This week, one reader says her boyfriend of six years split when he learned she was pregnant and another says he's frustrated by his insecure girlfriend. Relationship expert Dr. Gilda Carle cuts through the fluff with her love advice in TODAY.com's "30-second therapist" series.
Q: I'm 28 years old and have been with the same man for more than six years. We got pregnant a few months ago, and everything was going great. But when I hit five months and summertime came, he took off, telling me he needed his freedom and space. He left me for his friends, so he could go drinking at bars whenever he wanted to.
I feel so lost and confused. I'm scared to death to have this baby all alone, and figure out how to care for this sweet little gift from God, while he gets to go off and party, feeling no remorse. I found out that a week after he left me he started dating a much younger girl. My heart broke all over again. He has not contacted me in over a month and I don't know if I should contact him. The last time I tried, he was mean and hurtful in telling me he found someone else. I'm heartbroken. If you have any advice for me, I’d greatly appreciate it. —Preggers and Alone
Dear Preggers and Alone,
After six years together, you’d think you’d know someone. But as my Gilda-Gram™ warns, “Reassess someone after seeing him in crisis.” I’ll bet the years you spent together never revealed how he navigates tough times. Now, as your fetus becomes more than a fantasy, dude is scared. He “escaped” to carefree drinking and partying with a “much younger girl” he may think requires less upkeep. So girlfriend, your crisis now demands you reevaluate the man/child you thought you knew!
Immediately line up a trusted support system, because you and baby are where your focus now must be. If Peter Pan suddenly gets a conscience, maybe he’ll return. But also, maybe you won’t want him then as a significant other! Either way, you and your baby have legal rights that he can't run away from, so reach out to the child support services in your state to find out your options. — Dr. Gilda
Q: My girlfriend and I have been together for three years. She gets very insecure if I talk to her friend. I think men and women in relationships can have friends of the opposite sex. My girlfriend was abused the majority of her life, and when her friend is around, she questions me about why I said anything to her. She has a fear of losing me, and I’m not sure what to do. Any suggestions? —In Love with Insecurity
Dear In Love with Insecurity,
People who gravitate to insecure mates usually enjoy feeling dominant. But the down side is that, because of their lover’s distrust, they must explain all their interactions. Ironically, that smothers them, and suddenly makes them the submissive partner!
Your compassion for your girlfriend’s history of abuse is touching, but it’s her responsibility to heal so she can live a fruitful life. Unless you want to be her babysitter, she’s got to take the reins!
Encourage her to seek professional help, and let her know you’ll support her through it. Exploring her past may add stress to your romance. But if her dependent dance continues, you will come to resent the glue she’s stuck on you! — Dr. Gilda
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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.