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Monday, December 22, 2008

Top 10 Horndogs of 2008

Top 10 Horndogs of 2008
by
Dr. Gilda Carle

40% - 70% of partners cheat on their spouses, according to a study from the University of Montreal. This makes infidelity the new relationship norm!! Well, 2008 was quite a year for these horndogs! Boy George told the Times of London, "I don’t believe you have to be monogamous, but you have to be respectful.” What would the wives and ex-wives of the guys on this list say about that?

1. Eliot Spitzer, fallen married New York State Governor, caught patronizing the prostitution businesses he prosecuted! He and wife Silda, a Harvard Law graduate, are still married.

2. Kwame Kilpatrick, fallen married Mayor of Detroit, lied under oath about his affair with a staffer, after 14,000 of their salacious text messages were revealed. He also used Detroit credit cards to purchase strippers for his home. When his wife arrived home unexpectedly, she pummeled one of the working girls. They’re still married.

3. David Patterson, New York State Governor who replaced Eliot Spitzer, volunteered that he, too, had extramarital affairs, excusing them because he was "jealous" of his wife’s affair during their estrangement. They’re still married.

4. Vito Fossella, fallen married New York Congressman, caught driving drunk in Virginia, and living a double life there with a girlfriend and a daughter, while he lived a double life with a wife and 3 kids in New York. BTW, he ran on a “family values” ticket! He and his wife are still married.

5. Tim Mahoney, fallen married Democratic U.S. Rep. from Florida, and replacement for sex-scandalized Mark Foley, admitted paying a staffer over $100,000 so she wouldn’t sue him for sexual harassment after their affair. His wife filed for divorce.

6. Peter Cook, third ex-husband of supermodel Christie Brinkley, bonked an 18-year-old he hired to be his assistant, and even secretly videotaped their trysts.

7. Mutt Lange, husband of 14 years to Shania Twain, cheated with Shania’s longtime assistant and close ”friend.” They are divorcing.

8. John Edwards cheated on his cancer-stricken wife, Elizabeth, as she campaigned for his bid for U.S. President. His mistress admitted to friends that her baby is his. He and Elizabeth are still married.

9. Henry “Nick” Nicholas III, Broadcom Corporation founder and billionaire, celebrated his 10th anniversary with his wife while workmen secretly built an underground sex palace on their estate to indulge his drug habit and use of prostitutes. His wife has filed for divorce.

10. Ron Wood, wrinkly 61-year-old married Rolling Stones guitarist, fell from the wagon and hooked up with an 18-year-old Russian barmaid. He’s back home with Mrs. Wood now.

Although this is a list of all men, cheating is an equal opportunity sport! Please submit names of famous FEMALE horn dogs of 2008 so we can even the score: DrGilda@DrGilda.com

XXX

DR. GILDA CARLE is a relationship expert, media personality, professor, motivational speaker, and author of How to WIN When Your Mate Cheats at http://drgilda/ebook/WhenYourMateCheats.htm , immediately downloadable and literary award winner at London Book Festival. She is also Match.com's “Ask Dr. Gilda” columnist published on MSN.com and author of the best-selling "Don't Bet on the Prince!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Sex and the Ex

by Dr. Gilda Carle
www.DrGilda.com

He's recently divorced, but his ex-wife has him on speed dial for no-strings-attached sex. He wants her to be his wife, but she's not interested. What's a guy to do?


Dear Dr. Gilda,

I am recently divorced after a 15-year marriage. My ex-wife has been dating regularly and admits to being physical with a co-worker. 

Anyway, she and I get together regularly to talk about the kids and issues related to our divorce. A month ago, my ex and I ended up having amazingly passionate sex. Since then, she has called me regularly for sex. She says she doesn't want to mislead me or make me feel like we're getting back together. We are doing all this in secret.
Our friends, family, children, etc., don't know we're getting together. This arrangement was working well, but I know we're playing with a bomb. I still want her for a wife, but she wants me to sneak in and sexually perform on call. Please help!

— Divorced but Still Cavorting 




Dear Divorced but Still Cavorting,

Good for you for contacting me. Although your ex may be a bombshell to you, you recognize that playing with a "bomb" is not in your best interests. Having secretive sex with your ex is definitely a dangerous game for you — because you "still want her for a wife." She's already told you she's interested in merely making you her sex toy. Do you like that title? Naturally, this arrangement is enticing and seductive, especially since you have designs on a future with her. But in knowing the truth, the aftermath for you can only lead to pain. So how much longer do you intend to cavort horizontally with her? 


You were married for 15 long years, and your routines are well ingrained. But if you continue the fantasy of your old life, it will become increasingly more difficult to break the ties and start anew. 


I recommend you begin some self-love activities now. Here are a few suggestions:
--End your sexual forays with your ex immediately, no matter how strong the attraction.
--Choose a hobby you would love to master and immerse yourself in it!
--Buy three songs of hope, learn the words, and sing them often, to inspire and uplift you, even if your singing is limited only to the shower or the car.
--As my Gilda-Gram advises, "If you've been out of the dating loop, take a re-immersion excursion to up your self-confidence." On this excursion, befriend new women to learn what makes single females tick.

We are told it takes at least 21 days to break a habit. The longer you are away from your ex, the easier it will be to enjoy a new life on your own. And the more immersed you are in activities you love, the less you'll miss her. Enjoy your new, single life with your eye on wonderful adventures. 



Love,
Dr. Gilda


XXX

This column was adapted from Match.com's "Ask Dr. Gilda," published on MSN.com's Lifestyles page. I received tons of comments and questions from people in similar situations. But the funniest one was this:

DEAR DR. GILDA:
Regarding Sex and the Ex: SEX TOY ? Yes, that title sounds great, even though I would suffer such horrible pain.
Paul XXXX (name deleted to protect the guilty!)
913.XYZ.PQRS Fax: 913.TUV.WXYZ (Can you believe this dude included his real telephone number and fax--AS THOUGH I WOULD EVER EVEN CONSIDER CALLING HIM??? Go figure!!!

XXX

DR. GILDA CARLE (Ph.D.) is an internationally known psychotherapist and relationship expert. Her web site is http://www.DrGilda.com. She is Match.com’s weekly Ask Dr. Gilda advice columnist on MSN.com’s Dating & Personals and Lifestyles pages. She is also a motivational speaker, a professor of psychology & communications, and the author of "Don't Bet on the Prince!" (a test question on "Jeopardy!") http://www.drgilda.com/books.htm. Her new e-book is How to WIN When Your Mate Cheats” at http://drgilda.com/ebook/WhenYourMateCheats.htm. It is Immediately Downloadable. DR. GILDA was the therapist in HBO's Emmy Award winner, "Telling Nicholas," featured on Oprah, where she guided a family to tell their 7-year-old that his mom died in the World Trade Center bombing.

Monday, August 11, 2008

5 Things Elizabeth Edwards Must Do NOW!!!

by
Dr. Gilda Carle
(www.DrGilda.com)

Elizabeth Edwards lost her 16-year-old son in a car crash. She contracted breast cancer. Her cancer returned to her bones, and it is inoperable. Her husband told her about his infidelity in 2006, and she believed they worked through their woes. She said this was “a process made somewhat easier with my diagnosis in March of 2007.” Yes, it seems “easier” to abandon one crisis for another, but avoidance doesn’t resolve anything. Her husband is still involved with his “other woman,” and it will take years to rebuild trust—if she even wants to.

Based on my new E-Book, “How to WIN When Your Mate Cheats,” here are 5 things for Elizabeth Edwards to consider now:

1) The fear of lovelessness that accompanies illness is real. Many of my physically ailing clients assess themselves as “damaged goods.” So they unwittingly accept “less than” treatment from mates they would ordinarily kick to the curb. Elizabeth must realize and honor her self-worth.

2) John defended his affair with this: “I started to believe that I was special and became increasingly egocentric and narcissistic.” He rationalized that he didn’t love his mistress, and anyway, his wife’s cancer was in remission at the time. John believes his own lies; Elizabeth must decide whether to accept them.

3) During a long marriage, some people stray to prove they still have the power to excite. This is a self-serving and narcissistic move. The Edwards and their children need intense therapy to grasp what happened, why, and what to do next.

4) Elizabeth has 31 years worth of reasons to want to keep her marriage and family intact. John described her as “the most extraordinarily unselfish woman I have ever known.” Elizabeth must never allow unselfishness to trump her self-respect.


5) Unwavering self-esteem and firm boundaries stave off “less than” treatment. An egocentric and narcissistic John obviously interpreted her “extraordinary unselfishness” as weakness—which he abused. Elizabeth must stop being so pushover-nice, and confront her husband on his lies.

