Dear Miss Emily:

My boyfriend and I have been on and off for four years. Most recently, we have been together for one year. He called me out of the blue the other night and said that he wants to break up. He then called back and said he still loves me and just needs space. Every fall this happens when we separate to go back to school.  Plus I think he has some PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) from hitting and killing a little boy on a bike three years ago. What do you think?  I love him and his family.

---------------------------Miss Emily’s advice------------------------

Dear Crestfallen:

The PTSD may be related to his reason for continuing to distance himself from you, but you also say the break-ups are  predictable when you return to different schools.  I know it’s hurtful that this is initiated by him, and it makes you feel dispensable, despite his love for you.  If you are correct about the PTSD, I hope he’s open to getting the counseling he needs to find a place for the guilt and pain he must harbor –  if not, this could damage any chance he has of conducting a healthy relationship with you or anyone.  There will be a time (if this behavior continues) when you’ll  have to decide if you're tired of waiting for him to make the next move.  If it were me, I would be open to meeting and dating someone new. As hard as that is to wrap your head around, it would broaden your horizons and give you a much needed injection of self-worth. It does not mean you will never be with him, again, but it makes a statement that you will not be sitting back and watching the world pass you by.                   I