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You know you’re in The Maybe Zone when friends repeatedly see you with a guy and ask inquiringly: “Are you guys a couple?”
And your response is to shrug your shoulders and say: “I’m not sure really”, or secretly to yourself, “I’d like to be!”
Within The Maybe Zone there are typically two big traps.
There is the Friend Trap (also dubbed ‘The Friend Zone’, though the term has become controversial), and there is the Friends-With-Benefits Trap (sometimes called the ‘F-buddy’ Zone).
Someone only counts as being in The Maybe Zone if they secretly, or explicitly, desire a relationship with the person in question, but remain frustrated in their efforts.
Let’s explain both of these traps individually and why different kinds of people fall into them.
The Friend Trap
The Friend Trap is an old familiar favourite. It’s commonly seen as something that afflicts men, but 10 years of coaching has taught me that it happens to plenty of women as well.
The Friend Trap is when you like someone, you both get along like best buddies, except…that’s it. Nothing sexual EVER happens. It’s like one endless promise of hope over the horizon, where you think something could possibly-maybe-just happen one day, but every time you feel like you’re getting close they bat off any romantic advances and leave you pining for them when they’re not around.
It’s like being on a perpetual first date that’s going really well but the guy never goes in for the kiss, (even though he would totally score if he did).
It gets frustrating. You can tell he loves being around you and hanging out, hell, he may even hug you now and then like a boyfriend, but he never initiates anything more physical. Is he just incompetent? Shy? That’s possible, but even incompetent shy guys take the hint eventually and can manage to guide their lips toward yours.
What’s more likely is that he does truly enjoy being around you, and possibly does even love your personality to some degree, but he doesn’t have enough deep attraction.
Imagine the following simple formula for attraction:
Deep Attraction = Sexual Chemistry + Connection + Respect
A guy you’re friends with can have all the Connection and Respect in the world for you, but without Sexual Chemistry, he’s not going to be able to feel real attraction for you.
Annoying right? It’s probably a bit annoying for them too. A lot of men and women wish they felt sexual attraction for someone they are great buddies with. It would be an ideal scenario. But neither he, nor you, nor anyone else can force sexual chemistry if someone else just doesn’t feel it.
The onus is on you here to put distance between you so you can finally move on. Especially if you’re waiting around for a guy who actually enjoys the validation of the Friend Trap and stay there on purpose, enjoying your attention but never really making a move.
Screw that. Save your time. Save your emotional energy. Set yourself free and look for someone who reciprocates the love you have to give.
The Friends-With-Benefits Trap
The Friends-With-Benefits Trap happens when you are having sex (or some sexual activity) with a guy, and although you want him to be your boyfriend he never wants to commit.
At first you think he has issues with commitment, but then maybe you realise you’ve seen him with a girlfriend before.
He calls and texts you like you’re his girlfriend sometimes, but he only wants to meet when it’s convenient for him. He never wants a proper date and every time you bring up any relationship conversation he reminds you he’s “just having fun”.
Let’s go back to our formula we just used: Deep Attraction = Sexual Chemistry + Connection + Respect
Now in this case, unlike the Friend Trap, the guy clearly has Sexual Chemistry with you. But somewhere your relationship is lacking in either Connection or Respect.
Some women will be tempted to think that Respect is linked to them having a sexual relationship with him too soon, but that’s not true. Respect isn’t inherently linked to sex, and unless he has a very antiquated and out-dated mentality, he’s not going to judge you for having sex with him outside a relationship. Respect in this scenario is linked to other things. In the Get The Guy book Matt and I used the term ‘Perceived Value’ which might be a better way to think of Connection and Respect in this context.
Perceived Value can be linked to many things.
It can be:
- Whether he feels like you care about the same things he does (i.e. family, career, health)
- Whether he feels he could picture himself in a relationship with you (i.e. do you have habits that bother him? Or a lifestyle/friends that he wants to be a part of?)
- Whether you connect on an intellectual level (yes, men care about this. Everyone with a brain does).
- Whether he likes your character
- Whether you have the same vision for the future
These are just a few things that will cross someone’s mind (men AND women) when they think about a relationship, and if they doesn’t imagine them happening then he’ll place you in the Friends-With-Benefits Zone. It’s the place where he likes you, he’s attracted to you, but he doesn’t feel enough pull to see something more serious happening in the long-term.
How To Deal With Guys Who Put You In The Maybe Zone
The first thing to remember is that it doesn’t make someone a bad person just because they don’t want a relationship. Much of the issue simply comes down to compatibility.
Likewise, with the Friends Trap, just because he’s not into you physically doesn’t make him a jerk. What does make him a jerk in either circumstance is if he strings you along without ever making his true intentions (or non-intentions) clear.