The National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago reports that 65% of betrayed couples fix their issues and remain together. Nonetheless, the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy warns that betrayed spouses can suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Such emotional scars coupled with physical ailments can be devastating. Is Elizabeth up to doing emotional work on her marriage as she physically battles cancer? She said, “This is really, really tough.” Let’s pray she can pull it off.

“How to WIN When Your Mate Cheats” http://drgilda.com/ebook/WhenYourMateCheats.htm
Immediately Downloadable

DR. GILDA CARLE (Ph.D.) is an internationally known psychotherapist and relationship expert. Her web site is http://www.DrGilda.com. She is Match.com’s weekly Suddenly Single advice columnist on MSN.com’s Dating & Personals page. She is also a motivational speaker, a professor of psychology & communications, and the author of "Don't Bet on the Prince!" (a test question on "Jeopardy!") http://www.drgilda.com/books.htm. DR. GILDA was the therapist in HBO's Emmy Award winner, "Telling Nicholas," featured on Oprah, where she guided a family to tell their 7-year-old that his mom died in the World Trade Center bombing.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Sibling Rivalry: Does Yours Match Hollywood's Oldest?

by
Dr. Gilda Carle

Oscar winners Joan Fontaine, 90 years old, and Olivia de Havilland, 91, are sisters. And they have been feuding for as long as they have been alive. As children, they had savage wrestling matches, hair-pulling marathons, and Olivia fractured Joan’s collarbone! Today Olivia lives in Paris, while Joan resides in California. Unfortunately, the distance between continents hasn’t been great enough to get these women to patch up their past.

The girls were born in Tokyo, Japan. Their mom was an actress and their dad was a patent attorney. It is said that Olivia never wanted a younger sister. (Few older kids want to share the spotlight with a young newcomer!) And for her part, Joan always believed their mother favored Olivia.

Joan was a sickly child with anemia, measles, and a strep infection. Upon the advice of their physician, Joan’s divorced mother moved the girls to the U.S. A mother who doesn’t care for her daughter would not move her across the world to improve her health. Nonetheless, any child who feels her mom doesn’t love her will have difficulties forming loving bonds. Case in point, Joan had 4 husbands, and she is estranged from her two daughters, especially after learning they were in touch with Aunt Olivia.

Olivia became an actress first, and then Joan chose to follow her lead. Olivia would naturally have resented being upstaged and copied by her young sister. While Olivia used the name “de Havilland,” for some reason, their mother forbade Joan to do the same. So Joan needed to invent a new last name for herself. Which did she choose? She picked her mother’s former stage name, Fontaine, perhaps as another attempt to get her mother’s love.

Throughout this duo’s lives, they were in contention for parts, and they competed for Oscars. To our knowledge, the only thing they hadn’t competed for was men.

Mo Rocca and I did this piece about the feud between the Oscar-winning sisters: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jxMAy2KayDI

Do you suffer from derailed communication with a sibling? Its effect on you may be greater than you imagine. Here’s what you can do if you are suffering.

How to Heal Sibling Rivalry
1) Be sure both of you WANT to heal your feuding.
2) If you do, calmly discuss your turmoil and discuss why this occurred. Be honest regarding your feelings and your fears.
3) Let bygones be bygones, without reiterating the past at every pass.
4) Keep your eye on your goal. The two of you share: a) a past unlike any two people, b) a medical history you may someday need to draw from, and c) an understanding of your unique life circumstances. These elements can provide rich insights about who you are and how you behave. Instead of arguing, embrace the fact that each of you is still available to the other to do this work.

I have a sister whom I’d love to strangle at times. It particularly unnerves me when she doesn’t take care of herself, and does stupid dysfunctional things. But when push comes to shove, she’s still my sister, and we know we can depend on each other for whatever life’s challenges provide. It wasn’t always this way. When she was stealing my clothes, plagiarizing my poetry, and throwing knives at me at the dinner table, I hated her. But the opposite of love is not hate; it’s indifference, and I’m surely not indifferent to my sister today. I don’t know whether Olivia and Joan will think that their nineties is the right time to finally right their wrongs. But if YOU have a shot at making sibling amends, do it. The burden of anger seeps through your bones and into every relationship you have. After you make peace, you will feel much freer to enjoy your entire life!
Love,
Dr. Gilda

XXX
DR. GILDA CARLE (Ph.D.), www.DrGilda.com, is an internationally-known psychotherapist and relationship expert. Her new 4-volume, 400+ page E-Book Program is “How to WIN When Your Mate Cheats”: http://drgilda.com/ebook/WhenYourMateCheats.htm, which is Immediately Downloadable.

DR. GILDA is Match.com’s weekly Suddenly Single advice columnist on MSN.com’s Dating & Personals page. She is also a motivational speaker, a professor of psychology & communications, and the author of the best-seller, "Don't Bet on the Prince!" (a test question on "Jeopardy!"), www.drgilda.com/books.htm
She counsels people throughout the world through her Instant Advice at www.drgilda.com/instant-advice.htm and her Mentoring programs at www.drgilda.com/mentoring-packages.htm . She is VERY GRATEFUL to all those she’s known who have given her a hard time, and pushed her to grow! She hopes that you, too, will employ this life-enhancing path.

Monday, July 21, 2008

How to Use Betrayal as a TOOL for Healing: 10 Must-Knows

by
Dr. Gilda Carle

Author of the E-Book Program: “How to WIN When Your Mate Cheats”
Immediately Downloadable at http://drgilda.com/ebook/WhenYourMateCheats.htm/

Fox & Friends (on the Fox News Channel) invited me to be their guest yesterday, Sunday, July 20 to discuss my new E-Book Program. The show hosts and the producers were fascinated that I say cheating is a good thing in a shaky marriage—because it finally pushes the envelope to mend or to end the relationship masquerade.

The show promoted the segment for over 2 hours, and one of the hosts told me it was probably the most promoted segment in the show’s history. When I got on air, I noted how immersed in the topic the 3 married show hosts were. But like all TV shows on which I appear, I had much more to cover that I never got to.

Many of you saw the show, and I’d like to thank you for the thousands of extraordinary and supportive e-mails. Now I’d like to enumerate some of the points I was unable to review in my brief minutes of airtime. These, too, are just a listing, and the real depth is in my E-Book.

For myself, who, as I said on the show, have been there, done that, and burned the Victim T-shirt, this Gilda-Gram sums up my platform: “When a betrayal happens TO you, it really happens FOR you.” Betrayal signals that your relationship has been on shaky ground. You can either avoid this truth, or you can finally do something about it.

You can choose to:
1. Become a “poor me” VICTIM. Depressing!
2. Become a vengeful FIGHTER. Exhausting!
3. Become a take-charge WINNER. Triumphant!!

Obviously, I vote for #3. This is why: I once had a boss who was the most abusive person I’d ever worked with. He made my work environment so awful, I HAD to leave. Now I realize that if not for him, I would never be doing what I do today—which I love. Little does he know that I silently THANK HIM for his abuse now! In the same vein, betrayal in a relationship can move you toward a richer future, IF YOU USE IT AS A TOOL FOR HEALING.

BETRAYAL AS A TOOL FOR HEALING involves 10 Must-Knows:

1. You MUST KNOW the definition of a cheataholic: cheataholic, n. 1. Sl. love junkie. 2. person addicted to hidden passions, secret flirtations, and illicit romances behind the back of an unsuspecting partner. 3. Biochem. person who repeatedly seeks the rush of exhilaration that accompanies falling in love.

2. You MUST KNOW that cheataholics are not motivated by sex alone. They are your average Jack or Jill who entered a committed union with the best of intentions. Acknowledging that the thrill is gone, they are now terrified that they no longer are appealing. They are so desperate to prove their (sexual) worth, they put their own needs above others and engage in unsavory and dangerous activities.


3. You MUST KNOW that the 7-year itch has gotten younger. Like your car, you must give it attention and maintenance from the moment you begin your union. If you slack off, your mate may feel abandoned and act out, particularly if s/he is insecure.


4. You MUST KNOW that despite the screaming headlines of infidelity from Christie Brinkley’s husband, Madonna, A-Rod, former Governor Eliot Spitzer, and more, there are still 2.5 million weddings each year in the U.S. The industry spends $40 - $70 BILLION annually, as people still opt for marriage and monogamy!


5. You MUST KNOW that the one you love is the one you’ll leave. The qualities you found endearing at first can eventually wear on you: the careful money manager is now seen as a tightwad; the powerful mate is now seen as controlling. Recognize what originally turned you on, and continue to embrace it.


6. You MUST KNOW that the fear of lovelessness is real. The only way around that is to love yourself unconditionally so you can project to others how they can love you back.


7. You MUST KNOW that you can unlearn the behaviors that haven’t served you. After a betrayal, 65% of mates stay together, and with guidance, build a stronger union. Of the 35% who split, most question why they waited so long.


