Is he out of love or just busy?

Please enjoy this last-minute contest.

Hi Meredith,

Long time, first time. Back story is that I started dating my best friend of about five years this past September. He is the most kindhearted, gentle, and fun person I know. He has seen me go through my share of bad relationships and heartache. He's two years older than me and this is his first real relationship and longest relationship. We both started to like each other early last year but didn't act on it until the summer. We were scared to cross the line and he was studying for Part 2 of the CFA (crazy finance test!) all last winter/spring so I didn't want to distract him.

He was always the one pushing for us to start dating once it was on the table, and after spending time with him, I grew to love him. It's by far the best relationship I've been in and he treats me so well I could see myself spending the rest of my life with him (I'm 23. I've been around the block. I've known him for 5 years).

He is in the thick of studying for part 3 of the CFA right now and has been since January. The test is in early June. I have been incredibly understanding about his priority (passing this test!). When his job and the studying became extra stressful last month, he threw a curve ball at me and said that he felt like something was missing in our relationship but that he couldn't decipher if it was his external stresses or just us. We decided to work on it, but more recently the conversation came back up and he said he still feels something is missing. I'm deeply hurt by this and I really just hope it's the stress of the CFA that is sucking the life out of him, but I also don't think it's fair for me to sit around and wait until after the CFA for my "trial period" to be up.

We called it off last night and I'm just looking for some help on how I should be feeling about this situation and what to do after the CFA is over in June. Reevaluate? Move on? Is he just a commitment-phobe?

– CFA is ruining my life, Boston

There isn't anything you can do besides treat this like a breakup, CFAIRML. From what you've told us, he isn't begging you to wait it out until June to see what's what. He told you twice that something was missing from the relationship. After discussing it more, you called it off. That's your reality.

If he comes running back to you in June you can reevaluate if you want, but there's no need to plan for that now. There's no guarantee that he'll change his mind in a month. And it's only May 9th.

My guess is that this isn't about the CFA stuff. I would bet that his problem is that he hasn't been around the block like you have so he doesn't know exactly what he wants from this relationship after a year of dating. That's enough to kill something good.

As for how to deal, I want you to give yourself space and try not to fantasize about June. I know it's tempting to play out the post-CFA possibilities, but I fear that your dreams about his potential revelations will just leave you disappointed. Treat this like a real ending with anger, pep talks, misery, shopping, and whatever else you do to get over a loss. Because for now, that's what it is -- an ending, not a pause. Make May more important than June. Give yourself what you need right now.

Readers? Is this really about the CFA thing? Anyone taken that test? Should she wait until June to see how he really feels? Is it possible that he's just overwhelmed? Or should he be doing more to keep her around? Discuss.

– Meredith