Is he stringing me along or is this genuine?

im 19 & in a situationship with a 26 year old man, craig. we met when i was 18 and he was 25. i was raped by an ex & i was tired of that being my only sexual experience. thus, my friends told me to go for craig since it was clear we both liked each other but couldn’t handle commitment. (btw he knew about the rape & he knew i didn’t want commitment). immediately our emotional & sexual chemistry was much more than what we had expected. within a month, he was treating me out to dinner dates, giving me rides everywhere, wanting to fall asleep on the phone every night, spoke about future plans of living together and admitted he had fallen for me. i hadn’t just yet, but i could see that i would. he also told me he doesn’t want to hold me back from experiencing other sexual/romantic interests before we commit & said he can’t commit yet because he has a lot of things to work through esp since he was the toxic one in his previous 6 year relationship. we decided to stay exclusive but not put a “label” on it since we’re both not ready. we continued to go on like this for a month or two, but as college started back up for us some red flags arised. he was overtly friendly with the girls in our friend group, almost bordering flirtatious. he didn’t want any of our friends knowing about us. he didn’t like PDA. his family didn’t & still doesn’t know of my existence. and the biggest of all, he claimed he wanted to have me stay over, but now he says that feels too “relationship-y”. yet, he’ll let his other friend that’s a girl sleep over in the same bed as him even though he swears up and down he’s not attracted to her in the slightest plus she has a boyfriend & she’s pregnant. this shit got me obviously tight, and i was gonna end things with him. but then i missed my period.

we had a pregnancy scare before, so we weren’t too worried. the day of the test, i was gonna break it off with him. long behold, he bought a test, i took it, and i was pregnant. he said he’d support any decision i’d make, but he thought abortion was the best option. i knew it was the best option. for one, i was over him even though he didn’t know it & we were not financially nor mentally stable enough to raise a kid. however, my mom had me at 19, almost went to the abortion clinic, & decided to keep me. this made me feel immense guilt. and although im not religious anymore, the teachings of likening abortion to murder were still inculcated in my head. still, i put that behind me & scheduled an abortion about a month later. off the bat, he said he’d pay for the whole abortion & take care of me in the meantime. from the start, it felt like he was wishy-washy, despite finding out i was pregnant. he had trouble differentiating schoolwork from this newfound issue we had. i brought it to his attention & we argued a few times over it. i was emotional, hormonal & always hungry. but at the same time, he’d buy me food at my beck & call, comfort me when i was depressed, and tell me he’d support me no matter what. within the month, we grew closer again. i started liking him again.

i decided to tell him about my concerns, with the flirtatious behavior & he told me didn’t mean to come off that way & i noticed him being more weary of coming off that way. pda had always made him uncomfortable, but he sucked it up & let’s me hold his hand. our friends, of course, figured it out & knew we were a thing. he didn’t care about them knowing rlly even though he doesn’t exactly advertise it. the only issue was the sleeping over thing. i told him it was a deal breaker. he got rlly sad from it, but he said he’d convinced the girl to go the army & that’s why he felt “responsible” for taking her in once a month but it was nothing more and they even use separate blankets or whatever the fuck. i told him i didn’t care because he’d still rather have another girl sleep in the same bed as him over me. so i told him i was gonna have him pay for the abortion & move on. he asked if we could at least be friends and i said no. regardless, we remained civil & on the same terms until the abortion. i went on a much-needed vacation with my aunt a few days before the abortion. most ppl in my family have conservative views, esp on abortion but my aunt didn’t & in fact had one herself. i was desperate for some adult advice that weren’t just my peers, so i told her abt the situation, craig lore included. (esp since i could never tell my mother). my aunt had mentioned that maybe this was his way of expressing his support, through paying for the abortion, buying me food, etc. but she did say the sleepover thing was a dealbreaker. i decided not to be so hard on him going into this, even if that’s how my mom taught me to be.

