Sunday, May 24, 2009

I'm Afraid to Love Again!


A column, published on

A woman wonders when she'll open her heart to finding someone new, now that she's divorced.

Dr. Gilda Carle (Ph.D.)

Dear Dr. Gilda,

I am still wounded from my divorce, and because of this I really am not ready for another committed relationship. I do not think I could ever trust so openly, give up my power and depend on anyone again. 

I love to go out and socialize, and I am the life of the party, but I love coming home to my own space without having to answer to anyone. I completed the self-assessments in your book Don’t Bet on the Prince!, and discovered that I don’t show people I’m still wounded because I am frightened that they will take advantage of this weakness and become predators. My responses surprised me — I thought my wounds were healing, now that I can talk about my feelings without a box of tissues. However, I feel like a block of ice, and I do not know how to melt. I need to work on this, but I am frightened. Will I ever be ready to love again? 

– Frozen Solid

Dear Frozen,

Healing is a process, and all processes take t-i-m-e. Also, the road to feel-good does not necessarily take a linear path. Sometimes we take confusing twists and turns to reach a destination we thought was closer. But the length of time and the goal achievement are secondary to the journey’s lessons necessary for our growth. 

You describe yourself as "still wounded" from your divorce. Good for you for recognizing your status for what it is! Why would you want to be "ready for another committed relationship" at this time? There’s no rush. You’ve been wisely probing your inner depths with the self-assessments in my book and you’ve derived insights you never had before. You thought you were further along based on your tissue count. But now you recognize you still have far to go. Appreciate how much progress you’ve already made! You now enjoy socializing while also honoring your alone time. That’s a healthful combination. Congratulations on accepting all of this!

If every divorced person did this kind of self-probing, there would be fewer second-marriage breakups. You may feel frozen solid, but you’re beginning to show signs of thawing. 

As you continue to heal, pay close attention to the following: You asked, "Will I ever be ready to love again?" That shows you have interest in melting that ice. You say, "I do not think I could ever trust so openly again, give up my power and depend on anyone again." Girl, you were not put on this earth to trust unconditionally, lose your power or be a dependent. Your next relationship will be a whole new ball game — and a better one, at that. You say, "I don’t show people I’m still wounded because I am frightened they will take advantage of this weakness and then become predators." You never want the word "wounded" on your sleeve. That’s a victim term, and victims invite persecution. You have picked up some mighty lessons on your road to healing. Understand this Gilda-Gram: "When pain happens TO you, it really happens FOR you." Appreciate how much wiser you are for the experience. Your New You will be reflected in your next partner choices.

Relationship expert Dr. Gilda Carle ( has a private practice, and is a motivational speaker and associate professor of business, psychology, and communications at New York’s Mercy College. Her best-selling books include Don’t Bet on the Prince! How to Have the Man You Want by Betting On Yourself. Her E-Books are “How to WIN When Your Mate Cheats,” immediately downloadable at and "99 Prescriptions for Fidelity," downloadable at


Among all the supportive e-mails I received for Frozen, one very crazy response caught my eye. Here it is:

Dear Dr. Gilda,
With all due respect, how in God's name did you NOT(?) pick-up on this from "Frozen Solid";

"I love to go out and socialize, and I am the life of the party, but I love coming home to my OWN space without having to answer to ANYONE". (?!?)

Frozen Solid is NOT ready, willing or able (at the time of this writing) to BE "married". How much more clear can it be that this person is so fully self-absorbed that a "committed relationship" (much less a marriage) is the LAST thing she wants, needs - or is at all capable of handling??

There were, once upon a time in this world, things called "commitment", and "TEAM-work". there is no "I" in team. This person is S-I-C-K.

You should really better "read" your writers.

Man in America
Washington DC

Dear Man,
Everyone should know how s/he feels about his/her readiness regarding commitment. There is no cookie-cutter approach to bonding. I suggest you re-evaluate how "S-I-C-K" you are for discriminating against those who may not feel as you do.
Dr. Gilda


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