Dear Dr. Romance:

I am (or was, perhaps) in a fairly strong relationship for a few months now. Recently though, as the upcoming fall quarter approaches, my girlfriend doesn’t think she can handle a relationship. Between stress from school (she really wants her 4.0 this year), over-bearing parents, and the recent death of her dog, she has a lot going on. She has told me that she doesn’t think a relationship can work for her, with all the other things on her plate…

I’m wondering if there’s maybe some way to take a break, or pause things, something of that sort. I really care about her, and she seems to share the feelings. She did say that if she wanted to be dating anyone right now, it would be me.

I know that once things calm down again, we could pick up where we left off, and have a great relationship once more. What do you think about the situation? Should we try and maintain a relationship, but keep it very low-key? Take a break, with the understanding that we’ll try again in the near future? Or just go the "let’s just be friends" route.

Thanks for any input you have.

Dear Reader:

Women rarely say things straight out, as men do. Instead, they take the polite, circutuous route and hint about what's bothering them. However nice you are, your girlfriend appears to feel that you're adding to her burdens rather than helping her with them. She doesn't need a boyfriend right now, she needs your help. Stop worrying about what's in it for you, and see if you can find ways to help that make her life easier. Make it easy for her to study, run interference for her with her parents, and make absolutely no requests, suggestions or demands, especially not for sex.  "Keys to Happy Relationships"; "Kindness and Happiness" and "Attitude Adjustment" will help you know what to do, and what not to do. When she can cope again, she'll resume being your girlfriend, and you'll have learned an important skill.

How to Be a Couple and Still Be Free will occupy you while your girlfriend is overloaded, and teach you excellent relationship and communication skills.

C & F 3rd Ed cover

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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.

Dr. Tessina, is CRO (Chief Romance Officer) for, a website designed to strengthen relationships and guide couples through the various stages of their relationship with personalized tips, courses, and online couples counseling. Online, she’s known as “Dr. Romance” Dr. Tessina appears frequently on radio, and such TV shows as “Oprah”, “Larry King Live” and ABC News.