Monday, January 25, 2010

Military Man Questions How to Describe His Online Status

Dear Dr. Gilda,

I’ve decided that online dating is the way to go, but after two years of separation (I am in the military, and my wife is back in the states), my divorce is still not final. I am stationed halfway across the world, and I am at the mercy of her lawyers. I am lonely and need support. I thought I might find someone online who could get to know me, and then when my tour was over, I could get back to “real” dating. By then my divorce should be final.

My question is, what do I put on my profile? Do I say “currently separated,” because it’s the truth? I worry that women will see that and assume I am a cheater who is looking for something on the side. Or do I write “divorced”? I have filed the paperwork, and I don’t know when the divorce will be final.

I just need to find someone to connect with and to confide in. I am so lonely here and hope is the one thing that will get me through this. I just don’t want to screw this up. Please help, Dr. Gilda!!

Private Lonely

Dear Private Lonely,

I counsel a lot of military people around the world, and loneliness is one of their most prevalent emotions. While they’re coping with life vs. death, they feel isolated and distant from the world they used to know. They pray they will eventually return in one piece — and they fantasize about settling into life as they knew it. But life “as they knew it” is never the same. Many of their marriages fall apart, just as former military man Senator John McCain’s did when he returned to civilian life, and just as yours did, long-distance.

One way to find love that lasts wherever you are is to embrace it without neediness. As my Gilda-Gram says, “We attract not who we want, but who we ARE.” Needy people attract other needy people, and with so much need, there is only disappointment.

This is what I suggest you do now:

1. Definitely peruse the online dating sites — but instead of searching for love, look for friendship first. My Gilda-Gram advises, “Friends first, lovers later.” Right now, you need a pen pal who can offer emotional support and understanding, not a promise of something you may later regret.

2. Seek several such friendships. As you search, begin to recognize what YOU can offer each of them. Your letter to me is abundant in YOUR needs, but says nothing about what you want to provide someone else. Self-involvement is a sign you’re still hurting from being in divorce limbo. It also proves you’re not ready for love.

3. Be honest online. The term “currently separated” is not a disease! Since you’re not looking for love right now, your marital status is irrelevant. If a friendship gradually turns to love, hopefully by then your divorce will be final.

It is horrible to feel so out of control. Hopefully, you will soon be home. We Americans thank you for protecting us. Also protect yourself — that means physically and emotionally. I hope you have plenty of time to meet those who will be anxious to meet you and can give as well as receive when you return!


Dr. Gilda


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. For more information, visit her at

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Beautiful Thank You Letter!

Dear Dr. Gilda,
I just read your answer on ("Ask Dr. Gilda: Am I Too Big for Love?") to a woman concerned that her weight was keeping her from having a relationship:
I was very surprised by your answer. Very pleasantly surprised!

My name's Lexie and I am a Fat Acceptance and Body Acceptance activist. If you've never heard of Fat Acceptance it's a social movement that works to help people love their bodies no matter what the size and gain certain civil rights for fat people (as we are discriminated against yet not protected by law), while also promoting Health At Every Size (HAES).

I am one of those "morbidly obese" women (though I tend not to classify myself using BMI standards as the BMI is so flawed). I am in a relationship at the moment and though I love my body, I do still worry about other people's reaction to it, though my boyfriend, who is very loving, assures me that there's nothing to worry about at all.

Anyway, I'm going on and on. I just wanted to say, that when I saw the ad for this woman's letter and your advice, I rolled my eyes. I totally expected something negative. Some kind of weight loss guide to love. I was so happy to see how body positive it was and I wanted to say thank you. Thank you so much for being so positive about body size. Thank you so much for being a DOCTOR and being positive about different body sizes. We really do need more like you.

Thank you again,
Lexie Di

Hi, Lexie Di,
What a beautiful letter. THANK YOU!! I’d like to post that piece and your letter (with your permission) on my blog (on Self-acceptance and self-love, no matter what a person’s size, color, height, religion, education, or ANYTHING ELSE is vital for happiness, health, and enduring relationships...
Dr. Gilda

Dear Dr. Gilda,
I would be really honored to have it posted. I just thought you should know that your actions as a body positive doctor are so meaningful and helpful to a movement that moves very slowly because of social views. I'll also be sending the link to your blog (as well as the link above) to the fat acceptance blogs that I frequent, if that's okay with you. The people there are always looking for new, positive things to share, instead of the daily fat-hate.

Thank you so much, again!
Your new supporter,
Lexie Di

Dear Lexie Di,
Absolutely! Send this information EVERYWHERE, and also send your letter to and They always want to know how their readers think.