8. You must know how to recognize relationship Red Flags when you see them. Leave skid marks near the people who don’t enhance YOU.


9. You must know that there are 4 coping skills for dealing with a betrayer. You can use avoidance, coercion, soothing, and confrontation—the last of which is the ONLY one that can really heal your woes.


10. You MUST KNOW that you have the power to mend or to end your suffering. The only question is whether you are ready and willing. ARE YOU?

XXX

DR. GILDA CARLE (Ph.D.), www.DrGilda.com, is an internationally-known psychotherapist and relationship expert. Her new 4-volume, 400+ page E-Book Program is “How to WIN When Your Mate Cheats”: http://drgilda.com/ebook/WhenYourMateCheats.htm, which is Immediately Downloadable.

DR. GILDA is Match.com’s weekly Suddenly Single advice columnist on MSN.com’s Dating & Personals page. She is also a motivational speaker, a professor of psychology & communications, and the author of the best-seller, "Don't Bet on the Prince!" (a test question on "Jeopardy!"), www.drgilda.com/books.htm

She counsels people throughout the world through her Instant Advice at http://www.drgilda.com/instant-advice.htm and her Mentoring programs at http://www.drgilda.com/mentoring-packages.htm . She is VERY GRATEFUL to all those she’s known who have given her a hard time, and pushed her to grow! She hopes that you, too, will employ this life-enhancing path.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

A-Rod, Madonna, Kabbalah, and the Betrayed

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
DR. GILDA BELIEVES A-ROD'S FINAL BETRAYAL IS A GOOD THING FOR CYNTHIA

Dr. Gilda Carle believes that A-Rod’s final put-down of his wife, Cynthia, was the best thing to happen to their sham of a marriage. “He’s not good husband material,” Dr. Gilda says. “He’s a ‘cheataholic,’” her term for a love junkie addicted to secret passions behind the back of an unsuspecting partner. Dr. Gilda suggests he is probably biochemically prone to the rush of that accompanies falling in love—which is no different from winning a pennant.

Blaming Madonna or Kabbala, or anything or anyone else puts Cynthia Rodriguez in victim mode, and enhances A-Rod’s power as persecutor. Before Madonna, there was the blond stripper with whom he was sharing hotel rooms, as well as the stories of other extramarital affairs. “That was humiliating enough—and it should have been Cynthia’s Red Flag to leave skid marks then,” Dr. Gilda advises.

A betrayed mate can chose among 3 options: 1) become a poor-me victim (as Cynthia is doing now, which, ironically, will probably help her court case); ) become a vengeful fighter (like belligerently wearing an F-You t-shirt to your husband’s game, which made her appear to be angry and vindictive); 3) become a take-charge winner (which is what Dr. Gilda recommends for personal health and future relationships).

Dr. Gilda says that the best revenge is doing well—because it keeps you well. Her new E-book is “How to WIN When Your Mate Cheats,” immediately downloadable for the pained and suffering: http://drgilda.com/ebook/WhenYourMateCheats.htm
Now Cynthia should forgive—and remember. The forgiving is for HER at this moment, to relieve the burden of pain and regret. But the remembering is for her future, so she is reminded of why she hooked up with the cheataholic, so she won’t do it again with A-Rod or someone just like him.

In every relationship, the person who takes the best care of him/herself, gains the greatest respect from his/her partner. Ultimately, Dr. Gilda’s Gilda-Gram is: “Self care is a marriage saver!” See www.DrGilda.com


========
DR. GILDA CARLE (Ph.D.) is a nationally known psychotherapist, relationship expert, & management consultant. She is Match.com’s weekly Suddenly Single advice columnist on MSN.com’s Dating & Personals page. She is also the founder of the video blog, GildaVision, on www.DrGilda.com and YouTube. Her new e-Book is “How to WIN when Your Mate Cheats”: http://drgilda.com/ebook/WhenYourMateCheats.htm She is a motivational speaker, a professor of psychology & communications, and the author of "Don't Bet on the Prince!" (a test question on "Jeopardy!"). DR. GILDA was the therapist in HBO's Emmy Award winner, "Telling Nicholas," featured on Oprah, where she guided a family to tell their 7-year-old that his mom died in the World Trade Center bombing. www.DrGilda.com

Friday, July 4, 2008

How to WIN When Your Mate Cheats

ANNOUNCING--
Dr. Gilda’s New E-Book Program:

“HOW TO WIN WHEN YOUR MATE CHEATS”

--For All Who Have Been (or May Someday Be) Cheated On—

So the person you love cheated. You are raging (!!!), you feel humiliated and played, and you probably want to murder the lying traitor. (I know; I’ve been there!) But now, what are you really gonna do?

This Gilda-Gram says it all: “When a betrayal happens TO you, it really happens FOR you.” Betrayal signals that your relationship has been on shaky ground. You can either avoid this truth, or you can finally do something to mend it or end it.

Your choices are:
1. Become a “poor me” VICTIM. Depressing!
2. Become a vengeful FIGHTER. Exhausting!
3. Become a take-charge WINNER. Triumphant!!

According to the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago, after a betrayal, 65% of mates stay together, and with guidance, build a stronger union. Of the 35% who split, most question why they waited so long. Betrayal can move you toward a richer future, IF YOU USE IT AS A TOOL.

I have counseled betrayed partners like you and me, and also celebrities, politicians, and executives. This experience can break you—if you let it! So I developed a 4-Volume, 400+ page E-Book Program called HOW TO WIN WHEN YOUR MATE CHEATS. It shows you how to USE your betrayal TO YOUR BENEFIT!!

HOW TO WIN WHEN YOUR MATE CHEATS
Vol. 1: Why Cheaters Keep Cheating
Vol. 2: The One You Love Is the One You’ll Leave
Vol. 3: How to Cope with the Cheater You Love
Vol. 4: To Mend or to End?

Included are 15 Skill-Builder Bonus exercises, case studies, and self-assessments to enrich each Volume. All 19 resources are immediately downloadable, so you can get them NOW!

BIGGEST BENEFIT:
YOU’LL NEVER ATTRACT OR WITHSTAND THE ABUSE OF A CHEATER AGAIN!

CLICK HERE FOR THE LOWDOWN:

http://drgilda.com/ebook/WhenYourMateCheats.htm

Been there, done that—and, ahhh!—burned the Victim T-Shirt!!
Dr. Gilda

========
DR. GILDA CARLE (Ph.D.) is a nationally known psychotherapist, relationship expert, & management consultant. She is Match.com’s weekly Suddenly Single advice columnist on MSN.com’s Dating & Personals page. She is also the founder of the video blog, GildaVision, on www.DrGilda.com and YouTube. Her new e-Book is “How to WIN when Your Mate Cheats”: http://drgilda.com/ebook/WhenYourMateCheats.htm She is a motivational speaker, a professor of psychology & communications, and the author of "Don't Bet on the Prince!" (a test question on "Jeopardy!"). DR. GILDA was the therapist in HBO's Emmy Award winner, "Telling Nicholas," featured on Oprah, where she guided a family to tell their 7-year-old that his mom died in the World Trade Center bombing. www.DrGilda.com

Sunday, May 18, 2008

When You're Single with Herpes

Hi, All,
My Inbox received a ton of e-mails from my recent Match.com column, published on MSN’s Dating & Personals page. It’s topic, "Being Single with Herpes," is a sensitive one. Some of the e-mails were loving, while others were angry.

Here’s the question that was posted ON MSN, along with my response. Following it are some of the assorted emails I received, along with my comments.

Dear Dr. Gilda,
I’m a 42-year-old single father. My ex-wife denied ever having herpes, but gave it to me and finally admitted the truth. The fact that she lied to me about it compounded the problem.

Now divorced, as I encounter new relationships, I really struggle with this burden. I am able to meet and date women without difficulty—I’m fairly outgoing. But as an honest person, I’ve always felt that it is unfair to see someone to the point that they really care about me before telling them about my “curse.” So I generally date briefly, until it seems there is potential to have a serious relationship—and then tell them. Although I know I’m doing the right thing, it hasn’t worked out very well. I’ve lost three relationships over the past two years because of this and admit that it’s very frustrating. That being said, I hold my head high, knowing that one day the right person will be willing to accept this negative for all the positives I have.

What would be your advice for determining the right time to tell the person you begin to love, knowing that this issue is likely one of the greatest barriers to a relationship?
– Mr. Honesty

Dear Mr. Honesty,
Although it may feel this way when you’re dating, herpes is hardly “one of the greatest barriers to a relationship.” Statistically, I’ve read that 25% of women and 20% of men have genital herpes. Ninety percent of them don’t know it. So while you know about your condition and are willing to discuss it with potential lovers, it’s possible that many of these women have herpes, too, and either don’t know it, or are not forthcoming about it. Even then, if they’re careful, they won’t necessarily always pass it on to their partner. And put it in perspective: It is not a death sentence!

