Ask Ada: Is My Significant Other Busy Or Are They Breaking Up With Me?


Welcome to “Ask Ada,” a weekly series in which we answer all those burning questions you’d rather not share aloud. Buckle up for some brutally honest advice! Today someone wants to know if their girlfriend is breaking things off or not.

My gf and I are both in college but recently her course load has gotten super-busy while mine is still relaxed. She says she can’t spend more time with me cause she’s tired all the time. Is she really, or is she just trying to break up with me?


Wishing she’d just tell me

Hi there,

If your girlfriend wanted to break up with you, she’d break up with you. I know this sounds simplistic but sometimes the least complicated explanation is the correct one.

In this case, the explanation is practically gift-wrapped for you. Your girlfriend has too much on her plate and she feels like spending time with you is too much work. You can either take her word for it, or you can spin conspiracy theories about how she’s trying to get rid of you without actually getting rid of you. The choice is yours.

Having said that, there is a way to test that theory – you can try to make life easier for your girlfriend and see if she suddenly likes spending time with you more.

Now, I know what you’re thinking – we’re college students, we’re broke, I got no money for extravagant gestures. Don’t worry, young padwan. I’m a pro at the “acts of service” love language, and I’m here to tell you: 

It’s not that fucking hard!

Your girlfriend is telling you that spending time together feels like work. So, make it feel less like work. 

Stop trying to drag her to the club on your date nights, and hang out at the library once a week instead. If she’s staying over, put on headphones while you’re listening to music or playing video games so that she can concentrate. Tell your friends you’ll see them once she powers through this semester – they’ll survive without seeing you every 24 hours.

Not sure about that? Okay, how about this:

Tidy up your damn home.

If your girlfriend is stressed out and busy, hanging out in a sty is not going to predispose her to having sex or even have pleasant conversations. Not sure if your room is clean enough? If she has to pick her way through shoes and discarded magazines every time she has to go to the toilet, it can probably do with a tidy up.

Lay off the texting – she won’t switch off her phone, and all the alerts will just irritate her. There’s a better way to show her you love her when you’re not together:

Go into the kitchen and make her a sandwich. 

In fact, pick up a bag of groceries and prep some meals for her so that she doesn’t have to stress about food. I’m not talking about Michelin-star fare here, I mean the easy stuff. A giant pot of pasta. A tray of lasagna. Rice with vegetables. (The rescue of all college students: You can, in fact, cook rice in the microwave. You’re welcome.) If you don’t know your way around her kitchen, cook the stuff at your place and bring it over. 

Remember, the goal here is to make life less stressful for her. Because here’s the thing: when women say they have too much on their plate, they are not exaggerating. We’re conditioned to try and do everything, so for us to tap out, it usually means we’re running on empty and we physically can’t do it all.

And the first thing that goes is the thing that brings no value in our lives. 

Good luck,


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