Q: I have been dating a guy for eight months. He calls me his "playtoy," not his “girlfriend,” to his friends and co-workers. But he is always sweet, saying he misses me and cares. I’m ashamed I went through his text messages, but when I did, I saw him sexting a girl he knew in high school. I was upset and asked about this. He said it’s no big deal, and they’ve been sexting for years. I asked if he saw me in his future, and he replied he's still figuring stuff out. Should I be heading for the door? I can't be with another emotionally unavailable guy, and I'm wondering if I'm just so jaded that I either don't see the red flags or that I’m looking for ones that aren't there. —Sexting Her, Dating Me
Dear Sexting Her, Dating Me,
The moment you feel compelled to question if someone sees you in his crystal ball, that’s the moment you’ve derived your answer! Dude is a player. And he even calls you his “play TOY.” Which syllable of “play-er” don’t you get? Saying he misses you and cares is not showing he misses you and cares. If you trusted him, you wouldn’t be rummaging through his texts. But now that you know he’s sextual with someone on the side, why are you still hanging on?
You say, “I can’t be with another emotionally unavailable guy.” Girlfriend, what do you think you’re with now? It’s not being jaded that’s giving you tunnel vision; it’s your desperation for love. Dump the dude, build your trust, and find a partner who truly believes you’re “girlfriend” material. —Dr. Gilda
More about relationships
Q: I’ve been divorced for three years, but my ex refuses to cooperate regarding our two small kids. Instead, she lies during family court, and is angry and bitter towards me. Our children are significantly compromised, but she refuses to accept that her behaviors impact them. I thought after three years, her bitterness would subside, but it’s only growing stronger. I have tried all I can to improve our relationship for the sake of the kids, but I only get hostility in return. What would it take? —Perplexed Parent
Dear Perplexed Parent,
Innocent kids unable to defend themselves feel torn between warring parents. So someone in the mix must be the adult. It seems that someone is you.
But there are two sides to every story. Why has your ex’s bitterness escalated despite 3 years of distance between you? Knowing the “why” will provide guidelines for “how” to handle further interaction. If you note that certain words set her off, steer clear of them. If you’re involved with a new love, don’t flaunt her. Meanwhile, be the best dad you can. As upsetting as this chaos is, refrain from damning comments to your kids about their mom. When they’re grown, your non-judgmental stance will have prepared them to make mature assessments of both their parents. —Dr. Gilda
Do you agree with Dr. Gilda’s advice? Do you have your own? Share it in the comments below.
Want Dr. Gilda to answer your relationship questions? Click here to send them in!
Dr. Gilda Carle is the relationship expert to the stars. She is a professor at New York’s Mercy College and has written 15 books; her latest is “Don’t Bet on the Prince!”
© 2012 MSNBC Interactive. Reprints