Our culture advertises perfection. And, of course, you want to present your most perfect self to all your romantic interests. But whom do you know who is perfect? Every person has some unique challenge to overcome. And how an individual navigates this challenge determines his or her personal success in life.

You are to be commended for wanting to honestly share your situation with potential intimates. But there is no perfect time to reveal a potentially embarrassing truth. Of course, upon meeting someone, you don’t want to say: “Hello. My name is Mr. Honesty, and I have herpes.” You should not share personal information about anything until you feel emotionally safe with a person. See if a relationship will unfold first, and tackle each situation as it arises. I know people with terrible, disabling conditions who are happily married to very special partners. You can be, too. If the past few women were not for you, it may be because they were quite simply not for you, and nothing else. Get out of the mindset that the relationships didn’t go forward because of herpes.

This is what I recommend you do now:
1. Search the Internet for herpes support groups. There are hotlines, support groups (online and off), and social events. You will find you are not alone.
2. Volunteer time at a hospital in a ward that cares for terminally ill patients. You will actually be grateful that your own issue is so minor.
3. Observe survivors and “thrivers,” like Montel Williams who has MS and Lance Armstrong who beat testicular cancer. Read their stories, and mirror their coping tactics.

As my Gilda-Gram advises, “When you perceive yourself as ‘damaged,’ that’s the impression you will project.” So boost your self-image, embolden your self-confidence, and let your dates know that you’re a good guy and a hot catch! If you believe it, you will be it!

XXXX

What follows are the e-mails some of my readers sent me, and my comments to them. People’s names and e-mail addresses were deliberately omitted for privacy purposes. I hope this dialogue inches us closer to constructive interchange as we navigate our very complex lives and the people we love.

XXXX

Dear Dr. Gilda,
This is a reply to the man known as Mr. Honesty that has genital herpes. I too am a male that has genital herpes and was devastated when I first learned I had herpes over 17 years ago. I was rather promiscuous in my early years and to this day do not know who gave me the disease. I would like to let him know that I too wondered when to tell a potential partner I had the disease. I thought that if I divulged that information ahead of time no women would ever want me. I was not as forthcoming as he and I had sexual relations with some women before telling them, which was wrong. The first one I told after we had sex reacted in a manner I expected. She stopped seeing me instantly and understandably so. However, after some period of time I approached her again and we ended up getting married. That marriage ended in divorce some time later but not due to herpes. I then waited to tell me current wife about the disease until after we had had sex. She took it very well and we continued our relationship and have been married for over 10 years. Although occasional outbreaks prohibit us from having sex now and then all other times we enjoy a healthy sex life and she has not exhibited any symptoms. I do not condone my behavior in waiting to tell your partner about your herpes until after you have already had sex and in hindsight wish I had been more forthright like yourself. You are doing the right thing. My point is that two women married me knowing I had herpes. Even though it may seem like gloom and doom now there is hope. Hold your head high. The right woman will come along that will accept you and love you for who you are and the fact that you have herpes will not matter.
Good luck,
Been In Your Shoes

Dear Been,
Thank you for sharing your story. I hope it helps others going through this ordeal.
Dr. Gilda

XXXX


Dear Dr. Gilda,
I would like to contact Mr. Honesty since reading his story brought tears to my eyes. I am in a similar situation; I feel my ex-husband gave me herpes. I cannot prove it, but, this has been a very hurtful experience. Any information you can forward to me would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!
Regards,
Ms. Curious

Dear Dr. Gilda,
Today on MSN.com you gave advice to the 42-year-old single father who's ex-wife gave him an STD. I had the same thing happen to me with my ex-husband. Is there any way you could give me his contact info so I could contact him so that maybe we could converse? It was helpful to me to hear someone is going through the same issue that I have been facing.
Thank you,
Ms. Confused

Dear Dr. Gilda,
I read your article on MSN Suddenly Single about the 42-year-old single father whose ex-wife gave him Herpes. I understand how the man feels and the things that he is going through with telling people he cares about that he has this virus and then facing rejection. I too have the same problem. I understand that physically I will not die from HSV2, but it does cause emotional issues not only for me, but also when it comes to relationships. I understand that there are ways to help prevent the spread of the virus to help protect your partner, but it has been my experience that many people will reject you because they do not want to have to deal with the possibility of getting it or the "ick" factor. To many, those of us with HSV are "damaged goods." I am a divorced 38-year- old woman that got Herpes type 2 from my ex-husband. I face many of the same issues that Mr. Honesty does. If Mr. Honesty needs someone to chat with, please do give him my e-mail address. I would be more than happy to offer support and to let him know that there are many people dealing with the same situations as he.
Thank you,
Cuddly Lady

Dear Curious, Confused, and Cuddly Lady,
I’m sorry that e-mail addresses are confidential, and it would be impossible for me to share these confidences. I have often wanted to match up different e-mailers because I saw such similarities in them, but I’m afraid it’s impossible.
Dr. Gilda

XXXX

Dear Dr. Gilda,
I read the advice you gave to the "Mr. Honesty" on the topic of herpes. Having been in that position I agree with some of what you said but think you missed the boat on parts of it. The analogies you made to MS and cancer were really not germane as they are not contagious and the fact those individuals are thriving doesn't mean anything to someone with a communicable STD. He wants to be able to handle what he has, not just see that someone is worse off than he is. That doesn't help him deal with his problem. What I did, and what I would have advised him to do, would be to research the condition. Once I learned all there was to know about it, my feelings of anger and frustration and thoughts of never having a family (currently married for 20 yrs. with 2 kids) subsided considerably. Loaded with the knowledge would enable him to not only reveal his condition, but to discuss it in a manner that might put his potential partner at ease with the idea. Support groups are a good idea both emotionally and socially.
Been There Myself

Dear Been There,
Thank you for your comments. I once dated a man who said he regretted not pursuing a terrific, beautiful woman because she had a limp. Now that he was older and wiser, he recognized how superficial of him it was. We all endure limps of one kind or another. It is up to our prospective partners to decide what is within their limits of acceptance and what it not. Through that process, they grow—and so do we. Someone will not like my red hair, but someone else will love it. It’s the same with any disease, whether communicable or otherwise. In my view, it’s the limps we have, and the lumps we take, that define us . . .
Dr. Gilda

XXXX

Dear Dr. Gilda:
I wanted to respond to your advice to the 42 year-old man with herpes. I contracted herpes when I was 18 the second time I had sex with the guy to whom I lost my virginity. He did not tell me that he had herpes and I always felt really strongly that I needed to share my status with potential partners BEFORE we were intimate. Over the years, I developed a "Good News/Bad News" strategy that involved me giving the good news ("I am HIV-negative") first, followed by the bad news ("I have herpes"). I generally told people I was dating before we had sex for the first time. Frankly, it really made me consider who I was dating and having sex with more closely: because telling someone was fairly traumatic and I really needed to feel safe and comfortable, I probably had sex with a lot less guys than I would have if I didn't have herpes.

Over the past 20 years I have never given herpes to anyone, including guys with whom I was having sex without condoms in longer-term relationships. I have not had an outbreak since 1992 or 1993, but I realize I may still be able to infect someone. However, I recently came across a pamphlet at Planned Parenthood that stated that after approximately 5 years, the genital herpes virus tends to go dormant. If the gentleman is still experiencing outbreaks he may also wish to take daily medication that will help decrease outbreaks, which will then reduce the risk of transmission. My outbreaks were so infrequent that I did not take medication after the first outbreak, but I always told potential partners that I could tell when an outbreak was coming and that I would never have sex with someone if I even suspected that I might be having an outbreak (once an ingrown hair caused a false alarm). Sharing this type of information (along with being able to state that he is HIV-negative, assuming he is) with potential partners may help him assuage both his own anxiety and his partners' during what is always a difficult discussion.
Sincerely,
Minneapolis Mama

Dear Minneapolis,
Your positive attitude is exactly what I was getting at by contrasting “survivors” and “thrivers” with those who foster doom and gloom. Good for you for navigating your personal issues in such an upbeat way! I'm sure your interpersonal relationships shine.
Dr. Gilda

XXXX

Dr. Gilda,
I read your advice column often and it is very informative. Most of the time I agree with you, but I would like to comment on your advice to the 42-year-old single father whose ex-wife had given him herpes and would not admit she had it at first.

