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Monday, May 31, 2010

SHOCKING!! A Woman Who Doesn't Like Being Spoiled

By

DR. GILDA CARLE (Ph.D.)



One divorced mom has met the proverbial Prince Charming. So what’s the problem? All this attention is making her uncomfortable! Here’s how to approach this issue with tact and grace.

Courtesy of Match.com’s Happen Magazine 


http://www.happenmag.com/magazine/index.aspx?lid=396


Dear Dr. Gilda,

I struck gold! I got a man who loves to take me out to fancy restaurants and buy me expensive things. He loves my seven-month-old son to pieces and buys him things, too. He believes in treating a woman like a princess and tells me on a daily basis how much he cares and how beautiful I am. I always wanted a man like this. The problem is that I just got out of a marriage where this was not the case. In fact, the two men are like night and day; my ex-husband treated me like crap and did nothing for me. As much as I love being spoiled, I can’t handle it. And I am not good at confrontations. I don’t know how to tell him when enough is enough. Do you think I am being spoiled too much or that I’m overreacting? Please help me!

Spoiled Princess


Dear Spoiled Princess,

So you think that you’ve met Prince Charming? He wines you, dines you, buys you expensive gifts, loves your child, extols your beauty and adores everything that is YOU. Most women would say, “Girl, since you don’t appreciate this dude, just send him my way!” So what’s the rub?


Ladies out there, listen up! Be careful what you wish for, because if you get it, it may not be what you think you deserve. Why? In the case of our Spoiled Princess, it might simply be an issue of timing.


After divorce, most people reassess their sense of self-worth. They question their own desirability, their capacity to attract a new partner and the likelihood of sustaining another long-term romance. This period is what I like to call “crazy time.” After my divorce, I was so distracted that I got into car accidents. But now I see that those accidents took my mind off my heartache. They also, thankfully, protected me from making a dumb relationship mistake — one which I was too vulnerable to size up accurately and with a clear head during that time.



“Crazy time” should be followed by “alone time” so you can reflect deeply on what happened in your marriage and why it ended. Reflection is vital; no matter what you do or who you decide to date next, you don’t want to revisit the same behaviors you’re trying to leave behind.


Now, let’s discuss this alleged Prince. As my book title says, Don’t Bet on the Prince! — and I literally mean NEVER. I don’t say that you can’t love the Prince, but you shouldn’t depend on him to provide for your emotional sustenance, financial rewards, or salvation of any kind. For example, Princess, if you had your wits about you right now you’d be asking why someone is trying this hard to win you over. Some feasible explanations include:


1. He’s more interested in the thrill of the chase than in the actual target herself.

2. He’s too self-absorbed to acknowledge what you’re feeling.

3. As my Gilda-Gram says, “We attract not who we want, but who we are.” In other words, the Prince may be a spoiled brat himself.

4. He spends money arbitrarily and really does not have a dime to his name. (I’ve dated a guy like this myself!)

5. He indiscriminately showers all the women he knows with goodies to ingratiate himself with them, but he’s really camouflaging his own low self-esteem.


Any of these explanations — or none of them — might be true. You just don’t know him that well at this early stage in the dating game, and you’re not skilled yet in reading new love interests and their supposed intentions.


This is what I recommend you do for now: steal some ME time. If you don’t want to break up with the Prince, at least back off a little for a while. Your objective now is to figure out who YOU are so you can assess who HE is and whether you really want him — gifts and compliments notwithstanding.


Take an assertiveness training course to learn how to gracefully say “no” and confront others when issues arise. Assertiveness is vital not just for your dating life, but for ALL your life as a woman on her own. Work with a therapist to understand how your feelings about what you “deserve” in a partner motivates what you manifest in your dating life. Raise your self-esteem slowly so that when love comes calling again, you’ll believe you are worthy of receiving it.


As you plant your feet on solid ground, keep reminding yourself to slow down. If this guy is truly your Prince, he’ll understand that you need time to work on yourself because you’re not ready for this type of relationship just yet. Otherwise, he may be just another frog! In either case, as soon as you step back a bit, his response will show you how to proceed next.

