Things slowed down a little with Liam. I thought things might have been off for good, but then he sat me down and apologized for acting weird and a little distant. He made it clear that he was interested, but he worried he wasn't meeting my level of expectations because he hadn't been single for that long.
That last part worried me. I learned that his breakup had actually happened earlier than I had thought, which, to me, is a good thing; however, I worried that maybe he still hadn't been single long enough to survey the other fish in the sea and be able to know with confidence that I was who he wanted.
He reassured me that he had feelings for me. Without any prompting from me, he also stated he wasn't ready to get as serious as he normally would be, but he wanted to get there with me soon. He said he was almost there.
He told me I didn't have to say anything back, and truthfully, I needed to process what he had said while I was on my own. When I started thinking back on it, he had said a lot of really great things, but also, I started to carry with me the thought that, in essence, maybe he was saying that he didn't like me enough yet to give me more.
This conversation happened about two weeks ago. The more I thought about it, the more I started to distill his statements into a simpler idea: that he was saying he would just half-ass it for now, because that was what he needed - even though he wouldn't be giving me what I needed. I wasn't sure if that was an accurate distillation for not, but I did know that he needed to decide to do better if he wanted to keep my attention. I started to decide I was going to tell him I needed to stay away from him unless we were going to date properly.
He went out of town for a long weekend, which gave me the opportunity to have some distance and think some more. I realized that the last day of class was fast approaching, and we wouldn't be running into each other at school anymore; after that day, if he wanted to see me, it would have to be an intentional move.
The last day of class was this week, and I knew I would see him. We had been texting a little, but I had never given a response to his declarations. I knew I would either get clarity when I saw him or tell him I wanted to put things on hold. He started to warm up as that day approached, and he finally stepped up again and took me to dinner.
We had a lot of drinks to celebrate the end of the school year, which led to our first sleepover. Part of me thinks it's okay, because we've been building the attraction for two months now. A big part of me thinks he hadn't yet earned a sleepover. Honestly, though, sleeping together had been pretty easy to prolong, because at first, he was respectful, and later, he gave me easy outs. Despite being frustrated with him for a while there, I do know him well enough to determine that his intentions are good, and that this will move us forward in a positive way.
The night was really nice though - all of it - and I have to admit that I'd like more like it soon. As long as I keep reinforcing the idea that he gets rewarded when he does things right, I'm happy with where things are, and I'm hopeful.
My final thought for now is about how he drunkenly told me he loved me a few weeks ago. I still have never said those words to a guy, and I chose not to acknowledge that Liam said them, because he drank too much that night and was semi-freshly out of a long relationship. I guess I mention this because this is the first guy in a while that I (1) like and know on a deeper level and (2) believe has pure intentions with me. Even if we aren't there yet, I wonder if we might get there soon.