"TV Relationship Expert Dr. Michelle is your relationship, career and personal coach for advice and coaching on life, love, and work."
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Dear Friends,

I believe we can learn a lot from each other’s difficulties and accomplishments. I created the Ask Dr. Michelle column to share my advice with many people at the same time, who although they don’t know it, are often facing some of the same challenges. I hope that my comments provide you with some insight into situations that you are facing in your life. If you have a question that you want me to answer, submit it below. I wish you all the best. (I try to answer as many questions as possible, but please understand that due to the number of questions that I receive I am not able to answer every question.)

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My girlfriend moved away, how can I get her back?

  • I have been dating this woman for just about three years. We had a good relationship and I love her a lot. She wanted to marry me and gave me an ultimatum that if I didn’t marry her she was going to the west coast to work for her family. I told her that I loved her but the marriage thing scares me. She has been out there for six months now. I want her back so bad now and told her about a month ago that I want to marry her, but she says that the things she wanted in life have changed and she needs to further her self in life. I told her I made a huge mistake and I will do anything. I have a good job and have been with the same company for 20 years but I don’t know if living out west has made her see bigger and better things. I am not a cheater. I work hard but was just scared to get married again after a failed marriage seven years ago. I have never felt this way before about a woman. I told her how I feel about her and even called her mother. Do I now give her, her space? We use to talk almost every day. I don’t know what I should do. She tells me I’m too late. She struggled here with jobs and maybe I should have helped her with that more. She said to me that everyone thought she would fail out there but she is still there. What can I do? It’s hard not to cry when I talk to her. She said she doesn’t need to start a relationship. I have never seen her act this way before and be so cold.

  • It sounds like your ex-girlfriend is focusing on getting herself together and doesn’t want to rush back into a relationship with you based on the POSSIBILITY that you are ready now.  You said that it was hard for her to find good work back at home and that nobody thought she would make it out west.  Now she has found good work and is making it on her own, you want to come back into the picture. Even though she has moved on with her life, you want her to move back home to be with you because you are NOW ready to get married.  That’s a hard decision for her to make.  There is nothing wrong with being hesitant to remarry after a failed marriage, but from her perspective, you weren’t ready and since nothing great was keeping her at home, she moved away and started a new life.  Now that she is happy and successful where she is, you are asking her to give all of that up on the CHANCE that you are now ready to marry her.  You want her to give up her new life and career and she is thinking that you should have said all of this before she left town.  If she was struggling living at home before, she may fear that she will struggle again if she moves back.

    If you are serious about her being “the one,” maybe you should consider moving out west and joining her.  Can you get a transfer at your job?  Interested in making a change after all these years?  In your mind it makes the most sense for you to stay at your job because you’ve been there for so long and for her to come home because that is where you both started.  But in her mind she may feel that if you want her: 1)you have to prove it; 2) you have to win back her trust and confidence in you and your relationship; and 3) you have to accept her desire to have her own life, goals and aspirations.  You keep asking her to get on YOUR program: to get married when YOU want and to move to where YOU live.  There are no guarantees, but if you want to show her that you are really serious, you may have to make some moves toward getting on HER program.  And I have to be real with you, six months away from you coupled with the fact that she doesn’t act too excited about you anymore could mean that she isn’t just upset about what happened, it could mean that she is in fact over you.  So you have a big risk to take, figuring out how far to go to try to win her back, realizing that she may already be gone and no sacrifice, no matter how big, will change her mind.

    Give it some more time.  She needs time to see that you are serious and that this isn’t just a good mood you are in right now.  And you need time to see if she is interesting in getting back together with you, before you go and do something drastic to prove your love to her.

    I wish you all the best!

    Dr. Michelle

My friend has stopped being there for me, what should I do?

  • I need some advice. I have a friend who when I need someone to talk to seems as if she’s never there. While talking to her on the phone she either talks to others in the background, doesn’t respond back, or says “What did you say again?” I am very hurt by this because recently when I called her to talk, I was very upset about a dying family member and she did the same things. But meanwhile, when she’s having man problems she calls me day or night and I give her my undivided attention. What should I do?

