"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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I love my guy but keep thinking about my Ex? How can I shake him?

  • I love my guy but I always think about my ex. How can I shake him?

  • First, figure out why you’re so attached to your ex. If you spent many years with him, it’s natural to go through an adjustment period while trying to move on. It’s also possible that you didn’t get the closure you needed and as a result, you re-hash the past. Whenever he pops into your head, try to remember all the reasons you broke up and why your new guy is a better fit—keep a list if you have to! And try not to hang out with him as friends because it makes it difficult to move on.

I cheated on my boyfriend and want to come clean. Is confessing this selfish or selfless?

  • I cheated on my boyfriend and want to come clean. Is confessing this selfish or selfless?

  • Ask yourself: Are you unhappy in or out of the bedroom? If you love your guy (and you practiced safe sex), communicate your needs; maybe you two can work things out. Confessing rarely helps. Most men can’t handle the thought of their girlfriend with another guy, and his ego will likely be bruised irrevocably. But if you think your problems are un-fixable and that you may cheat again, it might be best to end the relationship.

My husband has a substance abuse problem, will tough love work?

  • After three years, my husband has a tumultuous battle with substance abuse. I have been supportive through al-anon and several treatment facilities during this period. I have had enough and I put him out of the family home (with a great deal of guilt!). I couldn’t ask for a more loving partner except for the fact that, when he relapses, he will lie, cheat and steal from anyone, including those who are closest to him. Of course, I love him, but I would like to know if this is the appropriate “tough love” technique to take?

  • I think you finally made a long over due decision.  If you had said that you only supported him for three months instead of three years then I might say give it a little more time, but three years is long enough to wait for change.  You have waited and supported him through many attempts to get clean.  It is so hard to put someone out of the house when you know that they don’t have it all together, but the bottom line is, that is exactly why you have to put some people out.  Someone who doesn’t have it together, like a drug abusing spouse, usually doesn’t get it together when they have you around to make it all too easy for them to stay exactly the way they are.

    You have probably heard of “enablers.”  Those are the people who help drug addicts maintain their habits by making excuses for the addicted person’s behavior and supporting them with money or other essentials. If he could continue to stay there with you and abuse drugs, lie, cheat and steal, why would he ever stop?  I mean he could have stopped while still living at home, but he didn’t in over three years so that was a sign for you to take matters in your own hands.  That is not to say that he will change overnight because he is out of the house but it is a first step towards making it clear that you will not tolerate that behavior or treatment and that you don’t want to expose the rest of the family to it either.

    He will probably try to push you to change your mind and it may become difficult to maintain your decision to keep him out of the house until he is clean, but stay strong!  Once you make a decision like that you need to stick with it until you get solid evidence that he is clean for good.  If you change your mind and let him return while he is still addicted, he will know that he has the ability to manipulate you and that you don’t really mean what you say.  You can’t tell him how serious you are–you have to show him.  I know you said you love him, so show him by helping him to help himself.  Once he is clean he will thank you for it.

    I wish you and him all the best!

    Dr. Michelle

Should I hide my vibrator to spare my boyfriend’s ego?

  • Should I hide my vibrator to spare my boyfriend’s ego?

  • No. Lots of guys see vibrators as a way to make sex even more exciting. Tell him you’d like to enhance the amazing sex you already have–that way, he’ll see your toy positively, not as inadequacy on his part. Then show him how you like to be stimulated. He’ll get off on the visual and receive a sexy education.

How do I change my bad mood?

  • I feel as though nothing is going right. How do I get myself out of this bad mood I’m in?

  • I hope you feel better soon. In the short term there are simple things you can do like play some of your favorite upbeat music, call a good friend, take a walk to clear your mind, watch your favorite comedy or read an inspirational book. In the long term, one thing that often helps people is making a plan for the future and mapping out how you are going to change your situation for the better.Setting goals and finding things you can do on a daily basis to start you moving on the right track can help.Also, if you look around you, you can probably see people doing much worse than you and realize that as bummed out as you feel, you should be thankful that things aren’t even worse. Pray and stay close to what you think is your purpose here.Look for the lesson in what you’re going through and recognize that you are probably being prepared for greater things and realize that this funk is keeping you from achieving those things.  Good luck!

My Friend Stopped Talking to Me Because I Had a Baby with My Boyfriend Who Cheated

  • I tell my best friend everything. I have been with my man for a few years and he has cheated on me. Since then we had a beautiful baby girl and I didn’t hear from my best friend for six months. We used to talk everyday, literally. I finally called her and she said she stopped talking to me because she was upset that I had a baby with him. We have been through thick and thin, but at this point I’m confused. Is she really the friend I thought she was? Shouldn’t she just have been happy for me?

  • Should she have cut you off cold, especially after having a baby? Absolutely not. If anything, she could have told you sooner how she felt and what she wanted to change about your relationship. She might have felt happy about the baby but allowed herself to distracted by who you chose to have your baby with and that’s not her decision to make. Yes, you should be disappointed in how she handled it and who knows what else was going on in her head that made her think she should just disappear from your life like that. She may have even been jealous that you two were able to recover from infidelity and work things out.

    Now, let me shed some light on why I think she might have disappeared.  Sometimes we have to be careful about how much we share with our friends.  Even though we don’t mean to, sometimes we frustrate them out by over-sharing our problems. It may have been too much for her to go through all of the cheating with you and then for you to say you were having a baby with the person she probably dislikes given all that you’ve shared.  She probably didn’t understand or respect your decision.

    In the ideal world we want our friends to be there for us through everything and under all circumstances but our friends have lives and feelings too and they get frustrated when they see us making what they see as poor choices (and they may in fact be poor choices). When you want to go through the same problems over and over and then talk about them everyday, sometimes friends can’t handle that.

    I’m not excusing your friend. I’m saying you have to be careful about how much of your business you share with anyone, especially about your partner if you plan to stay with him through a lot of drama and expect your friends to still be cool with him.Most people’s mothers, sisters and aunties wouldn’t be happy about your decision either. They probably wouldn’t cut you off cold turkey because you’re family, but they might back away from you for a while so that they don’t have to ride that emotional roller coaster with you.

    You may have let your romantic relationship problems become almost 100% of what you talked to your friend about so that your friendship became little more than a venting session about your relationship.  That’s when your girlfriend sees you calling and doesn’t take your call because she doesn’t want to hear anymore about “him” again.When we don’t work on our friendships they start to fall apart. I bet if you two could get back to focusing more on your friendship and less on your relationship with your boyfriend, you could patch things up.

    Hopefully, you’ve both learned from this situation, and if you want to, you can still be friends (unless in your time apart you’ve realized that you are better off without each other).When you’re friends with someone a long time you have to “grow-up” and mature with them over time and that may mean disappointing them along the way but it doesn’t have to be the end of the friendship. This was a learning experience that you can recover from and rebuild if you choose.

    Good luck!