“I love you, we’re meant to be together, call me in five years, goodbye.” Hmm, you really think he’ll be upset by that?
No, I get it. I think. You want to step back, slow down and enjoy single life before you commit to someone for what you hope will be a long time. That’s not abnormal for 22. On the other hand, I can hear your guy saying, “Wait. If we’re stronger than ever and you see a future with me, why do you want to be apart?”
Maybe you’re still trying to figure who you are and what you want out of life, and, if so, I think your instincts are right: that’s the kind of thing that’s best done alone. I’m all for relationships, but as I’ve said here more than once, you have to figure who you are before you can be part of a healthy, long-term couple. Or maybe you’ve been with this guy a while and just need some space. Maybe you want to travel, see the world, swim naked with the manatee or smoke opium with the sherpa in the Himalayas. Whatever the reason, if your heart is telling you that you need to be alone, then you probably need to be alone.
But prepare yourself — no matter how you break it to him, he’s not going to like it. It will feel like rejection to him, but you can’t control that. All you can do is tell him the truth: you need time alone before you settle down. He’ll want to know why you need it and how long you need it, so you might want to think about those things before you break the news. You don’t owe him any answers, of course, but it would be nice if you gave him some.
Heh, I said “gave him some.” I meant answers, but come to think of it, some parting pooty would be a lovely gesture. One for the road, ya know?
I have a question: you do want to be alone, right? He’s not going to bump into you at the bar with another dude, is he? Because that would be super uncool. If part of your plan is to date around, you should tell him up front.
I wish there were a magic formula I could give you to make the news easier for him, but there’s not. It is what it is, and you gotta do what you gotta do. Hopefully he’s smart enough to let you do it and loves you enough to wait.