Monday, February 15, 2010

Will He Ever Propose, Already??

Courtesy of’s Happen Magazine

A woman is waiting (and waiting!) for her new guy to ask her to marry him. Will that day ever come?

Dear Dr. Gilda,

I love my boyfriend. This is a second serious relationship for both of us (as we are both divorced). He is a great person — responsible, reliable and mature — all the things I’ve been holding out for since my previous mistake.

Anyway, we moved in together about six months after we started dating. During our house hunt we had a conversation about marriage, and I made it clear that I wanted to get married, not just live together forever. At that time he agreed with me and he said he would like to buy the house and then get married the next year.

His proposal is now overdue. We have talked about marriage since then. He claims he wants to get married, and that he wants to surprise me with his proposal. But the only thing that surprises me so far is his lack of care for how this prolonged wait makes me feel. My question is, how long is TOO long to wait for something we have already agreed upon?

Still Waiting

Dear Still Waiting,

During the throes of new love, promises gush wildly, while under calmer conditions, two rational people might adopt more of a wait-and-see stance. For you, things are more complex because you guys purchased a house after only six months of dating. Risky business!

When you and your boyfriend “talked about marriage,” did you specify a date or was it a discussion in generalities? He concurred that he wanted to get married, but without a definite “when,” the term “someday” is the prevailing assumption. “Someday” can take on many different meanings for different people. So now you have a communication faux pas where you’re steamed about waiting for him to sweep you to marital nirvana.

I assume your guy invested some money in this permanent domicile, so he’s already made a financial commitment. You say you love him. It’s certainly not productive for you to harbor an undercurrent of resentment. This is what I suggest you do:

1. Get your living parameters back into the communications realm where they belong. Instead of waiting in anger, tell your boyfriend, “I moved in with you under the condition that we would get married—to which you agreed. I am disappointed you have not made plans toward that end. Please tell me your thoughts on this.” You’re not giving him an ultimatum, and you’re not threatening to leave. You’re simply sharing your feelings and requesting closure by clarifying his intentions. End. Of. Story. No more games.

2. While your boyfriend says he wants to “surprise” you with his proposal, you’re not appreciating his lag time. Do you truly trust his spoken intentions? Do you think he’s feeling pressured? Do you believe that the “surprise” excuse is just a smokescreen? Do you sense he’s stalling for time? Do you honestly think he wants to marry you, ever? You may have to probe your guy for his honest answers—which even he may not know. It is also possible that he’s just plain scared to make a lifetime commitment.

3. You may have been putting off this issue because you’re scared of commitment, too, or you’re terrified of a possible rejection. Deal with your own fears before you project onto him your personal issues.

4. Listen, listen, listen. Your guy’s response (or non-response) will tell you all you need to know.

As my Gilda-Gram says, “Nothing is more powerful than a partner who is sure of herself.” Show your confidence by getting a reality check—whether you like the answer or not. The objective now is less to get a wedding band than it is to live a happy and prosperous life with the dude or without him.


Dr. Gilda


Relationship expert Dr. Gilda Carle, Ph.D., has a private practice and is an associate professor at New York's Mercy College. Her best-selling books include 99 Prescriptions for Fidelity and How to Win When Your Mate Cheats. Please visit her at

Monday, February 8, 2010

Overcoming a Past of Abuse

Courtesy of’s Happen Magazine

Dear Dr. Gilda,

It has been almost a year since I fled my marriage, which was very abusive and ended in divorce. For most of this year, I have been floundering, but I have started to pick up the pieces and put myself back together. I have a lot of goals I want to accomplish to improve myself, and I have started taking baby steps toward them.

There is a guy who works in the same building I do, and I have had a crush on him for a while. I am too shy to approach him, and I don’t even know whether he has a girlfriend. I am also afraid that if we do start dating, I won’t accomplish the things I want to. I don’t even know if I’m ready to date again.

I still have very low self-esteem and the scars are evident, both physically and emotionally. I am terrified to let anyone back into my life. I have been trying to resolve these issues on my own, because I don’t have health insurance for counseling. How do you know when you are ready to date after an abusive marriage? I don’t want to attract the same type of man again.

Picking Up the Pieces

Dear Picking Up the Pieces,

It’s great that you are now able to think of a man in a romantic way after your abusive marriage. Even if it’s pure fantasy, thinking about a new man is a sign your healthy soul wants to return to love.

It’s also a credit to you that you’re anxious to re-start your future with reachable goals. That’s another sign you are on your way to a brighter future.

Of course, since you’re new to dating, the ghosts of the past still frighten you—and they probably will until you get used to being pursued by healthy partners. Here are some things to consider now:

1. List the reasons you originally paired up with your ex. Determine if the same traits exist in men you find attractive now.

