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Love Letters

He wants to hit pause on their relationship

They’re in their late 40s and essentially living together. But now he says he needs time to think, and she’s confused.

Q. I met a guy online and we chatted by phone for over a month before setting up a date. Then we hit it off in person.

He is a wonderful man and has been through a lot (so have I). Long story short, about five months into dating, he started to make comments about me “not needing to go home if I didn’t want to.” At that point, we’d met each other’s families, and my parents absolutely loved him (my children do, as well). We are both in our late 40s, so we know we do not have time for games.

But at the same time, I have had this gut feeling that I should back away and give him some space. Every time I mentioned spending some time at my own home, though, he got upset. He said, “I can’t stop you if that’s what you feel you have to do, but I do not want you to go.” But I had this feeling that I shouldn’t be there so much.

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We were having a very serious conversation about all of this the other night and he said that he wants to put things on “pause” — not that he doesn’t want to be with me, but that he needs to evaluate the situation because he does not want to get hurt again. Well, neither do I, and after that statement, I feel it’s time to pack up. Worth mentioning: We haven’t been intimate for some time now. He constantly states that it is not me--he just needs to evaluate.

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Is this relationship over?

– Paused

A. Yeah, it sounds like it might be over. Mostly, it sounds like you’re in different places when it comes to pace. He was talking about cohabitation while you were still getting used to the relationship. For you, it was too new to feel 100 percent confident about anything.

If he wants to hit pause, that’s a good thing. You can use the time to see how life feels without him. Really, it sounds like when you talked about giving him space, it was because you needed it.

If you take anything from this experience as you evaluate what’s next, let it be that there’s no reason to be on a expedited schedule when it comes to dating. You made a big statement about being in your late 40s and not having “time for games,” but that doesn’t mean you can skip ahead or ignore questions. Your future 50-plus self might advise you to put off all big life decisions (meeting kids, moving in, marriage, etc.) until you’re really sure you want to make them.

— Meredith

READERS RESPOND

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You two stopped having sex, and he wants a pause. What else do you need to know to decide to leave? LUCILLE VANPELT

Who hasn’t been through “a lot” by the time they are 40? And “not having time to waste” is nonsense. Stop using those as crutches and date like a normal person. You can’t know if you want to be with someone until some time passes. But generally speaking, if you aren’t doing the nasty at the beginning of a relationship, it’s not a very good sign. MAJORISSES

He’s extremely passive — “you don’t have to go home if you don’t want to” is not exactly an enthusiastic invitation to stay. JUST-ANOTHER-BOSTONIAN

I think a good thing about being in relationships when you are older is that there’s actually less of a rush to be serious. You don’t have the pressure to have children and you aren’t at death’s door, so why the rush? LEGALLYLIZ

Sounds like you self-sabotaged the relationship. Now he’s doubting you. I think it’s over. JACQUISMITH

Columns and responses are edited and reprinted from boston.com/loveletters. Send letters, questions, and comments to meredith.goldstein@globe.com