Love,

Dr. Gilda

XXX

DR. GILDA CARLE (Ph.D.) at http://www.DrGilda.com is an internationally known psychotherapist, relationship educator, and management consultant. She is Match.com’s “Ask Dr. Gilda” advice columnist published on MSN.com. Also, she is a motivational speaker, professor of psychology & communications, the author of the well-known “Don’t Bet on the Prince!,” a test question on “Jeopardy,” 99 Prescriptions for Fidelity, How to Win When Your Mate Cheats, and many more. She 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. She is currently developing her own TV show. Visit her website and get Instant Advice!

Monday, May 24, 2010

How to Get through to the Opposite Sex

by

DR. GILDA CARLE

Courtesy of Match.com’s Happen Magazine 


http://www.happenmag.com/magazine/index.aspx?lid=396

Do you ever feel your sweetie doesn’t understand what you’re saying? It could be a simple difference in gender communication styles.


What caused your last argument? Are the words you said the same ones your sweetie heard? It’s no secret that storms between women and men linger at the intersection of loving and living. You may find yourself asking, “Earth to sweetie, what must I do to get through to you?”

Here are 4 gender communication pitfalls with tips on how to avoid falling into them. While all men and women are not all the same, using just one of these tips the next time you disagree may reap relationship riches.


Pitfall 1: Men can separate sex from love, but women think that sex IS love.

A recent study found that a large percentage of women have sex for the sheer pleasure of it. Duh! But the study ignored the posturing of the genders AFTER sex occurs. Women ask me how they can push a guy towards permanence. The bonding hormone oxytocin, which gals have in far greater supply, drives women to bond with a man. But the male tortoise that tottered toward commitment now darts like a cheetah toward the cave. He feels invaded while she feels evaded. Hey guys, lighten up! The female black widow spider usually fails in her attempts to eat her mate after sex!!

Steve told Jackie he didn’t want to get serious. But since he was living at her home on weekends, she thought he would come around. Because Jackie kept pushing the issue, the couple ended up splitting for good.

My Advice: Yes, we know that talk is cheap, but if someone says the same thing to you over and over again, you need to listen! As my Gilda-Gram says, “If any partner feels s/he is in maximum security lockup, your relationship is doomed.” Sex is sex and nothing more — unless BOTH partners agree to change the script.

Pitfall 2: Men talk deals, women talk details.


Words have different purposes for the two genders. Women use them to solicit rapport, while men use them for gathering and disseminating information. In fact, men may accuse women of talking too much, but research shows that men actually talk more.

Lauren missed Fred after not seeing him for awhile. As soon as they got together again, she blabbed non-stop, describing every detail of the time they spent apart. While Lauren just wanted to include Fred in her life, his mind was screaming, “Damn! Does she ever shut up?” Unable to tolerate her constant chatter, Fred left Lauren in his rearview mirror. Lauren never knew why.

My Advice: Before pitching your message, assess your honey’s receptivity. Ladies, when your guy walks in and asks how your day was, ask him, “Do you want it in male talk or female talk?” Usually, he’ll choose the former, so offer a synopsis. Your feelings will remain intact while he goes off to unwind. Later, you can fill him in on any important details.

Pitfall 3: Women deliver “like-me” language, while men argue their points.

“Like-me” language preps the “nice girl” to ingratiate herself and avoid offense. Statements with a question added to the end (“The movie was good, wasn’t it?”) avoid issuing a judgment on the speaker’s behalf. Hedging phrases (such as “I think” or “kind of”) avoid imposing an opinion. In contrast, men blurt out their thoughts without subterfuge and tend to compete in one-upping each other.

Nice girl Traci was furious that each time she argued with Ralph, he insisted that if they broke up, he’d find someone else before she did. This was his aggressive repartee, a style guys customarily use without taking anything personally. After I explained to Traci that this was a gender distinction, not a slap in her proverbial face, she was able to laugh off Ralph’s competitive edge talk. Her new attitude softened all their future disagreements, and they’re now planning their wedding.

My Advice: Observe how the genders speak within themselves as a group. Know the stereotypes, honor the differences and laugh them off, just as Traci did.

Pitfall 4: Men want to fix women’s problems, but women just want to share.