I don't have herpes, but I can only imagine what a problem it can be. From my own point of view, I believe it would be a big barrier in a relationship. I have managed to get through 50+ years of my life without it, and I would do anything I could to prevent getting it. Now if you fall in love with someone, and they don't know they have it and later find out they do, I think it would be easier to stand by them and the two of you deal with it together. But dating someone and finding out at the beginning of a potentially serious relationship would be a whole other thing. I think I can honestly say that I would not continue the relationship. Herpes is a lifelong, no-cure condition. No, it isn't life threatening, but it can sure cause discomfort, pain, and a lot of anxious moments from what I have read and heard.

I agree with your strategies to build his self-esteem. He needs to feel good about himself and not be down because of something that wasn't his fault. The problem with the examples you gave him as to disabilities, cancer, MS, etc. is that these conditions are not contagious. You can live with someone that has any of these conditions and not be anxious that you will contract the same condition.

When I was reading your advice, it just seemed to me that you were downplaying the impact of herpes on his life. By saying we all want perfection and none of us has it makes it seem as if herpes is like a big nose or sticky-out ears. I just think he is going to have to find that special person that is willing to deal with this challenge. I think of myself as a compassionate, caring person, but I wouldn't want to do it. I should probably mention that I have been through breast cancer and reconstructive surgery so I would probably go through the same "stigma" if I told potentially serious males of my physical imperfection, but there again, my condition isn't contagious. I would just have to find a mate that wouldn't mind that I am not physically perfect. I feel good about myself, but I know that there are a lot of people out there that couldn't deal with such things, so I just think he needs to be aware that the herpes will be a big factor in his finding a mate.
Girl with Other Imperfections

Dear Girl,
One of my online grad students was ashamed of the way he looked. He continued to harp on his disfigurement without even stating what it was. His feelings of negativity ran his life with terrible insecurity and feelings of unworthiness. Through this sensitive course I was running, he built the courage to submit a photo of himself to me and to the rest of the class. (I felt great that we had made such a terrific breakthrough!!) When I saw the photo, I squinted my eyes in disbelief. He commented about having a “big head,” which was not disfiguring at all. BUT IT WAS, TO HIM. Actually, he was quite a good-looking guy.

What you think about, you bring about. If you think you’re scarred for life, then you are. I’m happy you’re aware that you must be more discriminating in selecting future partners. Everyone should be!!! It’s just that you got a jump-start on the others out there.
Dr. Gilda

XXXX


Dear Dr. Gilda,
This morning I read a story on MSN about a man who has herpes. I feel for him because I have it now for 20 years. I have been in that man's situation several times and never had one woman reject me when I told them. In fact, I had two women cry because I was so thoughtful in telling before we had sex. But it all comes down to the type of person that woman is to be able to understand. I take Valtrex everyday and that helps people you’re dating have some assurance the likelihood for contracting the disease is very slim.

Anyway, here is a website that might help that reader find someone with the same issue: http://www.positivesingles.com/
Stay well,
Overcoming the Odds

Dear Overcoming,
Thank you for sharing that site with my readers. I’ll pass it along.
Dr. Gilda

XXXX

Dear Dr. Gilda,
First, I don't need a response to my comment. Second, I read your comment to a guy whose ex-wife game him an STD, herpes to be exact. You said it wasn't a death sentence. But unless you've been down that road, it sure feels that way. I was misdiagnosed with herpes when I was 1 month before my 18th birthday and it had just come out on the news along with AIDS. There wasn't much information back then, but I can tell you it was scary as hell. You don't know who to talk to about it, and believe me most the world does see it as a curse, not just a little inconvenience. Say the word and half the crowd will scatter.

I had to tell my now husband of 21 years that I was one of those people and really expected him to run. I'm not sure I wouldn't have in the same situation if given the chance earlier in my life. But he didn't. He said he loved me and that we would get through this together. And so we have. But that's not saying that others didn't run as fast as they could.

I've had many friends whose lives have been changed drastically from being told they have herpes. It's not an easy disease mentally or physically. But mostly, emotionally. I wanted to die and came really close if it hadn't been for a good friend. I didn't want my family to get it, so I was afraid to use the same dishes, or go to the same toilet, or for them to drink from the same cup I did. There are support groups, but if someone finds out you’re going to one, it can also ruin your life.

Any STD is traumatic to the person that has it. So be compassionate next time. Unfortunately, I waited 20 years after my diagnosis to find out it was false. And believe me, I didn't know whether to be relieved or just downright pissed off at the doctor that had made the mistake.
Once Terrified

Dear Once Terrified,
Fortunately, we’ve come a long way from the original fear about Herpes. Today, Dr. Ruth names the virus simply as some blisters. And that’s what they are—uncomfortable blisters THAT ARE CONTAGIOUS. As Match.com’s weekly Suddenly Single advice columnist, I note that we’ve gotten into the cultural habit of having sex with too many poorly chosen partners. If there is any good that has evolved from this issue, let’s hope the virus is used as a social condom in helping to keep responsible people from having indiscriminate sex. Congratulations on your good news. I think it would be beneficial for you to list the POSITIVE ways your life was changed as a result of the (mis)diagnosis—like finding that wonderful husband of yours!
Dr. Gilda

XXXX

Dear Dr. Gilda,
Regarding you advice in the Suddenly Single article today, I’m appalled at your comparison to someone having herpes and Montel Williams (MS) and Lance Armstrong (cancer). MS and cancer (and a lot of other disabilities) are not diseases that can be passed on to people. People who have herpes and other transmitted diseases that feel these diseases are not so bad (not a death sentence) and have the attitude of so what if I pass it along?, I shouldn’t tell, wait until I get what I want or think I deserve are the problem and that’s why these diseases are out there.

Who wants to get herpes or any other disease because you’re dating someone? No relationship with anyone is worth putting any part of your health at risk?
Someone Who Knows

Dear Someone,
Please re-read my comments. I NEVER said “so what if I pass it along?, I shouldn’t tell, wait until I get what I want or think I deserve” are attitudes I condone. It sounds like you’ve been on the receiving end of some very nasty peoples’ attitudes. A brilliant lawyer friend of mine has herpes, and has lived with it and has had a happy, married life with two terrific kids. After he got Parkinson’s Disease, the herpes seemed insignificant. That’s my point!
Dr. Gilda

XXXX


I WELCOME YOUR FEEDBACK ON THIS POWER-CHARGED TOPIC.

XXXX

If you would like my FREE REPORT, “5 Fix-It Steps to Enhance Your Love Life and Your Career,” please sign up on the pop-up box on my Home Page, www.DrGilda.com.

XXXX

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Monday, May 12, 2008

Your Honey Wants One Thing and You Want Another

NOTE TO MY READERS & FANS: I am so sorry I've let this Blog lag. In fact, I've missed doing this. I've been working on a 4-Volume Program about cheating that has consumed every waking hour. It's almost ready for you to see. If you haven't already done so, please sign up on my Home Page (www.DrGilda.com) to be placed on my mailing list. (You'll also get a FREE REPORT of my 5 Fix-It Steps to Enhance Your Love Life and Your Career.)

XXX

You thought it was hard getting to the point of a promised commitment!! Well, friends, once the deal is sealed, that's when the fun really begins. Here's a story about a woman whose husband asked her to go on a nudist boat trip. The woman was "horrified." But what actually happened with this couple will surprise you. My comments about love's compromises are quoted in the CNN.com piece below. ENJOY THE READ!!

XXX

“Honey, Let's Become Nudists”
Reprinted from CNN.com/Living

By Sarah Jio

(LifeWire) -- In 1989, Nancy Tiemann was 36 and living in Austin, Texas, with her husband, Tom. "We were both desperately in need of a getaway," says the one-time banking officer. When Tom suggested they join a boat trip to Belize chartered by a group of nudists, Nancy was horrified.

Tom, 66, a former lawyer, handed her a brochure on nudism and told her he thought the trip could be a lot of fun. After many discussions, she reluctantly agreed to give the experience a try -- under one condition: "I won't tell a soul; no one ever needs to know!"

Your marriage vows may have spoken of hanging in through sickness and health but what about stomaching extreme life makeovers?

"The prevailing message of our time is that you can be whoever you want to be," says Dr. Scott Haltzman, a clinical assistant professor in Brown University's department of psychiatry and human behavior. "The problem in relationships is that some partners change in ways their mates wouldn't have chosen for them. They begin to form new likes and dislikes, new tastes and ultimately new identities."

For Nancy, something unexpected happened in Belize.

"It was so refreshing to find out how wrong I had been with my preconceived ideas on nudity and being nude with others," she says. "A nudist was born."

Had it not been for her husband's dramatic suggestion, Nancy, 53, says she might never have discovered nudism, which is now a source of joy in her life -- and career. Shortly after their trip, the couple launched Bare Necessities Tour and Travel, a travel agency devoted to the nudist vacationer. It has since chartered more than 40 cruise ships carrying more than 25,000 nudist travelers.

