I like him but I don’t want to be in a relationship but I really like him but I’m not sure I like him enough.

I have a bit of a dilemma…me and my partner of seven years broke up about five weeks ago and I have been going through various stages of grieving over the split. I decided to leave him because we were no longer compatible in most areas of life and love.

I made a new friend a while back and we clicked so incredibly well. I have noticed my feelings for him have grown more intense over the past week and only today he told me he is falling for me. I had promised myself that I would not start a new relationship for a while. He knows this and he said that he respects it, but he just wanted to be honest and upfront like we have been the entire time with each other since we started getting to know one another. I don’t know if I should just tell him I like him but that I’m not ready just yet, and if he can wait that would be lovely, OR that I’m not interested in him and hope that once the smoke clears I will be able to see more clearly and if I still like him hope he’s still there to accept me as a partner.

It seems like if I tell him, he would be willing to wait, however I do not want be telling him something that might turn around and change in a month or so due to this just being a re-bound type situation. Either way, I’m not wanting to start the relationship right now anyhow, it’s just whether or not I admit (as he has) that I have feelings for him.

I don’t want to be rude, but first of all, it’s “my partner and I,” not “me and my partner.” I know you’re looking for love advice and I’m totally getting to that in a second, but I think your life will immediately improve in a wide variety of ways if you stop saying “me and my [anything at all].” Now, on to the dilemma.

It’s not really a dilemma at all. If you don’t want a relationship with him, then there’s nothing to say other than, “I’m sorry, I’m not ready for a relationship right now,” and let the guy go off and find someone else to have a crush on. I speak from experience as both the person who dragged someone along for an extraordinarily long time and as the person who was pulled by her hair through a great big mud puddle of “I’m not sure I like you like you, oh wait yes I do oh wait I lied I’m not sure anymore” for so long that every time I hear this particular person’s name I start experiencing hot flashes and need to practice the deep breathing exercises I learned in the anger management class I took in order to have him remove that pesky restraining order.

You want to be a kind person, I’m sure, and the kind thing to do is to tell him you’re not ready for a relationship, that you’d like to remain friends, and then slowly but surely create some distance between you. Don’t be all like, “I want to be just friends,” and then invite him over for a sensual naked massage and a private screening of Sexy Lonely Sorority Girls XIV. If you’re not ready for a relationship and you don’t trust that your feelings for him are legitimate, then work out your own shit and hope that when you do, if you still like him, he’ll still be around.

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