30 second therapist

My ex chose family over me — but I want him back

May 10, 2013 at 10:38 AM ET

Need a quick answer to a relationship dilemma? Relationship expert Dr. Gilda Carle cuts through the fluff with her relationship advice in TODAY.com’s “30-second therapist” series.

Q: My ex and I broke up a year and a half ago because his family didn't like me. He's really big on family and he "couldn't" be with someone his family didn't accept. I've always had this feeling that things weren't actually over between us. I'm not dating anyone right now because I can't get over my ex.

I contacted him recently because when we broke up I had some big news to share with him. I'm very proud, so contacting him was a huge deal for me. We exchanged messages back and forth and he told me he misses me and thinks about me and still cares. We were even going to see each other, but he backed out last minute. My last response to one of his messages was a bland "ok." He read it, but never replied. Now I feel even worse than before. I don't know what to do. I feel like I'm never going to be able to move on. —Stuck

Dear Stuck,

Dude and his family have dismissed you—and this would hurt anyone. Sure, he may still have fond memories of your romance, but his family apparently rules.

Question 1: Do you want a guy who has to check in with mama to burp him? Question 2: Do you want a guy who doesn't have the gonadal power to stand up to his clan? Question 3: Do you want a guy who puts family before you?

You gave your heart to someone who didn't have a heart to return. Simply, a dependent child can't love in a grown-up way. You're stuck because you're trying to rationalize attracting this man-child into your life. Girlfriend, consider yourself lucky the baby bowed out. You need an adult! —Dr. Gilda

Q: I'm a 36-year-old male and my girlfriend is 22 years old. My girlfriend and I are taking some time off to evaluate our relationship. I have not been truthful or faithful to her in our past and it's hard for her to get over that. I was in a bad place when we met and looked for attention in all the wrong places. I know I messed up and will never hurt her again, but I truly love her and want to be with her. She says she still loves me, but isn't in love with me anymore. She says to give her some time and let her figure out what she wants. It's killing me not knowing. Lately, she's been spending all her time texting other guys and it really upsets me. I have a lot of baggage (ex-wives and children) that she has dealt with for the three years we've been together. She's still in college and I feel bad that I've made her grow up. I'm jealous and insecure, and I don't like it. What are your thoughts? —Panicked Without My Love

Dear Panicked,

You say, "I feel bad that I've made [my girlfriend] grow up." Ha! With your lies, cheating, jealousy, and insecurity, it seems that you were the one who needed to grow up! Now that she’s wised up, your ego's throwing a temper tantrum.

Why do you want her back? As my Gilda-Gram says, "An insecure man stays on his toes when another suitor is at his lady's heels." Your young ex spent three years in an incarcerating union with you, so now she wants to spread her wings. She says she's "not in love" with you. Where's your pride, dude? Get out of Dodge!

Scrutinize your three years together. That won't bring her back, but it will prevent you from repeating your same mistakes with other women. —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.

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