What does this mean and how do I respond?

I’ve [F,23] have been talking to a guy [M,26] for almost a month. He has a pretty busy schedule as do I. He’s going to be a doctor of physical therapy in August, he takes care of his father who has muscular dystrophy, he does dementia and Alzheimer’s research for the university he goes to, and writes his own music - I’ve been patient with his schedule. He said to me that he’s had a past pattern of mistaking physical attraction for a genuine connection and he didn’t want to make the same mistake. We haven’t met in person but we message and FaceTime regularly.

Fast forward, this week I hadn’t heard from him for 3 days so I knew something was up.

Last night I get a message from him at midnight saying, “Hey- sorry about the long gap in communication, schedule has been a little crazy lately. I've been doing some thinking lately about us and I'm not entirely sure if the connection on my end is entirely emotional as it is physical. You're basically the whole package but I think I might be falling into a familiar routine of confusing lust for a genuine connection, and I wouldn't want to lead you on further than I already may have. You definitely don't deserve to have your emotions played with. Hope you can understand that it might be better for us to cool things off at least for now until I can get my shit sorted out. And for the record, I hope your interview leads you to great things as I suspect it will, and I hope you're able to relax a little this weekend and spend some time on yourself because you deserve it. You work like crazy.”

I replied, “what does cooling off entail?”

He said, “Talking a little less/taking breaks from messaging, taking a step back from more of the more intimate kinds of conversations (I know most of that has been me, I'm not trying to gaslight you here or anything). If you don't dig that or are upset I totally get it though- you don't owe me any patience so I can understand if you just wanna move on instead.”
What does this mean and how do I respond?
Add Opinion