Dear Dr. Romance:
 
It's funny that many times I talk to my girlfriends about dating and usually get the sister talk that really does not result in much clarity. It's more like we talk to each other to have an opinion. That's not to say none of my girls make much since, it's just they mostly comment in a sort of one sided (my side) way- understandable.
 
Recently I dated a guy who is about 5 years younger than I am. I'm 30. He's 25. When we met I was so done with dating and only did it as a 'hobby' - I was not looking to be with anyone. A friend of mine from church suggested I date since I'd moved to her smaller town for work (TV producing) and all I did was work and go to church. I was also a little depressed about my mother having had a stroke and not being able to be there for her even though she was much better at the time...
 
So I started to date.... the first time ever, I dated 6 men in about 6 months... I have always been the career oriented person and not dating... after a while I was fed up with the craziness of people pretending to be someone they are not because they want you to like them. I call it meeting their "PR" person. I'd given up and wanted nothing to do with men when I met Mr. X. I was walking home from work as I did Monday - Friday when I ran into him in my apartment building. At that moment the weirdest feeling came over me, it was as if I was floating and time had stopped. I was suddenly happy for no reason. We spoke, flirted with our eyes and the tone in our voices...  then we went separate ways. I thought to myself, "only if I see him again randomly was there a purpose in our meeting." This was because he told me what apartment number he was in and I wanted to see him again so bad but refused to go knock on his door. A week later I saw him again. He told me he'd seen me many times before when I told him I've never seen him before the week prior. He'd lived there for 2 years, I'd only been there for 6 months.
 
Anyway fast forward a bit... I found out he was younger and expressed my dis-interest in dating a guy so much younger than me, he was 23 I was 28... We talked some more... I thought we were friends, he told me age is irrelevant, we ended up dating for almost 2 years. We have so much in common, we clicked from the beginning and had a blast until...
 
The problem aroused when his mother learned about me and my age, she disapproved. She was nice to me but would try to hook him up with women behind my back. I knew because he told me. Then the Monday following Thanksgiving (after having spent it with him, his mom and his mother's family) I was on the way home and ran into him escorting a woman to his apartment. I found out from the woman that her sister went to church with his mother and his mother connected the two of them.
 
About 5 months before that he told me he loved me (for the first time). It took him a week to do it (odd behavior for a week- calling my name and staring at me with nothing to say then saying something stupid like pass me that pen). Then when he told me his mother was trying to hook him up with another woman I told him she didn't like me-because I was older... he assured me his mother did like me and that he was not interested in dating anyone else.
 
For a year I struggled with moving on, which was very hard because he became very hard towards me... treating other women with more respect, but constantly telling me he loved me and missed me... also saying let's just be friends.
 
He is hoping to start his residency to be a doctor in May, I am completing my first year in law school... we no longer live in the same State and he may be moving anywhere soon...
 
I am writing because this was the longest relationship I'd ever been in and the first guy I met and had, 'the-world-has-stopped-and-life-is-lovely' feelings towards so I wanted to know if you could tell me, what was all this for? Part of me thinks because he never loved before he's major confused... part of me thinks he wants to please his mother and that's why we couldn't last...   At any rate, I don't understand why people say I love you if they don't really know that they do (dated a guy when I was 24 who wanted to get married, he married his ex- and now going thorough divorce asking me to 'let's start over, and plan to be married in 1 year;' he said I love you and wasn't sure - he said it took him years to realize he really loved me) I am struggling to not talk to him at all this year and have blocked his number from my cell so that I can't call or text him and vise versa... It is very difficult because we've been through so much good and bad... also because I lived in the apartment directly above him we were always together - seeing each other every day that is... I feel incomplete without him and yet we have chosen to move on... I also decided I we can't friends because our heart is too involved... we've tried. There's been trust issues, anger issues, love and sadness... I'm focusing on me and moving on but I still wonder what was all this for?
 
Dear Reader:
 
Yes, it is understandable that your girlfriends take your side.  They are your friends.  I like your idea of dating being meeting the "PR" person. I don't think a five-year age difference is significant.  I'm sorry his mom interfered, but it doesn't sound like he was at all ready to be in a committed relationship, which is understandable, since he was going to med school.
 
There's more than one kind of love. There's fantasy romantic love, which is what he was expressing when he told you he loved you and then changed his mind.  Real partnership love, which is what you need to sustain a relationship, is very different, and doesn't leave you confused.
 
I'm sorry you've been disappointed. I think your decision to not be friends is good for the time being, because you're going to need a break to let him go.  Maybe what it was for was to get you interested in having a partner who will last.  Consider it a 'starter relationship' which was there to open your heart again.  Get busy in your life, and in school.  If you're around people, you'll find someone soon.  You'll find Dr. Romance's Guide to Finding Love Today helpful, and  "Stupid Cupid" will help you find out if a relationship is going to work.  Best of luck to you. 

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For low-cost counseling, email me at tina@tinatessina.com

Author's Bio: 

Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D. is a licensed psychotherapist in S. California since 1978 with over 30 years experience in counseling individuals and couples and author of 13 books in 17 languages, including It Ends With You: Grow Up and Out of Dysfunction; The Unofficial Guide to Dating Again; Money, Sex and Kids: Stop Fighting About the Three Things That Can Ruin Your Marriage, The Commuter Marriage, and her newest, Love Styles: How to Celebrate Your Differences. She writes the “Dr. Romance” blog, and the “Happiness Tips from Tina” email newsletter.