2. Assess how you grew as a result of having been with him. As my Gilda-Gram says, “Each relationship we have teaches us something—even if the lessons come in unrecognizable wrappers.”

3. Low self-esteem will derail any potential relationship. Someone who loves herself would tell an abuser, “Later!” and LEAVE. Up your self-confidence quotient by interacting only in positive experiences.

4. Take an assertiveness training course in a local high school or continuing education program. Also, explore books on assertiveness.

5. Everyone exiting a difficult relationship wonders whether he or she will ever be ready for love again. The better your self-worth, the more likely you’ll be to attract a wonderful partner. You may not be ready yet. It’s okay, take your time.

6. Stop reiterating your “low self-esteem” and shyness both internally and externally. Substitute some positivity!

7. Recognize that having love in your life does not negate the possibility of fulfilling your goals. Loving someone and achieving a goal do not cancel each other out. Someone with high self-esteem attracts a mate who wants her to succeed and helps her reach her goals.

Oh, and about that cute guy? Since you work in the same building, ask him questions—about parking, security, and good local restaurants. Casual chatting can lead to more. Once you step outside your self-described limitations, you’ll love what you find.


Dr. Gilda


Relationship expert Dr. Gilda Carle, Ph.D., has a private practice and is an associate professor at New York's Mercy College. Her best-selling books include 99 Prescriptions for Fidelity and How to Win When Your Mate Cheats. Please visit her at

Friday, February 5, 2010

The Meaning behind Trimming Brad Pitt's Beard

Surprise! When I awoke this morning, someone called to direct me to page 43 in the New York Daily News:

"OK! Magazine says that Brad Pitt's recent trimming of his beard means he's ready to resolve his problems with Angelina. 'A beard very often signifies hiding from whatever is around you -- all the people and all the problems,' says Dr. Gilda Carle, who has not treated Brad or his beard. 'Trimming it suggests that he's willing to be clearer and more honest about everything that's going on in their relationship.' So he's ready to face the music. But he'd better not get too cheeky. That would be a close shave.


Read more:

Thursday, February 4, 2010

I Lost My Wife to CyberSex

His marriage of 19 years crumbled due to “emotional cheating.” Here, advice on how to move on.

Dear Dr. Gilda,

Has anybody else lost a relationship because of cybersex? I believe it is an addiction. Nineteen years of my marriage went down the drain! What tips do you have for helping me get over this? I know that my wife did not physically “cheat” on me, but she “emotionally cheated.” How can I explain this to people when talking about my divorce?

Real Marriage, Pretend Wife

Dear Real Marriage, Pretend Wife,

Plenty of marriages fall prey to cybersex. Anything that consumes someone so much and distracts from a partnership is indeed an addiction. And addictions must be treated.

You ask about other cybersex addicts. The world was shocked when the news hit that actor David Duchovny is a sex addict hooked on online porn. I’m sure you can identify with the torment of his wife, actress Tea Leoni. Duchovny was able to hide his real problem through his pretend role as the sex-driven writer on his show, Californication. As you have now learned, pretending becomes reality.

Emotional cheating can be very painful for an abandoned partner. Some therapists say that unless Flap A enters Slot B, cybersex is harmless. I am not one of them. I have counseled people who were discarded by partners, even though it was “only” through virtual sex. Emotional cheating can leave scars as deep as those perpetrated by the physical act. Don’t apologize for feeling remorse.

As you requested, here are some tips for you to cope:

1. Get literature from SAA, Sex Addicts Anonymous, and understand what your ex’s addiction is all about. Also, get some support for yourself.

2. Stop worrying about how to present your past to others. New dates don’t need a biography of your woes. If a relationship is to unfold, your story will unfold, too—but it will unfold to loving ears.

3. Don’t blame yourself for your wife’s betrayal. Instead, enumerate the things you enjoyed during your 19 years of marriage.

4. Consider whether you noticed your wife pulling away from you. While you can’t do anything about that now, you could sharpen your awareness of the signs before a future disconnect occurs.

5. Be determined to rise above the betrayal. My e-Book “How to WIN When Your Mate Cheats” describes how a marriage can become stale unless two people actively and continuously nurture it. Focus on relationship nurturing in your next involvements.

I know your wife’s betrayal came as a shock. Write her a letter (but don’t send it) thanking her for helping you grow in whatever ways she did. This exercise is for YOU to finalize that your official contract with her is over. Then follow this Gilda-Gram: “Operate as though love, success, and happiness are already yours.” When you truly believe that, you will burn your baggage and welcome exciting new luggage.


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 99 Prescriptions for Fidelity and How to Win When Your Mate Cheats. Please visit her at