  • I know that it can be difficult confronting someone, but there is only one way around this situation and that is for you to tell your “friend” how her behavior makes you feel.  You don’t want to attack her or jump down her throat–just wait for a calm moment when you can peacefully, yet honestly, tell her how it makes you feel when she doesn’t give you her full attention when the two of you are talking.  The example of needing her attention when you were trying to discuss your feelings about your dying family member is a perfect example to bring up.  It’s okay to tell her that you value her friendship enough to pay close attention when she is talking to you and that you need her to pay attention to you when you need help as well.

    Although we both know how rude she has acted, if this is the first time you have mentioned your feelings to her, you have to understand that she may not have realized how rude she’s been acting, so give her a chance to make some changes.  If she does it again in the future, remind her right then and there that she is doing it again.  If she doesn’t stop, then you need to find someone else to talk to and depend on. What’s the point of talking to her if she isn’t listening anyway?  That is enough to make your mood go from bad to worse and it’s a sign that you need to find another friend to confide in and share your feelings with.  Maybe when she notices that you, the person who always gave her your undivided attention, are now becoming friends with someone who cares about listening to your life, she might wake up and smell the coffee.

    Good luck!

    Dr. Michelle

How can I convince my girlfriend not to marry her Ex?

  • I’ve been dating this girl for the past year and a half, on and off, but I’ve known her almost 3 years now. When we first met, I was married and she was involved with her long time boyfriend. We fell for each other and became madly in love. She promised me she was going to leave him, and she did. She has very strict parents. In the last couple months she decides to get back with her boyfriend. There is no love there. She tells me she has feelings for two guys, and she doesn’t know what to do. I still see her to this day but her boyfriend doesn’t know. She told me the other day that they are getting married this year. I can’t let her do this–she is making a big mistake. She even told me the other day that her boyfriend doesn’t do half the things I do for her. I don’t get it. All I did was make her happy, and she says I did nothing wrong and that it’s her. I know her family really likes him and they haven’t really met me. Is this a family issue? She wants to be with me. How can I convince her to come back to me? I want to be with her! I really love her!!!! Please help me…

  • I wish I could tell you that this is just a “family” issue but I don’t think that it is.  Even if her parents are strict and seem to like the other guy, you already said that they haven’t really met you yet, so I’m not convinced that they are against you. I put this squarely on your ex’s shoulders.  She is clearly giving you mixed messages.  First, she tells you that she has feelings for both of you, but then she said that there is no love there.  Well, which one is it?  It sounds like you are fighting against her feelings for her ex who she has been dating for almost a whole decade—that’s a long time and clearly she doesn’t have him out of her system yet.

    It can’t be entirely her family’s fault because if she left him in the first place, she could have stayed broken up with him and just moved on with you.  But she made the choice to go back with him.  Now she’s talking about marriage.  I don’t believe that she would plan to marry him if she didn’t love him.  And, if she is willing to marry someone she doesn’t love just to please her parents, then she doesn’t sound like she understands the commitment and responsibility that marriage requires.  I know you are looking for a way to bring her back but if she was with this guy, then you, and then went back to this guy, she has had an opportunity to see what you have to offer her and she still chose the other man.  I’m sure that this is very painful but you guys were together for a while and she still made the decision to go back to her ex.  If she isn’t as committed to you as you are to her then you have to be willing to let her go.  You said in your message that she wants to be with you but if she really wanted to be with you I don’t think she would have returned to her ex or ever agreed to marry him (even with pressure from her family).

    Instead of focusing on how to get her back, focus on coming to terms with the fact that she probably isn’t the one for you.  You shouldn’t have to beg her—you didn’t do anything wrong!  If she doesn’t realize what she has in you, it will be her loss, and once your heart heals, you will be glad you didn’t settle for chasing after someone who is busy chasing someone else.

    Stay strong!

    Dr. Michelle

What should I do if my girlfriend loves money more than me?

