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updated 8/30/2012 4:19:58 PM ET 2012-08-30T20:19:58

Dr. Gilda Carle

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: I have been married for 24 years, and my wife wants a divorce because I never show my love; I'm not romantic or demonstrative. I want a second chance, but she thinks my changing would be fake. She is my entire life, and I love her with all my heart. I can change and make her feel loved for the next 25 years. I fessed up to my mistakes, like not holding hands in public, and not kissing like we did when we were first married. I need all the help I can get to get her back! —Regretful Husband

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Dear Regretful,
After being together for a long time, many couples settle into “lazy.” Yet, most women want courtship to continue, while most men feel that since they’ve won their woman, they can finally drop that mushy stuff. This is a must-discuss topic, but one most couples ignore!

Regretful, you were oblivious to your wife’s unhappiness, and she dishonestly masked her feelings.  I’m surprised this union lasted for this length. Despite your wish to change now, she sounds disinterested, and I question whether she’s being courted elsewhere.  As painful as it is, each of you must at last disclose what you feel and what you want. Otherwise, you may fantasize a future that will never come to pass. —Dr. Gilda

Q: I met this totally awesome guy 2 months ago at work. (Our company allows dating.) We both agreed we weren't ready for a relationship, but wanted to have fun together. He constantly tells me of his whereabouts. He also calls me pet names. What am I to make of this? I wouldn't mind having more than just a "fun time" with him, but both of us must want a relationship that's not just physical. I’m confused about his behavior. —Bewildered

Dear Bewildered,
Games, games, games!  Each of you professed not to want commitment.  Yet YOU admit you could be persuaded otherwise, and HE’s showing signs of bonding.  So much for cheap talk!

Stop analyzing every action, as women often do, and drop the phony coyness, saying you’re “confused about his behavior.” You know the score.  The reason you’re feeling low is because you’ve already had sex, and now you want “a relationship that's not just physical.” Duh! You can’t unring the bell, nor can you guarantee the future.  For now, have the “fun” you originally wanted with hottie, and then let the real games begin! —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 emeritus, 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.

© 2012 MSNBC Interactive.  Reprints


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