The trick in handling this situation is twofold:
(1) Don’t be too judgmental in either situation (unless he willingly deceives you and pretends he wants something else). Just recognise it for what it is and spot the signs of a guy not moving anything forward either emotionally or physically.
(2) Begin to create immediate physical and emotional distance.
Is there a way to get out of these traps and still get into a relationship with the same guy? SOMETIMES.
But here’s the problem. Once someone has a fixed opinion of you, it can be difficult to change it.
In the case of the Friend Trap: The preferred option should always be to put distance between you. You can still be nice to him, but you can also be totally honest and say “I have feelings for you, and need to put some distance between us in order to stay friends”. If he’s really a friend, at this point, he’ll understand.
Or if that seems way too dramatic, just stop putting yourself in any one-on-one scenarios with him altogether. E.g. no sitting at home together watching movies, no more ‘buddy-dates’ where you both go for dinner together and hang out all night. Make it a rule to only see him in the company of others, or not at all.
It will feel hard when you like the guy, but believe me, it’s much easier than wasting a year or longer pining over him when he doesn’t have romantic feelings for you.
Remember, just because one guy isn’t attracted to you, does NOT mean you are unattractive. He’s one guy, there are others. And the longer you pine after one person who isn’t interested, the longer you’re missing out on an amazing guy who would be a model boyfriend if you were only available for him to find you.
Moreover, it’s always your own responsibility to remove yourself from the Friend Trap. Even if he’s clearly loving the attention and enjoys being ‘buddies’ with you: if you’re the one getting hurt emotionally, it’s up to you to notice this and remove yourself from the situation without being bitter. It’s up to you after that to decide if the friendship is really worth keeping.
In the case of the Friends-With-Benefits Trap: You have slightly more chance of winning him over here since at least here you’re beginning with sexual attraction, which is obviously crucial before any kind of romantic relationship can occur.
But here’s the thing.
Once a guy has made up his mind, or told you he doesn’t want to commit at all, it’s always, ALWAYS best to take him totally on his word. Otherwise, even if you end up getting a guy to sleepwalk into a semi-relationship for six months, he can easily turn around and break it off all of a sudden when he freaks out and realizes things have gotten too serious for him.
Your priority and ultimate mindset should always be: “I don’t want to waste time with guys who aren’t already sure they’re crazy about me”.
You don’t want to convince a guy to want a relationship with you. If he gives you ‘the talk’ where he says how he just wants to be single and have fun, just smile and say “that’s cool”. Then withdraw. Not coldly, not spitefully, but just in a relaxed way. Show him your standards in that moment. You want to withdraw affection in a way that says: “that’s cool. But that’s not what I want. I need someone who wants more commitment right now.”
A guy’s respect and attraction will go up intensely in that moment just for seeing you stick to your standard.
Now go meet other guys and forget about this one. And maybe, just MAYBE, at some point down the line you might both re-connect in another place and time and he’ll wonder why you didn’t ever get together (but again, don’t bank on this happening, it only may happen, but the point is, you do NOT need it to).
If he never calls again, no harm done. You’ve spared your time and your affection for guys who are worth both.
Remember, both the Friend Trap and the Friends-With-Benefits Trap aren’t like your regular trap. You can open your eyes, see the writing on the wall, and walk away at any time.
The Maybe trap can be seductive, but it only exists so long as you choose to remain within it.
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119 Replies to “Why Men Put Women In The ‘Maybe’ Zone”
Im confused. So we dated back then and everything was fine. But I felt like things are going too fast nad tried (failed) to withdraw. He and his ex see each other in school often and I guess they decided to tried again. I was sad cos he left me midair. We got back in touch after many months and we go out every now and then but not really a regular thing. He’s dating others but none of the regular thing. Then we had sex. When we talked about iy, he thought I wanted more. I may be thinking of the potential, but I know I should not I am also unsure if I want him or the idea of him. All I know is that he has tons of baggages. He told me he is not ready for a relationship for so many reasons. He wants to prioritize his career cos he’s starting up a lot of things and that’s why being with a gf is hard for him. And he is only dating around. we decided to be fwbs. I m not sure if I should go for it. Im kind of scared
After 2 years in marriage with my Husband with a kid, my husband started going out with other ladies and showed me cold love, on several occasions he threatens to divorce me if I dare question him about his affair with other women, I was totally devastated and confused until a friend told me about a spell caster who help people with their relationship and marriage problem by the powers of love spells, at first I doubted if such thing ever exists but decided to give it a try, when I contact him and told him my problem, he helped me cast a love spell and after 24hours my husband came back to me and started apologizing and ever since the spell cast, he has stopped going out with ladies and he is with me for good and for real. Contact this great spell caster for your relationship or marriage problem at dr.mac@yahoo. com…….