'I'm quitting my six-figure job'

But sometimes one partner's need for change can be more destructive to a relationship.

Mick Quinn was the vice president of a high-tech company on Wall Street with a significant salary, plenty of options and an adoring fiancée. "We lived a few doors down from Jackie O's old place on Fifth Avenue," he says.

Despite all that, Quinn, 45, was yearning to start his own company -- a move that would take him from six figures to zero, at least in the interim.

"This did not sit well with my fiancée," says Quinn. She "saw my wish to leave such a safe job, to start my own venture, as a weakness. I was delivered an ultimatum: 'Leave the job, lose me.' On the day I quit, she ended our relationship."

Haltzman has seen it before. "When people choose to make drastic alteration in their lives and proceed despite the objections of their partner," he says, "changes have the potential to destroy a relationship."

Psychotherapist and relationship expert Gilda Carle, Ph.D., contends that it's common for women to intertwine their respect for the man they love with his wealth. Right or wrong, Carle says, "money is often tied into how a woman perceives her man as powerful, and sometimes, when he loses his power, he loses his appeal."

Quinn said his technology company was successful enough that he was able to retire when he sold it, and he's now happily married to another woman.

Toe the line or draw the line?

Before you pack up and move out, Haltzman says, drop all assumptions and figure out where your partner is coming from. "Couples often can weather seemingly outrageous shifts in roles and identities, and still grow closer in the course of this life transition," says Haltzman, author of "The Secrets of Happily Married Women: How to Get More Out of Your Relationship by Doing Less."

And sometimes bigger issues are at work. Haltzman says a dramatic change could represent something serious, like a psychotic break or a depressive or manic illness that needs to be addressed.

However, even with a lot of effort, experts say, some relationships just can't be saved. Carle describes a situation where a client's husband came home and announced he had become a cross-dresser. The spouse on the receiving end of such a major change, she says, has to be up front about both feelings and personal boundaries.

"Listen to that voice in your head and that feeling in your gut," Carle says. "Don't say 'yes' out of fear when you should say 'no' out of love."


XXX

Compromise is basic to every successful relationship. Now that you read the piece, I'm anxious to hear about YOUR experiences with compromise. Did you give up too much of yourself? Did you withhold more than you could have? How did you feel about the final distribution of feelings and resources? Please post your feedback here!
Love,
Dr. Gilda

XXX

Dr. Gilda’s Offerings:

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--INSTANT ADVICE —BY PHONE OR E-MAIL for SAME-DAY advice in the privacy of your home
or office (http://www.drgilda.com/instant-advice.htm)

--MENTORING PACKAGES to provide ongoing life and relationship support
(http://www.drgilda.com/mentoring-packages.htm)

--BOOKS: “Don’t Bet on the Prince! How to Have the Man You Want by Betting on
Yourself” (http://www.drgilda.com/books.htm) and “How to Win at Love”(http://www.drgilda.com/books.htm)

Saturday, January 12, 2008

When She Wants Marriage and He Doesn't

___________________________________________________________________________________

Dr. Gilda’s Offerings:
--DR. GILDA’s GUIDES on “How to Win at Relationships” and “How to Win at Work” (http://www.drgilda.com/books.htm#guides)
--INSTANT ADVICE —BY PHONE OR E-MAIL for SAME-DAY advice in the privacy of your home
or office (http://www.drgilda.com/instant-advice.htm)
--MENTORING PACKAGES to provide ongoing life and relationship support
(http://www.drgilda.com/mentoring-packages.htm)
--BOOKS: “Don’t Bet on the Prince! How to Have the Man You Want by Betting on
Yourself” (http://www.drgilda.com/books.htm) and “How to Win at Love”(http://www.drgilda.com/books.htm)
___________________________________________________________________________________

My recent Match.com Suddenly Single column, published on MSN.com’s Dating & Personals page, created quite a firestorm! The column is re-printed below. After it, please find some of your comments, along with my responses. What I find so interesting is how people read their own meanings into words I never said. Hey, everyone, there’s no one out there but us! Selective perception causes us to interpret information according to our own personal biases. These biases are not only interesting, they are very telling about who you really are!!

THE COLUMN

Dear Dr. Gilda,
I am 51, was married for 21 years, and realized my ex would never give up drinking, so I left him two years ago. My boyfriend is one year older than me and has been married twice before. I love him like crazy and want to spend the rest of my life with him. He feels the same about me, but says he will never marry again.

I’m not sure how long to wait until I give him an ultimatum. We are living together, he just bought a house for the two of us, and I know he will take care of me. But I’m an old-fashioned girl who absolutely must have the commitment. As much as I love him, I don’t want to live with him indefinitely. What should I be doing at this point?
– Sunny Southern California Girl

Dear Sunny Southerner,
Whoa! Your guy told you his marital non-aspirations, you ignored everything he said, and you moved in with him anyway, on the basis that he’d “take care of” you. Yet, you continue to long for more, by conjuring up a plan to get him to marry you. If you wanted marriage, you should never have moved in with him unmarried!

Remember the adage our grandmothers told us? Namely, “Why should a farmer buy the cow when he can get the milk for free?” Well, girl, your boyfriend has the whole cow, and now he’s got no vested interest in changing the way things are. As my Gilda-Gram says, “In every relationship, the person who cares less has the greater power.” You care about your guy, but he cares for you. Is this equitable to you? Apparently it’s not, because you say you’re not getting what you want.

From the perspective of a business negotiation, you are at a disadvantage because you gave away your bargaining chits and you are left with no leverage. Had you refused to move in together, perhaps he would have missed you enough to find his way down the aisle. But now, why should he?

All along, you’ve been giving this guy mixed messages, saying one thing, but acting another. Here are some examples of how you are sabotaging your own cause:
1. You describe yourself as “old-fashioned,” but old-fashioned girls don’t move in with a man until they are married.
2. You say you want a commitment, but your move-in behavior shows him that you’d settle for merely being “cared for.”
3. You say you don’t want to live with him “indefinitely,” but you have not set a date for when the term of “indefinitely” will end.

If you were in this guy’s shoes, you would probably act just as he’s acting. This is what I suggest you do now, if — as you say — you cannot be happy without being married:
1. As much as it may break your heart, give your boyfriend a date, and tell him that’s when you’ll be moving out on your own if you’re not married by then. Now, the really important part: Do not go back on your word or your word will never be believed again!
2. Begin looking for an alternate residence now, just to get an idea of available places. When you do this, you’ll begin caring for yourself instead of depending on a man to take care of you.
3. Be positive and optimistic, not needy and weepy, when you deliver your message to your boyfriend. Consider this not an ultimatum, but an expression of your own self-care.

As soon as you love the person in the mirror, perhaps your boyfriend will follow your lead. Or, perhaps you’ll view him as not so loving after all. One thing is certain: You’ll never discover the truth until you give him the opportunity to miss life without you. Do you have the courage to finally let the truth reveal itself?

YOUR RESPONSES

Dear Dr. Gilda,
I just read your article on the 51 yr old lady who was living with a guy, but thought she was old fashioned to want marriage. I just want to give you encouragement and thanks for your wonderful answer. I am a Dr. Laura listener also and am amazed at how hateful people are to her straightforward advice. You must also get some of this, how dare anyone tell anyone today that shacking up is not a good thing?

I am 45 years old, and until I found my husband at 41, I allowed any kind of riff raff man to take over my life and invade. I gave up a lot of important things for pushy men who never found me important enough to marry. Mind you, I have been self supporting for all of my adult life, these men usually didn't contribute much, and some wanted me to support them. After listening to Dr. Laura for a few years, I finally got it and found a Christian man (a single new Pastor) who never pushed sex on me (clarification, some "Christian" men do, and I was involved with those too), and we deliberated about the choice of not kissing during courtship. We felt kissing would lead to sex, and it was important that we not do that. So we didn't kiss until our wedding day.

This non-sexual courtship allowed me to observe and interview this man for the job, and he did the same with me. Watching his big family let me see the values he was raised with and how that may affect his behavior. Lucky for me, his family is all still alive. And yes, I did ask how he was as a kid.
Keep Up the Good Work

Dear Keep Up . . .,
Thank you for the support. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with shack-ups if two adults honestly express what they want and expect. Since you wanted marriage, you did the right things to lead towards that. Sunny Southerner, above, lied to her guy, and used her living with him to try to rope him in. I am totally against this kind of subterfuge. It will only blow up in the liar’s face. Now this woman is tormented in HOW to manipulate him into marriage. I do training for healing, not for manipulating.
Thanx for writing!
Dr. Gilda

XXX

Dear Dr. Gilda:
Your article, "Suddenly Single," sums up the female psyche in this country perfectly. Grandma's quote about "not buying the cow when the milk is free" proves that some women screw for money, others do it for drugs, and still others do it for a good time. Then there are those who do it for security and a roof over their heads. But the female mindset is all the same. If you want sex, you gotta pay. The smarter men know how to make the determination about the price being too high. The dumb men go along with this age-old crap.

