Q: I recently began talking with an old high school friend. We both agreed on a strictly physical relationship, but one thing lead to another and we found ourselves going on dates and having sleep overs that did NOT involve any type of physicality. He brought me to meet his friends (who were quite surprised and happy that he was doing anything with a girl other than taking her home for the night) and also introduced me to his mother.
Other than the title of a relationship, every part of our actions pointed to committed relationship. Neither of us was seeing other people, and we spoke every day. One night while lying in bed, my curiosity got the better of me and I asked him very straight forwardly, "I thought all you wanted was sex?" He shook his head no and explained that originally, it was all he wanted but that "things change." He said that he was not at the girlfriend stage with me yet, but he had feelings for me and wanted to take things slow. I feel it's important to point out he did NOT try sleeping with me afterwards.
Two days later he was out with some friends at a bar where I picked him up. We went back to his house and everything seemed completely normal. Out of absolutely no where he told me that I needed to leave. Dumbfounded, I started to get up to go and he told me we had to talk. He started by explaining that he liked me -- a lot. He named everything he liked about me and said he loved spending time with me and always had fun with me. He then explained that the reason why he's never been in a committed relationship is because a girl from his past had broken his heart and never gave him a chance. He obviously loved her. He told me that I had to leave him because he would never be able to commit to me out of fear. I know that is usually a line guys use as a cop-out, but he seemed like he was being very honest and teared up a few times.
He told me he couldn't possibly let me like him since he does not even like himself, no matter how strong his feelings were for me. I really like this guy and want to continue things with him, but I don't know what to do or how to approach the situation. Please help.
– Hooked and Confused, Massachusetts
A: It sort of doesn't matter whether this is a cop-out or not. If he's telling you that he doesn't like himself and that he doesn't want you to fall for him, you have to walk away.
We've all been hurt. We're all afraid of rejection. Starting a relationship takes bravery, and if he doesn't have that, there's not much you can do.
If you need any clarity after all of his confusing talk about himself, please tell him what you want and ask him whether he's interested. If he says that he just can't move forward, that's that.
You guys have done a lot of worrying about him. It's time to think about your own needs and whether this guy will ever live up to his own hype.
Readers? Anything she can do? Are you buying his fears or is this just a cop-out? What about the tears? Help.
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Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.