When guys send mixed signals?

Emmineh
I started seeing a guy last year around July for about a month. Everything was going great but then I had to leave overseas for 4 months but we still kept in weekly contact. When I came back home in November things picked up where they left off but he was running hot and cold. I figured he'd lost interest so I told him we can just be friends but he said he didn't want that and that he wants to take his time getting to know me. About a month later I wanted to know where this was going so I told him I just wanted to be clear that I'm looking for a relationship eventually and he said he was too but he was in no rush. When we are together everything is great and he acts like a boyfriend but the problem is the communication when we're apart. He doesn't message me and can go a whole day without checking in with me. Sometimes he will call me after work to talk but it's always late and I told him this makes me feel like an afterthought. He tells me he likes me and he doesn't want to date anyone else and he doesn't want me to date anyone else so I'm confused. The communication has been a big issue for me and I want to be a priority. I'm not sure why a guy would act like this? What should I do?
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9 mo
What does he want?
When guys send mixed signals?
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