I wasn't looking for love, but it found me, and I've now been dating my boyfriend for five months. We've been so happy and spend every moment together, but out of the blue, he asked me for some time to think — he doesn't even want us to see each other. I asked him if he wanted to break up or see other people, and he said no. He thinks that because of how much we talk and how far we've come in just five months that I am somehow too dependent on him. What does this mean? How much time should I give him before I move on?
— When to Pull the Plug Pauline
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Dear When to Pull the Plug Pauline,
I wish I could tell you exactly why your boyfriend has suddenly decided to check out of your relationship, but so many things can lead a person to back off from a commitment that it's impossible to narrow it down without hearing it directly from him. Obviously his current explanation that you guys are too attached makes little sense to you, but I think it's likely that that's just a nice way of saying he feels panicky about how serious your relationship has become.
If you really do want to make this relationship work, then for now, go ahead and give him the space he's asking for. But don't be afraid to preface this offer of space by letting him know that you're not going to wait around forever. There's no set time limit for this, but you'll know if it's gone on too long: when it feels like he's abusing that "space" or when you find that your own feelings have diminished. And if you do feel yourself wanting to move on, then go ahead and let go. Breakups are tricky, but you don't owe your boyfriend anything but respect.