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TODAY contributor
updated 10/26/2012 10:27:35 AM ET 2012-10-26T14:27:35

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: My fiancé and I are great together. We are faithful, honest, trustworthy and loyal. My concern is how to navigate the storm created by my future mother-in-law. Currently, I stay out of it and let my fiancé mediate, but she is manipulative, and I have to put my foot down sometimes.

When he sides with me and refuses to make choices that affect us without consulting me, she throws a fit, gets mean and says hurtful words to him. He is tender hearted under a tough exterior, and I am biting my tongue at the moment. He covers over the offense, because he is a good man that sees the best in others.

It is hurting our relationship, because she won't stop and is becoming more aggressive. His frustration carries over into our time together. How do I deal with a future mother-in-law that won't let go of her son? — Suffering from Unwanted Intruder

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Dear Suffering,
Mommy dearest knows three’s a crowd. But she’s still in bed with Oedipus and fighting to keep her side of the mattress warm. She’d be territorial towards any female, so don’t take this personally.

You think you’ve exited this tug-of-war. Yet, “I have to put my foot down” and “I am biting my tongue” point to your involvement. But the plague “is becoming more aggressive,” so your attempts are not working. Leave the triangle! When your fiancé complains, tell him, “I trust you’ll work this out.” The guy needs to man up to mama! So abandon your stilettoes, and let him put his foot down. As it stands now, you can’t start a marriage in need of crowd control. — Dr. Gilda

Q: I recently left a long relationship with my boyfriend. Until now, I have not been seeing anyone, but at a party, a woman asked me to come to dinner. I went, thinking there would be loads of people there. But it was just us two.

She made a delicious meal, but while eating, I felt her foot moving up my leg. I felt unsure of what to do, so I readjusted my seat and moved. We have a lot in common and get on very well. After the meal, we sat down to watch a film, and she started to get quite close. At one point, she popped off my heels and gave me a foot massage. I could feel myself responding to her.

I felt strange throughout the rest of the evening and made an excuse to leave as soon as the film ended. I think this girl is attracted to me, but I don't know what to do or how to handle this. Something back there felt right, but I don't know. Please help! — Am I Gay?

Dear Am I Gay,

After terminating a long relationship, most people feel lonely and off-balance. So you’re likely to fall prey to someone’s attentions, even if that person is off limits. This woman touched your need for love at a vulnerable time. Responding to her was human — and doesn’t make you gay.

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Girl, a romance with anyone now, no matter what the gender, is too soon. My Gilda-Gram  explains, “To be held at night is easy; to be loved by day takes work.” You’re not ready to work towards new romance until you’ve plumbed the problems of your past. Besides, your next partner deserves a grounded mate who’ll return his (or her) feelings. It’s not a question of being gay or straight. Simply, you’re not yet date material. — 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 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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