Incidentally, in the January 25, 2010 issue of In Touch Weekly, there’s an article called “Bullied for the Weight, Curvy Girls Fight Back.” The sub-title is, “For years, they’ve been called the dreaded F-word—fat! Now, these plus-size models are getting the best revenge.” Photographed nude and nearly nude are some very gorgeous women! Check it out.

Shout-out to all: LOVE YOURSELF NO MATTER WHAT YOUR PACKAGING! If YOU love you, someone else certainly will!!
Dr. Gilda

Monday, January 18, 2010

Falling for a Commitment-Phobe

She’s eager for a commitment, but he refuses to talk about it. What should she do?

Dear Dr. Gilda,
I met my current boyfriend within a month of his ending his marriage. We hit it off right away and have been together ever since. We are both in our 40s, divorced with children. When we first got together, we talked for hours about everything imaginable. We are together every day and most nights, and yet I can’t get him to talk about his feelings for me and/or where he sees this relationship going. When he talks about the near future he talks like I’m in it, but he won’t discuss his thoughts or feelings with me. He says things like “next summer ‘we’ should...” but nothing about a commitment.

I’ve asked him about his feelings for me but he doesn’t answer. He’ll say things like “I’m happy” or “I’m not looking for anyone else” but he refuses to tell me he loves me or whether he thinks we have a future. I’ve told him his silence scares me and makes me wonder about “us,” but I still get nothing. I’m not sure what to do. We get along great and have a good time together, but I need to know if he is serious about me or if I should move on. There are children involved, and I don’t want to play with their emotions, either. What can I do?
– Confused about the Future

Dear Confused,

Your timing was way off! No one of substance can glide out of a marriage and into happily ever after with someone new—unless he has no blood in his veins. What this guy is “telling” you is that he’s comfy with things as they are. You have provided a safe haven during his recuperation from post-divorce malaise. Clearly, he’s not anxious to repeat a train wreck. So he’s taking his time—and there is nothing you can do about it!

Here’s the low-down on “Man-guage”: A guy believes that just being with a woman proves she is special in his heart. But a woman fears that if the loving language doesn’t flow, it means he doesn’t care. In your case, Boyfriend is trying to understand what just happened to his life. Further, some men (and women) take years to convince when it comes to re-commitment. Are you willing to be patient for a few years?

Here’s what I suggest:

1. Observe this Gilda-Gram: “Choose which bridges to cross and which to burn.” If you want this guy in your life, you have to create a plan. What follows is how to begin.

2. The actual words you want to hear are not forthcoming. But his his non-response is his response. You can either accept the facts as they are or be willing to move on—perhaps only until he knows what he wants.

3. Don’t give him an ultimatum—unless you want to permanently push him out the door.

4. If you decide to hang in there for a while, accentuate your good times and stop bringing up the C-word. He has already heard what you want and expect.

5. Silently circle a due date on your calendar, and let that be your goal. On that date, repeat how you feel one last time, and then share your plan for action.

6. Whatever your plan is, stick to it. If you don’t, he will never believe you again.

You could remain with Boyfriend for years and find that he’ll never be interested in re-marriage. Or you could remain quiet while he concludes in his own time that he’s more ready for you than he realized. No matter what happens, he must conclude by himself what he wants. Trying to manipulate him will only leave you single.
Dr. Gilda

Relationship expert Dr. Gilda Carle (Ph.D.) has a private practice Online, on the phone, and in her office. She is an associate professor of business, psychology, and communications at New York’s Mercy College. Her best-selling books include Don't Bet on the Prince!, 99 Prescriptions for Fidelity, and How to Win When Your Mate Cheats. For additional information, please visit

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Feeling Emotionally Empty

After two failed engagements, one man despairs of losing his current love because he can’t open up.

Dear Dr. Gilda,
I often read your advice and you always seem dead-on, but I am different from all the others I have ever read about, and I need a different kind of help. I have never talked to a therapist before. I am shut off from the world when it comes to talking about feelings and emotions. I have never pursued any woman. I’ve always waited for someone to find me, and then once it happened, I’d act upon it and a relationship would form. I’m not shy; I’m just not a hunter. I’ve been engaged twice, but both relationships failed once the women started to get to know me and realized I am empty. Things in my past from when I was a child have shut me off emotionally, and I don’t feel emotions. I am very fond of the woman I’m now dating, but I feel I’m losing her because I won’t or can’t open up to her; I don’t know how. She always wants to talk about how I’m feeling. I care for this woman, and I don’t want to lose her, but I wonder if that’s just because I want someone to be there for me. Please help!
— Lost in Translation

Dear Lost,
My dear, dear man! If you were to meet someone who described herself as “empty,” would you be interested in getting to know her? The word empty connotes lifelessness. Is that how you really consider yourself?

