Swiper’s Q: After dating for six months, he drunkenly told me he loved me. I told him I wasn’t ready for that yet, but that I liked him a lot. Over the next few weeks, he was super distant and then sent me this. Did he pull away because he got scared of his feelings or was he lying?

Ugh. Let’s file this text under “boys being scared of their feelings…shocker.” But before we go on about this scared lil’ bb’s behavior, I’d like to issue you a big, fat congratulations. You handled a text that a lot of people would not know how to respond to with style and grace. Not only did you come off like the compassionate and caring being that you are, but you also stood up for yourself and reminded him of what you deserve. While I’m not sure what you were going for with the kind regards at the end, if I got that, I’d be all, Wow, she’s so nice and I’m a dickhead. Anyway, let’s break it down:

“Hey so the truth is I honestly don’t know when I’m going to have time to hang out again.”

The real truth is this: he has difficulty communicating his feelings and talking about relationship issues, says Samantha Burns, dating coach and author of “Breaking Up & Bouncing Back.” He seems to use a lot of extra words to shy away from the real issues. Also, my stepdad always says not to trust people who say “honestly,” because shouldn’t we believe they are being honest in the first place? Chances are, the “honestly” is just a preamble to his business excuse when really, he is hurt and retreating from his feelings of rejection.

“Work is insanely busy right now and I dont think thats going to change any time soon. And the time I do have off I really just want to catch up with my fam and friends.”

Yeah, work may be busy, but again, he’s using it as a blanket to cover up his real feels. He easily could’ve said:

  1. “Hey, I’m not comfy with what happened the other night.”
  2. “I’m not sure how to handle these feelings.”
  3. “I’m embarrassed about what I drunkenly said.”

Instead, he dodged an opportunity for you two to have an intimate convo by using his friends and family as a cop out. (I mean, this really doesn’t have anything to do with his sweet grandma in Iowa or his roommate Jonathan, does it?)

“You are awesome and I enjoy spending time with you but I think I am taking a break from the dating thing for a bit. Hope you understand.”

Mark this day as the day I believe a man, because I actually am buying what he’s selling here. At least in the first part. I suspect he does think you’re awesome and enjoys spending time with you. Who wouldn’t? But as we’ve concluded, this is a classic case of avoidant attachment style. Meaning, he’s someone who does want love, but he gets squeamish in the face of intimacy and may sabotage and distance himself when it starts to feel too real, says Burns. Dudes like him prioritize their independence and freedom, so as counterintuitive as it sounds, when he said that four-letter word, he freaked and created space.

The runaway bride act is still a little dramatic if you ask me. And the babble about his time and work is really just an easy way to avoid having to discuss what he’s really thinking: I’m scared and need to GTFO.

Like you said in your on-point text, you deserve more respect of your time and feelings. And while he may have done that during your time together, he didn’t when whatever you had going on was ending. You can always tell someone’s true colors during a breakup — I think it was Maya Angelou who said that. Anyway, my advice to you is to get back out there and keep being honest with yourself about who you are and what you feel. I bet you’ll find someone who is doing the same thing and who will stick around when they drop the L word, because they are an adult who can deal with feelings. Hooray!

Have a WTF text you need decoded? Hit us up at swipelifestories@gotinder.com with the subject line “Decoder.”