So I have a crush on a guy who I thought liked me back, but lately I've noticed that while he does encourage my feelings for him (cuddling and trying to get me to talk about how I feel) he never explicitly reciprocates, even when I try to get him to tell me if he likes me. I kinda feel like I'm being led on, but I want to give him the benefit of the doubt. I don't know if he's misread my emotions or just doesn't express himself the same way I do. He dodges questions a lot.
It sounds like it’s just time to ask him directly. Sometimes it’s easier for people to discuss this kind of thing in person, other times it’s easier to have the conversation over text or email. It’s okay to mention the fact that he’s been ‘dodging’ your questions, and that you want to respect the fact that he may be interpreting and expressing things differently.
It’s time to get really clear: “I’m interested in you sexually and romantically. I’d like us to try dating, which would be different from our current friendship in [explain your specific desires]. Do you feel the same way?”
If he says yes, then great! Move the conversation toward what each of you want, need, and expect in terms of this new intimacy. If he says no, then you can explain that there are certain types of affection you’d prefer to back off on so you don’t feel led on, and be specific.
If he gives you any answer besides a clear yes or no, it’s okay to push a little bit. You can say “This ambiguity makes me feel confused and led on - you may not mean to or be aware, but you’re not really answering my question. Would you like to have a sexual/romantic relationship with me - which includes [specific feelings and behaviors]?
At that point, any further vagueness should be construed as a “no,” and you have the right to take whatever social and emotional distance you need to avoid being led on or confused.