For starters, do some major introspection and determine why you assess yourself this way. Just because you don’t choose to discuss your feelings doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Three statements you made revealed some clues that you actually DO have feelings and emotions:

1. “Things in my past from when I was a child have shut me off emotionally.”
Anyone who has been hurt in the past DOES INDEED feel.

2. “I care for this woman, and don’t want to lose her.”
Caring about someone is a feeling.

3. “…I wonder if it’s because I just want someone to be there for me.”
Wanting someone to be there for you is a lovely and healthy feeling.

The first thing for you to do is to define your childhood hurts. Write them down, and then think about how they affected you. If you have a blockage
regarding them, get some professional help so you do not take this journey alone.

The next thing to do is to determine what kind of payoffs you’re getting from continuing to declare yourself “empty.” As ironic as it may seem, every behavior we assume has a payoff; otherwise we would not be continuing it. What benefits are you deriving from your “empty” title? At face value, you might not want to admit there’s any benefit to putting yourself down. But you might be surprised to learn that perhaps you’re actually enjoying your role as a victim of your past hurts so others can take the lead role in your relationships. Explore this with a therapist who will perceive more than you can since you’re so close to the situation. No matter how you process this information, as long as these blocks continue, THEY will function as your true love, rather than the woman you don’t want to lose!

While you declare you’re not a hunter, a little indication that you’re interested in your lady would make her feel that her investment of feelings toward you is not going to waste. Obviously, you fear this kind of emotional honesty. Why? Undoubtedly, this has something to do with your past. Explore with your counselor why your former fiancées chose to leave. Just stating that it was because they discovered that you’re “empty” does not get at the heart of your issue.

The reason you emailed me is that you DO feel deeply and you finally want to tear down your walls. This is great news. The greatest payoff of all for you will be that, with your new self-confidence, your woman will certainly want to remain with you. As my Gilda-Gram says, “Nothing is more attractive than a partner who is sure of himself.” But you will have to feel it within yourself before you are able to communicate it.


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 99 Prescriptions for Fidelity and How to Win When Your Mate Cheats. Please visit for more information.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Why We STILL Love Carrie Underwood’s “Before He Cheats!”

Tiger Woods surely did his wife and family wrong. Partners the world over want to know how to proceed after they find they’ve been betrayed. "Before He Cheats" is a revenge song, and I promote just the opposite, that the best revenge is doing well. I believe you should watch your cheater SUFFER when s/he gets a whiff of your success! Ahhh, what power that exudes! Carrie Underwood’s song is not ONLY about revenge. It is also a lesson in assertiveness and resolve.

Her video shows her committing destructive acts against her cheater’s car. And she boasts about them as she sings, “I dug my key into the side of his pretty little souped-up four wheel drive, carved my name into his leather seats…” Certainly not a model for anger management that I would ever recommend! But after she gets her kicks, she comes out of her rage with, “Maybe next time he’ll think before he cheats.” So, for the sake of all sisters everywhere, it could be argued that Underwood is teaching this guy how not to behave with the women who follow her! Thanks, Carrie, that’s good social work on your part! Then she asserts, “…because the next time that he cheats, you know it won’t be on me.” In a healthy state, emerging from her rage, she resolves that she won’t ever find herself in this situation with this dude again! Amen!!

We can’t help but celebrate this lady’s growth. Good for you, girlfriend!! Naturally, the song has become every cuckolded partner’s anthem to get out of Dodge and start a life with someone who is faithful!

Yet, I receive thousands of e-mails from people who were cheated on, and who return to their partners, to the same scene, to the same misery. (In fact, 65% of cheated-on mates remain in their marriages.) Their rationalizations range from, “I don’t want to lose my standard of living, my life style, the house, having someone to care about me…” (You call this caring??) to “But I love him/her.” Oh, puleeeze! What can you love about someone you can’t trust? As my Gilda-Gram™ says, “We attract not who we want, but who we ARE.” While them’s fightin’ words, the truth is that if you find yourself with a cheater, and you remain and complain, it’s ONLY because you feel you deserve NO BETTER! That’s why I love the modeling Carrie has set for all women. Judging from the popularity of this song, I am not alone.

So what should you do now if you discover you haven't been your partner’s one and only? Follow this other Gilda-Gram™: “To change a cheater, change yourself.” Set your boundaries--without going to Carrie Underwood extremes. Instead, level with your partner: “Sorry, bud, but I’m not taking this treatment any more.” As soon as you lay down your limitations, you, too, will sing, " . . . because the next time that he cheats, you know it won’t be on me.”

It’s a great feeling to know that YOU, not your mate, hold the reins to your life and future. And you know what? Your change of heart will leave your dude speechless. Watch the sucker crawl as YOU decide what YOU want to do. Only, this time your actions will evolve from your STRENGTH, not your anger or your fears. I’m rooting for you!