Marriage may be fine for young people who want families, but after the age of 40, why would anyone want to assume financial, legal and moral responsibility for another person? To be loved? Hah! They can sell that crap at Walgreen's. I know I'm not buying it.
Turned Off

Dear Turned Off,
Ouch! You assume that all women are prostitutes, and all men are pimps. Where does that place you? Obviously, alone!
Dr. Gilda

XXX

Dear Dr. Gilda,
I read your article on MSN about the woman who moved in with her boyfriend. I was very disappointed in how you responded to her, with your level of education. Ultimatums? Using the "cow getting the milk for free" thing? My gosh, how rude!

She’s divorced, he’s divorced twice, and these aren’t kids without experience on relationships. Why didn’t you explain to her when she used "the commitment" ploy, that marriage or a piece of paper is no commitment today? Commitment is in the heart, and requires "trust," which, of course, is a dice roll for both parties. This is true for anyone who chooses to delve into the world of relationships. It’s all about trust and taking a chance on love, not hedging one’s bets.

There were so many undertones of "we are the enemy" and you’re going to "help save the gals" from God forbid, dependence, that it was ludicrous. I remember the word "neutral" being repeated to me in my college counseling classes over and over. How will we ever bridge the gap between us, when it’s constantly brought to light that we have grave differences to beware of.
Disappointed Male

Dear Disappointed,
We do agree on a few things: relationships are a crap shoot—IF you don’t invest in getting to know someone before you commit—and if you are not honest from Day 1. And yes, a piece of paper becomes a sham if it is not from the heart, with great trust.

The cow getting the milk analogy is an old one, from Psychology 101: if something comes too easily, human nature deems it worthless. Do you remember that from basic Psych? Relationships don’t have to be a roll of the dice—IF you are honest and upfront about your feelings—which this woman was not, and for which I faulted her.

Sorry you saw this as a he vs. she argument. I wonder how much of your own selective perception leads to your conclusion. It isn’t a division of the sexes, and my advice would be the same if the genders were reversed.

If you’re really interested in bridging the [gender] gap, stop worrying about being “aware” of gender differences, and instead, acknowledge them, honor them, and work with them. It’s a beautiful thing to have someone by your side who isn’t your mirror image!
Dr. Gilda

XXX

Dear Dr. Gilda,
I just read your advice to a woman who moved in with her mate after he stated he does not wish to be married.

Your advice was quite good up to the point of advising her she was "ignoring" the obvious aversion to be married her man was stating rather clearly.

Did you take into account that he was married twice before and is now 52 yrs. old? Marriage, as you know, is no guarantee of anything in our current society. If he just purchased a house with her, and she lives with him, he did make a commitment to her. I can't imagine if I were twice divorced I would want to go down that path again either. Her desire to be married is born out of the idea that she's somehow "illegitimate."

Surely someone as progressive as you knows that women, and men, must rethink what society wants vs. what is good for each couple.
Thanks for Listening!!!

Dear Thanks,
Yes, this man DID commit to this woman. I never stated that marriage is the only way to go. But THIS woman was unhappy with HER decision. So THIS woman needed to move on, to a place where she would be happier. It’s also not fair to the guy to keep him hanging under false auspices!
Dr. Gilda

XXX

Dear Dr. Gilda,
Being a devoted male, I completely disagree with your advice. I'm sure I'm speaking for the entire male population who has been down this road before. I found your advice to be completely one sided.

I have been married twice now. I will never get married again either. Ever. Both my marriages ended without fault to me. One left me for another; the other left me because she couldn't leave mommy and daddy. Both relationships cost me a great deal…

I'm 41 now. I have a beautiful home, respect in the community, and money in the bank. I don't have a wife. I do have a wonderful girlfriend with that same fantasy of being married. She has a small child from her former marriage. Her ex is paying dearly right now.

My question is, “What is the point of being married?” What is in it for the male? Nothing but a ring around the finger. That's it.

The courts favor females. Everyone knows that, including my second wife. She used that as her bargaining chip to get what she wanted because she knew that I would be embarrassed and shamed just for being present in a court that favors females.

In my opinion, a marriage is very close to a business relationship. I have no problem with that. So why do you have to be married to help with the finances?

Why end a perfectly good relationship for a fantasy? Instead of placing a ring on a finger, a male might as well put the ring around his throat. I'm sure she will want a leash next.

Most women haven't a clue. Even the ones who waste money on those complicated women’s magazines in the check out lines. It’s all about the female and satisfying a fantasy that in reality doesn't exist. Most of my male friends found themselves in divorce court because once married, the female find out that marriage is more than being whisked away by a knight in shining armor. Then they feel let down and it’s the male’s fault.

My advice: let her give the ultimatum as you didn't suggest, but you really did. Just don't let the door hit her in rear when she leaves. This time the male is protected.
Been Down That Road

Dear Been Down,
Your hurt is obvious. But you’ll never get over it unless you unleash your anger. Here’s a shocker for you: I agree with a lot of your points. I tell women NOT to believe in the fantasy of marriage. My book is called “Don’t Bet on the Prince!” for that reason. Stop seeing black vs. white, and open your mind to some shades of grey. All females are not the same, just as all men are not bad guys.
Dr. Gilda

XXX

Dear Dr. Gilda,
… At her age, she should be thinking about her future. If he will pay all her expenses or any of then she should stick around and put away as much money toward her retirement as possible, enjoy her time with the love of her life and give up her old-fashioned ideas that made sense for your grandmother when she was of childbearing age. An ultimatum will only jeopardize her relationship and set her back on two counts.
Practical Man

Dear Practical,
A lot of my male e-mailers would be angry at your comments about letting this guy “pay all her expenses” so she could “put away . . . money toward her retirement…” Especially see the comments of the next e-mailer, below.
Dr. Gilda

XXX

Hi Dr Gilda,
I notice how you characterized this woman’s relationship as a business negotiation. Almost like a supply-demand thing for services, implying a contract needs to be ironed out. I guess the forces driving such a business negotiation reflect the demand part, the male sex drive, balancing the desire to get as much shopping money as possible commensurate with female attractiveness, the supply part.

Fortunately, men are discovering how they lose everything they cherish, contact with children, living standard, and health when divorce occurs. The losers are men, but women gain huge and can always get a live in boyfriend to live in the house the ex has to pay for, per an enforced court order. Usually, of course, this can only happen if a man is stupid enough to marry.

Too bad the 52-year-old man had to be divorced twice to learn how cruel women can be, if you are married to one. In your article, he is treated like a dysfunctional snotty little boy, turn him into a live-in ATM or leave him.

Fortunately, my gal knows we will probably never marry. I’ll keep my own house, there will be no community property, just small gifts. The sex is good, so we are good friends. With that, everything is perfect.
Living for the Moment

Dear Living for the Moment,
I hope your gal feels the same way you do. Otherwise, she may be writing to me for ways to get YOU to marry HER! PS: I NEVER EVEN MENTIONED THE "DYSFUNCTIONAL, SNOTTY LITTLE BOY." That was your choice of words.
Dr. Gilda

XXX

Dear Dr. Gilda,

I disagree with your statements in the MSN column, telling the woman she should never have moved in with this man when they were not married. My parents are unmarried, and have been together for nearly 25 years.
Today’s Man

Dear Today’s Man,
I NEVER said this woman “should never have moved in with this man when they were not married.” I’m a psychotherapist, not a preacher, so I don't judge acts as moral or immoral. I told her that if SHE wanted marriage, she should have been upfront and honest from Day 1.
Dr. Gilda

XXX

Dear Dr. Gilda:
I just read your latest column on MSN.com. In your response you quoted the cliched saying, "Why buy the cow if the milk is free?"

