Dear Dr. Romance:

I've been dating my girlfriend for 5 almost 6 months now. We hit it off from the very beginning and fell in love a couple months into the relationship. Both of us are independent people and level headed, but there's a deep connection between the two of us and the relationship was going GREAT until recently. She even brought up moving in together this summer and I was all for it.

Then two weeks ago she started pushing me away and becoming distant. She later told me that a guy whom she worked with and dated 4 years ago, is going to be working with her again. She had not seen him in 4 years until now. This same guy cheated on her and let her down in the worst ways. She says him, and her ex husband are the reason why "she isn't good with relationships and doesnt trust men."

She said with him back in the picture, being forced to work with him, brought all those feeling back of resentment and the though of "us" scares the hell out of her. She's afraid I'll walk out on her and her son like all the other men from her past. I assured her I was nothing like the men she's dated before and that I wanted to be there for her even through the tough times. She said she is depressed and has anxiety and until she can get it under control, she just wants a best friend and not a boyfriend.  We went on "break" which from my prespective means she is politely saying we're done and doesn't want to hurt my feelings or she wants to date other people and keep me on the back burner.

 I gave her space, but confronted her with my feeling on what a "break" meant. She swears that its not like that. She told me she loves me, she's happy when we're together, I'm her world and she's so in love with me, but she just needs a friend until she can work these issues out. On top of her ex bf, she also said that she's having problems at work and that 6 of her ex bf's who she hasn't talked to in years are now contacting her and one of them is a guy who raped her in high school.

That guy who raped her has also threatened to take her life in the past. She says that maybe after she works everything out we can date again, but that I have to stop trying so hard to get her back and respect what she wants because trying to win her back is what everyone else has done and it pushes her away even more. Right now all she wants is a friend so I agreed (which is something I never do; I usually never contact them again.) But with her its different. I trust her which is also a rarety, but she's been completely honest with me from the get go about everything, including her past which has alot of baggage. I trully love this woman for who she is TODAY, not yesterday.

So reluctantly, I'm playing the friend card which hurts a little. I wanna be there as her bf or knight in shining armor. We used to talk everyday since we lived 45 miles apart and only saw each  other on the weekends to now, we'll go 3 or 4 days without talking or texting. When I asked what "maybe" meant, she said she didn't want me to put my life on hold for to get her issues fixed. I'm trying to understand and wrap my mind around this. One day we'll talk and I think I have it figured out and then we go days without talking and I'm back to being confused, and sad. She knows I wanna be there for her, knows I love her with all my heart and has admitted that I'm different from all the other failed relationships. I just don't know what to do.

When do I call? When do I text? Do we ever get to hang out? If she is so in love with me, why can't we date at all? As i stated we live 45 miles apart, so it's not like we smothered each other or saw each other
every day. I work 2 jobs and she works 12-13hrs a day 5 days a week. The few times we've talked since the break, I ACT like I'm ok and act like this "friends" think isn't botherming me because I'm trying to put her feelings ahead of mine since she's the one coping with the depression and all the issues. Honestly though this is destroying me.

I can't go a day without thinking of her, whether I'm at work or with friends. I wanna text her, I wanna call her and I wanna see her, but I don't wanna push her away further or annoy her. What do I do? Will we get back togetheror am I being played for being too nice of a guy? Any advice would be much appreciated.

Dear Reader:

No wonder you're confused. What you need to understand is, your girl is confused. From what she says about her previous history, she is attracted to men who mistreat her; perhaps because she experienced violence in her childhood. She doesn't like it, and doesn't understand it, but she is drawn to them, and the healthy love you offer her doesn't seem "right" to her -- she doesn't believe it.

This is an issue for therapy, and I hope she's getting some. However, you can't control whether she gets therapy or not. I think her intention is to not hurt you, and it seems that she's being honest with you. But, she likes the attention she gets from these guys (who are willing to tell her whatever lies she wants to hear, just to get her under their control again) even though it scares her. The fear is part of the thrill. She probably doesn't believe in your love, because deep down she doesn't think she deserves it. Nothing you can say will change that -- it's an issue for therapy. She has to do the work inside herself.

I suggest you back way off -- You'll find out if she's interested at all if you let her go. If she figures out that the guys courting her are bad for her, she may be back. If the deep connection is really mutual, she'll feel the loss. If you're available, you can then set some conditions for getting back together: she has to get therapy, you need couples counseling, she has to block all these guys from contacting her, or you won't try a relationship with her.

In the meantime, let her go. In the state she's in now, you'll never be able to trust her. Unless she works through this issue, she'll be an easy target for predators, even if she makes a commitment to you. I'm very sorry you've been hurt. As long as you remain available, she can reassure herself you're still there. Don't call. Don't text. Don't explain. Just get on with your life. Yes, you're being played for being too nice a guy. The girl you found has big problems. You can't fix them; only she can. In the meantime, investing more time here is a bad deal. "The Nail in the Fence" Will help you understand your girl's emotional wounds.   "What Is A Dysfunctional Relationship?" ; "10 Reasons For Not Falling in Love"  and "Love and Chemistry"  will help you gain perspective on the relationship and figure out how to take care of yourself  "The Magic of Reassurance" will help you understand how to speak with your partner and "You Be The Judge" will show you how to choose carefully.  How to Be a Couple and Still Be Free contains the information and skills you need to develop a healthy, functional relationship. 

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.