Does my ex secretly want a relationship or is he leading me on?

Hello, my ex boyfriend and I dated for 9 months long distance, we were very close to each other, our relationship ended because of things happening in his life and we fell apart because of the distance. we didn't talk for 4 months, the break up was hard on me.

My ex ran into me on the site we met on and told me he was sorry for hurting me and he doesn't want to do that again and he wants to be friends, he told me he doesn't want a relationship with anyone and the next time he has a girlfriend he will make sure he knows her really well because he hates that relationships dont last.

he doesn't want a long distance relationship either, he said it makes him feel he can't protect me and feels he can't trust long distance. but we have been talking a lot lately and he flirts with me like how we used too, he calls me babe, baby and sends me hearts and very flirty texts like about us snuggling and funny flirty things too but then sometimes he gets cold towards me and says things like "find a boyfriend."

He said we could be together if we met in real life and it would be different. he said it would make him happy if I met him in real life. I am still very much in love with my ex, so does that mean he still loves me and interested but doesn't want a long distance relationship and holding on to our friendship until I meet him face to face? what do you think? He always tells me to stop worrying so much.

ps: we are both in our early 20s. He lives in Netherlands and I live in America.
Does my ex secretly want a relationship or is he leading me on?
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