"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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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

Why won’t my fiancé introduce me to his parents?

  • I am a 40-year-old woman. I met a man about three years ago and he asked me to marry him. We have been engaged since. He told me that he would build a rapport with his parents so that I can get to know them and he can tell them of our plans to be married. This has not happened. When I put a timeline on this, all hell broke loose. He has been rude to me often and does not answer his phone when I call or reply to my messages. He sometimes does, but not always. He does not make plans with me for our weekends and when he does make plans, he goes out on Friday or Saturday night and tells me at the last minute so I end up alone! This has happened about four times. I am ready to dump him.

    Can you tell me what you see in this situation? Should I contact his parents? They do not know that he has been living with me.

  • I absolutely do not think that you should contact this man’s parents. You are forty years old and that makes you a very GROWN woman. Contacting his parents is about as elementary school as telling someone’s Mom that they stole your candy bar. You and he are supposed to be in the big leagues now, so if you can’t handle this situation without telling on him to his parents, he doesn’t sound like he is ready for a relationship, and certainly not marriage. I don’t know his age, but if he doesn’t want his parents to know about you that sounds like a problem. If you are close in age, it would seem that he should have a handle on being an adult and his parents should recognize that he is going to make certain decisions about growing up, being a man and doing grown up man things like getting married. Either he is probably embarrassed by something about you or he is not serious about marrying you because it is hard to imagine many other reasons why he wouldn’t have told his parents by now and no you don’t have to put up with it. He may be using the parent excuse as a stalling tactic to drag the engagement out a little bit longer.

    But of course I have to ask, so, if his parents don’t like you does that mean that the two of you won’t get married? He is making it sound like you can’t move forward without his parents’ knowledge AND approval. That would make sense if he was 17, but not now. If he is blowing you and your dates off, it sounds like he is looking for some space. If he has been stringing you along for too long and he does several other things that make you raise an eyebrow, I suggest that you take some time and take a serious look at the possibility of marriage. As of right now, he’s acting like he’s not even sure about the relationship, and he certainly doesn’t seem sure about the marriage.

    Hang in there, the truth will come out soon.

    I wish you all the best!

    Dr. Michelle

Should I marry my boyfriend even though he got someone else pregnant?

  • I have been seeing my boyfriend for almost four years. For the past year, he cheated on me and now, the girl is pregnant. He has his own excuses for why he had did it, but I remained honest and loyal to him. Now, I have been introduced to someone else who I think I want to date. My boyfriend really doesn’t want to marry the other woman. Whatever happens he won’t marry her. Now, he wants to marry me because he’s afraid he will lose me forever. And I had committed to give him a second chance. He told me, “I won’t waste this chance you’ve given me, I WILL MARRY YOU.” I am very much confused–should I marry him or not? Please help me…

  • I suggest that you wait to marry this guy until you see some evidence that he is ready to be monogamous. You should give it some time to see whether or not he really will leave the pregnant woman alone or if he will remain romantically involved with her. You recognize of course, that she will always be in your life if you continue to date him. If you marry him, her child will become your step-child, which within a marriage is the same as being YOUR child. Can you handle that and embrace this child? It may be harder than you think. Even if you think you can handle it, don’t rush to get married. Wait a while and test yourself to see how you handle his infidelity, his relationship with this other woman and your soon to be possible step-child. He is fighting to marry you right now to keep you from the other guy but don’t let him ruin your life by marrying you just to keep you to himself because believe me you won’t be getting him all to yourself. I absolutely think you should try dating the other guy you’re interested in and a few others as well. Before you think about settling down for life and getting married, make sure you’ve dating enough men to know that you’ve found the right one.

    Wishing you all the best!

    Dr. Michelle

How do I win back my ex-girlfriend?

  • I am a 30 year old used to be, has been “player.” I was engaged to the sweetest woman I’ve ever known. We were engaged for two years. The problem is my past lifestyle. It caused me to lose her. Now she is with someone else and I respect that, but I still love her. I see now more than ever how much she meant to me. She tells me that she is in love with him, but I know her, I can tell when she is lying. Every time we talk it always ends up leading to the past. She moved in with him right after our break-up, but we still continued to see each other. She says that she can’t believe in the change I’ve made because people can’t change over night. I want to spend the rest of my life with her. Help?

  • I know this is a hard thing to hear and accept but right now, but you just have to be patient and wait. It is very difficult to get someone to trust you again after you have cheated on them, or “played” them in whatever ways you may have played your former fiancé. I usually warn people who are in new relationships to keep a lot of distance from their “Ex” because they are usually very vulnerable to their Ex and that could lead to them losing their new relationship to an old one that isn’t going anywhere. I don’t know if she should give you another chance and probably neither does she, which is why she is trying to move on with someone who she thinks might give her what she wants. If you aren’t absolutely sure that you are ready to change then you should let her move on instead of getting her caught up in a fantasy of the “new” you. You know that she isn’t over you, but you want her to get over whatever you’ve done to her faster than she is ready. The most effective way I know to regain her trust and respect is to start over.

    Start at the beginning by being a good friend, being honest and being respectful of the situation that she is in right now. You are going to have to deal with and work through all of the old “dirt” you did before she is going to be willing to trust you again so get ready for some long conversations. You can try to pressure her into leaving this guy for you, but she doesn’t trust you so that is less likely to work than showing her why she should want to be with you. If you are a reformed player then I know you know how to win someone over and it sounds like her heart is still open to you. Show her that you have respect for other people’s relationships and that you are no longer the type of guy that would go around trying to take another man’s woman or make her cheat on him. Win her over. You shouldn’t have to take her; she should want to come to you. If you respect her new relationship and give her some space, she has the option to come back to you if she decides that this new person is not the one for her. Your patience, determination, perseverance, honesty and respect are what could ultimately convince her to give you another chance.

    Good luck!

    Dr. Michelle