Ask Dr. Gilda: Will I Ever Find Love?

Dear Dr. Gilda,

I am 47 and single. After a horrible divorce, I've been in a few relationships, each lasting about two or three years. I attract the wrong men all the time. I explain to these guys that I've been hurt and don't want to hurt again. But I end up getting hurt. I show I can be independent as well as dependent. I show love and thoughtfulness. Yet I always get kicked to the curb!

I just want a man to love me. I don't like rejection. I've gone to clubs, churches, gyms and stores in hopes that I will meet Mr. Okay. Nothing. I've joined online dating services, but still not found The One.

I've never had a man buy me a valentine or surprise me with flowers. What am I doing wrong?

Loveless Legal Secretary

Dear Loveless Legal Secretary,

Ouch! You are wearing your wounds like a badge. By moaning to the men you date about your love problems, you create a template for them to treat you the same way their predecessors did.

Why has no one ever bought you a valentine or flowers? It's because you don't project the image that you deserve that kind of caring. That's precisely what you're doing wrong. The image you evidence teaches others how to respond.

You say, "I just want a man to love me." Do you realize how pathetic that sounds? Do you mean any man? You say you're only looking for Mr. Okay. No man wants to be just any man, or Mr. Just Okay. You also say, "I show I can be independent as well as dependent. I show love and thoughtfulness." While you may think these are the traits you show, I doubt if that is really the case. From what you describe, men are probably reading you as a desperate puppy, unable to give because you're too busy licking your own wounds!

Here's what you should do now to show you are worthy of love:

1. Command respect instead of trying to demand it. As my Gilda-Gram says, "Operate as though love and happiness are already yours."
2. Stop detailing your long and sorry love life. It's nobody's business, and it's a downer. Focus on the positive, and on the lives of the men you see.
3. Stop trying to rush casual relationships into love bonds. Take your time as you allow each meeting to unfold slowly into whatever it will be.
4. Ask plenty of questions to get to know each man as well as possible. People enjoy talking about themselves, so substitute the fine art of listening for the wasteful habit of whining.
5. Drop the "Loveless" title. Let your mind paint "loving" and "loved" as your self-description.

After you dump the victim mode, embrace what each man has to offer, one by one. You're obviously doing enough to attract these guys into your life. But to seal a deal, they'll first have to feel wonderful and special in your presence. So overhaul your presentation without the complaints!

Relationship expert Dr. Gilda ( has a private practice, is a motivational speaker and associate professor of business, psychology, and communications at New York's Mercy College. She is also the founder of the video blog, GildaVision, on her web site. Her best-selling books include Don't Bet on the Prince! How to Have the Man You Want by Betting On Yourself and He's Not All That! How to Attract the Good Guys.

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