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This week, one reader says that his girlfriend of three years sends pictures of herself to other men, while another wonders if she should leave her boyfriend who has decided he doesn't want a baby. Relationship expert Dr. Gilda Carle cuts through the fluff with her love advice in TODAY.com's "30-second therapist" series.
Q: My girlfriend and I have been in a relationship for three years. We’re in our early 40s. She sends pictures of herself to other men that she claims are just friends. Two of the pictures I have seen are face and body pictures. One of the pictures was sent to me by accident. I’m not sure what else she has sent out.
One of the guys said he wanted to have sex with her, and she told me he was just playing. He doesn’t know I exist.
Is it okay for a woman to chat with male friends online all times of the day and night, explaining that I don’t need to know who she’s chatting with? Isn’t this a form of cheating? This has caused me to be leery of what she does online. She says I’m being insecure. Please give me your take on this. --Male Wanting Fidelity
My Gilda-Gram™ advises, “Relationship distrust accelerates derailment.”
At this stage, your union should be enjoying deep friendship and calm. Instead, you’re wondering whether girlfriend is friending potential competitors for your affections.
Is your lady trying to make you jealous to secure a marriage proposal? Is she trying to push you out the door? You deserve someone who will communicate directly and honestly, rather than play games. After three years, you still feel the need to remind girlfriend, “This is me you’re talking to,” as Trisha Yearwood sings in the song with the same title. Dude, I’m afraid your relationship has greater issues than whether it’s okay to chat with strangers online! Candid sharing should be your number one priority—with any woman. —Dr. Gilda
Q: I am dating a man who initially told me he could go either way when it comes to having a baby. I am 38 and he is 46, but now he has changed his mind, saying that he doesn't want to have a child and doesn't want the responsibility of raising one at his age. I love him and I am confused whether I should stay or move on. Until now, I was so sure that I wanted to be a mom, but now I’m confused as I’m pushing 40. Will I find a man who’d want a child? —Baby Mama Maybe
Dear Baby Mama Maybe,
Do you want a baby, or do you want this man’s baby? There’s a big difference between the two. No guy wants to be used as a sperm bank. The fact that you’re questioning whether you’ll “find a man who’d want a child” suggests it’s the child over the man you’re seeking—and I wouldn’t be surprised if your man has sensed this. However, it sounds like you, too, are pondering parenthood.
With your boyfriend’s decision not to, and your own indecisiveness, it seems to be a poor choice to bring a child into the world—and possibly raise it begrudgingly for years to come. First resolve who gets top billing: this man or a baby with someone else. What’s to come next will then fall into place. —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.