Relationships

Should I give my unfaithful boyfriend one more chance?

May 3, 2013 at 11:26 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 boyfriend and I have been together for one year. After three months, I let him convince me to move in together. He was so sweet and thoughtful at first, but now he gets insecure. He doesn't want me to hang out with anyone else, even with female friends. He acts very selfish, controlling, and immature and never wants to take responsibility for his actions. He sets a double standard, so he feels he can do something, but I can't. Plus, he's very dramatic and can nag the heck out of everybody. On top of that, he is very condescending.

I made the mistake of giving up a lot for this relationship, including my schooling, while he was just taking and taking. I love him very much, but I'm starting to reach my limit with his crap. I know he loves me, but right now love doesn't seem to be enough. He's emotionally draining me, and I'm not sure what I should do. — Confused Girl

Dear Confused Girl,
OK, I get that your boyfriend is "insecure," "controlling," "selfish," "immature," "dramatic," "nagging," "condescending," and a "taker" rather than a "giver." With all these “great” qualities, it's obvious why you say, "I love him" and "he loves me" — NOT! Lady, it's time to advance from being a "girl" to a "woman."

Sustainable relationships must enhance your status, not “emotionally drain” you. You say you "made the mistake of giving up a lot for this relationship." Now I’m confused. Why are you still unsure of what you "should do?” Follow this Gilda-Gram ™: "If you’re in a miserable union, forget a 12-Step Program; you only need two steps: Get Up, Get OUT!!” — Dr. Gilda

Q: I was with my boyfriend for about three years. I thought I was a great partner; I supported him when he was down — financially and emotionally — and I thought we were happy. Then I found out he was cheating with a neighbor, and this was the fifth time he had been unfaithful! I threw him out of my house.

We've been apart for six months, and he swears he will change. Now he’s crying for me to give him another chance, and when I ask who else he's seeing, he swears on his life there's no one else. But then I get into his phone records, and I find he's texting four other women. Again, he cries, begs, and tells me he needs someone to pay attention to him, since I am not there anymore. He says he can't stand life without me, and he'll do whatever it takes to get me back.

He's proven over and over that he cannot be with one woman. I offered him an open relationship and he was offended. Dare I even consider that this guy learned his lesson and is now finally ready to be honest with me and have his first grown-up relationship at 42? Yes, he's 42! Please, please help me. One More Chance?

Dear One More Chance (no question mark!),
Dude got caught cheating, and now he says "he will change." "Will" is the operative word here. If he hasn’t yet, why should he now? Yet you are "daring" to "even consider that this guy learned his lesson and can be honest" now and is "finally ready to have his first grown-up relationship." Honey, you're living on Uranus! What would make the dude suddenly ready — at 42?

Face the facts: He admits that "he needs someone to pay attention to him." Translation: You'll have to breast-feed the infant 24/7 so he constantly feels nurtured. IS THIS REALLY OK WITH YOU? As you’ve considered an “open relationship,” and now a reunion, I’m afraid you're the one who needs to grow up! — 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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