She wants to take a step back

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Hello Meredith,

I've been in a relationship for six months now and told my girlfriend that I love her. She had said that she loved me three times, but then out of the blue she tells me that she needs to take a step back and evaluate what she is truly feeling. I instantly got a sickening feeling in the pit of my stomach when she said that. I thought that she was just scared because these feelings are new to her. I tried to be understanding and patient, but in doing so I have created a lot of doubt about whether or not I want to continue with this relationship.

She has told me that she loves me, but I don't know if it's genuine or if she says it to make me happy and to keep me around. I try to explain how I am feeling or what I am going through in trying to get past what she had said to me, but I can't help having those doubts in the back of my mind. I find myself being very hesitant about moving forward in this relationship because I don't want to invest if she's just going to tell me that she wants to take a step back again.

My friends say that I should just break it off with her, but I care very much for her and I don't want to lose her. I truly love this girl, I just need some advice on how to get past this doubt that is keeping me from moving forward.

– Unsure, Sacramento

Find out what she means when she says she wants to take a step back. If she simply wants to refrain from saying "I love you" until she knows she's in for the long haul, that's fine. You've only been together for six months. As long as she wants to keep showing up and getting to know you, you're good.

If taking a step back means that that she wants to be less committed than she is now, break things off. At this point in the relationship, she shouldn't want less of you. She should want to figure you out. She should be smitten.

Her intentions are more important than whether she's ready to say those three words. Go ask her for some clarity.

Readers? What "step back" is appropriate after six months of dating? Is he too focused on the words?

– Meredith