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TODAY contributor
updated 2/8/2013 10:25:18 AM ET 2013-02-08T15:25:18

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 boyfriend and I have been dating for nine months. Things are good when we're together, but when we're not, there's little or no communication or contact. I have asked him to communicate better, but he keeps breaking his promise.  He's extremely lazy and sleeps most of his spare time. He's not happy with his job, and often says he hasn't achieved much in life compared to his peers. I'm 21 and he's 30. We used to work together, so we saw each other constantly, but now it's once a week on weekends — if I make the effort to travel the hour to see him.

Every time I tell him I've had enough, he tells me what I want to hear, but doesn’t follow through. I don't want to split up with him, as I care too much about him, but I don't know if he'll ever get better and whether our relationship will move forward. —Where’s the Love?

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Dear Where’s the Love,
You ask, “Where’s the love?” Obviously, it’s not where you want it to be. Dude feels like a failure, he’s depressed, he’s unwilling to get help, and he chooses to bury his misery under his covers. At 21, you’ve accepted apathetic treatment from a guy you name your “boyfriend,” a guy you hope will “get better,” and despite saying you’ve “had enough,” you complain—but remain!

Really disturbing is your statement, “I don't want to split up with him, as I care too much about him…” Why? He’s incapable of giving to you because he can’t give to himself. He needs help. The only question you must ask is why you’re settling for so little. —Dr. Gilda

Q: My husband of eight years hasn't given me an anniversary card for two of the last three years of our marriage, and I want to know what it says about how he feels about me and our marriage. He had a seizure a few weeks after we started building our dream home, making him unable to drive for six months. During that time, I was responsible for his transportation to and from work, to the store, anything, anywhere, and at any time, day or night. He was finally cleared to drive, and we moved into our new home. He managed to buy presents for his parents and child, but he said he didn't have time to buy an anniversary card for me. As a result, I didn't sign or give him the card I bought for him. I am deeply hurt, and secretly crying over this for a month. This wasn't the first time he didn't acknowledge our anniversary, so I don't believe it was a result of his seizure and/or depression. Am I missing some deeper message? —Angry Wife

Dear Angry Wife,
As Gary Chapman’s book, “The Five Love Languages” points out, people express love in different ways.  Some believe physical gifts are essential, while others embrace flowery words.  Hubby probably doesn’t give cards much credence, while you apparently do.  But “secretly crying over this” explains what’s wrong in your marriage.  Also, the amount of space you occupied describing your caretaking suggests you’re “secretly” raging over that, too.

Woman, holding onto “secret” grudges is worthless. My Gilda-Gram™ explains, “You won’t receive if you don’t forgive.” Just because you’re in your dream house doesn’t mean your dream husband can read your cranium like a crystal ball.  Disclose your wants and feelings, so at least your guy’s got a fighting chance. —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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