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TODAY contributor
updated 4/26/2013 10:26:57 AM ET 2013-04-26T14:26:57

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.

Is my ex playing mind games with me or does he want me back?  He broke up with me, even though I did all I could to get him to rescind his decision. He stopped contacting me, and then the same week we broke up, he started calling me, asking why I stopped calling him! He came over to visit me, and asked for my help when he was in trouble. Later, he saw me, and called to ask where I was coming from. Finally, I called him, but he said he was busy and that he would call me back — but he never did. Does he want me back, or does he just want to be friends? —Really Confused

Dear Really Confused,
Girlfriend, what difference does it make as to what he wants? Whether your ex is cruelly “playing mind games” with you, or he truly doesn’t know whether he’d like you in his romantic life, his treatment of you is shabby. And if you accept it, you’re blaring that it’s okay for him to continue his torment.

Dude is smoking you out with his mixed messages, and you’re choking, yet hoping he’ll change!  Actually, you’re the one who needs changing! Honor yourself enough to vow you deserve a reliable, steady guy. Of course, if you think those traits are boring, your ex will keep looking attractive and inviting! That’s your choice! —Dr. Gilda

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Dear Dr. Gilda,
I am 25 years old, and was given herpes at 17 by a guy who raped me. This has really killed any self-esteem I used to have. It’s been eight years, and I am very careful, and have only had three outbreaks. But I feel that finding a man is going to be impossible. I waited to tell my ex-fiance after he and I had been together quite some time, and he even said that if he didn't love me before he found out, he probably would have left.

I'm so scared I'll never find a husband and have a family. I'm a Southern girl and that's always been my dream, but I'm afraid it might never happen. I actually pushed away the only man that did accept it.

I just want to be happy and loved for who I am. Not only did the rapist curse me with this lifelong disease that I could curse others with, he took my dignity and violated every emotion I have. Please, Dr. Gilda, what should I do? —Feeling Hopeless

Dear Feeling Hopeless,
I’m involved in the Unite Against Rape campaign. Reach out to them and realize you’re not alone. Also contact http://www.rainn.org/ and National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE. You must feel worthy and beautiful again.

Along those lines, you are not your virus! Research herpes dating and support groups online, and hear these people speak.

Most folks hide skeletons that shame them. But my Gilda-Gram™ warns, “Whichever way you see yourself is the image you project.” Turn your fears and hopelessness into positivity, by recognizing that herpes has made you more judicious about whom to love.

Get help, embolden your confidence, and see yourself as a hot catch. Girl, once you ready yourself for love, it will find you! —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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