He hit pause on the relationship

We'll chat at 1 p.m.

Dear Meredith,

I met an amazing man online a few months ago. We are both in our mid-30s and seemed to click right off the bat. Our first date lasted eight hours, as did each one after that. We both have had some pretty bad experiences in our past relationships and agreed that we would be exclusive but take things slow. Right away, I did notice some insecurities on his part – him thinking he wasn't good enough for me and that he didn't make enough money (nothing I had any issues with).

A few weeks ago, I noticed that he was a little preoccupied, and he expressed that he just had a lot of things going on all at once, primarily concerning his daughter (he has custody), finances, selling his home, and just needing some time to figure things out. A few days later he said he thought we needed a break so he could get to a better place in his life where he could give us the time and attention he felt we deserved. I was taken by surprise, to say the least. He stressed it was not about me or the relationship, but was strictly about him needing to get a handle on all that is going on in his life at the moment. We agreed that we would take this break, that we would not date other people, and would reconnect in a few weeks and take things from there. I have not been very good with the not contacting him, however whenever I do, he responds almost immediately (I know, I know, I won't contact him until he reaches out to me from this point forward).

During one of our chats, I told him I believe everything he is telling me. I asked him to tell me if he decides that this relationship is not what he wants. He promised that if it came to that, he would. He has had a number of chances to end things completely but has not taken them. Meredith, I believe him – I do not get the nagging feeling that something is off. I do have to add that he did unfriend me on Facebook, and when I asked him about it he said it was because he didn't want to see what I was posting, etc. (He has always been a little touchy about that stuff, and I figured it was all part of needing space, and big whoop, it's Facebook, right?)

Is he being sincere? Do men really go through times when they need this type of space, or is it just a line of bull? Am I a fool for giving him this time to figure things out? We agreed on a time to reconnect. I am not going to let him drag this out forever. Do I just respect his wishes and give him the time he needs? I do believe that what we have built is worth taking the chance and giving him time to work through this.

– What to do in Worcester


"I do believe that what we have built is worth taking the chance and giving him time to work through this."

Well, OK. I guess do that then. It seems a little weird that he needs to hit the pause button, but if your gut is telling you to wait this out, go for it.

But when you reconnect, if it still feels right, you have to talk about other ways to handle pressure. He can't flip the switch on and off, depending on whether he feels like a good boyfriend. Remind him that you fell for what he is right now – not some version of what he could be – so if he's going to change, he needs to bring you along for the ride.

If a few weeks goes by and he asks for an extension on his deadline for space, you have to bail. Also, if he continues the "I'm not worthy talk," you have to bail. You can't spend a relationship waiting and validating. It's not supposed to be this hard.

– Meredith

Readers? What about this break? Eight hour dates?