Boyfriend says he needs time and is not sure about what he wants. How do I respond?

pipel
Boyfriend says he needs time and is not sure about what he wants. How do I respond?


Two weeks ago, my boyfriend of 1 year told me that he is not sure of our relationship. He says that he'd like it to be like it was in the beginning, and that he feels like we have lost our connection. Over the summer we travelled a lot and had a really good time, but since we got back early Sept we have hardly seen each other, aside from in the evening, as we were living together. He is struggling with his PhD and I have a startup, so many evenings have been about 'survival'; eating and sleeping. I think we had a proper dinner twice since early Sept.
I told him that I don't think he has given it a fair chance, because we have not actually spoken about the issues he raised. Only the week before, we booked tickets to go away for Christmas. He says he feels 'lost' and is unsure what is the right decision. He has been doing a bit of reading, as have I, and he recognises that probably time is the main cause. However, he is unwilling to make changes. He says that 'we always have a great time together' and that he misses our 'everyday life together'. I know that he struggles a lot with his PhD, and hence he is in the lab until past midnight many evenings to try and get results. I can understand that, and have been trying to support him, by making sure I made dinner that he could have whenever he returned.
One of the things he said was that he thinks it will be easier for him to be alone, because he wants to be a kind of boyfriend who can give me certain things, and I should expect certain things. This is not something I have asked him for, but rather something he places on himself.
I am the first serious girlfriend he has, despite being late 30s. I have had two long term relationships before. I don't believe that happiness just comes without doing anything for each other, but he believes it should do. That seems to me like a fairytale.
I love him, and we had plans for the future. What can I do apart from give him time, and focus on myself in the meantime?
Boyfriend says he needs time and is not sure about what he wants. How do I respond?
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