Need a quick answer to a relationship dilemma? Relationship expert Dr. Gilda Carle cuts through the fluff with her love advice in TODAY.com's "30-second therapist" series. This week, one reader wantsto know if she should leave her husband for her ex-boyfriend and another asks whether she should stay with her boyfriend, who is separated and refuses to get a divorce.
Q: I met my husband 5 years ago. We married last year and had a baby after much convincing on my part. Now, he ignores me, never makes time for me or our son and we rarely have sex, maybe once every few months. Recently, an old boyfriend contacted me, telling me he'd made a mistake and wants me back. He knows I'm married -- it’s like he knows I'm unhappy, despite my efforts to convince him I'm happy. He is promising me happily ever after, for me and my son. Why does my ex want me when my husband ignores me? Why does my ex want to make me happy, make my son's life amazing, and my husband seems not to care? I love my husband, but now that my ex has pointed it out to me, am I making a mistake by staying married? --Unhappily Ever After
Dear Unhappily Ever After,
Girlfriend, guys are hunters whose pursuit for prey takes precedence over even winning their prize! You're a challenge to this cad who's already walked. Good riddance, dude! He knows you're miserable, and you're coyly and dishonestly encouraging him because of your own self-serving needs.
Hubby felt conned into fatherhood, and he avoids sex so he won't be conned again. Instead of looking to fly to Neverland, put your efforts into your marriage, with counseling. If your spouse refuses to go, make the trek yourself. My Gilda-Gram advises, "Discard your junk before deciding to switch houses." Otherwise, any new relationship will find you buried beneath the same heap of rubbish. --Dr. Gilda
Q: I've been in a relationship with a guy for over 5 years. He is separated, but still married with a 6-year-old. The topic of divorce always comes up. But he ends it with "we're tight on money” or “I don't want to deal with her." I'm so over feeling like the other woman. I know he loves me. But how much does he really love me if I'm not priority? Should I just walk away from it all? --Fed Up
Dear Fed Up,
Despite a long 5+ years together, dude is NOT available, and probably won't ever be--in the way you'd like. Pack this in, and heed these guidelines for your future: 1) "Divorced" and "separated" are not synonymous. He’s still attached to his family! 2) Avoid separated suitors; they need to be alone, to sort out their problems. 3) For someone still so attached to his family, you'll always be the "other woman," although you imagine you're "over feeling like" one. Get real!
No, you are not, nor have you ever been, this guy's priority. Why it took you this long to become "fed up" is something you should explore with a professional. --Dr. Gilda
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Dr. Gilda Carle is the relationship expert to the stars. She is a professor emerita, has written 15 books, and her latest is “Don’t Bet on the Prince!”—Second Edition. She provides advice and coaching via Skype, email and phone.