When Marilyn brought her work problems home to Alan, he proceeded to tell her how to solve them. Unfortunately, all Marilyn wanted was to vent to someone with whom she felt “safe.” In my own relationship, I told my seasoned businessman boyfriend (whom I’ll call “Studly”) that I was looking to expand my consulting firm. Studly then escorted me to various booths at a trade show, introducing me to anyone who would listen. He’d begin by saying, “This young lady would like to…” as though I were a mute 10-year-old. “Hey,” I told him, “I’m an adult woman, I have a legitimate Ph.D., years of corporate consulting experience and I can SPEAK FOR MYSELF!” Studly thought he was “fixing” my dilemma and had acted with the best of intentions. He had no idea why I was so upset --until I explained.

My Advice: Ladies, know what you’re after before you unload. If you just want to vent, tell your partner that exactly. Guys, if your lady doesn’t tell you what she’d like your role to be, ASK HER before you provide solutions to the problem at hand. Women typically don’t want to take your directions any more than you like asking for them.

In the end, Mars and Venus can communicate with each other. For planetary bliss, just don’t assume that what you say will be interpreted in the way you intended. Ask for feedback. Understanding gender communiqués successfully is a major key to sustaining love.

XXX

DR. GILDA CARLE (Ph.D.) at http://www.DrGilda.com is an internationally known psychotherapist, relationship educator, and management consultant. She is Match.com’s “Ask Dr. Gilda” advice columnist published on MSN.com. Also, she is a motivational speaker, professor of psychology & communications, the author of the well-known “Don’t Bet on the Prince!,” a test question on “Jeopardy,” (http://www.drgilda.com/products.php?p=books), 99 Prescriptions for Fidelity, How to Win When Your Mate Cheats, and many more. She 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. She is currently developing her own TV show. Visit her website and get Instant Advice!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Should I Seal the Deal?

by

DR. GILDA CARLE (Ph.D.)


Before you commit yourself to someone exclusively, ask yourself: Is my “type” really a good thing? Only YOU can break the patterns from failed relationships.

Courtesy of Match.com’s Happen Magazine 


http://www.happenmag.com/magazine/index.aspx?lid=396



The signs of love problems with your honey were obvious from day one. But not only did you ignore them, you flung yourself into the romance without caution! Now you’re seriously considering whether to seal the deal. Earth to single person: You’re the one living with these problems. If you have to ask me whether to make your main squeeze permanent, run for the hills!


Sure, when cupid kicked you in the bow, you were under the influence of that love potion. Walk-into-walls lust can rattle even the sanest among us. But if it lasted forever, we’d never get anything done. By recognizing now that you swooned to the promise of love and ultimately scraped your heart, acknowledge that the experience gave you a tougher hide and the prescience to see you avoiding such situations well into the future.


You’re not alone. Everyone miscalculates love options from time to time, including the rich and famous. After 12 years of marriage, gorgeous supermodel and actress Christie Brinkley conceded that she really didn’t know the husband she was in the midst of divorcing. More recently, two not-so-rich and definitely not famous fiancées of murderers insisted to the media that they knew their men were really good guys — until the evidence became irrefutable. And a reader emailed me that after four years of marriage, without warning, his wife announced she could no longer be with him. This guy insisted his ex’s announcement was without warning. As my Gilda-Gram says, “No act of ‘un-love’ is random!” There are always reasons and there are always signs. And sometimes we intentionally miss the flashing neon without understanding why.


Because my own shortsightedness and rationalizations did me in, I devised this Gilda-Gram for love that appears to be in question: “When in doubt, do without.” So that’s my answer to anyone in this quandary. But if you’re still unsure about infinity with your sweetie, here’s an assignment for you: Recognize your patterns of denial. Sadly, most of us keep connecting with, and even re-marrying, the same personality types — until we can’t take it anymore.


At all costs to loneliness, here are three “love checks” to assist in making your decision. While these may sustain your single status for a time, they’ll also prevent you from making a painful error.


Love Check #1: Do you insist on only being with your “type?

I was engaged to (and almost married) a man who had traits too similar to those of my former husband. Of course, since our love choices are unconscious, at first I had no idea what was driving me towards him. But over time, I began to note that the same disagreements I had experienced with the first man were frequently being repeated with the second. While my fiancé was pushing me to tie the knot, I fortunately recognized that I was actually enjoying the comfort of our arguments (hard to admit!) simply because they were familiar. It took courage and counseling — the same kind I give others today — for me to put the kibosh on my marriage plans. In the end, I realized that what I thought to be my “type” was exactly the “type” I needed to avoid!


