4 months ago my ex-partner ended our four year relationship. It was a rather painful and unexpected break up.
In the same past 4 months, I have lost two friends to suicide and one to an accident, I've been involved in a legal battle with my old workplace, having issues with University and there has been family conflict since my grandmother was diagnosed with cancer a second time.
Almost immediately after my break up, an older man who I had been friends with began to pursue me. I knew he had been interested before, but he's obviously been far more since I've become single. He's extremely kind and I enjoy the time we spend together, and he's putting no pressure on me at all (the occasional playful joke but nothing pushy), but I am feeling increasingly awkward and claustrophobic in his company. And it's making me feel terrible since he really is such a lovely, lovely man.
We share a lot of the same interests, and we spend a fair bit of time together, but since he never lets me pay for anything and is always being such a gentleman I am actually feeling terrible. I don't feel attracted to him, and I think it's because with everything that's been going on lately, I haven't had any time to mull over my break up and properly grieve for it. Let alone work through the problems I have with myself it has caused me to realize.
The thing is, I don't know how to explain this to him. I don't want to loose his friendship but I don't want to start a relationship with him (and I know at his age he's looking for someone to be serious with). He's starting to be inclined to put his arm around me or hugging me when we go places together and it makes me uncomfortable because I don't feel attracted. I just feel anxious. I feel relieved when we say goodbye and I know I shouldn't because we really do have a lot in common and have been doing things that I'd otherwise thoroughly enjoy.
I have no idea how to tell him this without making him feel terrible. I don't want him to get the impression I think he's unattractive or that I don't like him, but I can't think of a way to explain how I feel without doing so. He's extremely intelligent and understanding (he's a doctor himself), but I know he's also sensitive.
I really do like him and I want to keep spending time with him, but I feel like I'm going to either lash out or withdraw completely if I feel like things are going too fast too soon. And I don't want that to happen, I don't want to hurt him at all. But I feel I'm going to hurt him anyway if I explain.
What can I say so that he realizes I'm simply not ready to be dating without making him feel as if he's done something wrong?
I was in an abusive relationship and after getting in a relationship to soon and hurting someone I cared about I took time to just be friends with guys and get to a point where I could show someone 100% of myself not 25% because I was so broken. After I was finally better I ended up meeting the guy whose heart I broke and now im so happy. Id take sometime and explain that you just want to be friends for now. You need to take time to heal from everything. He should respect that. Just take care of you that's the most important person in the equation.