he hid behind jokes. During conversations, he would never fully admit anything and constantly use the phrases "I guess" or " I suppose."

This time, however, he admitted his reason for continuing to flirt with me is because he's attracted to me.

He said he would stop flirting, and we could just continue with friendly conversation, which, of course, only lasted a few minutes before we were flirting again.

I told him, with the way things were going, I didn't think we could be friends and that what he was doing wasn't fair to me or his girlfriend. I confessed that I, too, was attracted to him and enjoyed talking to him, but I deserved to have that with someone who actually wanted to be with me. He understood, but he also admitted he didn't want to let me go.

I left the conversation saying I needed to cut things off for my own happiness, which he agreed I deserved.

But my gut tells me it isn't over for us and that he isn't intentionally trying to hurt me. Though, I guess you can never be too sure.

So is he a classic fuckboy who's keeping me in his back pocket for an ego stroke? Or, is he a nice guy whom I shouldn't completely write off?

Sincerely, Jules

Kylah Benes-Trapp

Hi Jules!

Bro wants his cake and wants to eat it, too. Plain and simple.

The reason he's still in contact with you is because you will always be the proverbial “what if” in his life since I do think you two had a genuine connection.

And since it wasn't him who ended things, he's going to remain curious about what he could have had with you. That's why he continues to text you.

He's still in contact with you because you will always be the proverbial 'what if' in his life.

Once you figured things out after your initial break, he likely assumed you'd simply move on from him. He probably believed if you really wanted to be with him, you would be with him no matter what. So, he moved on to another woman to serve as his Band-Aid.

Even if you think things ended amicably between you two, men aren't known to show much (or any) emotion in situations like these. We're “supposed” to be strong and stoic.

But who really knows how he was feeling? He could have been devastated. I mean, you did say he would never fully admit anything to you, so I'm willing to bet this hurt him a lot more than he let on.

Now, whether his feelings for this new woman are authentic or not is uncertain, but if he's still talking to you, things with them could be a little rocky. Even so, that's no reason for you to swoop back in. He's with another woman — that much is black and white.

You don't want to be his mistress. And you definitely don't want to be with a guy who's blatantly having an emotional affair (which is what he's having with you).

You definitely don't want to be with a guy who's blatantly having an emotional affair.

Whether your conversations occur over text or in person doesn't matter: Adultery is adultery, and studies have found women feel far more betrayed over these types of affairs.

Even though you ask whether or not this guy seems like a typical fuckboy, I don't think that really matters. You clearly have feelings for the guy, fuckboy or not.

But I will say all of us, male or female, do tend to stay in touch with people who give us an ego boost. So while that might be the case, it doesn't really matter for you.

Putting the onus on what YOU should do isn't going to make or break things. You've done nothing wrong here. You took a break when you felt it was necessary, and in that time, he met somebody else.

There's nothing that can be done about it now since fate intervened and fucked around with some things. So my advice to you is to do nothing. This is his issue, not yours. You don't have to win him over.

He's the one messaging you, and he's the one in the relationship. Move on, girl.

Besides, even though he shouldn't be talking to you at all, communicating with you every few weeks (which you cite in your email) isn't much of an emotional investment. Hell, I text people I haven't even considered inviting to my wedding every few weeks. So if that's what's keeping you hanging on, cut that wire.

Best of luck!


Kylah Benes-Trapp


I think it's telling your first instinct is to fear he's a fuckboy. This highlights such a pervasive double-standard. If a dude receives attention from multiple women, he's a fuckboy, as if it's something he's doing wrong.

Have you never been in a relationship and had someone else crushing on you, too? Imagine we called women “sluts” based on how many people wanted them. That would be ridiculous.

Being charming doesn't make you a fuckboy, and neither does not cutting someone off completely just because you're with someone else.

Being charming doesn't make you a fuckboy.

What I've gathered from your story is this: 1) You guys had great chemistry the first time, and you ended it. 2) He liked you enough to keep texting you, all while remaining sensitive to your feelings, respectful to your wishes and NOT cheating on his girlfriend.

Yeah, what a dick.

You said you sabotaged the relationship the first time. And then, you said you left again. You're always the one leaving, unsatisfied with what he can give you. So how does that translate to him trying to hurt you or him “keeping you around for an ego stroke”?

Maybe he doesn't want to completely cut you out of his life, or maybe he doesn't trust you not to leave again if he tried to bring you completely in.

You also can't blame him for going out and getting a new girlfriend if you're the one who let him go in the first place. He's probably with someone who knows what she wants and who doesn't run away while blaming the other person for chasing them.

You can't blame him for going out and getting a new girlfriend if you're the one who let him go.

From the way you made a point to tell us how devious he could be because he says “I guess” and “I suppose” (really, what a snake in the grass), it makes me believe you didn't trust him from the beginning. He never gave you a reason not to trust him — you just didn't.

And that “I guess I'm taken” text from him might as well have been his way of saying, “See, you were wrong. And now you can't have me.” Because now you can't have him, and you want him more.

I think you have some soul searching to do, Jules. This guy doesn't sound like the enemy. You sound like a tease.

I'm hesitant to do this, as it almost feels like you don't deserve him, but it's my job. So I'll tell you what to do to get him back: You have to trick him into thinking you have the control in this situation again.

You have to trick him into thinking you have the control in this situation again.

The next time you hear from him, ignore him. And ignore him the next time, too. Then, wait a while and reach out with something cryptic to get yourself back on his radar. (The kids are calling it "breadcrumbing.") You'll have been gone so long enough that he'll have forgotten all the bad shit that's happened and be intrigued.

You have a cat-and-mouse game going with this guy, so you're going to have to lure him back with a string. Disappearing for a while is the only way to pique his interest again.

Once you lure him back, make it vaguely difficult for you two to connect for a while. Don't be transparently malicious with this, though; have plans fall through a few times and make it seem like an accident. Then, be very assertive suddenly. Set a time and place, and do what you have to do to get him there.

When you see him, ignore every instinct telling you to be skeptical or weary. Ignore the anxiety that comes when we see what we want. Just grab it.

Tell him the truth about how you never stopped thinking about him, how you should have seen it earlier and how he was right.

That's all he's looking for: the validation that his certainty about you from the beginning was justified. It'll make all the other times worth it, and he'll fall for you again, no matter who else is in the picture.

Soon, he'll be traveling with you.

I tell you this in good faith, Jules, and only ask one thing in return — well, two things. Now that you know what to do, don't screw it up... and don't make me regret this.

Unfaithfully Yours,