I can’t stop thinking about him

We chat at 1 p.m.

Dear Meredith,

I had just transferred colleges and was at orientation. "Jason" was on a sports team so he moved in early as well. I was invited to a party through a mutual friend, he and I met, hit it off, and I went home with him but did not sleep with him. About three weeks later, we were both at another party, and we made small talk. He asked why I never reached out to him after that one night, and I told him I gave him my number but he never gave me his. We ended up going home together but I still didn't sleep with him. We spent the next night together – and did sleep together. We continued spending time together for about a month – until I found out that one of my good friends used to sleep with him last year.

At this stage, I had feelings for him, but I also didn't want to hurt my friend. Jason's sports season started and I didn't hear from him, so I decided it was fate that I wasn't supposed to talk to him. I was upset but not devastated – until I found out that after this, he took my friend home a few times. I knew I had no right to be upset because they were together first.

Months later, I began seeing someone else and I heard that Jason was asking what I was up to. I immediately ended things with the other guy because I couldn't stop thinking about Jason. We saw each other and I asked why he slept with my friend after we ended things. He gave a simple yet honest answer: he wanted to have sex and he knew she would. He wasn't proud. He told me he has real feelings for me and enjoys our conversations. At that point, I went home with him. The next morning was complicated. We were happy to be together, but I was worried that my friend would be upset. She was. Extremely.

I told Jason that if this was going to happen again, and I was going to risk a friendship, we needed to be exclusive. He agreed. It was going well for awhile – so well that he said he wanted to bring me home to meet his family. But a month and a half later, he started getting a little weird. He wasn't making plans and he seemed distant. I told him how I was feeling, and he said he had decided that he's not ready to commit. He said he shouldn't have told me that he wanted me to meet his family. He wasn't ready for that.

I was fine for a bit, but now that I'm back at school, I can't stop thinking about him or all of these things he said. Did he really make all of the good stuff up? Was any of it real?

– Confused

He might have been telling the truth about how much he wanted to be with you. Sometimes we fall for someone and think all sorts of big thoughts – until we're over it. It sounds like Jason wasn't self-aware or mature enough to understand how excitement can fade. He wanted to be with you, but he overestimated how long his feelings would last.

Maybe the lesson here is that it takes time for people to know what they want – especially in college. Romantic proclamations are lovely, but they don't mean much until they've been tested. Remember that during the first few months of almost any relationship, it's just the start of something. No one should be promising forever. Save your excitement for the moment a significant other decides to follow through.

It's difficult to be back at school, a place where you have to be reminded of this breakup, but it is possible to overwrite disappointing memories with great ones. You can look for new activities and make different friends. You can go to a bigger and better party and talk to new people. Jason is not a part of this school year. That should be easier to see in October.

– Meredith

Readers? Thoughts for this letter writer back at school?