DEAR ABBY: I have been in a long-distance relationship with my girlfriend, "Elli," for two years. We haven't seen each other for almost six months, and now she has decided she wants time apart.
Our relationship was suffering during my last year of graduate school because I wasn't able to give Elli the time she deserved. Now I have graduated and have a job that gives me more time to dedicate to her.
She decided when I relocated that she would not move to the city with me. She says she wants to keep me in her life, but she "needs space" to find herself. We schedule chats on the phone and try to avoid discussing the status of our relationship, but we usually end up arguing and crying.
I suggested visiting her now that I can afford to, so we can talk through our differences in person, but Elli says it would be too much for her to bear. She says she loves me and that she's doing this for the good of both of us. I miss her terribly. I think about her constantly, but I don't want to smother her and have her resent me. Is there more going on here than meets the eye? -- OUT IN THE COLD IN D.C.
DEAR OUT IN THE COLD: Yes, there probably is. When someone you haven't seen in six months tells you that you need more time apart, it means that she isn't as committed to having a relationship as you are. She may love you, but the question is, is she still IN love with you? The next time you chat, ask her that.
Please realize that when someone says seeing you would be too much to bear, it sends a strong message -- regardless of whether or not it's the one you want to hear.