I don’t want him to be the one that got away

It's chat day.

Dear Meredith,

I met this wonderful guy at the end of last year and he's fantastic. He's sweet, attentive, and when I'm with him I feel like the luckiest person in the world to have met someone as kind and generous as he is.

Although I have been single and dating a fair amount over the last four years, I hadn't met anyone until him who I could see myself with long term. Unfortunately, things got bad for this guy in his personal life with the stress of his work, not being where he wanted to be in his career, and the constant worry of potentially losing his job altogether. I started to notice that the stress of his career was starting to change his mood and that he became more distant and less engaged when we were together, but I still didn't think anything of it. I finally got to the point where I was frustrated. He stopped making plans with me and we started seeing each other less and less, although he still contacted me on a daily basis to check in every day. I finally told him I was upset that he wasn't making time for me anymore. He told me that he couldn't be in a relationship with anyone right now. He said that he thought that he could be, but that he was in a depressed state and needed to focus on finding a new job. I was devastated but I told him I still wanted to be friends and he agreed.

I think about this man almost every day and although we have had some conversations here and there, we haven't seen each other since this happened. I decided to reach out to him recently and we chatted for a couple of hours talking about where we were and what we have been up to. I told him that I was still single and hinted that it can be lonely sometimes. I was hoping deep down that he would pick up on my hints and ask if I wanted to meet up, but nothing came of it. It was just that, a friendly conversation. I never told him I still had feelings for him but I do.

Do you think this is worth pursuing? Should I tell him I still care for him very much or wait it out and see if he comes back around? I do think he still cares for me very much and that it's simply a timing issue, but I don't know what to do because although I've dated others, he's still the "one that got away" in my mind. I haven't stopped dating and I lead a very active life filled with friends, family, traveling, exercise, and a good career, but that doesn't fill the void. Help!

– Can't Stop Thinking About Him, Boston

Leave him alone for your own good, CSTAH. He knows your number. He also knows that you called him. You've made it clear that you're available. You gave him an opening. That's all you can do.

I'm not convinced that this was about work stress. His job probably influenced his decision to let you go, but at the end of the day, if you want to see someone, you do. He's had many opportunities to reach out, even as a friend, but he hasn't taken them. You need someone who doesn't shut you out when life gets uncomfortable. You're ready for a real relationship and he just isn't.

He's not the one that got away. He's the guy who ran away. There's a big difference.

Please keep dating. You can remember all of the great things about him, but please, don't forget the most significant moment in your relationship, when he chose to bail on you.

The first sentence of this letter is in the present tense. Put it in the past.

Readers? Should she tell him she's still interested? Is he the one that got away? Work stress? What's happening here? Discuss.

– Meredith