Ask Dr. Gilda-Am I Asking For Too Much?

One man who’s been divorced for eight years wonders if his expectations of a woman are too high…

By Dr. Gilda Carle, Ph.D.

ear Dr. Gilda,
I am a 44-year-old male, divorced for eight years. Money was our key issue. Since then, I could have remarried many times, but instead I took the time to heal and build a strong financial base from which I could support a new marriage.

My challenge now is that I think I have become selfish. I would like a wife, mother, and friend who can help me regain what I lost when I got divorced. I have a high-profile career, so I would like a
I don’t like labels because they tend to stereotype people.
beautiful wife with great passion. But I have not been able to find someone like this.

Am I trying to design a fantasy wife and mother that don’t exist? Am I being unfair in developing my own world and then trying to get someone to fit into it?
– Needy and Numb

Dear Needy and Numb,
You were wise to take time to heal and build up your finances before marrying again, especially since money was an issue in your marriage. When someone is so focused on his personal goals, he naturally devotes his attentions to his own aspirations. Since you haven’t been involved in a deep relationship since your marriage, you haven’t practiced accommodating someone else’s needs. You ask whether you’ve become “selfish.” I don’t like labels because they tend to stereotype people. Instead, I prefer to assess a person’s actual behavior. Here are some questions for this assessment:
  1. When a woman you date asks for something, do you oblige her, or do you view it as an imposition?
  2. Are you willing to inconvenience yourself for a woman?
  3. Are you inclined to want to hear your date’s personal goals?
While you were creating your financial security, you were building a comfortable lifestyle. Now you’d like to find a woman who will fit the mold you carved. “Is that selfish?” you ask. The answer depends on how much flexibility you offer and how much leeway you allow for the other person’s needs. No evolved woman will want to put her whole being on ice for that of a man. Since you long for a template of someone “beautiful with great passion”
I suggest you look for a woman with more depth than you fantasize about now.
to be a trophy for you in your “high profile career,” perhaps a Barbie doll would better suit you.

You say, “I would like a wife, mother, and friend who can heal me from what I lost when I got divorced.” So not only do you want a Barbie, you also want a nursemaid. Dude, the only one to get you beyond your suffering is you.

Rather than question whether you’re selfish, I suggest you look for a woman with more depth than you fantasize about now. If you want a real woman, not an inanimate doll, you’ll have to sway to her desires as they merge with your own. Anything short of that is, indeed, self-serving.

Here’s what I suggest:
  1. On your dates, ask plenty of questions and get to really know each woman, instead of listing your own requirements. As my Gilda-Gram says, “Find the treasure in everyone you meet.”
  2. Discuss with a woman the goals she wants to ensure you have interpreted them correctly.
  3. Plot a course to support the needs of someone other than yourself.
You’ve been in your own box for too long, so it’s time to visit someone else’s. When you are willing to consider someone else in a big way, you may be on your way to establishing a lasting marriage.

Relationship expert Dr. Gilda Carle, Ph.D., has a private practice and is an associate professor at Mercy College in New York. Her best-selling books include Don’t Bet on the Prince!, 99 Prescriptions for Fidelity and How to Win When Your Mate Cheats. Please visit her website ( and send her your relationship questions.
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