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Monday, November 30, 2009

Lovers Who Lie

Happy After-Thanxgiving! I had a wonderful and peaceful 4 days, local and loving. How about you? Now that we’re all back to business, how many of you are facing MONKEY business in your personal lives? Don’t you have enough stress to contend with already?

The following woman is overly suspicious after divorcing a husband who deceived her about his past. I offer advice on putting the ordeal behind her so she can open her heart to new possibilities.

Dear Dr. Gilda,
I am divorced now after what seemed like an endless struggle. I had to file all the paperwork after my husband took off and abandoned me. He was a pathological liar and a drug addict. We were only married for a year, but it was the worst year of my life. I had dated him for three years, and he turned out to have a secret past as a heroin abuser. The reason his friends and family treated me as a savior is because everyone believed I “rescued him” from his past of lying, stealing, suicide attempts, psychotic behavior, even a mental institution stint… the whole nine yards. He hid or minimized most of this to me, making it seem like it happened years ago, not in the four months before we started dating.

Now that the divorce is final, how can I trust anyone else? When I think about dating someone, I imagine hiring investigators to follow him, checking his phone in the middle of the night, even installing spyware. Should I give up on dating for a while? How can I suppress this feeling of suspicion towards everyone and everything?
– Distrusting Partner

Dear Distrusting Partner,
You are not the first person to be duped by a partner who professed to love you. Remember that woman who married the guy parading as a Rockefeller? She stayed with him for 13 years and had a child with him. And this 41-year-old woman was no slouch. She graduated from Stanford University and Harvard Business School. She was a senior partner in a prestigious consulting firm and earned over $1 million per year. Still, she was taken in. For sure, there is a difference between IQ, innate intelligence, and EQ, emotional acuity for trouble.

Sure, your ex was no prince. But part of the responsibility was yours for not asking questions and noting inconsistencies. In addition, you fell prey to a common affliction among women: the need to save someone. A savior mentality stems from wanting to feel needed and loved. The unconscious reasoning is that if your partner becomes dependent on you, he’ll stay. That’s BAD reasoning! As you have discovered, that ploy doesn’t work!

What you must do now is dump the abandonment mentality that haunts you. This is how:

1. Analyze who you were when you met this guy. Were you needy for love? My Gilda-Gram says, “To know your partner is wise. To know yourself is enlightened.”

2. Which signs did you pick up — and ignore — during your three years of dating? It’s unlikely he didn’t leave cues. Why did you choose to brush aside the evidence?

3. How do you feel when you’re on a rescue mission? Where did you develop the notion that rescuing would guarantee loving?

4. Find a trusted therapist to unearth these answers together, so you’ll understand what you must do to protect yourself in the future.

Just as you suspect, I agree that you should refrain from dating for a while—until you feel you are on more solid ground. Trust takes time. But it begins with trusting yourself to make good choices. With help and in time, you’ll come out much better than the person who entered that superficial marriage. Let me know if you need my guidance.
Dr. Gilda, with love

For the rest of you out there, how many folks have been taken in by a liar?? I can certainly raise my own hand to that one. Let's swap stories so maybe, just maybe, we can prevent others from being taken in in the future!

XXXX

Relationship expert Dr. Gilda Carle (Ph.D.), has a private practice and is an associate professor at Mercy College in New York. Her best-selling books include Don't Bet on the Prince!, 99 Prescriptions for Fidelity, and How to Win When Your Mate Cheats. Visit her website at DrGilda@DrGilda.com

Friday, November 6, 2009

Should I Ask for Marriage or Move On?

When this midlife couple met, they briefly discussed marriage. After dating awhile, she’s ready, but her beau is happy with the way things are. Is it time to move on?

Dear Dr. Gilda,
I am a divorced female in my late 50s. I’ve been dating someone for two years. When we met, he asked if I wanted to remarry, and I said that I did, eventually. I told him then that I did not want to date for years, seeing that I’m not getting any younger. He said that if I had said no to marriage, he wouldn’t have continued to see me. We talked
briefly about marriage, but he has not popped the question. He keeps saying that we get along so well that he doesn’t want it to change. I have grandchildren, and I want to leave a good impression with them. We do not live together. I’m attractive and I feel I could find someone else, but maybe not the good person he is. I’m not the type to play games, and I really don’t want to lose him, but something tells me maybe we should move on. I don’t want to be the one to bring up the marriage thing; I want him to be the one to ask! I guess I’m asking for suggestions as to how I could handle the situation.
—In a Dilemma

Dear Dilemma,
You say, “I’m not the type to play games.” So what do you call it when you want something, yet you’re unwilling to ask for it? A game by any other name is STILL a game. Let me get this straight: For the two years you’ve been with Good Person, you’ve put your own desires on the back burner, you’ve played Shrinking Violet, and you’ve HOPED that Mr. Good Person would spring the idea to change this comfy setting into something unknown. Hmm…

What prompts any human being to want to alter what s/he knows for sure? Well, perhaps honesty with someone s/he loves. Yet you say, “I don’t want to be the one to bring up the marriage thing; I want him to be the one to ask!” That’s another game, girlfriend! Get with the program; this is not the 1950s, and you’re not June Cleaver!

I have invested my life’s work in training people to:

1) identify their deep desires, and
2) have the guts to communicate them.
These are difficult skills, but in order to make any relationship work, you must have them!!

