Dr. Gilda Carle

Did you make too many bad judgments in regard to love last year? This time around, let’s remember never to repeat those same stupid mistakes again. Begin your New Year with this Gilda-Gram: “May my NEXT mistakes be NEW mistakes.” Here are seven vows that promise to make every screw-up a fresh one from which you’ll be able to grow and evolve.

1. I will know my honey’s anger threshold BEFORE I give in to the urge to merge our lives together.

Melody and Joseph enjoyed walk-into-walls lust. Like many couples, they didn’t think to differentiate between simple carnal craving and building a relationship with a solid shelf life. So after a year of inseparable passion, they married. But shortly thereafter, Joseph lost his job. He was frustrated, miserable, and very nasty to Melody. His new wife didn’t recognize this angry monster. Where was their lust now?

Gilda-Gram: “Before commitment, determine how your mate copes with crisis.”

2. I will assess my darling’s fidelity quotient as soon as we meet.

Thomas and Carol were dating exclusively for a year when he met her new friend, Rose. Although aware of Rose’s infidelity to her boyfriend of two years, Thomas chose to ignore it and said nothing to Carol. Carol began hanging out with Rose more. One night, Thomas ran into Carol and Rose out on the town. He was shocked to see that his honey was mirroring Rose’s flirtatious moves with strange men.

Gilda-Gram: “Birds of a feather cheat together.”

3. I will confront my sweetie directly about our issues instead of reporting them all to my girlfriends, which only creates a love triangle.

Unwittingly, my friend, Clara, sustained one of my arguments with “Studly” longer than it should have lasted. For five months, she compassionately listened to me rant about his intransigent position on one topic. But whenever Studs and I reconvened, the wind was already out of my sails, and he never even knew I was upset. Then Clara moved away — and probably just in the knick of time. Without her, I was left to confront my man directly. Our dispute immediately came to a head and we finally cleared the air together.

Gilda-Gram: “A relationship’s triangulation can cause its strangulation.”

4. I will appraise early on how my honey’s parents, relatives and friends relate.

Our role models come from the couples we first observe. Mary’s parents were loving, respectful and considerate. In contrast, her fiancĂ© Ben had folks who were argumentative and icy. When Mary showered Ben with the kind of affection with which she was raised, he acted dismissive toward her and she felt crushed. During one of our sessions, I suggested she either accept Ben’s behavior or convince him of the mutual benefits of tenderness. She tried to do the latter, but Ben rebuffed her again. Mary then terminated the engagement in order to avoid a permanent state of “wedded diss.”

Gilda-Gram: “What you work hard to get, you’ll work hard to keep.”

5. I will look for the positives in scandalous tabloid relationships.

Reading the news about the relationships of our celebs and politicians could leave a person permanently scarred. One politico with a sordid reputation as a lothario remains married to his humiliated wife. But as a politician herself, she looks for his defense whenever someone sullies her name! My negative take: Yuck to this arrangement that accepts cheating for political payoffs. My positive take: In some relationships, loyalty and other factors can trump my view of traditional romance. I can only control MY standards; if a promiscuous pooch sniffed ME, I’d sound the whistle that only dogs can hear!

Gilda-Gram: “Love assumes different faces, but the only one that counts is the one with which YOU choose to live.”

6. I will assess my mate’s happiness with his or her job and career.

Mark corresponded online with a seemingly adorable lady. When they shared their interests, she said she was in advertising, but she hated it, wanted to get out and was generally miserable. Mark concluded that a solid partner for him would enjoy who she is and what she does. Beyond this cutie’s compelling photo, Mark was in search of happier prospects.

Gilda-Gram: “People who love themselves and what they do professionally have a greater capacity to love someone else.”

7. I will note whether my honey follows through on promises.

Upon meeting Mr. Political Writer, I saw that he was besotted with me. He swooned, “I want to read everything you’ve ever written.” That was a tall order, but I thought, “Wow, Political Writer wants to know the real me.” So I gathered some of my published books and columns. But the next time we met, he had totally forgotten his interest in my work. When I tried to show him what HE had requested, he brushed aside my writing and bragged about his own. That was the last time I chose to see him. For me, inconsistent affection is a deal-breaker.

Gilda-Gram: “Overpromising but under-performing demonstrates either bad memory or superficiality. Bad memory is too feeble, and superficiality is too shallow.”

Now, write your love goals on an empty page and resolve to stick to them. Then vow to make this your best year ever! Imagine that your next 12 months are physically breathing on that page. Are you willing to do what it takes to bring each one to life? Go get ‘em, tiger!


DR. GILDA CARLE (Ph.D.) is an internationally known psychotherapist, relationship educator, and management consultant. She is Match.com’s “Ask Dr. Gilda” advice columnist published on MSN.com. She is also known as the Country Music Doctor, with her “Country Cures.” She is a motivational speaker, professor of psychology & communications, the author of the well-known “Don’t Bet on the Prince!,” a test question on “Jeopardy," AND NOW IN ITS SECOND EDITION, 99 Prescriptions for Fidelity, How to Win When Your Mate Cheats, and many more. She was the therapist in HBO's Emmy Award winner, "Telling Nicholas," featured on Oprah, where she guided a family to tell their 7-year-old that his mom died in the World Trade Center bombing. She is currently developing her own TV show. Visit www.DrGilda.com and get her Instant Advice!