He told me he likes me, “a little bit too much.” I said I feel the same way but I can’t do this casual thing indefinitely and that I’d like him to think about what he really wants. He was struck dumb by my honesty, he said. I feel like he just failed a test. Did he?
You’re the one testing him. If you can’t tell whether he failed, maybe you should handle the situation differently, because I assure you he wasn’t struck dumb by your honesty. He was struck dumb because you backed him into a corner and he didn’t want to get caught giving the wrong answers to your little quiz.
You like each other. Great. I’m happy for you both, but you’re not gonna get this dude to level-up on your relationship by tossing out vague ultimatums. Telling a guy to think about what he really wants is a bullshit move, especially if you already know what it is you want.
Go ahead and put yourself out there. Be vulnerable and tell him exactly what you want. If you’re done being casual, tell him. If you want exclusivity, tell him. If you want the “girlfriend” label, fucking tell him.
You’re the one who’s going to have to invite him into the early stages of commitment, and no, you haven’t already done that. At this point, all you’ve done is ask him for an invitation. There’s a big difference.
If you’re not willing to tell him exactly what you want, you can’t hold it against him for not blindly offering it to you.