A few weeks ago, I matched on Tinder with a classmate and friend of mine, confirming that our regular banter and long conversations were signs of mutual attraction. We went out and hooked up a day later, then fell into three weeks of dinners, long conversations, introductions to our best friends, sexless lunches, lots of sex, and nights spent interlaced. I fell for him much harder than I expected to and assumed we'd have to talk about it soon.
Just as we were getting used to each other and I was starting to get invested, he announced abruptly that he wanted to stop. He said things could get messy (after all, we spent every day together); we're both going to move at the end of the year (maybe to different coasts or, even worse if it gets messy, to the same place); and that this isn't the time for serious relationships. It came out of the blue. My read was that he got spooked.
Look, I agree with him – this isn't the best time and there is always the potential for things to get messy. I thought about this before we went out the first time and decided that I was willing to accept the risks. I didn't push back on any of this, mostly because I'm not sure there's anything to say... except that I'm confused and disappointed because people like this don't fall from the sky every day (thoughts I've kept to myself). We're back to being friends and presumably he's back to looking for casual flings to pass the time, but I guess I'm just a little stuck. I like him a lot, and I see him every single day; we spend group events flirting with each other, and he's still my favorite person to talk to. Unless I misread this entire thing, the interest is mutual. I hate to give up something that has the potential to be even short-term great, but don't want to throw myself at this man who clearly freaked out. Should I walk away? Give him some time? Take a cold shower and get a grip? Thanks!
"I didn't push back on any of this."
That seems to be your issue right now. You tried to be cool about the abrupt ending, but it sounds like you'd rather tell him how you feel. If that’s true, go do it. You can let him know you miss certain benefits of your relationship, and that you're willing to risk mess – because it's already messy.
After you admit all of that, the ball will be in his court. You can tell him he doesn't have to make decisions on the spot. Give him some time and space to think.
Then give yourself a break and try to find a few social activities that don't involve this crush. You don't have to rearrange your life to avoid seeing him, but if every minute feels like a countdown to his next appearance, he'll become too important. Remind yourself that there is fun to be had elsewhere. Think about what you enjoyed before that Tinder match.
Please know that if he is open to more, it will, in fact, be a different kind of messy. You'll have to set terms about what you're doing and understand the limits. It doesn't sound like he's looking for love.
If he doesn't change his mind, though, you will need to take a few cold showers and walk away. You'll have to keep the boundaries clear. Hopefully a holiday break will help.
Readers? Worth having one more conversation?