He Doesn’t Want FWB But Still Wants to Talk. Why Does He Send Mixed Signals?

Dr. Wendy Walsh

Written by: Dr. Wendy Walsh

Dr. Wendy Walsh

Known as America's Relationship Expert, Dr. Wendy Walsh is an award-winning television journalist, radio host & podcaster, and the author of three books on relationships and thousands of print and digital articles. More than 1.5 million people follow her sage advice on social media. She holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and teaches in the Psychology Department at California State University Channel Islands and has been the host of "The Dr. Wendy Walsh Show" on iHeart Radio's KFI AM 640 since 2015. Walsh is also a former Emmy-nominated co-host of "The Doctors," as well as former host of the nationally syndicated show "EXTRA." She was named a Time Magazine Person of the Year in 2017 after speaking out about harassment at a major news network.

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Edited by: Lillian Castro

Lillian Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro brings more than 30 years of journalism experience to ensure DatingAdvice articles have been edited for overall clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement. She has worked at The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, The Gwinnett Daily News, and The Gainesville Sun covering lifestyle topics.

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Reader Question:

I met this guy a couple weeks ago and we immediately hit it off. He’s 20 and I am 18.

We agreed we would stay as friends with benefits because I will be leaving in two months for a while. For some reason, he keeps revisiting the idea of just being friends, saying he likes me but it makes him put a wall up.

I told him it would be fine if we just stopped talking so he wouldn’t get any further feelings because he doesn’t want to date, but he keeps saying he doesn’t want to stop talking.

Why does he send me mixed signals? How can I figure out what he really wants?

-Brianna (Wisconsin)

Dr. Wendy Walsh’s Answer:


When you describe your relationship as friends with benefits, I assume you mean sexual benefits. And because you are the one leaving town, I get a sense you are the one who structured the relationship this way.

He, on the other hand, didn’t have much of a choice. You’ll be leaving, even if he wanted more. In fact, I suspect your ticket out of the relationship was the very thing that attracted both of you.

It’s a way to test a relationship knowing that either one of you can have an exit door at the two-month mark.

With modern relationships being so fragile yet so pressured to have sex, people often look to dip their toe in as a way to avoid a painful breakup.

But the bottom line is sex creates feelings. He is sending you mixed signals because he likes you! He is in fact telling you the “friends with benefits” charade is the wall he’s putting up.

My advice: Don’t mess with this guy’s heart if you don’t want a real relationship. If you do, bring it up and be very clear about your needs.

The elephant in the living room seems too big for either of you to ignore.

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