He can put me in the maybe zone and I’ll continue being his friend but if he puts me in the friend zone then the friendship has to end because I’m not looking for anymore guy friends because I can’t be the friend he needs me to be I can’t give him advice on his girlfriend or any girl for that matter and I condone break ups
Ugh this guy ask me to be Friends With Benefits .I am not like that .We kissed and that’s about it I told him how about us just being friends .He said and just kiss and hug and hold each other ?I said yeah no sex.He said ok that’s fine but he will probably cut me off tho ,we will see .He very cocky .He is the one who spoke to me 1st and asked me why I am always smiling when I see him I must think he is cute .The he pushed me against the wall and hugged me real tight then ask when am I gonna let him go ?Wth he is the one that wouldn’t let me go and blamed it on me .
Well my I had a talk with my FWB guy regarding him not wanting to have kids he said he would be such a horrible father at this time. He’s an engineer and told me he’s job schedule is rough. I simply said I understand I’m also having fun right now but will only do it for a year. Then he said he needs more than a year maybe 2. So I said mine is a year and that’s it. I’m butt hurt that he needed more time but oh well. I just don’t know if he would ever match my timeframe or not, I wish he would and I wish I know how If it’s possible I am willing to find out!
Stephen, you sage, you! I’ve sensed this truth for awhile now, but thanks for crystallizing it for me!
I’m so excited of getting my husband back after he left me. After 2 years of marriage, me and my husband has been into one quarrel or the other until he finally left me and moved to California to be with another woman. i felt my life was over. i tried to be strong but i could not control the pains that torments my heart, my heart was filled with sorrows and pains because i was really in love with my husband. Every day and night i think of him and always wish he would come back to me, I was really upset and i needed help, so i searched for help online and I came across a website that suggested that Dr Mack can help get ex back fast. So, I felt I should give him a try. I contacted him and he told me what to do and i did it then he did a (Love spell) for me. 28 hours later, my husband really called me and told me that he miss me so much, So Amazing!! he came back that same day,with lots of love and joy, he bought me flowers and he apologized for his mistake,and for the pain he caused me. our Marriage is now stronger than how it were before,All thanks to Dr Mack. he is so powerful and i decided to share my story on the internet, if you need your Ex back, do not worry anymore, contact this powerful spell caster now. Here’s his contact: Email him at: Dr_mack@yahoo. com.
how? Im hurting so bad i need advice
Great post! “…even if you end up getting a guy to sleepwalk into a semi-relationship for six months, he can easily turn around…”
Funny story, I’ve been dating this guy for six months and though he’s been super clear with not wanting a relationship since he got hurt in the past and doesn’t feel those emotions, he’s investing pretty much in me, texting and meeting me almost weekly and I appreciate him for being honest so I’m not really disappointed but in the same time I’m not sure how long I can handle this since my feelings are getting stronger by time and so are his (he said without me mentioning it) and I probably want more than FWB.
What are my values here? Should I just let time tell?
The last bf I had was hurt to listen to see if he takes the blame for any of it ! Cause you can bet that same sorry will be told about you some day ! I wasted 51/2 years I was miss perfect he was below me got all serious involved with my daughter family etc . You might just be his thing til something better or newer comes along and they drop u
Like ure hot! And if it dosnt work come back! This majority fucked me up!
I don’t do friends with benifits! I will sometimes have sex to fast every guy I’ve ever slept with comes back and usually becomes my boyfriend I’m good on bed and I try to please I’m a attractive woman I’m 50 still have a good body I’m 5’3 but have long legs heart shaped ass small waste flat tummy tone legs I rock a bikini blonde blue eyes fun smart sweet bitch I give a awesome bj ok??
You make look good….but you have nothing else to offer. Good looking women are a dime a dozen.
Especially young ones! Raise your standards and be a woman that is more. At the end of the day what you look like is irrelevant, no matter what some jerk man says.
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I have read most of your advises! One of the being ” On the maybe zone” the only problem with me is that I had been put to a maybe zone by the guy I dated, I don’t know whether we are still in a relationship or not. today he is on tomorrow he is off. Its being a while not having sex and he is not ready to meet me face to face after us having a fight. He prefers phone communication and most of the time when it suits him! Rather, he expresses how he loves me to my mother, his mother, his relatives and my friend, this frustrates me a lot because I love him. And want us to solve our misunderstandings and continue with our relationship.
The problem is not the maybezone, its that you go after the popular guys that doesnt want a relationship (or arent simply in the same league) and ignore the ones that does. Think from a guys perspective: First you are a nobody and girls wont even look at you, but suddenly when you learn to play girls you get them all; why settle? You will have to be very very special to keep a guy like that. Almost being a virgin is required.
We keep you in the maybe zone because you dont have self respect and a good quality guy smells that a long way. If we know a girl is easy she will only be a fuckbuddy and nothing else.
