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 husband kept a female "friend" secret from me for two years. She was a business associate in another state with whom he spent a lot of personal time, in addition to many, many texts from 4 a.m. until 10 p.m. and hundreds of emails. He says this was non-sexual and mostly business. It hurts me just as much as an actual affair, but he tells me to get over it. Why can't I get over it? It's been a year since I discovered this, and it still hurts. There were many lies during this time to cover where he was and what he was really doing. —Still Hurting
Dear Still Hurting,
Flap A need not be inserted into Slot B for a mate to cheat. But a cagey rationalizer might try to make a case with the cover-up that “nothing happened, so ‘get over it.’” What does “mostly business” signify? Especially at 4 a.m. Hubby’s attempt to sell you on his hogwash reflects his disdain for you and your marriage.
Emotional infidelity can be even more devastating than physical infidelity because it’s so nebulous. For healing to occur, your husband must own up to his deviance, and you must examine why you accepted his emotional distance for two long years. Get counseling to assess these, and also to determine where you want to take your marriage now—if anywhere. —Dr. Gilda
Q: After breaking up with my boyfriend because of his over-possessive nature, I started having feelings for my best friend. I really like him, and he likes me too. But I’m not comfortable getting intimate with him, and feel guilty when I do. He is very understanding, and it is this quality in him which attracts me. My ex doesn't know about this guy, and he will do almost anything for me to take him back. I am not able to understand my feelings at this stage, and I’m not able to move forward with anything. Please help. —In Limbo
Dear In Limbo,
While it’s flattering that boryfriend still wants you, what has changed? Has he had therapy to analyze his overbearing antics? My Gilda-Gramwarns, “Controlling people control others to feel secure.” So what about this guy attracts you? Does your own self-doubt find comfort with an insecure and possessive mate?
Until you know these answers, you’ll keep attracting the same dominant type—but miss the signals. You are in limbo because your instinct is screaming not to return to boyfriend AND not to start something with your new friend. Your mission now must be to pump up your confidence, and learn how to be more discerning. You goal must be to never make the same mistake again. —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.