This week, one reader says her boyfriend can't get over her sexual history, while another is contemplating
reaching out to an ex. Relationship expert Dr. Gilda Carle cuts through the fluff with her love advice in TODAY.com's "30-second therapist" series.
Q: Ever since I told my boyfriend about my past (that I have slept with about 60 guys), he has not been able to get over it. Nine months in our relationship and he assures me every once in a while that he has to have his own sexual experiences before getting married so he can be fulfilled and have no regrets. He has only slept with a few girls. I can't have a conversation without using “trigger” words that make him look at me in disgust and admit how he can't deal with my sexual history. He compares me to other girls and even labels me. But at other times, he says he really loves me. I can't stand this. Do I break up with him? How will I be sure he will still love me after sleeping around or having his sexual experiences? Will he still come back to me? I'm confused out of my mind. —Lady With a Past
Dear Lady With a Past,
Did you gulp a double dose of truth serum? Having a boyfriend doesn’t mean divulging every zit you’ve ever had! Because of your bragging, boyfriend now thinks he’s in a competitive sex war. Or perhaps you’re deliberately sabotaging this union. In the song “Isn’t That So?,” Lyle Lovett sings that “you got to go when your heart says go.” Decipher whether this is what your heart is telling you—and determine whether you’re a commitment phobe!
No matter what the cause, you can’t retract what you have already shared. Instead of flinging revelations that pump you up and diminish your guy, decide what your love goal is. Whether it’s for this relationship or your next, you must learn to co-exist without competing. Otherwise, forget long-term love with anyone.
Q: My dad recently got promoted to a job that relocated him to the same city as my ex. We haven't spoken in years, but of all the guys I dated, this one was the one my dad wanted me to end up with. That can't happen now, as mutual friends have said my ex is newly engaged. Would it be wise to reach out just as a friend? Or is it best to stay mum? —Reconnection Pending
Dear Reconnection Pending,
Since years have passed, there’s no harm in sending a friendly “hello” to an old flame. But question your motives. You say it was your dad’s wish for you to “end up with” this dude. Now that your father is moving away, is honoring his wish a secret ploy to keep dad and you emotionally bonded?
Since you’re single and your ex is not, you may be wondering when your turn at love will come. Fix unfinished business you may have with your father. My Gilda-Gram™ explains that “when you heal your relationship with your parents, you heal your relationship with yourself.” Work on becoming content with your present life, so you won’t need to reach to the past, especially if it’s to satisfy someone else! —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.