I am in London visiting a friend. Here they call us "agony aunts." I've been catching up on all of the English advice.
In related news, my trip overlapped with Draco Malfoy. Slytherin never really go away, do they?
I am a middle-aged woman who had avoided romantic relationships for several years before I met an attractive, intelligent, and sensitive man online. We both felt a real connection at our first meal together, and I suggested we get together the next night. When that went great we began to spend two to three nights a week together while talking on the phone the other evenings. We had hours-long conversations while holding hands and taking walks. He was very affectionate and generous in the bedroom, and I felt really appreciated and satisfied there. He was unusually supportive in helping me with two or three big things going on in my life at the time. We planned much of our time together around those things. When I asked if he was angry or resentful about that focus, he said he didn't resent it at all. While he wasn't "keeping score," he was sure it would balance out.
After three months like this, I went on a long-planned two-week vacation with family. The two of us continued to correspond every day, but I felt a little change. Writing to him felt a bit like an obligation, though I did continue to do so every day. He seemed to sense this distance, though he reiterated his plan to pick me up at the airport when I returned. That night, I was a bit aloof, but he didn't say anything directly about it. At this point I was feeling pretty guilty, but still couldn't quite get a grip on what was happening. A few days after I got back he wrote a friendly note that included the line, "We have to talk." That sounded ominous to me, and I said so. He responded by saying he wasn't seeking a "break-up talk," he just wanted to sort some things out.
He then called me and asked me to tell him what was happening to account for what he perceived as a shift in our relationship since I’d gone overseas. I couldn't gather my thoughts and didn't have anything to offer - I didn't say anything at all. He asked again, saying I "owed him words," but I really couldn't spit anything out, except "I'm sorry." At that point he seemed very hurt and angry. Though I really meant it, he said "I'm sorry" just sounded like words when I couldn't even say what it was that I was sorry about. Eventually, I just hung up, because he was insistent that I say something when I had nothing to say.
He has since written a couple of more times, asking for help in understanding what happened. But I don't really know what happened. I can't face him in person, and talking on the phone didn't go well. How do I help him to move on when I can't find the words for this shift in my feelings?
– What happened?
Wow. Rarely do we hear this side of the breakup.
I think at this point, there's nothing you can do to help him along and make this better for him. The time for discussion has passed, and you've made it clear that you're not going to change your mind.
If he does reach out one more time, you can tell him the truth, which is that you simply lost interest. After that initial excitement, you stopped falling for him. That might hurt his feelings, but that's part of the healing.
I hope that after you've dealt with him, you take some time to process your own experience. Maybe your life is full and you're not that interested in a relationship right now. Or maybe this particular guy wasn't right for you. I'm not raising any red flags here, but if you avoided romantic relationships before this, it's worth thinking about what motivates your stops and starts.
Readers? Should she reach out to him again? What happened?