  • I am 41 years old, divorced, and after a 10-year marriage that was going nowhere, I left home and found the most incredible woman. We fell in love from the moment we met. She was married, and looking for a way out. Unfortunately, her husband was wealthy and I was not, so she found love with me that she never had. We have broken up and made up twenty times simply because she cannot get over the fact that I am not a wealthy person. She keeps hanging on to me letting me in and out. I am going crazy because she is the world to me, and I am JUST love to her. She feels no security with me. By the way, we both make six figures. Not that bad right? I feel like she is hanging on to me, in case the whole package does not come along. I am so lost. I feel dead inside.

  • I am concerned about the fact that this woman won’t be with you because you are not “wealthy, ” yet you feel that she is “the world” to you—why?  Hasn’t breaking up with you twenty times because you aren’t wealthy shown you that this person doesn’t love you more than she loves money or an affluent lifestyle?  If both of you make six figures, you can live a comfortable life together.  Besides, you still have a lot of life left in you to make even more money as you progress in your career (and she progresses in hers).  However, it sounds like she is accustomed to a certain type of lifestyle that you simply cannot provide because becoming “wealthy” would require you to hit the lotto and that is unlikely.  But let’s say you did hit the lotto, wouldn’t you feel used and cheated if you settled for a woman who would only agree to be with you after you became a millionaire?  I think you deserve someone who recognizes and understands how wonderful you are, just the way you are.

    If she is willing to trade love for money, then what can you possibly offer to her?  You have already given her the most valuable thing you have which is your heart and your love and she has made it clear that those things just aren’t enough.  Her values are monetary and yours are not.  I know you have strong feelings for her but it sounds like she is using you (just as you suspect) until the right rich guy comes along.  Where is the future of this relationship?  Even if she agreed to be with you today, how can you ever feel confident that she isn’t going to leave you for someone with more money (since she has made it so overwhelmingly clear that wealth is a requirement for her)? You can’t continue to ignore the fact that you don’t have something that she simply will not compromise on.  I would give all of that good love to some one else who will love you back the right way.

    I wish you all the best!

    Dr. Michelle

How do we stop arguing?

  • I have been with my boyfriend for a year and a half. We are very serious but it has gotten to the point that when we get on the phone all we do is argue. We argue about anything and everything. Even when we aren’t talking we’re arguing. Could you please give me some advice?

  • The first thing you should do is realize that arguing is a very common problem in relationships, and there is something you can do about it.  Disagreement in a relationship is normal.  We all come from different backgrounds, have different personalities, and have had different experiences that influence our opinions and what we think is important.  What can be most critical to the success of a relationship is making sure that both partners are interested in resolving the problem and moving forward.

    How do you begin to resolve this problem? Start by shifting your focus from the conflict, to conflict resolution. One of the things that separates the couples who stay together from those who split up, is each partner’s willingness to try to meet the other partner half-way.  You have to want to stop arguing and be happy together again.  Usually that means that either one, or both of you is going to have to compromise on something.  After a heated argument, when you have both had time to relax, think about how you can bridge the gap on the issue.  If you can agree to give your partner some of the things he wants, he should be willing to give you some of the things you want.  Try to identify things that you can each do differently to prevent the problem in the future.  Once you make an agreement to work on the issue, you can’t continue to hold a grudge or keep throwing the issue in your partner’s face while you are in the middle of trying to work on making things better.

    If you feel that you are arguing about an issue that can’t be forgotten or compromised on, like infidelity, then your issue is not about how to stop arguing, your issue is how to find a partner who respects you and your agreements.  Usually, if you can’t find a way to compromise on the issue, either your partner is asking you to compromise your values and break your own personal rules about what is right or, you aren’t really interested in ending the fighting which may be a sign that you are looking for a way out of the relationship.

    You cannot avoid disagreement in relationships, but people who really love, value and respect each other will try to find ways to listen to their partner’s concerns and find ways to work together to resolve their problems.

    Good luck!

    Dr. Michelle