Dec. 20, 2013 at 10:43 AM ET
This week, one reader says she wants her boyfriend to support her financially, while another reader says she's tired of paying her boyfriend's bills. Relationship expert Dr. Gilda Carle cuts through the fluff with her love advice in TODAY.com's "30-second therapist" series.
Q: For six months, I have had an intimate relationship with a rich, handsome guy. Since the first day we met, he hasn't given me even a pin as a gift or a penny for my upkeep. I'm jobless now, which he is aware of, but he hasn't made any effort to at least support me. I really need financial help, but I don't have the courage to ask because he has never given me the chance to. How can I make him give me money, or should I break up with him because he is stingy? —Financially Challenged
Girl, it’s attitudes like yours that cause some of my angry male clients to name women “prostitutes” when they expect payment for intimacy. You don’t want a boyfriend; you want a sugar daddy! Because “rich, handsome guy” hasn’t given you money, you name him “stingy.” In actuality, he’s wise to prevent himself from being used by a woman like you.
If you believe that men were put on this planet to support you, go to a sugar daddy website where the boundaries are understood. Even then, a guy you depend on could die, leave, or become incapacitated. Where would you be then? A healthier route would be for you to become independent. No man owes you anything, but you owe it to yourself to grow up! —Dr. Gilda
Q: In September, my boyfriend and I moved to Spain together. I have a job here as well as Spanish residency. He has neither. We have been together for almost two years. For the past six months, I have wanted to leave him. He is 30 years older than I. In the beginning, I did not see this as an issue. In the recent months, I have begun to really despise him. I realized how controlling, negative, and ignorant he is. For the longest time, he managed to bully me out of driving my own car when we would go places, and he doesn't even have a license. He got me to buy him a vehicle of his own, promising he would pay me back, and never did. He has always and continues to use me. When I tell him this, he points out that love is unconditional and that you should give what you can to someone you love. I really do not love him anymore.
The problem is that we are in Spain now. He is jobless and would have nowhere to go back to in the States. I told him if anything ever happened between us, I would pay for his flight and $1,000 to help him get settled somewhere. I have tried to leave him since, but he always guilts me into staying, saying he gave up everything for me. I am working incredibly hard, having all my earnings go to our expenses, while he does nothing. I am in Europe, and I should be traveling. However, I feel old and bitter with him.
Please help! I am desperate to live freely and just be alone for a while. I obsess over leaving him. —Need Out
Dear Need Out,
As my Gilda-Gram™ says, “Togetherness should not feel like maximum security lockup.” You “despise” dude, he is “controlling, negative, and ignorant,” he bullies you, and takes all your money. Yet, he “always guilts [you] into staying.” Why do you allow yourself to be hoodwinked?
A non-contributing hanger-on is a turn-off, and you never signed up for this arrangement. So stop obsessing, and start acting. Tell your guy you want him out by a pre-selected date, and that you’ll honor your promise of money and a flight back. Show it’s non-negotiable, and dude won’t be able to “guilt” you into anything. If you still feel guilty, read books on assertiveness. What’s more important to you: your freedom or his manipulation? —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.