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Dr. Paige
Dr. Paige, Psychologist
Category: Relationship
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Experience:  Ph.D. Licensed Psychologist
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Ill try to make this as to-the-point as possible, but there

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I'll try to make this as to-the-point as possible, but there are so many angles to this: 2 months ago my girlfriend decided to break off a 7 year relationship. We started dating when we were 21 and things were pretty great with the exception of last fall when she started struggling to pay her side of the rent & bills, because she's not in a job/career where she's making enough $$$ to pay her rent AND keep up with her credit card and student loan debt -- but I was covering her bills for nearly a half year. To top it all off, she got ill at the beginning of the year with nearly $10k in medical bills -- this is all after the happiest time in both of our lives over a wonderful New Years vacation. After the dust settled, I decided to find us a new apartment much closer to where we work that would end up saving us A LOT of $$$ over time. She had let it known to me last year that she didn't really want to be sticking around where we were too long, and that she's been looking to move for a while. I told her that we should just save up some $$$ before we take the plunge for a big move, then the night came where she told me that she wasn't moving in with me and that she can't wait around another year, and that she doesn't want to get comfortable in this new apartment (which is really nice) and be in the same situation 2 years from now. To be blunt, neither of us are making that much $$$, and we were at that time in our relationship where we need to seriously think of our future together, because we had been talking about getting married and children for a while but with our financial situation it's just not viable for both of us. She's wanted me to go back to school for years, but I had been dragging my feet for a while. She sent me an E-Mail around Thanksgiving last year (after I had been paying her bills for a while, and before she got ill) saying "X College has tons of courses, find one and do it." -- So I finally decided to register just days before she broke it off with me. Anyways, I think a lot of this stems from the fact that she's underachieving with her degree and that she wants so much more with her life and I feel like maybe SHE'S waited too long for me to get myself together -- that maybe I've held her back because I feel she's been staying around here for me for a while. I said I'd move anywhere with her, but she doesn't want that because she wants to know she can take care of herself without the help of anybody. She says she still loves me, that she's still in love with me and that she can see us getting married and having children and having a house -- but she/we can't have any of that until she straightens herself out first, which means taking care of her debt and maybe getting her Masters or traveling overseas or WHATEVER it means for her. However, she or I can't guarantee that future because if we're apart for a while we might see other people, or ANYTHING can happen, but I can't fight these feelings I have for her because everything between us was so real and genuine and it's been tearing me apart. It's been giving me HUGE mood swings, some days I'm depressed beyond belief because I can't get her out of my head, and other days I feel like I deserve better, and sometimes I want to just better myself so that we CAN make it work, some how or some way. I know some people will say "Well, this is her way of just breaking it off and not wanting you anymore and moving on with her life for other things" -- but I can't help but feel that there's more to this. We've been hanging out since the break up occasionally, sometimes it's fine, but sometimes I give her a cold shoulder and it leads to awkward situations and I feel desperate/lonely around her, but it's been better the last few times. I'm scared and excited for the future, but I just want to feel that there's a future for us... yet at the same time I understand I can't get hung up on her and affect me.

I'm just looking for some advice just to comfort me or what I should do. - Scratch that, I'm not looking for comfort, just advice.

I know she's had in mind maybe moving away long distance, which might be the best for the both of us -- if that's relevant.
Hello. While this does sound long, complex and have many angles, it sounds pretty straight forward in itself. I don't think that she is just making excuses to break it off, I think that everything you said here is completely legitimate. With only hearing your side of it, I can only go by your speculation of her actions, but I do believe that she does want to make sure she can handle life on her own and be independent enough of a woman to be able to support herself. That doesn't have to mean that you are not or will not be a part of it.
Have you specifically asked her this? I know you said you have tried talking about your future, but HOW you both talk to each other is important. You both know each other very well and even though you are hanging out right now on and off, time is running out for you to get some type of closure or direction in this. I think you need to have a very real and very blunt discussion in order to get some answers that you seek and are entitled to. She may not be able to answer them all, but if you both love each other, then nothing should stop you from figuring out how to be together. Money, economics, location of living, pursuing careers, etc.. are all road blocks in life, whether you are with someone or not. A lot of times it is easier to go through it all with someone, sometimes it is more difficult. You make it what it is. If two people are willing to do whatever it takes, it can work. The first thing you both need to decide together is if you want to have a future together. You both need to be dedicated to this as your goal first and foremost. Then you work backwards in your current situation to figure out how to make it happen where she feels happy and able to stand on her own but not alone.
I would also suggest getting out a pen and paper and actually writing questions down that you would like answered. It helps your mind see things in front of you and can help get a clearer picture as to the result you want from your conversations. Start with the most straight forward question; "Do you want to work through the process towards being together and having a future?" You should posture a lot of questions in a way where you are not cornering her for an answer, more so that you are looking for guidance. For example; instead of saying, "Why can't we be together while you are working on finishing school?" say something like, "what steps can I take in order to help you feel fulfilled in your goals so that we can be successful together?"

The botXXXXX XXXXXne here is that you need to both do a lot of talking and hash out the details of what would work for each of you. Take the time to listen to her concerns and make sure you ask the right questions to get the answers you need. I don't see a problem with taking a little time apart in order to see things in a different way. Try to keep in mind that any strong bond with someone will not fade away just by taking some personal time. It is normal and healthy to want to do that. If you both want it bad enough, you can make it happen. You both have to do it together as a team. It shouldn't be that you are pursuing her and desperately trying to get her to change her mind.
These times are very difficult for a lot of couples struggling to get through financial strain. YOu say you don't want to get hung up on your future, but there is nothing wrong with having these strong, loving feelings for her. You can't help how you feel, don't fight it! Getting hung up on something and trying to work through things are totally different.
If you begin this conversation with her and she is firm with her stance, you might want to consider walking completely away for now. I know that sounds impossible and of course you enjoy being with her right now, even on a friendship level, but if she is on the fence about this and whatever else she has going on, she is keeping you at the distance she feels comfortable with. If you allow her to do this, everything is on her terms. If you walk away, she may have a different view of life without you. I don't mean walk away for good and tell her you don't want to see her anymore, I mean if you talk to her about your future and she says she isn't sure or doesn't want to commit to you about working for an answer, I would consider telling her, "Ok fine, I will give you your time that you want for yourself, but it hurts me way too much to be around you and not be able to be with the person I love more than anything. I will be here when you need me and when you are ready for me to be back in your life."
Set your goals, do it together and do anything it takes to make it work. It can be done if there are two people who are dedicated to it.
Dr. Paige and other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you
I see you modified your question a bit after I had answered it about not wanting comfort, just advice. Let me know how you think she would respond to what I have outlined here and we can go from there with other options on how to address her insecurity in the relationship.