A friend with benefits asked me how I would respond if he asked me to be his girlfriend, why would he do that?

Anonymous
I (21F) met this guy (22M) on tinder a few months ago. I was starting to date again after a breakup and wasn't in the right place mentally to commit to a relationship. My ex-boyfriend took my virginity when I was blackout drunk and felt unable to give consent. I wanted to have sex in a situation where I had more control and after I opened up to the guy on tinder about my trauma, he seemed to sympathize. He assured me that he would never have sex with me if I didn't want to, and our first date was a friendly game of badminton. Shortly after the date, I decided that I wanted sex with him and we did. He always checked if I was okay and the sex was overall good. We went on a walk later that evening and ordered some food. Then he left, and I felt a little bit sad although I had agreed to friends with benefits. After a few more flings, I decided to stop having sex with him and remain friends. However, because of lockdown, we only met up at my place and I often ended up having sex with him. I explained to him before that I was catching feelings and he admitted to having some feelings for me too. However, he still persists that he doesn't want a relationship. I decided to live with my parents over lockdown instead of my place at university to create distance. He calls me about 1-3 times a week and just recently asked if hypothetically, I would be his girlfriend if he asked me to. I replied by saying that I would give him a chance, but I wouldn't have sex with him until I was certain he was serious about longterm, and he may have to wait until marriage to have sex with me to prove it. He laughed it off and teased me about how serious I was. I worry that he is being emotionally manipulative and trying to gaslight me. I'm going back to university in a few weeks time and he wants to meet me. I'm wondering if I should attempt a friendly conversation or just cut things off with him totally.
A friend with benefits asked me how I would respond if he asked me to be his girlfriend, why would he do that?
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