May 31, 2013 at 11:15 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 wonders why men keep dumping her when things seem to go well, while another wonders if her former friend-with-benefits will ever see her as more.
Q: I am confused and fed up. I met a guy through a mutual friend. We exchanged numbers, spoke on the phone for a few weeks and then started dating. He cooked dinner for me on a few occasions. Then, I thought it would be nice for me to cook a meal for him. However, on the day he was to come to dinner, he called to say he couldn't make it. There was an awkward silence, so I asked what was wrong. He then said he didn't think it would work between us because he had so much going on. I accepted this, and wished him well. I meet guys, we go out a few times, and then they change on me. Am I doing something wrong? It's really knocking down my confidence. --Just Dating, Want More
Dear Just Dating,
Dating for dogs involves sniffing around. Dating for humans involves going out. Both species wisely sample the wares before advancing. Men are initially interested, but you say they “change on me.” Consider whether a) you choose the wrong men, and/or b) you turn them off after YOU change to your comfort zone. Gilda-Gram™ alert: “To ignore your behavior is to repeat your behavior.” So let’s assess.
Abandon feeling cozy. If you like tall guys, date a shorty. If you like funny guys, date a crab. Note your behavior when you’re uncomfortable. Do you change when you’re relaxed? Especially, ask your dates for feedback. When they view your vulnerability and desire to grow, love could blossom. Let me know. --Dr. Gilda
Q: I have a neighbor who, after six months of friendship, became friends with benefits. After 3-4 months, he felt I took it too seriously and he didn't want either of us to get hurt, so we went back to being friends (without benefits) almost two years ago. I have feelings for him; and although we enjoy a GREAT friendship, I always hoped it would develop into something more. I find myself not wanting to go out anywhere because he and I might get together. He never brings anyone home and is a homebody; I'm a single mom who has been divorced for eight years, and I’m ready for a relationship. Am I wasting my time thinking he'll come around? I tend to wear rose-colored glasses. --Hopeful
De-fog those “rose-colored glasses!” You foolishly chose to barter “bennies” for a commitment contract—only the guy didn’t know. Men run from desperate women, and your friend became claustrophobic when you fenced him in. While you may be “ready for a relationship,” he is not—at least, with you.
But after two years (!), you’re still kicking around the hope he’ll change his mind. Girlfriend, get this straight: there’s no cheese in this tunnel!! Find a therapist who can help you explore why you’re setting yourself up for heartbreak. Once you know, you’ll start inching toward someone who returns your interest. --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.