March 28, 2014 at 2:39 PM ET
This week, one reader says that the woman he is dating says she's not attracted to him but still spends time with him. Another reader asks what to do about his wife who has been financially unfaithful to him. Relationship expert Dr. Gilda Carle cuts through the fluff with her love advice in TODAY.com's "30-second therapist" series.
Q: I have been seeing this girl since December, but last month, she told me she wants to be friends only. Her excuse was because of our age difference and she isn't physically attracted to me. In the meantime, she has stayed over my place, she constantly text messages me, and she spends way too much time with me. At times, there are moments when she pushes me away by saying that I will find the right girl, but she's not the one. She also has told me that at times she feels sorry when she treats me bad and that I will find someone better than her.
It's hard for me because I do like her a lot. I am not the type of guy she looks for, and in fact, I am the opposite. I know she is coming out of two bad relationships, and we have shared a lot of things. I am not pushing her or pressuring her, and am giving her space. I don't know what approach I should take with her now. —Perplexed Lover
In two short paragraphs, you’ve described three mixed messages you get from her: 1) She’s with you, but she’s not attracted to you; 2) She’s not attracted to you, but she presumably has sex with you; 3) She admits to treating you badly, but she’s sorry for it later. Lover, your question should not be, ”What approach should I take with her now?” but rather, “Why am I staying at all?”
People put up with bad treatment because they think that’s what they deserve. My e-book, “I’m Worth Loving. Here’s Why!,” would help you. Its theme is this Gilda-Gram™: “To HAVE a worthy partner, BE a worthy partner.” When you up your self-worth, you’ll improve the lovers you attract. For now, agree with her—and look for “someone better.” —Dr. Gilda
Q: My wife of 14 years, second marriage for us both, has filed for a divorce. I do not want a divorce. She comes from a wealthy family, but cannot manage her finances. She withdrew several thousand dollars from her trust fund from her parents, and did not pay the taxes. The IRS sent us a bill for $22K for unpaid taxes, interest, and penalties. I responded that I would not pay half, and we filed jointly, as it was her responsibility. She responded by filing for a divorce. I later found out through discovery there is $48K in credit card debt also. She wants to divorce, sell off all of the jointly owned properties, pay all the debt, and go our separate ways. At this point in my life, I do not want to start over. What should I do? —Distraught Husband
Your wife wants out because you refused to pay her tax bills. You want to stay because you “do not want to start over.” What kept you together all these years?
Your marriage suffered financial infidelity—no less painful than the physical or emotional kind. A relationship without trust is a relationship that is doomed.
In his song, “I Hold On,” Dierks Bentley defines holding onto “the things I believe in, my faith, your love, our freedom.” Do you and your wife have such conviction? Have a truthful discussion to determine if both of you share any glimmer of hope. If it’s there, it might be worth working to re-build. But if your union is based only on money and comfort, you’ve already seen where that has taken you! —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.