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TODAY contributor
updated 11/30/2012 12:00:10 PM ET 2012-11-30T17:00:10

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: After 5 months, the guy I’m dating said, "We're fine, but we are not evolving. Let’s be friends." I’m a 49-year-old divorced mom, who has had many inappropriate relationships during the last 7 years of unmarried life. This man and I have the most compatible and respectful relationship I have been in — maybe forever. What do I do? — I Know Better!

Dear I Know Better,
Clearly, the five-monther thinks that HE “knows better” about what’s best. Your pursuit of an unavailable man may be more of the same “inappropriate relationship” pattern you’ve been following. The question is not how to turn this guy around; it’s how to identify these signs of inappropriateness before they dent you.

The first step to knowing better is to admit your 7-year itch has left you only with scratch marks.  Girl, digest this Gilda-Gram: “If he’s mine, I can’t lose him. If he’s not, I don’t want him.” You don’t want what’s not accessible. Get counseling to learn how to let go of unhealthy attractions. Loving someone who returns your feelings is proof that you “know better.” — Dr. Gilda

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Q: I have been with my girlfriend for two years and am very excited to introduce her to my mom. Before me, she was in a serious relationship for 3 years with another guy. They broke up 3 years ago, but now he has cancer, and she’s been visiting him at the hospital. This is fine with me.

She told me later she met his girlfriend, who didn't know about their previous relationship — and freaked. They all sat down, talked about the situation, and agreed they want to support his fight against his disease. Now that he’s home and on chemo, my girlfriend and her ex hang out with my knowledge.

The issue is that his girlfriend is never included, and my girlfriend doesn’t know if she’s even aware of these visits. This guy is putting a strain on his relationship and mine. Am I wrong? What are the ground rules for this? —Just Want Peace

Dear Just Want Peace,
You are not wrong for wanting a perfect little love boat; who doesn’t?  But you ARE wrong to think that others should conform to those neatly packaged “ground rules” you’d like to live by. What your girlfriend’s ex tells his new love is not your business.

Your giving gal is open with you, yet you deem your relationship “strained.” It IS strained when you say the support she’s providing her ex is “fine,” yet you have a temper tantrum over not being the center of attention. Buddy, this show’s not about you.

Right now, your girlfriend most needs your appreciation. If you want her love, be lovable. As it stands, all you’re in line to get is a pacifier for your whining and a door for your exit. —Dr. Gilda

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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