I’m hoping we’ll start something again

I am a 20-year-old bisexual woman with a strong desire to be in a relationship. While I have many platonic best friends, I have always longed for a unique, romantic partnership. I want a parter to "do life" with.

Recently I met someone and felt an instant connection. We went with friends on a trip together. After the trip ended, I asked him if he wanted to get drinks. It wound up being the best first date, with no awkward silences. Everything flowed incredibly; we talked about individual plans for the future, we talked about marriage and kids – all the things you normally wouldn't bring up on a first date. The bar closed but I wanted the date to continue.

He walked me home, I invited him in for tea, and we had the best time talking. He slept over (we didn't have sex). We then had a second and third date, both sleepovers, both a lot of fun. We seemed to be heading towards a relationship. Then, out of nowhere, his texts became distant, he cancelled our plans, and then ended things. I still don't understand what happened. We seemed to be happy together, but he said he made a mistake and that dating me was something he didn't want. I really liked spending time with him, even as a friend, and don't understand what went wrong.

My instinct is to reach out to him when I go back to college in September and ask him for coffee, hoping it'll start something again. Knowing it’s an option, I feel like I can't move on. I just don't have closure and I don’t know how I'd get it. It's been almost three months and I still miss him (or the intimate partnership). I long to have the partnership I found with him, and am worried I won't get it from anyone else. Can I reach out to him? When?

– Confused and lonely

You long for partnership, in general. You longed for it before you met this man. Some of this pain is about wanting someone. It's not all about him.

"... he said he made a mistake and that dating me was something he didn't want."

I keep focusing on that line because I think there's closure in it. He wanted to have fun with you, to get to know you a little, but he never intended to turn you into a girlfriend. I know you want to know why, but ... why do you want a partner to "do life" with at 20? The answer: you just do. Don't expect a bigger explanation. You're both going with your guts.

It's April now, and you're pinning your hopes on a coffee date in September. If that daydream makes you happy, have it, I guess. But you could also try for some other fantasies. Maybe imagine who you might meet when all of this (pandemic, etc.) is over. It might be someone brand new.

You use the word "partnership" to describe the relationship, but please find another label. He might have been a sexual partner, but otherwise, he was just someone you dated who seemed to have potential – until he didn’t. Think about that instead of reaching out. I don't see any reason to contact him.

– Meredith

Readers? If you're stuck on your potential with someone, how do you get them off your mind ... during a stay-at-home pandemic?