I'm Dr. Jackie, an interpersonal communication professor/researcher and relationship expert. And I'm so sorry you are in a feeling of "limbo" so to speak. A lot of my clients have said that the "not knowing" is worse than actually knowing bad news. I think it's because you feel stuck and unable to make any decisions because you just do not know how it's going to go.
My suggestion first is to sit down literally with pen and paper (or your phone or computer device) and make several lists. Most importantly, try not to think about this guy at all. Make a list of qualities/characteristics you really want in a relationship partner. Then make a list of "deal-breakers" such as cheating, addiction to drugs, gambling--whatever "sins" that you are just not going to be able to live with.
Now after you have made those two lists, take a break--go for a walk, go to the gym, just give yourself some time--even a day if you can-- between these two lists and the next two: Make a list of of everything you like/love about this guy; then in a separate column make a list of things you do not like. Then of course you need to compare your four lists. I know this probably sounds like a lot of work. But most people's brains are visual in that we need to actually "see" things in order to better process things which are not concrete. Since feelings and qualities are definitely abstract, such columns can help your brain better process your overall reactions. I hope that makes sense.
Now, I am actually confused by the "dating thing." You said he claims to not want to date right now because life is chaotic. That would lead me to believe that he does not want a relationship. But because you have shared intimacy, of course one of my first reactions is that he DOES want a fwb. But then you seemed to negate that possibility. You also mention that you had been out on 5 dates...
Here is what research shows when you have a "relationship" that is confusing. I'm going to give you the statistical probabilities and generalities, but please keep in mind that there are, of course, always exceptions. In general, men do not like to have the "relationship talk" very often, if at all. Most are happier not to "label" things. Women, on the other hand, in general feel the need to have the "relationship talk," often, usually out of insecurities. A lot of women do put more emphasis on labeling. So you may want to keep these things in mind as you try to sort through what you have with this guy.
I do think that you have been spending enough time together that you do need to have one of these serious talks, just to clear the air. Keep in mind what research shows in general. But I think for your peace of mind, you do need to make him be honest about both his feelings and his intentions for now and at least in the near future. I'm not saying to put pressure on him. Always be honest and explain that you just need to know where things stand. Since he usually comes to your place, might I suggest that you go out for coffee or maybe somewhere away from YOUR place so that he may feel less pressure. Sometimes being in one person's home can make it seem more pressuring to the other individual during a conversation like this.
I hope this helps. Please let me know if you would like to chat further. I'll send you my email and Skype contact information through the electronic form that JA allows.
Take good care,
First, I am so sorry you are not satisfied with my answer. I strive for satisfaction. Maybe I misunderstood? For many clients, I encourage the list-making because most people are visual. And therefore lists tend to help one actually "see" comparisons, which then help in better decision-making. Perhaps for you this is not the case. I really want to get a good rating because I want to know that I helped you. If there is nothing I can do, then should I opt out and let another expert try to help?
I also see that you said you did end it. I think you may have actually done the lists/comparisons in your head rather than on paper and realized that his indecision was something that was too painful, and as you wrote, too confusing.
I am so sorry for the pain. Please let me know if you would like me to opt out or what you would like me to do on my end.
I feel awful that my suggestions were not helpful. My goal is not the money but to help customers. Please let me know how better I can help you--via researching or whatever you need. I want you to be satisfied with my response. Please direct me so that I can better respond.
Oh I am so sorry to hear this. I don't know if this is a comfort, but you are not exhibiting any odd or rare behaviors--many people who start seeing someone whom they consider a special other often end up "ignoring" friends and family. It's not that you or they intend to at all. Life is crazy with school and/or work and then a new relationship that you invest time and energy in, and that leaves little other time for anything else. Most friends and family understand to a point, but the best thing to do is reach out to them now.
If you are able to with finances, maybe you could take these friends and family members out one by one to lunch or coffee. Or if money is an issue, invite them to a dinner you cook or dessert or anything like that just to show them that you are making the extra effort to restore your relationship. I think you'd be surprised at how many of them would be touched and would be forgiving. You will feel really good about yourself that you are doing something nice for them. It's a positive cycle! We read and hear so much about negative cycles, like the abuse cycle, the poverty cycle, etc. Yet unfortunately society does not focus on the positive cycles, but they do exist. Research shows this, and I think even more than research studies, common sense shows that if you go out of your way to be nice to someone you care about, they will tend to appreciate and reciprocate. And again, I think you will feel better overall about life in general. Just like negativity breeds negativity, well, positiveness breeds positiveness! :-)
While I do not know of any research studies that support this (and by the way, let me know if you want me to send you any research references from my statements above), I do personally believe that good people with whom we can connect with come around usually when we are not "looking for it." Think about this--often times people, and women more than men, probably because of the inner pressures and "biological ticking clock"--go around LOOKING for this mental list of qualities that they think their future partner has. And while it's good to have standards of course, sometimes we miss what is right in front of us. Does that make sense?
There are lots of lists I can share with you if you want to continue chatting. For instance, I can tell you want kinds of relationships are reported with highest levels of satisfaction, what different attraction levels there are (other than the obvious--physical), etc. But to close this out for now since this is already turning into a book [smile], try to focus on your friends and family and school/work/whatever you are doing full-time right now. Also, and so many people do this, do NOT FORGET ABOUT YOURSELF. Take time for yourself. The older I get, and with three children and a partner, I often neglect "me time." But I definitely try each day for half an hour or even 15-20 minutes to meditate, do yoga, and just sort of sort things out in my mind for the day. I believe in healthy living such as exercise and eating good, whole foods. I definitely can send you studies that show a definite correlation between being healthy physically and the positive impact that that can make on your mental and emotional well-being.
Also and lastly, expand your horizons in that there are usually really good people going to local functions like art galleries, musical performances, even high school theatrical performances. There are church functions (if you are religious) that you can attend like suppers or things like that where you don't have to be a member at all, and your money is usually going to a good cause, like helping people in less fortunate countries or even here at home. There are lots of ways to meet really good people. I actually have a list too that I can send you that I researched a year ago for another customer.
I hope this is a good start. Please don't give up. There are wonderful opportunities out there probably in front of your eyes that you might just not be seeing. :-)