Does he really love his ex?... or is it just a mental obsession or security blanket?

I have this guy friend/f*** buddy/boyfriend call him whatever. We met 2 years ago and started off as just casual friends and the occasional sex. About a month and half after meeting him, I find out that he is "supposedly" still in love with his ex girlfriend. But wait, the pathetic thing is they dated 7 years ago, she left him for another man moved to AZ and now has two kids. They texted each other a lot because I guess she still is in love with him too. About 6-7 Months go by We get closer, more comfortable, attached, affectionate with each other. We learned a lot about each other, we did a lot together, we even met each others families and extended family. His Family loved me, My family loved him. It was as if we had been together for a long time. but THEN... these phases started to occur a lot. We would be so close, go steady whatever whatever, then he would out of know where start distancing himself, not calling me or texting me back, or just avoiding me somewhat. During this period he started talking to his ex again, but then after a week or 2 after I just stopped calling and texting he would get a hold of me out of no where like as if nothing ever happened, yeah we weren't as affectionate the first couple days as we were which made me feel as if I had to try all over again to gain what we gad all back. The good times would last about a month and then after that period of time he would go into his phase. Its been an on and off thing for quite a while now. And every time I get him back our relationship gets better and better but he still does his phases. He is the Love of my life, What could this mean? Does he really Love his ex or what? Why would he avoid me like that? Answers and advice of any sort please.
Does he really love his ex?... or is it just a mental obsession or security blanket?
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