Am I the only of your readers who finds the comparison of human women with livestock offensive?
Offended

Dear Offended,
YES, with the hundreds of responses I got, you’re the ONLY one who took the “clichéd” phrase personally. I wonder why. Moooo!!
Dr. Gilda

XXX

Dear Dr. Gilda,
Oy!! I think you missed the mark on this one. It was completely dishonest and disrespectful of this woman to move in with the man she "loves" in the first place. She's known all along how he feels about marrying again, yet she ignored it and moved in hoping to change him? Not fair play at all. If she loves him, she'll respect his wishes to remain unmarried. If she can't do that, and he's been honest about it, she should not have continued this relationship.
Another Lady’s View

Dear Another Lady’s View,
HEY, GIRL, I AGREE WITH YOU!!! What in my column didn’t I make clear??
Dr. Gilda

XXX

Dear Dr. Gilda,
What do you recommend this woman do? What if you are really so pathetic and weak and scared that you can't seem to bring yourself to exit that relationship? What would you recommend the gal do to strengthen herself, and find courage to leave that relationship?
Female Onlooker

Dear Female Onlooker,
Yes, this woman may be “pathetic and weak and scared,” and that’s why I map out a plan for her above. If she doesn’t get some self-love now, she’ll end up with no love in the future.
Dr. Gilda

XXX

Dear Dr. Gilda,
All I can say is THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!! Finally someone cut to the chase and told it like it is!
Woman Who Knows

XXX

Dear Dr. Gilda,
Marriage is a legal hook into a man’s wallet and you appear to endorse and promote that view. If you didn't think it was important to be able to extract money from a man after a relationship dissolves, you wouldn't tell women they need to get married before living with a man.

And if women were equal to men, it wouldn't matter because the women wouldn't need the man’s money after the relationship ended...

I would love to see what you have to say about this, but I'm confident you will just dismiss it and continue to promote women's right and duty to go after a man's money!
Angry Dude

Dear Angry Dude,
WHAT WERE YOU SMOKING WHEN YOU INTERPRETED MY WORDS?? I NEVER even suggested anything you suggest I did. Your anger is blotting out your brain function.
Dr. Gilda

XXX

Dear Dr. Gilda,
I just read your "Suddenly Single" article in which you gave a rather confused individual some outstanding advice. I'm a 40-year-old male and one of my biggest pet peeves in dating are those mixed messages, as demonstrated by "Sunny Southern California Girl." Thanks for all the great advice you give. It helps me take a look at myself, making sure I keep my own integrity true.
An Appreciative Guy

XXX

Hi Dr Gilda,
I read your article from Sunny Southerner and found myself there. The only difference is, I realized you are right! I too am 51, single and thought I couldn't live without marriage. I have a great guy, (56) who also does not want to marry again. He told me that up front 5 years ago. I was unsettled with it at first, and thought I could change him. As time went on (we don't live together), I realized how strong I am on my own, got over the fear of being alone, and now I am the one who does NOT want to marry!

I love this man the way he is—living in his own home! I realized that I don't want him to change for me, but if he changes because of me, that's fine. We have a great relationship, are together most every day/evening, travel together, spend holidays together, etc., but at the end of the day, he goes home. In my opinion, Sunny is needy, having been married for 21 years, then ready to jump back into the fire. That's pretty quick to get over a marriage that lasted so long.

I have to really question her real feelings about this guy, or if she's really over the first one yet and just looking to be comfortable and kept. I love my guy, and we have already decided (mutually) that we will be together the rest of our lives. I too consider myself old fashioned, but I'm also a realist. That marriage "contract" isn't a guarantee. These days, it only makes you each qualified to receive half of everything should things not work out. I'm 51, I own my own home, have a good job, and am helping my daughter through college. If I have one thing I am most grateful to my guy for, it's for NOT marrying me. If he had, I'd never know what I could do on my own. At this point, if we ever marry, it will be because we love each other and WANT to be married. It won't be out of necessity. Sunny should quit boo-hooing and focus on finding herself.

Thanks for the great article...
I'm Strong in Ohio

Dear I’m Strong,
YES YOU ARE. And you have expressed my views precisely about gaining strength BEFORE even possibly taking on the “Mrs.” title.
Dr. Gilda

XXX

Dear Dr. Gilda,
I actually waisted my time reading your advice column. Where you told the young lady about getting married? My opinion is YOU ARE FULL OF SHIT!!!!!!!!! Freedom of Speech is Great. That is why you have your views and I have mine. Remember the people you spin your bullshit to, they may actually believe you and end up worse off than they are.

You have money they do not. Hope in your high and Mighty world "Oh I helped another one today" someday reality will bite you in the ASS!!!!!!!!!!!!! I live with my girlfriend and her 82 year old mother we own a house together and we are happy and not married. Now I am the dumb for continuing this.

NAME WITHHELD TO PROTECT THIS GUY’S POTTY MOUTH, HIS DENIGRATING AND CONDESCENDING MANNER TOWARDS A LADY, ESPECIALLY ONE HE DOESN’T KNOW, HIS SWEEPING ASSUMPTIONS, AND HIS ILLITERATE MISSPELLINGS… HE WAS EVEN STUPID ENOUGH TO INCLUDE HIS NAME, WORK ADDRESS, AND CONTACT PHONE NUMBERS!!! SOME PEOPLE WILL DO ANYTHING FOR ATTENTION. LET US PRAY FOR THE POOR DUDE!

XXX

Hello Dr. Gilda,
I just had to let you know that I am very impressed and pleased by your article on the front page of the MSN website. The article was a response to Sunny Southerner, who claims to be 'old fashioned' but is living with her boyfriend. I like your straight to the point, no nonsense approach. You spoke the truth and did not hold back. I appreciate that. In this day and time, it is what people need to hear. I am 30 yrs. old and not married/no kids, but I do understand the value of marriage. Because so many of us men don't, it is important for women to make sure their needs and desires match up with their actions. You made my evening, and I'd just like to say, 'Thank you.' God bless you, be encouraged, and people need to hear you!
Evolved Man

Dear Evolved Man,
Thank you for your kind words. Until BOTH men and women honor each other, and embrace their relationship, whether they marry or not is immaterial. It’s all about respect. And without that, there can be no longevity.
Dr. Gilda

XXX

Dear Dr. Gilda,
Thanks for putting me onto this link, Dr. Gilda. I really enjoyed reading the responses to this column. Gee, the number of idiots who can't read and think properly, and who misinterpret what they read, never ceases to amaze me. I'm sure you're used to it.

I personally loved your using the "why buy the cow when you can get the milk free". In fact, I read that "Elvis" himself often used this phrase when asked why he slept around with so many women. Men do think this way. I'm sure Elvis was laughing to himself all the way to the bedroom. For women, the phrase is, "Why buy the whole ig when all you want is a little piece of sausage?"

Personally, I would never live with a man. I am not religious at all and am not conservative in any way. Many of my friends have lived with guys long-term and one even has a "friends with benefits" arrangement. That's fine for them. I just feel that "one foot in is the same as one foot out" and if a man does not want to make a full, serious, long-term commitment to me, I would wonder about his motives. Living together still smells of "we can make a fast escape if playing house doesn't work out." Hey, that's fine for some folks, but it would make me sick. Maybe I'm just not "secure enough" to live with someone. I want the whole enchilada or nothing.

Take care and keep up the great, intelligent work!!!
Appreciative Lady

ENDNOTE

This is only a small sampling of how this topic hit the nerves of so many of my readers. Many men were angry because they THOUGHT I told this woman to marry to be happy. Some were upset because they THOUGHT I told women to use a man for his money. Some women reminisced about how they, too, had wanted marriage from a man who didn’t.

I NEVER said marry or don’t, or use someone for all he has. I never mentioned the man in this equation, except to tell readers that it was not fair to lead him on. I believe we must respect each other’s needs, be honest and upfront about our own, and see if we can have a meeting of souls. Relationships aren’t complex; it is we who make them that.

If you were one of those who misread my words, re-read them now. And then understand how YOU interpreted what you THOUGHT I wrote. Therein lies the way you are coming across to other people, especially those of the opposite sex.
____________________________________________________________________________________

"OUR WORLD MIRRORS WHO WE ARE BACK TO US. When we get upset by something outside of us, our reaction shows us that we have an inner wound to be healed.

Just as we can be unconscious of our wounds, we can also be unconscious of our strengths. If you are really drawn to the positive qualities in another person, you are being invited to own those same qualities in yourself.

The people we are in relationship with are always a mirror, reflecting our own beliefs, and simultaneously we are mirrors reflecting their beliefs. So relationship is one of the most powerful tools for growth... if we look honestly at our relationships we can see so much about how we have created them."
-- Shakti Gawain
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If you are honest with yourself, you’ll be able to be honest with others. That is one of the most vital ingredients of relationship longevity.
Love,
Dr. Gilda

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DR. GILDA CARLE (Ph.D.) is a nationally-known psychotherapist/relationship expert. She is the founder of the video blog, GildaVision, on her web site: www.DrGilda.com. She is also Match.com’s weekly Suddenly Single advice columnist on MSN.com’s Dating & Personals page. In addition, she is a motivational speaker, a professor of psychology & communications, and the author of "Don't Bet on the Prince!" (a test question on "Jeopardy!"), "Teen Talk with Dr. Gilda," and "He's Not All That!" DR. GILDA was the therapist in HBO's Emmy Award winner, "Telling Nicholas," featured on Oprah, where she guided a family to tell their 7-year-old that his mom died in the World Trade. www.DrGilda.com