Guys, How to navigate no contact when you both still care?

Challywally
Very long story short, my ex boyfriend and I have been in each other's lives a long time. We started seeing each other in June. Things were going very well. We did not fight a lot, but when we did, it was AWFUL. We struggled to "fight fair" and work through things effectively. He also gets very angry and it made it tough. The last time we fought, he broke up with me and said we would be better as friends due to this. I get it. I however feel that sometimes both people need to sit down and talk about how to work through things and make a plan for these types of issues so that we can tackle them together. He has been through a lot of hurt and other things in life and I think just wants to avoid any more and any more drama. I get it.
We still talked and spent time together several times since breaking up. I wanted to talk about it and it did not happen. Several days ago, he told me maybe we need some time apart before we talk and that maybe we need to just be friends. He said we could talk in the future "when I had time".
I was devastated by this but eventually left and did not contact him (I think he was suprised) my life has been very stressful the past month or so with a stressful job change, horrible schedule, close friend's death, health problems etc. So I decided maybe the space would be good for me to get myself together. And not even 2 days in, He contacted me. Wondering how I was doing etc. I opened it and did not respond for 3 days. We talked back and forth a little. Very positive and upbeat. Then he stopped opening my messages (I only sent one) and still did not open it or respond and has looked at my story etc. Obviously we care about one another no matter what but I cannot do the up and down and have him contact me only to not contact for several days. He doesn't show his emotions well so it is hard to say what is going on. I love him very much, but I don't know how to handle what is going on. Any suggestions from a man's perspective?
Guys, How to navigate no contact when you both still care?
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