Confessions of a Love Doctor

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Confessions of a Love Doctor
Dating advice is easier to give than follow, Sherry Amatenstein discovered as a "Love Doctor."

It was a week before Bryant Gumbel will announce that he's retiring from morning TV. At this moment, we are mano a womano behind the anchor desk at The Early Show. The cranky media star is hounding me about a subject in which I have no expertise—the plight of weekend-golf widows.

However, I do have expertise in something else: confidently pretending to have expertise. Lacking a psychology degree or a successful relationship hasn't deterred me from publishing two self-help books, writing an online advice column, and charging $100 an hour as a dating coach. Personally, I feel lonely, despondent, and unloved; professionally, I am the queen of psychobabble.

Gumbel reads from the segment producer's notes on my advice for golf widows: "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em." Tossing me a look of contempt, he says, "This one should jack up the national divorce rate."

It's my national morning-show debut, and my precarious "relationship-expert" hat has been tipped askew. Realizing it is smarter to acknowledge Gumbel's "witticism" than to kick him under the desk, I laugh appreciatively, then opine in Oprah-esque fashion: "Of course, it would be a disaster for the couple to play together until she's learned the game. But not as big a disaster as if the husband tried to teach his wife golf. The only thing dumber is volunteering to teach your partner how to drive."

"Bingo!" Gumbel says. For the first time that morning, he regards me as if I have an IQ. I find myself hoping that the shrinks I called for tips about the golf-widow phenomenon are still asleep. Seeing the glint of grudging approval in my interviewer's eyes, I think of Gary Horowitz—my elementary-school boyfriend and the first in a procession of alpha males who gave me their version of the "It's not you, it's me" spiel. Ha! If my exes are watching me now, my vindication is complete.

"Good job, Sherry," Gumbel says as we break for a commercial. Keep reading...

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