Dear Dr. Romance:

  I am unusually confident that you can help me.Well I hope you can anyway. I am 18 years old, I live in England, and I am a lesbian. A year ago,I escaped from a extremely abusive and violent relationship with a woman that I was with for two years.There was an extreme age gap,as I started seeing her at 15 (she was 29). I lost hope of finding anyone as I thought that all I deserved was to feel bad about myself. My ex made sure I felt bad all the time.As I said,I lost hope...then I met a woman who is 20.I was reluctant to love her, as I found out within seconds of knowing her that she was only going to be in my life for about 7 months. She is American and is only in England a few more months as the university she studies with is taking her back.(she only had a year exchange).

I am at my wits' end. I have fallen head over heels in love with her, despite knowing of our fate.If the sea were ink and the sky were parchment,I could not begin to write my love for her. She completes me.She makes my world worthwhile,and I can't bear to think of life without her. I have thought of maybe trying to go back to America with her but it seems doomed,as America doesn't accept love as a good enough reason to let an English girl move to live with her girlfriend! Maybe we aren't meant to be, but everything in my heart tells me we are.  Her love for me is as strong as my love for her and when we discuss her leaving,  she ends the conversation as quickly as possible.I know it must be hard for her as she is the one that has to leave, that must be really difficult. We both know that if she was staying in England, that we would be together for many years,if not the rest of our lives. It occurs to me that true love is something to be valued and treated with the utmost respect and I would never do anything to hurt her.  PLEASE.....any suggestions?

Dear Reader:

Congratulations for getting out of a bad relationship, and for finding a better one. How about traveling to America as a tourist, to see if the relationship is going to work?  It's not difficult to get a tourist visa, and it would allow you two some time to figure things out. If the relationship turns out to be as important as you feel now, you'll be able to work something out.  You don't say anything about your own education or career prospects, isn't there something you could do in America that would eventually make you eligible for a green card?  It's not impossible, if you have the desire.

I know  you won't want to hear this, but it sounds to me from your history that you could use some counseling for self-esteem.  No relationship should be more important to you than you are to yourself, and the abusive relationship has probably done some damage."The Colors of You" can help you restore the balance, "Drama, Trauma, and Time Travel" will help you change difficult leftovers from the abuse, and   It Ends with You: Grow Up and Out of Dysfunction can help you repair your self-esteem.

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Author's Bio: 

Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D. is a licensed psychotherapist in S. California since 1978 with over 30 years experience in counseling individuals and couples and author of 13 books in 17 languages, including It Ends With You: Grow Up and Out of Dysfunction; The Unofficial Guide to Dating Again; Money, Sex and Kids: Stop Fighting About the Three Things That Can Ruin Your Marriage, The Commuter Marriage, and her newest, Love Styles: How to Celebrate Your Differences. She writes the “Dr. Romance” blog, and the “Happiness Tips from Tina” email newsletter.