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Love Letters

He Did a 180


Q:

Help me, Meredith!

I met a man on Tinder (shocking, I know) four months ago. I wish I were lying when I said it was the best four months of my life. We hit it off right away, couldn't get enough of each other, talked everyday, saw each other every other day, made plans for the future (even booking a trip to Europe!), met each other's friends†and family, and the list goes on. One day a close relative of his passed and he did a complete 180. He backed off and said he needed space and time to focus on himself.

Because I cared about him, I gave him space. I reminded him again and again that I was here to help him through this hard time. He doubted everything -- his job, moving, me, us. The week that ensued involved a bunch of games -- on his terms. He would tell me he missed me but that he needed space. He told me he wanted to see me but†then went out with friends. He told me he'd meet me for lunch but†then canceled when I told him I was ready. The crazy thing is, I had no idea he had this selfish, cold side to him. He was treating me like I had no feelings -- it was as if we were strangers.

Finally I demanded answers, and after plenty of probing he said, "The truth is -- I really like you. You're incredible.†I am†just not†ready to maintain a girlfriend. But I would never rule anything out with you in the future." We talked further and he explained that he doesn't trust himself to not hurt me and that he would rather cut it off now before we get more invested. This is a reoccurring problem with his past relationships and he doesn't think this one will be any different.

Not only did this come out of nowhere, but he was the one initiating everything before. Was the connection not strong enough on his end to risk his heart for me? Are men really that susceptible to tragedy -- a death of a loved one could force him to throw something so great away? I am starting to truly believe that all men who online date have issues. They should come with a warning sign.

– Dazed and Confused, Boston

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A: My guess (based on very little information) is that he had some doubts about the relationship before his personal tragedy.

I mean, it's possible that he was 100 percent happy and did a 180, but I'm going to assume that he did more of a 140. He was excited -- on the surface -- but he probably had some reservations that he was keeping to himself.

For the record, this is some pretty disappointing behavior. He overcommits, realizes he can't live up to his own hype, and then runs away. He knows it's a pattern, yet he does nothing to stop it. And the whole "I would never rule anything out with you in the future" line ... how presumptuous.

What you had was great, but he'd rather lose out on great than be accountable to another person. Please keep dating and know that everyone has issues. Some people are just better at dealing with them than others.

Readers? Do all men who online date have hangups? What do we think of this Tinder man? Advice for the letter writer?

– Meredith