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TODAY contributor
updated 11/16/2012 11:30:31 AM ET 2012-11-16T16:30:31

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 live-in girlfriend ended our relationship, but she has asked me to be friends and not move out. I am in love with her, and am having a hard time letting go. I asked her if we can try to be friends if I do move out. She said no, because she can’t afford the house without me. What do I do? —Stuck

Dear Stuck,
So your ex wants you as a “friend” with financial benefits?  Excuse me, but what would the benefits of that arrangement be for you? Ex-lovers can never be “friends” right after a breakup because of the errant emotions still hanging loose.

If she can’t afford the house without you, let her find another roommate. She knows how you feel about her, but, as Jo Dee Messina sings, her “give a damn’s busted.” My Gilda-Gramdirects, “Seek respect before love.” Girlfriend wants you in her space, but not in her heart. Oh, really? “Selfish user” is what comes to my mind!  Move out, move on, and move up to someone who cares. —Dr. Gilda

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Q: I’m a single mother of a 3-year-old. I have been dating this guy (father of two) for more than a year and we’re still happy together. We have a lot of similar interests, but the major difference is our level of education. I have a master’s and he is a secondary school drop-out. Nevertheless, there is mutual understanding between us.

Recently, I met someone I dated in the past at college. He is a great guy, as well. He loves my daughter and now wants us to continue where we left off. With him, I feel more secure as far as the future is concerned, since we both have the same level of education. He is more stable financially, and could guide my daughter (and later, our children) to a brighter future. The major difference between these two men is their level of education. And this, of course, affects their principles in life, as well as their decision-making. Should I risk my relationship and start afresh with the new guy with whom I feel more secure about the future, or should I go on with my current relationship, where I am already emotionally stable, but more financially insecure about the future? —Totally Confused

Dear Totally Confused,
The answer to your dilemma lies in what you really want. You’ve already spent a year with boyfriend No. 1, and, surprise, surprise, you’re “still happy together.” So the discrepancy in education has not created the intellectual chasm you fear, or problems in “principles in life” or “decision-making.” Your internal argument that a college education guarantees a rosy future is specious. During these hard times, many blue collar workers are doing better than those with disengagement rings around their white collars.

Clearly, the guy who treats you best through sick and sin is the only guy you want. And that has nothing to do with his wallet! —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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