Dear Dr. Date,OK, …

Dear Dr. Date,
OK, so a few months ago, I finally got involved with this guy about two weeks after he had broken up with his previous boy, which hit him pretty hard. But I was confident that things would work out regardless of advice I’ve heard against getting involved with “rebounders.”
We hit it off great, but I was always unsure whether he really liked me or if it was just for comfort. He broke it off one-and-a-half weeks later and said that he “didn’t think he should be dating anyone at that time.” So, since we really didn’t go very far physically or emotionally, we decided to just be friends (slightly at my expense, because I really liked this guy.)
A few rocky months later, we were hanging out and started drinking, and in a few hours, we were back together again. I told him I loved him and he said he loved me, too. Things were great, but I was wary of him hurting me again. One-and-a-half weeks later, he was really down about something else in his life, and broke it off with me again. Of all the things he told me, he said he didn’t really mean “I love you” in the way he thought I meant it when I said it to him. Anyway, he says he doesn’t love me at the moment, but doesn’t know what might happen in the future, which makes me think things might swing back again.
So my question is: Should I wait and deal with the interim pain as best I can, or should I try to push him away and out of my life so I can better deal with the separation and get on with my life?
— Aching for Reciprocated Love

Why do you refuse to listen to your friends? They’ve been telling you from the get-go that placing bets on a rebounder is bad, bad news. Don’t you see what’s going on? He’s messed up right now and doesn’t know what he wants. Until he figures things out on his own, he won’t be long-term material. This might take years, really. This doesn’t mean you can’t have a fine simple, noncommittal relationship with him. You can. Just don’t place so much hope on this guy that he will turn out to be the last, best boy you ever date.
You’re defeating yourself from the start with this one. Many people go after men and women they know will never reciprocate their feelings. It’s a defense mechanism that allows you to come close to love, but not close enough that you might actually have to deal with the normalcy of everyday relations. Yes, it’s tragic that this guy keeps breaking up with you, but you are the one who chose to get involved with a screwed-up guy who wasn’t capable of loving right now.
Why don’t you both come to my mixer on Friday, March 3, at the Weisman Art Museum? You can meet fresh, new people, unencumbered with emotional baggage.