"Ask Dr. Tracy"

1/2/2000 Advice Column

Wedding Day Blues
Run Around Naked
Slobs Need Love Too

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I'm getting married in 5 weeks and I'm going nuts!! My life is nothing but wedding, wedding, wedding!! My fiance feels we're growing apart, and I agree with him...he says it will get better after the wedding, when things resume to normal. Is this normal?

Also...we argue so much about little things...why do we do this when we love each other so much!!

Dear Almost a Bride,

Getting married is one of life's most stressful events. Even though it's a joyous event, getting married ranks right up there with the death of parent or mate, getting divorced, moving, and getting fired. You are suddenly dealing with his family, your family and all your friends, all at once. Dozens of seemingly important decisions loom, like whether to have chocolate cake or white cake or whether to have a video or no video and on and on.

Since most couples have never planned such a big event, let alone dealt with both sets of relatives together, and since it's supposed to be "the most important day of your life," things do tend to get blown out of proportion. Whatever you're arguing about now will seem so silly and will probably be forgotten when all this is over. In twenty years, I promise you, it won't matter.

You've got a bad case of bride fever. It will go away. Almost every bride has at least one good case of hysterics on the way to the altar.

You and your fiance are arguing about little things because you're both under a lot of stress. Try to remember that what really matters is that you love one another, and the details of the wedding don't have any relevance to whether you'll have a happy marriage or not.

Don't fight every battle. Just give in if it's not really important. I remember my husband balked at wearing a tuxedo when we got married. Instead of arguing about the tux, I told him that was okay as long as he went along with all the other plans. This is a good time to learn to negotiate instead of arguing. It will be a skill that will serve you well in the future.

My advice for your wedding day? Go with the flow and just get though it. By then it's too late to change anything, so be happy with whatever happens. But be sure to take lots of pictures, because when the cake is eaten and the flowers are dead and the arguments forgotten, they'll be all you have left of your big day.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I am engaged to a woman who lost her husband of 13 years approx. 5 years ago. (She is 40 and I am 39. I have been married before and have custody of my two daughters. She has two kids from her descessed husband.) She was married before that to a guy who was abussive to her in many ways, mentally and physically. The problem we seem to have is her lack of sexual interest. I can not even watch a show on the Learning Channel about sexual related topics without her getting upset. If we watch a movie and someone flashes a breast she shuts the show off and again gets upset. I have always prided myself on thinking that the body is a beautiful form of art and that two people in love should explore each others sexual desires. I can't even get her too run around the house naked when the kids are not home for the night. It is ruining our relationship. I have suggested everything I can think of including counseling to get her to loosen-up, with nothing but her getting upset. Please advise me as to what may help her to understand that sexual relations are more then the "typical missionsary position." I find this to be quite boring and feel as if it is not a natural sexual relationship. Please help!!

Dear Bored,

If you're bored already, you should rethink this engagement. Since you want to run around naked with your sweetie and she's not into that, or even letting you see a naked woman's breasts on television, I'd say you're in big trouble. Your fiancee won't get sexier. She's not going to change. If you want someone to explore your sexual desires and run around naked, then you should find another woman and start over.

People who are sexually uninhibited like you are should find someone else who shares their ideas. After all, you wouldn't try to change a Catholic into a Protestant or a Republican into a Democrat. So why would you try to change an uptight woman into a let-it-all-hang-out, run-around-naked type?

You and your fiancee have different value systems and that's a tough problem to get past. If she's not interested in sex now, believe me, she won't be after you're married. There is nothing I can tell you that will convince her to become a different person with different values.

This is not a matter of who's right and who's wrong, it's a basic incompatibility problem. If you want to run around naked, go to a nudist camp. If you wanted someone who's sexually exciting, you should have thought of that before you became engaged. Now you're going to either spend the rest of your life unhappy or break your engagement and make your fiance very unhappy. Not a great choice, but those are your only options.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

Dear Dr. Tracy,

My live-in boyfriend is a slob. We've only been living together for a few months but I can see that the problem is not getting any better. I initially tried to rationalize the problem with the fact that he's only 26 (I'm 30) and had been living with his parents before moving in with me. His mother did everything for him. She even nagged him in my presence to clean his room. I eventually helped him to get his mother "off his back". That was the first warning sign. I then tried giving him time to learn because obviously he just doesn't notice the mess and doesn't know how to clean properly. I've tried talking to him about it and I tell him how it makes me feel when he doesn't help, but it seems to go in one ear and out the other. He claims he wants me to be happy and that he'll try his best to help out but he never does. I don't want to come across as a nag, so quite often I won't say anything and just pick up after him.

But lately I've been so sick of it that I haven't done a thing. My house is a disaster! Whenever I ask him to help me he gives me a "Yes dear" like I'm nagging him and he conveniently forgets. I'd love to tell him to just grow up but I fear his fragile ego couldn't handle it and that would cause greater conflict. I've tried being persistent in reminding him about simple things like putting the toilet seat down or closing the shower curtain when he's done, in a non-threatening manner, he's done these things but not persistently. It should become a habit after awhile shouldn't it? He just sees it as a chore and always forgets.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not completely anal when it comes to cleanliness. I've had my days when I just don't care if it's clean or not and I certainly don't go around the house with a white glove. And I understand that these things aren't important to him but shouldn't he want to do it so that I'm happy? It's getting to the point where I look at him in a different light. I feel so much resentment towards him that I often doubt my love for him. I've tried explaining my feelings to him but he gets defensive and concludes that I don't love him because he doesn't clean, which is not the issue at all. The issue is that he doesn't do his part and I feel taken advantage of because of it. Although this is a major problem to me, I don't feel that breaking up the relationship is an option. He's wonderful in many other ways. This is the first time I've ever really loved anyone in my 30 years of life and I want it to work. I need advice on how to remedy the problem, I don't want to get rid of him. Maybe it's just my problem, seeing as I'm set in my ways, having been independent for 12 years now. But I feel I've been doing a lot of the bending and adapting and he's done none. How do I get through to him?

In love with a pig

Dear In Love With A Pig,

If you've been living independently for twelve years, you probably are quite set in your ways. I suspect that some of this cleaning or not cleaning is a power struggle. Part of living together is learning that you can't be in charge all the time even when you're right.

In many relationships, there is one neat person and one slob. It's not an insurmountable problem, if you can learn to compromise and work together. Instead of arguing all the time, learn to nag gracefully. If you continue to argue, you will indeed wind up making both of you miserable. Forget talking about it. You'll only cause more stress.

The best way to deal with your slob is to work together. Make it fun. Put silly signs on the bottom of the toilet seat. Promise him a night of unbearably wonderful sex of his choice if he'll help you clean up. Make it a group project. Set time aside to clean together.

Don't expect him to become neat. Instead, cordon off areas that are his to be sloppy. Then keep your areas neat. Put his mess in his area and let him wallow in it. If you really can't stand it, then help him get organized and clean it up. But don't kid yourself into thinking that he'll keep it that way. He won't.

Give up a few evenings out and hire a cleaning service to come every two weeks. That'll take the burden off you and give your relationship some breathing room.

Traditionally, men are less flexible than women. It goes back to the cave days. Men took a woman from her tribe back to theirs. Then the woman had to learn to adapt. That's why women are flexible and men aren't. They can learn, but it takes a long time.

I'm glad that you're not thinking of breaking up over this. What's really more important - having the man you love or having the shower curtain pulled closed?

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

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