QUESTION: How do I know if a guy is interested in me or just being friendly?
My neighbor across the street always waves and talks to me when we are both outside. Sometimes he will hold my gaze just a few seconds longer than necessary. My ex husband (whom he knows) comes over often and my neighbor may think we are still involved, but that's not the case. How do I let him know I'm interested without seeming too forward?
CHUCK: You have an interesting situation here, because I think that your neighbor may, in fact, be interested in you, but because of certain male protocols, may be reluctant to approach you.
There are two possible factors at play here. First, you say he knows your ex-husband. But you don't say how well. Are they friends or just passing acquaintances? Because if he's your ex's friend, and even if he's not, he may feel it bad form to make a move on you. A friend of mine, when she got divorced, had to fend off advances from her next-door-neighbor, who saw her husband's departure as his chance to move in. And this dude was married! All men don't conduct themselves this way, though. Be thankful that your neighbor's not that predatory.
The other factor may be, as you said, he sees your ex-husband over occasionally, and might think that you two are still hitting it off. It has been known to happen. Not too many men are going to intentionally put themselves in a dicey situation like that. Short of meeting your ex at the curb with a hand-painted sign that says, "WE'RE NOT SLEEPING TOGETHER," I can't think of a really inconspicuous way to get that information out. Anyway...
Given these factors, I have to say, if you're really interested in this man, you may have to take the bull by the horns. I think he's trying to send you some subtle signals. You have to let him know you're receiving him. Here's what you do: If this man seems the least bit handy around the house, ask for his assistance with some project around because you're "trying not to depend on your ex so much." See how that works? Ask him if he'll go with you to Lowe's or Home Depot for a little while one Saturday. And after you do that, offer to buy him a coffee for his help. If he is as interested in you as you are in him, you'll find out soon enough. Good luck.
GARLAND: I'm with Chuck. He is giving you one of the key signs of interest - that longish gaze. You ladies do it and so do us guys. I think he's feeling you.
Unless you have kids with your ex, his "coming over often" is keeping your neighbor at bay. I once knew someone who's ex would come over and just wait across the street on a Friday or Saturday night and wait for her to come home from a date and then jump out and start a big argument over their kid. This would almost always scare off potential suitors. So you might want to find a way to scale back ex-hubby's visits for a few weeks while you seek the neighbors help with your computer, your oven, your sink, your squeeky basement step, your new grill, your dishwasher OR your lawn mower.
This will give him a two fold benefit - he gets to fix something in front of you and he gets to see where you stand on the dating scene. But the ex has got to give him [and you] some room.
One more thing - if you do get together with him for coffee or lunch or Lowes, try to gently feel him out to make sure your ex hasn't put anything in his head. I don't know how close they are, but you want to make sure that the ex hasn't told him how, "...she still can't get enough of me. She wants it all the time," because this will corrupt his impression of you faster than a vacant Senate seat to an Illinois Governor.
(That last line was supposed to be funny, but I may have missed the mark)
Best of luck to you! Let us know how things turn out!