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Yes, it could be a fear of commitment and losing his freedom among a few other reasons that I will elaborate on.
I don’t think that it is so much about uncertainty in wanting to get into a relationship with you.
After all, it has been 8 months since you have been “dating” this guy. That is more than enough time to determine whether he wants to be in a serious relationship with you or not.
He has told you that he considers you to be a friend. It is likely that he just doesn’t feel that he has to see you as anything other than that.
In other words, he has become so content with you, getting just about every benefit that a boyfriend would get from a girlfriend, that he doesn’t feel the need to take things a step further by committing.
If he were to commit, he would not only lose his freedom but as he told you, he would also be responsible for your feelings.
He doesn’t want that kind of responsibility.
When he first met you, he may have told you that he was looking for a girlfriend but he may have only told you that so that you would take him seriously and give him a chance.
This is perhaps why he was so persistent in texting you for those weeks that you stopped talking to him.
However, now, he has all the benefits of having you as a girlfriend without needing to make it “official.”
Motivating someone like this to commit is tricky.
You may get the best results if you stopped giving him all the privileges that come with having a real girlfriend and thereby make him feel like there are real stakes in your relationship.