I want to be there for him during this crisis

I started dating a guy I've known through work. He's a very nice, solid guy – a great catch. I could tell that he went out of his way to get to know me. We started dating, but then he told me that he felt I was more attracted to him than he was to me. He said he feared I might get hurt if I continued dating him, and I agreed.

Then his former girlfriend, who claims they are just "besties" (they were friends for years before they dated), was diagnosed with an illness and was told that she's dying. My now-ex – who I was still in contact with – pulled away and messaged me to tell me that he will be spending his time taking care of her. We live in a small town, so I know the information is true.

But he hasn't stopped reaching out. He is anguished, and for the past two weeks he's been texting me and even suggesting getting together. I don't know if he means as friends or more. He's made references to the parts of me that he is attracted to.

I think I have a right to know details about their relationship so I can decide how I want to proceed as someone in his life during this crisis. Do you think I should ask him to be specific about what he wants from me during this time – or walk away? I am perfectly fine just being a friend, as we only dated for a short time. I do see him as a potential partner in the future if we had time to pursue that. I would like to express that to him, even though he claims he just needs light-hearted interaction right now.

– Confused


"Do you think I should ask him to be specific about what he wants from me during this time – or walk away?"

Well, he sort of told you what he wants, didn't he? He said he needs "light-hearted interaction." That's probably all he knows. You can ask him whether he wants that interaction to be romantic in any way. His answer might help you decide whether you're open to getting together in person.

For the record, I do not think you should ask him to share details about his relationship with his friend. You're not entitled to that information, and in light of what's happening in his life right now, it seems inappropriate to ask. She is his first priority. That’s all you need to know.

The most important conversation is the one you need to have with yourself. You say you're capable of friendship with this man because you only dated for a short time, but you're very concerned about his interests, his level of attraction to you, and whether he might be a potential partner in the future. Will you be OK if he's never interested again? Do you want to be in his life if he occasionally tells you what he likes about you, but it's never quite enough?

It sounds like you should assume he is not a potential partner and make decisions accordingly.

– Meredith

Readers? Should the LW walk away?