This week, one reader struggles with devastating news from her fiancé , while another ready asks what she should do with her boyfriend who is continuously cheating. Relationship expert Dr. Gilda Carle cuts through the fluff with her love advice in TODAY.com's "30-second therapist" series.
Q: My fiancé and I had been living together for more than 10 years. While I was out of town, he called me and said he needed a change. He said he loves me, but he is not in love with me. When I arrived home, he said he met someone and he still wants to be friends. That was the end of the conversation. He wouldn't talk about anything else. I moved out. How do I get through this heartbreaking and devastating event? Please help!—Suffering Ex
Dear Suffering Ex,
After spending a decade with someone, it’s a shock to discover he wants to break things off. But while you may feel like a passive bystander, every breakup involves two people. In her song, “Automatic,” Miranda Lambert sings, “It all just seemed so good the way we had it, back before everything became automatic.” Did your relationship morph into “automatic” routines? Accept that there were signs you missed. Probe them, enumerate them and evaluate your role in the demise.
The good news is that your life is now yours, to lavish with gobs of self-care. Eventually, the shock will leave, and what you’ve learned from this pain will pave the way for something healthier.—Dr. Gilda
Q: I have been living with my boyfriend for five years. At the end of the first year, I found out he had been cheating the whole time we were together with two women! He told me how much he loves me and that he had no idea why he did it. “Just stupid,” he said. He promised to go to counseling, but that never happened. I’m happy with him for a while, but then I'll find out he's been talking to people online again! Some of them have been men! He swears he's not gay or bi, but “just stupid,” because he wants the attention! What do I do?—Woman in Pain
Dear Woman in Pain,
While your boyfriend’s lame cheating excuse is that he’s “just stupid,” what’s your excuse for hanging on? You knew what he was doing for four years after you caught him, but you bought his hollow words of “how much he loves” you, and you settled “for a while” for fragments of happiness. Whether he’s gay, bi or hetero pales compared to the fact that he’s not yours! Girl, get real!
Dude “promised to go to counseling.” How’d that work? Now you ask, “What do I do?!” My Gilda-Gram™ warns, “To create a different dance, you have to change your steps.” Honey, while boyfriend’s doing a slow dance with any available someone, you must shuffle on out of there now! Dude’s not changing.—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.