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TODAY contributor
updated 1/11/2013 3:39:20 PM ET 2013-01-11T20:39:20

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 with my boyfriend for about six years. During that time we broke up for a little while, and I became close friends with someone else with whom I never slept. That guy moved away, but after I got back together with my boyfriend, we still had contact over Facebook and text. My boyfriend knew we talked and didn't mind. The person returned to our town and I went to visit him. I didn't tell my boyfriend the truth because my mom convinced me not to. I spent the night there and slept in the same bed, but under different blankets, and I left around 4 a.m. Since then, we have not talked, and he got married. My boyfriend and I are thinking about doing the same. However, it's been over a year, and I still feel really bad about it, but I’m scared to tell my boyfriend. What do I do? Will I lose him? —Regretful

Dear Regretful,
People have two motives for revealing their past: to support their relationship or to sap their relationship.  So what’s your motive, girl? You’re right to want to begin marriage with a clean slate; if your disclosure is based on supporting an honest union, great, but there’s no telling how your honey will react. 

Also consider that your revelation may be an unconscious attempt to flaunt your desirability. My Gilda-Gram™ offers, “An insecure man stays on his toes when another suitor is at his lady’s heels.” Are you testing the security of your partnership? After six years, if the rose is losing its bloom, jealousy will not re-ignite the passion.  Before taking any next step, ponder all possibilities and their ramifications.

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Q: I’ve been divorced for four years, and due to some serious financial problems, I moved back in with my very controlling ex. (I gave her the home when we divorced, setting myself up for my current financial crisis.) Because I am living with her, I have not been able to have a successful relationship. I am growing very tired of having to hide where I am living from someone I care very deeply about.  Yet, I’m having a difficult time completely walking away from the property I invested time and effort creating as a retreat from the outside world. Now I feel very trapped (I do not sleep in the same room as my ex). How can I break these chains? — Grasping for Breath

Dear Grasping,
How “tired” are you really “of having to hide” your living situation from someone you allegedly “care very deeply about”? What kind of depth do you think you have if you’re not revealing your true self? You knowingly set yourself up for financial dependency and caretaking from a mommy figure you dislike. Is remaining and complaining your M.O.?

While you blame financial problems for returning to your ex, you also say you don’t want to “walk away from” your property. But you already did. So what is it, dude? Clearly, you don’t want to be alone! You don’t need a 12-step program to know how to “break these chains.” Simply, get up and get out. And while you’re at it, grow up and become self-sufficient! —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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