This week, one reader wonders how to start dating again after a breakup, while another asks if his stripper girlfriend is in a relationship with him only for the money. Relationship expert Dr. Gilda Carle cuts through the fluff with her love advice in TODAY.com's "30-second therapist" series.
Q: I'm a good man and have always treated women with respect. My relationships seem to last no longer than six years. For the first time, I started going to strip clubs with guys I work with, where I met a stripper I like. I had her over to my house, and I've seen her a few times since we met. She's a single mom going to school to be a nurse.
I like to see the good in people, but I'm not sure if she is with me to take my money or have a relationship. I have no clue how to read women. I am taking it slow, but I'm falling for her. I would get advice from my sister, who I used to talk about everything with, but she passed away from cancer a few years ago. —Falling Again
You’ve seen this stripper only “a few times,” and already you’re suspicious she might be with you “to take [your] money!" You say, “I am taking it slow,” yet “I’m falling for her” — after only those “few times.” What happened to your reservations that she might be money grubbing? Whoa! My Gilda-Gram™ warns, “Take time to breathe. The tortoise can always catch up.”
“I like to see the good in people” rationalizes the fact that you’re seeing her only as the good single mom in school. “I have no clue how to read women” is more accurate. Dude, date her, differentiate between the lust and the dust, and see what kind of soul she has. Only then will you be ready to predict a future with her. —Dr. Gilda
Q: After a breakup a year ago, I'm finally ready to start dating again, but am unsure where to start. In your opinion, where is the best place to meet a guy? I already belong to a gym, so please don't say that. I'm a 40-something who would like to be with someone who has the same interests as me. I know I have to give new ways of meeting someone a chance, but I feel stuck. The bar scene is really not for me. I know everyone says that, but honestly, my bar hopping days are over. Please help me figure out the next step. Thanks in advance! —Ready Now
Dear Ready Now,
Congratulations for knowing to wait before rejoining the dating pool. Congratulations for recognizing you want “someone who has the same interests” as you. Congratulations for advancing from the bar scene. But you shouldn't overlook other meeting places — like your gym — where you’d have common ground with another gym rat. You ask for the “best place to meet a guy.” There is no best place; you make the best of every place you visit!
Attend events you haven’t experienced before, demonstrating obvious openness to chat with strangers. Look men in the eyes, smile and ask questions. Because no guy wants to be rebuffed, genuine sincerity can ignite unexpected sparks! —Dr. Gilda