by Dr. Gilda Carle
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.
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!!!
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.