He admits he fantasizes about me

The Boston Book Festival is on Saturday. 12:30 p.m. Boston Public Library, Rabb Hall. I'll be joined by Amy Pedulla, who produces the Love Letters podcast. There might be prizes.

Hello Meredith,

I'm a woman in my late 20s and do not have a lot of experience in dating. Earlier this year, I became interested in a man in his 40s. We do not live in the same country so communication is a bit of an issue. When we met for the first time, I thought that he liked me. I asked if he would like to meet up again and he was very enthusiastic. We had dinner and he paid. He touched my arm slightly and there was good eye contact.

I thought he was going to make a move by kissing me, but nothing happened. A few months later, he sensed that I had feelings for him him through our texting, which led to an awful and painful rejection from him: "I'm not in love with you and you shouldn't be in love with me. We are very good friends." This was my first rejection, and the words were very harsh.

A few months later, when I was in his country, we met again and things got more interesting. He asked me out, he touched me more, complimented my body – yet nothing happened. The more we talked on the phone, the more he would ask me daring questions about my sex and love life. For the first time, he admitted that he fantasizes about me, finds me cute and attractive ... and yet he admitted going out with another woman he met on Tinder. I am rather confused about this situation and would appreciate to hear your thoughts.

– Unsure

It sounds like this man likes talking to you – and fantasizing about you. Maybe he likes touching your arm. But he does not want to be in a real romantic relationship with you. He's made that pretty clear.

There's a lesson here, albeit an unpleasant one. Sometimes when our romantic feelings are almost-but-not-quite reciprocated, we start developing a strategy to get what we want. We think about the long game and believe that if we give someone more time, they'll change their minds. But that's not how these things work. If and when people change their minds, it's about them, not us.

You need to be honest with yourself about what you want and whether you're getting it right now. You desire a relationship with this man, but he's on Tinder meeting others. Instead of waiting it out and spending more time on this confusing friendship, let him know that you were never in this for a new pal. Be clear that to protect yourself, you must walk away.

Also know that when someone is a friend, they think about your state of mind and whether they're giving you what you need. He's not doing that. It's another reason to let go.

– Meredith

Readers? What's the lesson here?