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Hi Captain! I’m 22, she/her, and relatively inexperienced romantically, if it matters.

Last summer I met a guy on Tinder and we hit it off right away. He actually asked me to be his girlfriend the first time we met up in person (my friend insisted this was a serious red flag, but I didn’t see this as a huge concern as we’re both pretty young—at the time I was 21 and he was 22, so I thought he might just be a romantic and not necessarily a sign of emotional immaturity). We went out for two months, during which he told me he “really, really, really, really liked” me. But then he went through some really rough things financially and emotionally and started messaging me less. I asked if he still wanted to see me, saying I understood if not. He said he did but needed some space for a while. I told him if he was still interested by then, I’d be around.

He never got back to me, so I figured he’d move on, but I never really stopped thinking about him. A month ago I texted him, asking how he’s been. I swear I wasn’t expecting to rekindle things or even an answer, but he said he’d been thinking about me too and wanted to see me again. We were going to have lunch but later admitted we both wanted to have sex. We did, and after that, radio silence.

I know we weren’t in a relationship, but I’m hurt that he’d say he didn’t want it to be the last conversation and then vanish on me again. I thought he genuinely showed signs of interest: He was the first to say he missed talking and that he had been thinking of me, without me asking. Since he was at work when we reconnected, I asked if he’d rather talk on the phone later, and he agreed but added “yet I still want to keep talking” i.e. still keep texting. He called me as soon as he was done with his shift, while still at his workplace, then while going home he texted me saying even though it was only for a bit (meaning 18 minutes) he missed talking to me over the phone, and then he called me again when we got home. All our calls were over an hour. The day before we met up, he asked if I still wanted to have sex or do our original plans, saying he was fine with either—even after I asked if he was sure.

Also, I asked him if he had any problems from when we were going out. He said it was honestly great except one thing that was ‘mostly just his insecurities’ but that that was something better addressed another time. Maybe this doesn’t mean anything, but I can’t imagine someone saying something like that if they’re just gaming to get laid.

I really thought I had tried to be communicative and make sure we were on the same page, and I’d like to know if I had somehow misread the situation. Also I’m just sick of thinking about him. Any clarity or insight would be appreciated.

One more thing: days after meeting up, I discovered that he deleted both his Instagram and Facebook accounts. Not blocked, deleted. I saw him scrolling through Facebook when we met up, so he must have done this very soon after that. That made me wonder if something else is going on in his personal life or if I should be worried, but I’m not sure if I’m grasping at straws.

-Tired of Overthinking

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Luke Skywalker hanging off of Cloud City.

Sometimes we make our own Darth Vader Boyfriends out of wishful thinking and a refusal to let go.

Dear Captain Awkward,

About six weeks ago, the guy I was dating (let’s call him StarTrekFan, our mutual love for Star Trek and other geekery brought us together), broke things off very suddenly. I asked him to give us another chance and he agreed. We had talked about what issues had arisen and wanted to work on them.

However, life got a bit shit in those six weeks. He had to spend a lot of time in SecondaryWorkTown as well as in HomeTown with his family because of a death in the family and he had a mega-stressful time at work due to yearly evaluations. This meant we saw each other maybe once a week for a couple of hours, mostly in public spaces. He’d asked me for some space over that time and to take things slowly so I tried not to bother him too much over that time apart from when we saw each other. I have my own issues with death due to personal family related reasons so I probably wasn’t supportive enough with that but with everything else, I tried to be as supportive as possible without being too intrusive.

After the agreed upon period of time ended in which he’d asked for space, I thought it was finally time to work on previously discussed issues, together. However, he got back and the next day (after a nice couple of hours together the day he got back) he just broke up with me again. That was about a week ago.

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"Side-eye", a portrait by V. Mohlere

Ethan, my friend Virginia drew you this side-eye.

Oh Captain, my Captain–

I was in a serious relationship with a man, let’s call him Ethan, a few years ago while we were both in college. We met through our ROTC program. He was a very good guy, and a great boyfriend. I broke up with him around our one-year anniversary, because we rarely had sex, and it was killing me. He’d told me he didn’t have much of a sex drive, and it had gotten to the point where, despite caring about him deeply, and being happy with our relationship in every other way, I was starting to think about cheating on him. I didn’t want to break his heart (or mine) by doing that, so I thought the best thing to do would be to separate.

We remained good friends, and after a short period of separation for healing purposes, we kept spending time together, talking, being there for one another, etc. Eventually he told me that he’d lied about his sex drive–he actually had a libido much like mine! Flabbergasted, I asked him why he’d convinced me otherwise. He’d done it, he said, because I’d been very much hurt by a friends-with-benefits relationship I’d had previous to our relationship–I cared deeply about FWB Dude, and he didn’t return the feeling. Ethan didn’t want me to think he was using me for sex.

Fast forward to last summer–Ethan and I had graduated from college, and he came to visit me while he was on leave. He was to be deploying to Afghanistan soon. We had a very nice visit. Then he asked if I might like to get back together. I wanted to say yes. But I was also very worried about him going to Afghanistan, and I wanted to be sure that I wasn’t screaming “yes! yes! yes!” inside my head because I was mistaking my anxiety for his safety for a desire for a relationship with him. So I told him I needed to think about it. We cuddled in my bed that night. He returned to his home base, and less than two weeks later, I log on to facebook to discover he’s “in a relationship” with a woman there!

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