May 24, 2013 at 11:42 AM ET
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 says she can’t understand why the man she was dating, who was committed to another woman, cheated on them both with someone else.
Q: I spent eight years off and on in an affair with a man who lived with another woman. She recently left him, and I thought it would be our time to be together in a real relationship. Instead, he dumped me, saying he wasn't sure what he wanted and needed time.
A week later, I discovered he was seeing someone else for six weeks, before he ended things with me and before his live-in had moved out. So he now had three women in his life! This was supposed to be my happy ending with him. I waited all those years for him to be single and free again. We had a great relationship.
So why would he pick this new woman when he was finally available, and not me? He has destroyed me inside. I've had no contact for two months, trying to heal, yet still hoping that someday he will call again, but this time say he made a mistake.
After eight years with me, 11 years living with someone else, how did he just move on like that? It’s as if he has no heart or feelings, and just forgot me overnight. --Crushed
What? For eight years, you believed you “had a great relationship” with a cheater? Girlfriend, define “great.” Cheaters cheat even the ones they’re cheating with. Somewhere, you learned you deserved less than a man’s full love, so you adhered like peanut butter to dude’s jelly commitment. You even misconstrued that eventually he’d be your “happy ending.” Smoke alert! If dude wanted to end up with you, he would have made you his happy beginning from the start!
The shock has awakened you from unconsciousness. Get off the victim whine that “he has destroyed [you] inside.” Instead, thank the spirits that another foolish female has replaced you. Eight misguided years might have morphed into 18. Aren’t you lucky they didn’t? --Dr. Gilda
Q: I have been married for 15 years. We have two kids, age 10 and 12. I just found out my husband has been cheating on me for months. I am devastated. He promises it won't happen again. I tried to forgive him, but I don't believe it's the first time, nor will it be the last. I think he might be a sex addict. He never seems satisfied, yet we average five to eight times a week. If that isn't enough for him and he has to go elsewhere, what should I do? He refuses to see a counselor, and gets mad when I question his whereabouts. He tells me I have to trust him when I have no reason to do so. Please help! --Wife of a Sex Addict
Sex therapists say that most couples enjoy sex once or twice a week. Your five-to-eight time weeklies exceed reported standards, yet your husband wants more. Is it just sex he’s after? How are the other parts of your relationship?
Observe this Gilda-Gram ™: “Whoever’s hurting must seek the healing.” If hubby doesn’t believe he needs counseling, book sessions for yourself alone. In therapy, you’ll learn to pose questions in non-threatening ways, you’ll master your right to trust over time and you’ll decide whether to remain in your marriage. The way you navigate this conundrum will determine where you’ll take your life—with or without the cheater, no matter what his problems. As soon as you accept your power, your devastation will be demolished. --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.