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A Former Therapist Explains How to Really Keep a Man Interested

Let’s say, hypothetically, that you find a man who doesn’t immediately make you want to run screaming in the opposite direction and join the nearest nunnery.

He’s the exception to the modern dating rule — everything you’ve been looking for even if you didn’t realize it. You’re attracted, the chemistry is buzzing, and you really hope that this won’t turn into another relationship disappointment. 

We’ve all been there. Once you’ve got his interest, it becomes apparent that you’ll need to keep it.

Otherwise, as we’re often told, there are plenty of other fish in the sea just waiting to hook him on the rebound. Why should he settle for you?

First of all, ditch that attitude. No one is settling for you. You’re clearly an amazing person with a lot to offer a relationship.

So, instead of focusing on how to manipulate the man into staying, let’s talk about some honest, authentic, and science-backed ways of keeping a man’s interest.

This won’t require you to change who you are, but it might require that you make an effort and see him as more than your next relationship status update. 

13 Tips to Keep a Man Interested

Why listen to me? I’m Crystal Jackson and I was a master’s level licensed therapist. I worked with couples and individuals and specialized in trauma recovery and empowerment. I now write content about relationships, self-improvement, and psychology. My work has been featured in large publications such as Elite Daily, Your Tango, Positively Positive, and Mamamia.

While I am a former therapist, the following guidelines aren’t meant to constitute therapeutic advice and can in no way replace professional mental health support.

If you successfully replicate these 13 tips, it’s no guarantee the man will stick around and stay interested. The harsh truth of life is that sometimes we’re just not a match for the person we’re crushing on. It happens.

You can take it personally, or you can keep looking for someone who is a better fit for you. When you find that person, these tips just might work better than you think. 

1. Laugh at His Jokes

Research has revealed that humor is different between men and women. Women want someone who can make them laugh. Men want someone who will appreciate their sense of humor.

In other words, you’ll need to laugh at their jokes.

Honestly, no one is as delightful and hilarious as someone we’re attracted to and interested in, and if you want to keep his interest, you’ll reward him with a laugh. Yes, even if he tells that dad joke you’ve heard a hundred times before. 

This isn’t about playing games. It’s about appreciating his humor authentically. If you fake a laugh, he’s going to lose interest when he realizes it.

No one wants their partner to force laughter at a punchline. What’s important here is that you have a sense of humor and appreciate his. Laughing together often just might keep him interested, too. 

2. Be Genuinely Curious About Him

According to Dr. Steven Stosny of Psychology Today, “Interest is stimulated by novelty but sustained by depth.”

In other words, the excitement in the beginning won’t last if there’s nothing more to the relationship. That’s why appreciating each other and staying curious is so important in relationships. 

When the initial spark begins to transition into a routine relationship, it can be triggering.

You can begin to pick the relationship apart, or you begin to appreciate things you never noticed before and express curiosity to get to know your partner at an even deeper level.

Not only will this build intimacy, but it’s also likely to keep him interested longer.

3. Don’t Rush the Relationship

In my personal experience, trying to rush a relationship will usually end it quicker than anything.

While some people use love bombing as their go-to method for securing a partnership, it’s better to take your time and get to know the other person, allowing the relationship to develop gradually.

You might feel certain that this person is the one for you, but give it time. See if you’re projecting what you want or if you’re really seeing what’s there.

Otherwise, you just might give off desperate vibes that send the man running far and fast.

I’ve been guilty of this. In one relationship, I rushed that status update to my eternal regret.

He wasn’t a good person, and it ended up being an abusive relationship that ended with a broken sense of self and emptied bank account. If I had waited a little longer, I might have noticed more warning signs of his true character

At another time, I pushed for a relationship status update with no regrets whatsoever. That relationship was precious to me even though it did not last in the end.

But it could just as easily have turned out poorly. Don’t get so focused on having a boyfriend or partner that you forget to enjoy the journey getting there.

Trust me: you’ll keep his interest a lot longer if you don’t try to force it before you’re both ready.

4. Make Him See Red

This little fun fact could help you keep his interest. According to a study published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, men interpret women in red as sexually receptive and perceive that receptiveness as attractive.

If you want to keep a man interested, try a little red lipstick or add a dash of red to your wardrobe.

While this study didn’t specify if men wearing red works to attract other men, it does indicate that red can successfully attract men to women.

5. Be Honest

Another study, this one published in the Journal of Research in Personality, found that men report more interest in women who seem honest.

This feels like a no-brainer, but let’s break it down anyway.

Obviously, you can’t tell from looking at someone if they’re honest or not, but the perception that they are honest increased the attraction for men. In other words, most men want honest partners.

They don’t want to be lied to or cheated on any more than anyone else. 

Honesty is a great way to keep their interest, assuming you’re not being honest about something that is, in fact, one of their dealbreakers. With that being said, you should still be honest about it.

Otherwise, you’re just being manipulative, which isn’t fair to either one of you.

6. Don’t Play Games

You’ve probably heard that playing hard to get keeps a man interested. This is terrible advice. While it might work for an immature partner, it’s not really a good long-term strategy.

In fact, neurological research suggests that men are more interested in partners whose emotions are clear and easy to understand. In short, men are more attracted to and interested in people who clearly show their interest and don’t play around with their feelings. 

Dating is hard enough without people pretending they aren’t that interested. If you assume that the person you’re into isn’t equally into you, you’re more likely to move on, right?

