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TODAY contributor
updated 11/9/2012 10:28:40 AM ET 2012-11-09T15:28:40

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 am a 29-year-old female and I've never had a serious relationship. I don't seem to be able to go from dating to a relationship. I feel anxious about just "hanging out" with a guy because I’m panicked that he might find me boring because I can't think of anything to say! I have lots of good friends, a great job and I'm very outgoing in group situations.  How can I get past this anxiety with guys? —Love Numb

Dear Love Numb,
“Open-mouth/insert-foot syndrome is a universal fear. Ironically, the harder people try not to make an oral faux pas, the more likely they are to do just that! My Gilda-Gram explains, “What you think about, you bring about” because your conscious mind is forever focusing on what you should not do. Further, since you deem yourself as boring, that image has become your self-fulfilling prophecy.

To “get past” all this, acknowledge your own great traits and deconstruct the pedestal on which you put each hottie. Next time you’re with a dude, treat him as one of your pals. Let him labor to change that status. The harder a prize is to get, the more coveted it is when it’s won. —Dr Gilda

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Q: I'm in a relationship with a man who has two sons, one of whom isn't his biological child. I understand he wants to be a stand-up guy and be a role model for this fatherless kid. However, it is really putting a strain on our relationship. I care for my boyfriend and his son, but I just can't bring myself to look at his "god son" as his own, and he expects me to. He told me about baby No. 2 from day one, but he wasn't around until several months later. He has both of them every single weekend (he's an awesome father), but he doesn't see the difference between being a father figure in the boy's life and trying to be the boy's father. I don't want him to walk away from the baby. I just don't want him to be in my life every weekend if he isn't a biological son. I don't know how to deal with it. Please help! —Biology Is Everything

Dear Biology,
Whoa, Girl!  Boyfriend is not your puppet. He can name whomever he chooses his “son”—biological or otherwise. This boy is lucky to have him. The question is, why does he want you?

How is a child’s biology “putting a strain” on your relationship? Your “I don't want’s…” are demanding and controlling. The reason you can’t “deal” with this situation is because you’re not calling the shots. Yay that boyfriend has a backbone to stand up to you — and that there’s tension now that points to your bratty insistence.

Many women would appreciate this committed guy. Either accept the circumstances, or vanish from the scene. Regardless, you need therapy to learn the art of love. —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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