My girlfriend has self-esteem issues

We have a new extra video letter today.

My girlfriend has a horrible self-image problem. Whenever I try to hold her close, squeeze her, or just hug her, she pushes me away on the grounds that she is gross, fat, smells, etc. Let me be clear and say that she is absolutely none of these things. Not even close. I've never spoken negatively about her let alone to her. I love her entirely. She had a troubled childhood. A father who is a recovering alcoholic, passive parenting all around, and a constant need to rely on herself. I realize this may be the root of her problems, but when she proposed we spend some time apart last week, I didn't understand why I was given the role of the scapegoat.

She is a few years younger, still in college, and said she wants to find herself, get time to be a college kid, and experience everything that goes with it. My opposition is based on the fact that we've been together for two years now and she's been living exactly what she is saying she wants, but it still isn't enough. I understand where she is coming from, but at the same time, I can't imagine how she thinks she has it so bad with me.

I'm trying everything I can to take people's advice and give her her space, but it's hard. These last few days have been tearing me apart. I've been told by everyone that she'll come running back, but I have my doubts. I'm worried that her state of mental unrest will lead her to believe that what I bring to the table is not enough. There is so much more that goes into this – this is just the tip of the iceberg – but I am hoping to find advice. What should I do?

– Taking Space

Maybe she wants time alone to become someone who's comfortable in her own skin. Maybe she's using this space to learn to love herself outside of the context of this relationship. She never said this was about you. She never said you weren't good enough. I know it's hard, but don't make this about all you've done for her when she's asking to put herself first.

For the record, I think you'll benefit from this break, too. You mention her self-esteem problems, and that the issues in this letter are the "just the tip of the iceberg." I have to wonder why you're so committed to this iceberg. I have to wonder what you get out of the relationship – because you didn't mention any of the good stuff.

Time on your own will help you figure out what you miss and what you want to save. You need perspective just as much as she does.

– Meredith

Readers? Will she come back?