i returned to home. the day i took the first pill (doesn’t give any symptoms), we were cuddling in the car and he said “i love everything about you. i love you”. i said it back, thinking he meant it a friend way & just brushed it off. the next day, i took the abortion pills. it was awful. i stayed over at our mutual friend’s dorm, and craig & my two best friends looked after me. i ended up fainting, throwing up, quivering frantically & i was a crying mess. craig stuck around the whole night. he held my hand while i knocked out on my friend’s bed. routinely checking my pulse, breath, buying me packs of pads/wipes beforehand, a shit ton of go-go squeeze applesauces because i said it helped with my nausea & a bunch of food. of course, as a woman i’m doing most of the suffering so it’s expected he help out but i appreciated it nonetheless. after the abortion however, i’ve been feeling immense emptiness. craig has been there every the step of the way, & i know i had said i would end things, but i realized i fell in love with him. part of me doesn’t know if this is because my hormones are still out of whack because of the abortion & the emptiness i feel as a result of it. regardless, i stayed with him after the abortion. i finally confronted him about the i love you comment over the phone and he said he meant it & was in fact in love with me but he can’t commit because he still has a bunch of things to work through & would want a relationship with me after he’s graduated/give me the time & attention i deserve. i was still weary about this but i decided the next day i’d tell him i was in love with him too. and so i did. but he couldn’t say it back.

he said “i feel the same way, but saying it back sends me into a panic attack & last night it gave me a panic attack too.” i was upset & asked why would he say i love you in the first place then. all he could say was “i don’t know.” then i asked if writing it down would help and said he’d write me a letter. he then told me, “if i’m hurting you in any way, then it’s okay for you to leave. even if its 15% hurt and 85% happiness im giving you, it’s still too much hurt. your happiness is the most important thing to me.” so my question is, is he stringing me along or is this genuine? it feels like his actions don’t always match up. i see all these forums of “bad bitches” saying “if he wanted to he would”, but this feels deeper & more nuanced than that. oddly enough, i can’t handle being in a relationship right now, but it feels like we practically are. mind you, we’ve been at this for 8 months now. does he really love me/planning on committing, or this a man’s way of saying he’s just not that into me?

thank you for reading this far <3


Thank you for sharing this all. It would be worth millions or more if we could tell what others are thinking and intending: especially in relationships.
This is a lot going on in eight months; but maybe you both kind of are similar and not really knowing what you want it all to be, and maybe that is just where it is. And that’s Ok too.
But, when it comes down to it, what is it you want that would make you your best you? Only you can know that. And you need to respect your own feelings and thoughts. What values to you and where you see yourself? You have so much potential and possibilities at this juncture. Whatever your path, love yourself in your choices.


hey sarah,

thank you for your vulnerability in sharing your story and letting your heartsupport community in to support you. you’ve gone through so much in the last 8 months - my biggest hope for you is that peace is on your horizon soon. from the relationship obstacles with craig, the pregnancy and decisions that come with it, and the abortion, i really hope you can take time for yourself to practice self-care and re-center yourself.

you’re right on when you say that the whole situation with craig is more deep and nuanced considering the history you’ve shared with him. it’s hard to let go of someone that’s so ingrained into a pivotal time in your life. when you imagine your future, one filled with happiness and peace, what does it ideally look like? with any relationship, it should never be a one-way street so if you feel like you know what you need for your own future, trust your heart. it’s not craig’s decision on whether you will stick around for him to give you what you need. if your heart is ready to wait for him or if you know you need to focus on yourself instead, that’ll be whichever path you know you need right now in this moment. i believe in you. through all that you have endured and survived this past year, i need you to know how incredible you are. how loved and valuable you are. nothing can change that fact.


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Hi there @sarahanne3,

Thank you for reaching out and sharing here. It sounds like you have a lot on your mind right now – which makes sense – these sorts of relational questions are so hard to figure out! I genuinely feel for you and want to take a moment to recognize that these questions and worries are a significant, legitimate challenge. With (interpersonal) relationships this complex, it can be such a challenge to get our head around the nature of the relationship because there are often many unknown and worries for both parties in the relationship.

It also sounds like you’re also worried about the 'what if’s in this situation. And this is natural as many relationships have so much nuance! But being natural doesn’t take away from the challenge, frustration, and worry caused by these sorts of concerns. I hope you know that anything you feel in this situation is valid. What you feel is real and I’m so glad that you’re reaching out and sharing with us to get some support as you work through these challenges.

I also hope you’re also able to take care of yourself in this difficult time. It sounds like you’ve had a pretty wild couple of months, so I’m hoping you’re able to find some more peace and normalcy is the coming time.

Please do keep us updated if there’s anything on your mind that you’d like to share. We’re here for you and appreciate you for trusting us with these difficulties.

Best wishes,

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