Q: I'm sincerely trying to figure out why I date unattainable men. They're either married or long distance or in some other way unattainable. I can't figure out why. My childhood was one of chaos: my parents constantly fought, my mother would neglect my younger sister and I for days on end while she would go through one of her depression episodes, and our dad would just turn a blind eye to it all. My sister and I would have to take care of ourselves, which we did pretty well. We now own a house and went to college, but are still co-dependent with each other, even though we're in our 30s. My relationships have all been rocky, and the last one I finally ended had been going on for 10 plus years with a married older man. I'm scared of marriage because my parents' marriage was horrific. I want to grow and lead a productive life with a man, but I am wary of relationships.
—Afraid to Love
Dear Afraid to Love,
Your parents were “constantly” fighting, your mom was depressed, and your father wussed out in managing the chaos. Since you assessed men as weak, unreliable and “unattainable,” this is the type to whom you naturally gravitate.
However, you and your sister “did pretty well” in bonding and protecting each other to evolve to strong female survivors! Girl, count those blessings and list all your alpha traits. Take that list to a therapist, and from this day forward, focus only on those assets. Also surround yourself with people in healthy relationships, so you see how enriching love can be. When you deliberately build positive templates, you’ll conceive and receive the love you want.
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***About: Dr. Gilda Carle is the media’s Go-To Relationship and Lifestyle Expert, serving private clients worldwide at www.DrGilda.com. She has conducted Relationship Wellness training for Columbia University Medical Center, and hosts TBN TV shows. As President of Country Cures® at www.CountryCures.org, she uniquely applies Country Music to train Homeless Female Veterans in Civilian Success Skills. She has served as product spokesperson for Hallmark, Harlequin, Sprint, Cottonelle, Galderma Pharmaceuticals, Match.com, etc. She is a keynote motivational speaker, Management Consultant, Professor Emerita, and author of 17 books, including “Don’t Bet on the Prince!” (test question on “Jeopardy”) and “How to WIN When Your Mate Cheats” (literary award winner from London Book Festival). She wrote the weekly “30-Second Therapist” column for the Today Show, the “Ask Dr. Gilda” column for Match.com, and she was the therapist in HBO’s Emmy Award winner, “Telling Nicholas,” featured on Oprah. She hosted MTV Online’s “Love Doc,” and was the TV host for Fox’s “Dr. Gilda” show.