Well, that works both ways. If you play too hard to get, they might give up and move on to someone who isn’t afraid to admit they’re interested. Be brave, and quit with the games already! 

7. Smile More

It’s counterintuitive for me to suggest that women should smile more. After all, we’re told to do so by men all our lives, and it’s offensive.

However, I do want to outline how this translates into keeping a man interested. Apparently, happy women are perceived to be more attractive and interesting.

This isn’t true for happy men, but we can factor in patriarchal norms and misogyny into why there’s a difference. 

If you want to keep him interested, you should smile more — but only if it’s authentic. Most of the time, you’re probably happy to be around your crush, right?

If you have a bad case of RBF, you might not want to force a smile as a strategy to keep him interested, but you should try to show happiness when you feel it. 

8. Be Kind

couple making eye contact
Couple in love

According to science, if you want to keep a man interested, be kind. It’s due to the halo effect, which causes kindness to translate into attractiveness. I don’t know anyone who thinks rudeness is cute.

Think about that if you have the habit of treating waitstaff with disrespect. A man just might lose interest rapidly with a person he no longer believes is kind. 

9. Skip the Salad

Here’s a fun fact for you on keeping men interested: They like curves.

Of course, this study focused on men interested in women, so I’m not sure it applies outside of hetero relationships, but it is encouraging news for women who are sensitive about their weight (in other words, all women).

According to research published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior, men prefer curvy women with hips. If you want to keep him interested, skip the salad (unless you love a good salad) and endless dieting. 

Yes, you should strive to be healthy, but that doesn’t necessarily mean thin.

Research shows that men aren’t as preoccupied with weight gain as we are, and if you find a man who is focused on your size, throw out the whole man and get one with a healthier attitude about your body.

As a woman, it can be tough to accept my changing body, but science shows that the curves aren’t a bad thing in terms of keeping a partner’s interest.

Remember that the next time you hop on a scale and judge yourself for being human.

10. Ditch the Drama

According to Dr. Jill P. Weber in an article on Psychology Today, women should give feedback in the following ratio: 75% positive and 25% negative. I would say that this can safely be applied to all relationships. After all, no one enjoys feeling nagged, criticized, or attacked.

If you’re negative more than a quarter of the time, you might want to reevaluate your levels of empathy and kindness and make a few adjustments. Otherwise, you should consider the quality of your relationships. 

If you want to keep the man interested, ditch the drama and stop complaining about every perceived failing. Instead, make him feel appreciated, cared for, and seen. Isn’t that what we all want? Too many relationships default into criticism and destroy interest, attraction, and intimacy. 

11. Don’t Skimp on Self-Care

Self-care is important whether or not you’re in a relationship, but if you want to keep someone’s interest, it’s certainly not the time to abandon your grooming habits.

Even if you want to be your most comfortable, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make an effort.

You want to keep his interest, and a big part of that is paying attention to your physical and mental health. Practicing good hygiene, dressing well, and generally not being the world’s biggest slob can help you keep him interested. 

The reverse also holds true in case you’re concerned about a double standard. At least, it does to me.

Any photos of Justin and Haley Bieber might have you questioning this, but generally, we want our partners to put in a little bit of effort. It shows positive self-worth and a desire to please your partner, too.

12. Initiate Physical Intimacy

You might think that love is a drug, but that’s the oxytocin at work. Researchers have found that physical intimacy in the early stages of a relationship can create a feeling of euphoria.

According to renowned relationship researcher Dr. Gottman, it’s important for couples to stay connected through physical touch.

You might immediately think of sex, but physical and emotional intimacy can also include hand holding, kissing, hugging, and even just casually touching one another. 

You want to keep the man interested, right? Keep touching him — and take your mind out of the gutter. Don’t stop with hugs, casual touches, and lingering kisses.

While there’s a time and a place for this — the dinner table with others is never the ideal time for a make-out session — it’s important to prioritize touch even if it’s not your primary love language. It can keep that initial high, so to speak, alive. 

13. Let Him Be Vulnerable

If you really want to keep a man’s interest, let him be vulnerable. Don’t hold him to some patriarchal standard of masculinity where he always has to be strong.

He needs a safe space to be authentic just like anyone else.

I don’t know how else to explain to people that having a penis doesn’t make one immune from crying any more than having a vagina subjects you to more of it.

The only true difference is that society allows men to be angry and women to be sad and criticizes us when we swap those assigned feelings. 

If you’re not ready for the man in your life to be vulnerable, I’m afraid you’re not ready for a mature relationship.

It’s not fair to expect someone to support and take care of you when you’re not willing to do the same for them. A man is more likely to stay interested in the relationship if he feels comfortable enough to be vulnerable with you.

Keeping Him Interested: A Conclusion

Science supports each of these tips to help keep a man interested. Securing his interest at the start is the easy part.

Keeping it when there’s a veritable buffet of potential partners out there is a little bit harder. On a positive note, if he leaves even when you’re fulfilling your part of being a healthy partner, he wasn’t for you anyway. 

Far too often, we leave a potential relationship with bitterness, cataloging all the things the other person did wrong.

But how often do we evaluate our own behavior to see if it passes the vibe check? It’s possible that we’re expecting all the effort without being willing to give any. If you want to keep someone interested, be interested.

Be interested in getting to know them better, be interested in allowing the intimacy to build.

Be curious about your disagreements and willing to confront them with honesty and kindness.

Good men and good relationships are out there. The question is, are you ready to do what it takes to keep them?

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Photo by Artem Beliaikin on Unsplash

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