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by Abigail Van Buren

Couple's Separation Issues Might Benefit From a Break

DEAR ABBY: I have been in a relationship with my girlfriend, "Allison," for two years, but lately there have been frequent rough patches. I'm 18 and a college student. I love Allison, but the relationship is taking a toll on us physically and emotionally.

We have had to deal with separation ever since we got together. She's the only one with a car and a "real" job. I work on campus in a work-study program in exchange for reduced tuition. I try to help Allison as much as I can to reduce the stress on her.

She has asked me to transfer schools, but I'd like to stay where I am because I feel I will have the ability to make something of myself. I have suggested that maybe we need to go our separate ways so she doesn't have to pull the majority of the weight, but she gets upset and accuses me of not loving her. What should I do? -- STRESSED STUDENT IN GEORGIA

DEAR STUDENT: First let me suggest what NOT to do. Do not allow Allison to pressure you into changing schools. It is important that you complete your education, and there is no guarantee that the financial arrangement you have with this school can be replicated somewhere else.

You and Allison are young, and long-distance relationships are often hard to maintain. That she is carrying the lion's share of the load right now is unfortunate, but it won't last forever. If she's unwilling to accept that, then I agree that perhaps it's time for the two of you to take a break.

Read more in: Love & Dating | Work & School | Teens