Note to Self: Do not date a man who says that he can't be in a relationship. Do not go out with him after he tells you he wants to go out with you -- but only casually. Even if everything he says or does proves to the contrary -- like for example, he calls you every day and wants to snuggle all the time and bring you flowers and treats you well. Just take him at his word.
Note to Self: Do not psychoanalyze this person's motivations. Do not reason to yourself that he has issues with his mother/father/pet gerbil. Yes, he might -- OK, he does -- but are you his analyst or his date? (If you lie on the couch together, chances are you're not his shrink.) A man will always reveal himself in the first few dates. A woman will wave away his concerns with her "I need a relationship" magic wand. She can also cover her ears and say, "Nyah-nyah-nyah kishkes." But neither tactic will change his words: "I'm not interested in a serious relationship right now."
Note to Self: Do not stick with him hoping that he will change his mind, hoping that as he gets to know you things will change and you will convince him how fabulous you are. You are very fabulous, but it is not up to you to be a PR firm for yourself. The Constitution said, "We hold these truths to be self-evident." (Or maybe it was the Declaration of Independence -- even better.) The point is you can't wait around just one more date hoping he will get the memo.
Note to Self: Do not think you can save him. You will not save him; he will drown you first. You entered this arrangement with high self-esteem, so you think you can handle his "casual." But by the second month of this thing -- not a relationship, definitely not a friendship -- you will be too weak to assert yourself. Think of the frog boiled to death in the gradually heated water. A gross, but apt, metaphor. Not that you are a frog.
Note To Self: Do not focus on the short-term in the relationship, like how good you guys have it together, how he makes you laugh, how you enjoy his company, how you are just taking it one day at a time. This is what he says, unoriginally -- as in: "I'm just taking it one day a time." Is there anyone who can live two days at a time? All of his "one days" turns into three, four, five months. Five months of limbo.
Note to Self: After you've been with this man half a year, you won't want to let him go, and you start believing that having someone is better than having no one. Listen: Having no one is better than having half a person. Let him go so you will get your full self back.
Note to Self: Breakups aren't easy, even if you knew the whole time it wasn't going to work out. Even if you knew from the start. Especially if you knew from the start. Although why would you go out with someone whom you knew a priori wouldn't work out? Maybe you should write a note to yourself not to do this anymore.
Note to Him: Dear John, I had such a nice time hanging out with you. But if it's true that you don't want to be in a relationship, I guess we're going to have to stop seeing each other. I'm sad because it's rare to meet someone you connect with, and it's hard to pass up. But I can't start a relationship with preconditions. I can't have a relationship with someone who doesn't want a relationship. I'd love to have that chance with you, so if you change your mind about your state, about me, about us, give me a call.