Relationship expert Dr. Gilda Carle (Ph.D.) has a private international practice, is a keynote/motivational speaker, and is a professor of psychology, communications, and business at New York's Mercy College. Her best-selling books include "99 Prescriptions for Fidelity" and "How to Win When Your Mate Cheats." Visit for more information.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Am I Being Superficial?

This guy has worked hard to stay young-looking and in good physical shape. Why can’t he find a match?

Dear Dr. Gilda,
I am a relatively nice-looking man, and I’ve been told I look 10 years younger than I am, which sets me up for the first problem I run into. Most women my age, and many who are younger, look much older than I do. Also, most of them outweigh me. To me, these are flaws. I do not look perfect, and I do not expect perfection, but how can I be attracted to ladies who do not care about the way they look, when I work hard to stay in halfway decent shape? I haven’t found anyone who is my type of person with my values.

I know it’s shallow to start with looks, but I have to be attracted to a woman first, and when they look so bad, I can’t get past it. How am I ever going to find love?
— Looking for a Love Who Isn’t Perfect

Dear Looking,
Of course, physical attraction is a major part of falling in love. It also jump-starts your delicious libido. But when the superficial outweighs the plumpest of women you complain about, it’s time to take notes.

A twice-married client came to me because he was having no luck with women he was meeting online. He bemoaned that each prospect always fell short of his “type.” I’ve been counseling people for years, and I have seen this “type” standard get in the way of too many potential love matches.

I suggested my client date outside the box by deliberately experimenting with different “types.” He preferred blondes, so I told him to have tea with a brunette. He preferred tall, leggy women, so I directed him to have a drink with someone shorter. I wanted him to open his mind to the PEOPLE he was meeting rather than to their physical appeal.

But I also introduced another condition of this exercise: Before he decided to meet any woman, he needed to lengthen his talk time with her online and on the phone. Also, when he finally did meet that person, he was not allowed to take their connection straight to bed. Ordinarily, I suggest that singles meet potential mates in person as soon as they can to avoid unfounded fantasies. But this guy’s visual orientation was getting in the way of his making wise choices, so we needed to keep the looks aspect off the table for a while.

Surprise, surprise! What this man found was that when he was getting to know someone, and he found that he liked her, her physical attributes played a less important role. He also voiced that somehow, he was no longer anxious to jump into bed upon his first meeting. He was actually savoring the journey of discovery. When he did become intimate with someone, the interaction was based on friendship and caring, and he described their lovemaking as “rocket-soaring”!

You SAY you’re looking for a love “that isn’t perfect.” But notice how you’ve set yourself up: each woman you want must be perfect according to your “type.” Hey, fella, where has your “type” gotten you up to this point? As my Gilda-Gram says, “When you always date as you’ve always done, you’ll always go where you’ve always gone.” And for you, Looking, where you’ve gone is NOWHERE!

I suggest you follow the exercise I created for my client. Give it a few months and see how it serves you. In addition, I believe it’s time for you to assess who you really are:

1. Are you prone to age-ism? Are you interested in a woman because of what age she is — and how much older or younger she looks compared with you?
2. Who are you really trying to impress? Do you want a woman who is break-neck attractive so you can have bragging rights with your buds?
3. What do you like to do on dates? Is having deep and interesting conversation as appealing as sporting arm candy for all to see?
4. What do you truly value? Is meeting a gym member you can work out with as important to you as having someone playing dress up when you’re out?

These questions will reveal why your current conditioning has resulted in your disappointment. But every roadblock can lead you to a new path — if you heed its warning. Let your personal love blocks change your course. The worst that can happen is that you’ll discover some wonderful ladies you may have overlooked!


Relationship expert Dr. Gilda Carle (Ph.D.) has a private international practice, is a keynote/motivational speaker, and is a professor of psychology, communications, and business at New York's Mercy College. Her best-selling books include "99 Prescriptions for Fidelity" and "How to Win When Your Mate Cheats." Visit for more information.

Friday, January 1, 2010


Enjoy a GLORIOUS, HEALTHY, and HAPPY 2010!

♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪ ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪♥ ♥ ♥♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪...!♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪...

May all you want be the LEAST you get for the New Year!

I started the New Year on a spin bike for an hour. Pure heaven! Great music, great instructor, great class. Now I’m writing my goals for the new year. It has been shown that there is a connection between the kinesthetic and the visual in being able to manifest what you want. If you repeat your goals aloud, you add the auditory modality to the mix, making your manifestation potential even greater. Further, if you believe you DESERVE to achieve your goals, you’re really on your way.

Make life happen because YOU happen. You’re all you have, and this is all it takes. It’s absolutely dreamy!! Please let me know about your success!
Dr. Gilda