If you don’t tell Mr. Good Person that marriage is important to you, do you think he’ll uncover your feelings through osmosis? What are you waiting for? As my Gilda-Gram says, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always go where you’ve always gone.” And for you, honey, I’m afraid that means nowhere!

You claim you don’t want to lose him. He claims he doesn’t want to change what’s already working well. This may be painful to hear, but it seems like each of you has become cozy in your semi-single status.

To determine your next steps, I suggest you follow this sequence:
1. After these two loving years, decide whether becoming a married woman truly appeals to you after all. Discover what prompted you to conclude that enough is now enough. Then decide whether this was a fleeting thought or an ongoing desire.
2. Pick up a book on assertiveness. Practice enunciating your needs with everyone you meet. The test is whether they hear what you say.
3. With Mr. Good Person, begin to voice your wants for things having nothing to do with marriage. Acknowledge how it feels to communicate honestly.

When you become sure of what you want and you’re not reluctant to share it, you will request it with ease. There is a possibility that Mr. Good Person may actually want what you want! But you’ll never know until you speak your mind.

XXX
DR. GILDA CARLE is an internationally-known relationship expert, author, professor, and Match.com columnist of ASK DR. GILDA, published on MSN.com and Happen Magazine. Her best-selling book, “Don’t Bet on the Prince!" has become a classic. Her latest E-Books are "99 Prescriptions for Fidelity" and "How to Win When Your Mate Cheats." Visit her at www.DrGilda.com

Monday, November 2, 2009

Blanketed by Sunday LOVE

Sunday was a wonderful day. I spent the morning becoming a Godmother—without the magic wand. My adorable 3-year-old Goddaughter slept through the service, even as the female, married Episcopalian priest also incorporated songs. Believe it or not, one song sounded like the Israeli Hava Nagila, and I wondered if the crowd would soon break into a Hora! When I asked about that, the priest shrugged her shoulders and said that we are all ONE! How true that is!!

We went to my Goddaughter’s grandparents’ house, and had a delicious lunch to celebrate. Man, can these folks cook!! My Goddaughter's father decorated a multicolored salad for me, because he knows I'm part rabbit. How touching when people prepare your favorite foods for you. But especially, how LOVING that is!! By the time we ate, my little honey was fully awake and filled with energy. How beautiful to watch this tiny ball of fire, intelligence and thought-flow. The love throughout this house was effervescent, and each moment I shared with this family was special. I am grateful to have been a participant in this event, and to have been made to feel so welcome in this, an addendum to my biological family. I truly want to make an impact on this little being’s life—with God’s help!

My next stop was a celebration for my friends’ older daughter who had just finished running the NYC marathon. Thirty-three years ago, I introduced my girlfriend to the man who turned out to be her husband. This couple remains as my closest friends. Their daughter, and another, are the brilliant and beautiful spawn of their union. Joining us were some of the runner’s friends from Yale, where she recently received an MBA. What a fabulous group of young and accomplished achievers! There were perhaps 12 of us in all. We ate at Ben’s on W. 38th Street in Manhattan. From there, I think we became transfixed into a Seinfeld episode with a waitress who was servicing us from Planet Uranus. She told us her earth name was Margaret, but I wonder what her real planetary name is . . .

Problems began when I told Margaret that my knife was dirty, and she gave me another one. When I showed her that that one was dirty, too, we suddenly heard crash, boom, bang. She was now THROWING the silverware in a bin right behind us in her anger over the dirty utensils. The crashing sounds were so loud, we jumped.

Then came my hot tea—carelessly spilled on the pants of my girlfriend and me. I joked, “It’s a good thing I’m not wearing white pants.” But we laughed and kind-heartedly took it in stride, as we continued our conversations. However, after that, Margaret managed to practically throw the soup at us, spilling it on the same spot she nailed us on with the hot tea. A second bowl of soup was spilled, too. At this point, I began to surmise that Margaret’s actions were deliberate. How clumsy an oaf could a waitress be? When she cleared our table to make room for our entree, the empty soup bowls were sloppily spilled on my camel cashmere coat. That was it!

She moved to the table next to ours which she was also serving. Suddenly, she issued the “F” word, which left the talkative gang at our lively table suddenly silent. We heard Margaret apologizing to the other table for SOMETHING. But then she was back to us, now apologizing to me for all the spillage. I told her I was sending the restaurant my dry cleaning bill for the coat, so she brought me an array of amazing chocolate cookies, which I passed around to the twenty-somethings who don’t have to work out as I to keep in shape. Then she offered to bring me a huge slice of some gooey cake. I nixed that. My girlfriend told the restaurant that Margaret needed to take a pill. Maybe she had already taken one, and we were reaping the effects.

Today my girlfriend’s husband called to tell me, “I understand there’s a new waitress school, and they’re looking for someone to practice on as a target. Would you consider the role?” I told him I had already put in my time, thank you very much. Although Ben’s Restaurant served tasty food, Margaret left a bad taste in my mouth, and I’ll ever eat there again. Aren't restaurants in recessionary times supposed to bend over backwards? Earth to Uranus, did you get the message??

Sunday was quite a day! Celebrations and honors for young and old, and a Seinfeld script that no one could have made up! But love blanketed me this Sunday, and it will be the LOVE part of this weekend that I will hold in my heart forever!