This “type” thing tricks singles into relationships that sometimes even others don’t understand or like. I recently saw in the news that a successful model in an expensive apartment in New York City had the audacity to marry her porter-turned-doorman lover! She said it didn’t matter to her whether he was a porter or a lawyer; she did not go for a particular type. Unfortunately, her snotty neighbors didn’t see it that way. After he carried her over the threshold he once swept, he was fired from his doorman position and the neighbors have been trying to evict the newlyweds from their building. So much for other’s expectations of what YOUR type should be, right?


Obviously, there’s a lot of pressure in relationships. Answer this before you venture into the land of the familiar: “Where has my type gotten me so far?” Was your response the one that you expected?


Love Check #2: Do you squash your reluctance to ask questions?

A beautiful and successful 42-year-old client revealed that she speaks her mind to all her dates — as long as they’re not serious contenders. Once a guy strums her heartstrings, however, she goes mute. She has had many long-term romances, but none that lasted; no man ever got to know her. She sought my counsel to understand why she was still single.


It’s never the wrong time to discover whether your honey really knows you. While you may think it’s solely about love, a relationship is really your opportunity for self-growth. Observe what your sweetheart tells you. As this Gilda-Gram says, “There are no slips of the tongue; what you hear is what you need to know.” As you avoid making the same love mistakes, you will open space up for better long-term romantic prospects.


Love Check #3: Do you trumpet your personal strengths?

Harvard University found that independent teen girls transform into wimps as soon as boys enter their lives. But women usually don’t acknowledge that they give up anything to be with their guy. On the other hand, single men tend to tease their buddies who get involved in relationships by saying things like, “You’re whipped!”


For a year, I saw Clara at my gym each morning where she made her workouts her priority. Then she vanished. One day, I bumped into her on the street. When I asked where she had been, her response was, “Oh, I became involved with someone.” I said, “So?” I couldn’t believe that having a boyfriend was the real reason Clara let her workouts slide. As my Gilda-Gram warns, “The moment you morph your interests into your honey’s, that’s the moment your honey will lose interest in you.”


You are right to think hard about cementing that bond. If you are currently having issues, how will you cope when problems appear without invitation? Shape your present now so your future will naturally take care of itself.


XXX

DR. GILDA CARLE (Ph.D.) at http://www.DrGilda.com is an internationally known psychotherapist, relationship educator, and management consultant. She is Match.com’s “Ask Dr. Gilda” advice columnist published on MSN.com. Also, she is a motivational speaker, professor of psychology & communications, the author of the well-known “Don’t Bet on the Prince!,” a test question on “Jeopardy,” (http://www.drgilda.com/products.php?p=books), 99 Prescriptions for Fidelity, How to Win When Your Mate Cheats, and many more. She 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. She is currently developing her own TV show. Visit her website and get Instant Advice!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Can a Cheater Truly Change?

by

Dr. Gilda Carle


Do you believe the adage of “once a cheater, always a cheater”? I instead believe the answer lies in the motivation and character of the cheater in question.


Courtesy of Match.com’s Happen Magazine 


http://www.happenmag.com/magazine/index.aspx?lid=396


People only take one second to determine whether they find someone sexually attractive. Then in only three minutes, they decide whether they want to see that person again. That’s how quickly we decide if a prospective mate should be in our life — for better or for worse, and usually, when it happens that quickly, it’s for worse. Over and out!


For example, my client, Marilyn, quickly concluded that the man she had just met was The One. But as she got to know Lothario, she soon discovered that he remained in touch with all his ex-wives, ex-fiancés and ex-girlfriends. And this dude’s harem appeared to be very crowded, since he had been married to four different women — and engaged eight times. Lothario told Marilyn that all these women were now “just friends.” I told her that I concur with the When Harry Met Sally school of thought when it comes to exes: the sexual tension between our plugs and outlets makes platonic gender friendship nearly impossible.


Lothario admitted that all his marriages ended because of his infidelity. However, he insisted that with Marilyn things would be different because she was different. How many times have I heard that? Marilyn asked me if a cheater could change.


Does a leopard change its spots? Well, in a perfect animal kingdom, if a leopard COULD change its spots, perhaps it would prefer to trade its traditional spots for stripes or something more fashionable. But NO PRODDING FROM ANOTHER ANIMAL would initiate this change if the leopard were happy living its usual leopard life, spots included.


