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TODAY contributor
updated 1/25/2013 3:24:44 PM ET 2013-01-25T20:24:44

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 soon to marry a man who has a manipulative mom. I’ve been with this guy for two years. He’s 44 and I’m 46, and I have a grown married son with two little ones. I also have two teen daughters. He has no kids. His mother thinks I’m not right for him and wants him to find a woman who will give her grandchildren. He told her that my youngest wants him to adopt her, and all the kids look at him as a father figure, and the grandbabies call him “Pa,” so she will have grandkids. To her, it’s not the same. He doesn’t want kids. When he told her he asked me to marry him, she cried.

His mom will go to great lengths to get what she wants. He wants his mom to be happy for him, and I know he’s always been afraid to stand up to her. I love him, and I’m having a hard time keeping quiet. I know there is no way I can deal with this forever. She seems like she could be a nice lady, but I have started to dislike her. Please help! —Almost Maybe Wed

Dear Almost Maybe,
This man comes to you as a package deal:  “Love me, love my mama.”  And you come to him with a package of your own:  two teen daughters still living at home.  While he has welcomed your kids and grandkids, his opinionated mom will derail your relationship — if you allow it.

Understand that mama’s boy and mommy are joined at the hip, and for 44 years, he’s rejected a surgical removal. If he’s afraid of her, HE must resolve this, not you.  Do you still intend to proceed with this marriage?  Then girlfriend, master diplomacy and win her over! You admit she “could be a nice lady,” so play up her potential, and block your ego from intervening. —Dr. Gilda

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Q: I’ve read your work and know you’re a straight shooter. I dated a lady who left me after graduation from college. Friends told me she was pregnant. After giving birth, she contacted me for a loan. We met, and she told me a man she dated forced her into sex and later disappeared. Because she was not working, I gave her money to help her out. She apologized for the past, and requested we make a second attempt together. My friends say that since she contacted me, she will settle down with me if I’m willing. I love her.  Could she ever become a loving partner? —Want a New Chapter

Dear Want a New Chapter,
Dude, what do you love about this woman? The memory of when she left you, then asked you for a loan? The reality that she’s dependent on you for financial support?  Of course she wants a “second attempt together;” she’s got a kid now and no means of feeding him. 

Where did your clueless friends get their insight? Actually, she contacted you because she needs you, not because she wants you. As her walking wallet, you’re about to get spent.  You already know she’s not a “loving partner,” but you’re asking if she’ll change.  Why should she?  My Gilda-Gram™ advises, “What you fight to get, you’ll fight to keep.” Do you want to spend your life fighting? —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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