My situation is different. We are attracted to each other, but, he wants to be friends because he is not financial stable to provide for me, he says. I have a job and told him, I don’t need to be financially provided for. This man takes me out to dinner, ice cream, movies and gives me money! I don’t want to accept and want to pay my way, but he gets annoyed at me. I don’t know what to think about this type relationship.
I’m in a situation where I’ve been friends with this guy for the last 2 years. We have amazing chemistry. We also work together. People always wonder what’s going on between us because there is such a spark. We dated briefly last year but he broke things off because he claimed he didn’t want to be in a relationship. I was hurt and didn’t talk to him for a little while. We became good friends again easily though because like a magnet, we are drawn to each other. We can’t stay mad at each other. I’ve been in love with him this whole time, and my gut tells me he likes me too but for some reason, he doesn’t want to be with me. I mustered up some courage the other night and asked him out for a drink over text. He didn’t reply. I saw him at work the next day, I was so bummed out that I didn’t talk to him. He texted me after he left asking if I was mad at him for not replying to my text but I’m not sure what to say back. Should I be honest or should I just tell him I was asking him out as a friend to save myself the humiliation? I’m not sure what to do anymore.
I have been in a maybe zone for 3 years.we both do everything together including running my business and live in the same house.He touches me continuosly ,but never inappropiatly or tries to kiss me.
He does not date either but I do know he visits escorts when I confronted him he said it meant nothing because it was just sex.
He is scared once sex enters a relationship it will bugger everything up.
To me I cannot get my head around the escort usage which has caused a lot of strain on our relationship.
I pull back now when he tries to touch me because I know where he has been and I cannot get my head around this.
He thas tried to stop but it lasts 3 months and then he goes back for more!
Apparently it is an addiction and the escorts are young and everything I am not.The total opposite of what I look like which only makes me more confused!!!!
Can he only get turned on by a certain type ?
They are all a particular body type,age and color?
Am I wasting my time on a guy that cannot find me sexually attractive even though he clearly loves me?
This is the 1st post to actually describe my situation…been “dating” a guy for 2 1/2 yrs…no sex or romance yet everyone assumes we are a couple…introduced me to his dad & daughter…very shy older man…I’ve tried hugging, touching arm or leg & nothing yet calls to go out at least twice a month…posts on social media about looking for an honest relationship but doesnt want drama…Im done…will still remain friends but slowly back away…thank you for your advice…
This is my first time posting. I met a guy and now we known each other for 6 months and on March 11th on a Sunday morning he came out and said he thinks we should be fwb. Yes we had a very rocky time within thoses months.during Rhodes month he use to call or text during his breaks or call but that had decreased. Yes I have blocked him several times but he would use his coworkers9phone and be private and leave s message that he miss me and O fall for it and let him back in. But it seems like it’s a pattern to where he’ll say one thing and do another, like he’ll say we going to hang out for he’ll call me and don’t. But when I call him he doesn’t answer or respond back to My texts. Buts he always says there’s no one else because what I give him sexual theirs no one else can give it to him like that.
I met a guy online and we started a fwb arrangement together about 4 months ago. It was clearly communicated and we both agreed. About 2 months into the arrangement, I find myself growing attached and hoping for more. So I broke it off. I didn’t explain why and he didn’t question it either. I simply told him about my decision to discontinue and he simply acknowledged it. There was no communication from either side for a whole month after that. And yesterday, he texted me and asked if I wanted to come over to his place by any chance. I politely declined and he never texted back after that. I know I’m doing exactly what I should be doing. But nevertheless I’m feeling blue. It just sucks to be in the maybe zone and being reconfirmed that I was no more than a hole. Part of me wants so badly to ask him the question “what exactly put me in the fwb zone in the first place?”. But my rational side knows better not to pursue anymore. I wish I could be as emotionally unconnected sometimes.
I love you and Matthew for being so honest, caring and helpful. You two make a great team. I wish you all the best! :)
I’m working in the lab with a guy who just seems to me like the male version of me! I’ve liked other guys before but no one has been so similar to me. Our wavelengths match so well and we enjoy each others company a lot. We spend time together all day n go for tea breaks or lunch breaks together. Since i have no other friends there,i go with only him everyday. He is very caring and affectionate towards me. He’s very protective of me and respects me in every way. He understands me everytime. With time I fell in love with him. I am attracted to him too. But he says he doesn’t see me that way and he can never do that. Though he’s single and we both have great connection,he has no other feelings for me.
It’s hard for me to create a distance because he’s the only friend i have there. Also,we are in the same working space so I can’t avoid him any way. I don’t want to hurt him and not be friends with him or not do things that i always do for him. But how will i come out of this situation this way???
Please help me with your suggestions,if possible…
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