Did Marilyn’s boyfriend WANT to change his cheating ways? Why would he? From the looks of it, he’d been deliriously happy “staying with friends” all around town. But, to be fair, even if he did want to turn over a new bedspread, how could Marilyn trust him to become faithful after a history of total dishonesty? Marilyn heard me, but still hoped her promiscuous alley cat would become a devoted house pussy. I told her this would be a stretch for him, and she should adjust her expectations accordingly.


There are two schools of thought on whether a cheater can change; some believe that once an infidel crosses the line, the protective seal on the bottle of Love Potion #9 is irreparably broken. Others feel that just because someone cheated in one relationship, it doesn’t mean that person will cheat in all relationships. So, where did that leave Marilyn’s beau, who historically cheated in every relationship? While it was flattering for Lothario to tell Marilyn she was “different” from the pack, how reliable could his disavowals be?


I asked Marilyn to ponder these two questions to guide her in her pursuit of this potentially reckless love:


1. Do you perceive your future with Lothario as a courtship or a battleship? (Tiger Woods’ wife might help you answer that!) As you may know, I’m called “The Country Music Doctor.” A favorite song of mine is Miranda Lambert’s “White Liar.” Dressed in her bridal gown and already in front of the minister, she’s about to wed her cheating fiancé. But right before Miranda utters “I do,” she drops the bomb that not only does she know about his dalliances, but she’s had a few of her own. This is pure revenge, country music style. Then the former bride-to-be smugly walks off with her lover, leaving her almost-husband in the dust. This song allows listeners to safely play that “gotcha” game by proxy, clearly only a vicarious thrill. I asked Marilyn if she liked the idea of always having to scope out Lothario when she’s not available to babysit him. Also, would she want to expend her energies concocting complex “gotcha” maneuvers as payback for his potential bad behavior?


2. If Lothario did promise to change, would Marilyn trust him to keep his body parts to himself in the future? There are always opportunities to cheat. I name serial cheaters “cheataholics” because they are rarely motivated by sex alone. Some are obsessed with the thrill of the chase. Some look to forever polish a poor self-image or mirror the role models they’ve seen all their lives. Others cheat because they believe they can get away with it. The worst are some combination of the above. I asked Marilyn if she knew Lothario well enough to size up his true motivations. Did she know what incentive he might have — besides winning her devotion — to permanently change his ways? Marilyn being “different” was not a good enough ploy; everyone is different at first blush.


I instructed Marilyn to level with Lothario. As my Gilda-Gram says, “To stave off problems later, tell your sweetie your feelings now.” Instead, Marilyn chose to hide her concerns, hoping Lothario would arrive at an epiphany in time! Don’t hold your breath, honey.


Robert was another one who held back from discussing his disintegrating marriage with his wife. He told me, “I know she is cheating! Last month she said she didn’t love me anymore and she wanted a divorce. After five years of marriage, this hurt so much. I guess she no longer finds me sexy.” While Robert blamed his spouse’s infidelity on his diminished sex appeal, the truth was that this couple never faced what was really happening in their relationship. Cheating is often a cop-out coping mechanism people misguidedly use to distract from deeper issues.


I have worked with hundreds of couples, married and single, with cheating issues. I wrote How to WIN When Your Mate Cheats to help couples restore their love after an affair. The book shows evidence that unless two unhappy people readily admit they have a problem and are willing to work on it together, it will only get worse.


Could Marilyn’s relationship go forward? I told her I didn’t know how. She’s now married to a terrific guy who bears no resemblance to Lothario in his words and deeds. She trusts him and enjoys peace of mind in their relationship. While Marilyn wasn’t happy with my advice about Lothario, she can’t stop thanking me now that she’s chosen someone else!


XXX

DR. GILDA CARLE (Ph.D.) http://www.DrGilda.com is an internationally known psychotherapist, relationship educator, and management consultant. She has a private practice, and is Match.com’s “Ask Dr. Gilda” advice columnist published on MSN.com. Also, she is a motivational speaker, professor of psychology & communications, and the author of "Don't Bet on the Prince!" (a test question on "Jeopardy!"), (http://www.drgilda.com/products.php?p=books), 99 Prescriptions for Fidelity, How to Win When Your Mate Cheats and many more. She 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. She is currently developing her own TV show. Visit her website and let her hear from you!