Disappointed by a camp relationship

Hi Meredith,

First of all, THANK YOU for creating your podcast. I recently stumbled upon it and have found it extremely therapeutic as I continue to deal with my most recent breakup. I had been dating this guy (we'll call him "Dan") for about three months. We met at a summer camp where we're both volunteers. A month after camp ended, we began talking via Facebook messenger and Instagram DM's until he finally gave me his number. (Caveat – he is seven years older than I am and lives in a different city, so I was unsure if he would be interested in seeing me.)

Anyway, he admitted to having a crush on me at camp, and we hit it off immediately. We texted every day and he visited me frequently as he was completing a huge athletic event near where I lived. He even invited me to stay with him in a hotel after the event, and that night, I was able to meet many of his friends and co-workers who told me he was super into me. A month later, he invited me to visit him one weekend, as he had been asked to host a very important dinner for an organization we are both passionate about. Again, I met more of his friends, and it felt like I was really starting to fit in with his crowd. Although hesitant to become involved with him (and making this clear to him), I ended up letting my guard down that weekend. Then (of course), things started to change.

A week after my visit, he became distant – texted me less frequently, slowly diminished his interest, etc. I was confused and at a loss for what had changed. But I was so infatuated with him that I thought he was just busy at work – you know, any type of excuse I could think of to explain his behavior. Then he stopped texting me for two days, which threw me into a frenzy. I called him, and to my surprise, he immediately picked up. I calmly called him out and asked what he wanted. His response: the distance is hard, he's not ready for a relationship right now, he's got his head down at work, etc. All the excuses in the books. And then he hits me with, "but I care about you, you're one of the good ones" and "I hope we can still be friends; it just takes time."

Completely heartbroken by his response, I fought back tears on the phone and told him that he could be the one to make the effort to talk to me then. That was a month and a half ago, and I haven't heard from him since. I've been racking my brain for the past month and a half trying to understand what went wrong and if it's worth reaching out to him to tell him how utterly disappointed I am in him. "Dan" and I will be volunteering at the same camp this summer, and I am at a loss for how to handle this situation, how to act around him, and how not to be hurt, angry, and disappointed with him. Reflecting on all of this, I am somewhat relieved that he hasn't reached out to me, as I am not in a state to rekindle a friendship or anything of the sorts. On the other hand, I am pissed. Like, he got what he wanted and I am no longer of use to him. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

– Ghosted by camp crush

My advice is to accept the disappointment, and to remember that you were hesitant to get involved with Dan for a reason. The distance was always going to be an issue. This relationship was always going to require a great deal of work. If he's not up for it, it's better to know now.

You should also know that his actions at the end of this relationship were probably not as nefarious as they seemed. He's not at home whispering to himself, "I got what I wanted – and ghosted!" like some cartoon villain. He might have some real regrets about how he handled himself. It makes sense that you're hurt and angry, but please don't make any assumptions about his intentions. Right now, you both need space. Take yours – because you're right, friendship is not on the table at the moment.

I wouldn't think too much about what will happen at camp. If you spend the next few months wondering about how he'll behave and whether he'll show up sorry, you'll make him more important than he needs to be. It'll be easier to see him if you care a little less. Find other things – and people – to focus on until the summer. In six months, this will all be different.

– Meredith

Readers? What will camp be like this summer?