"Ask Dr. Tracy"

1/19/97 Advice Column


Bewitched by "Cyberlove",
Ready to commit! Now what?,
Lost Virginity Blues




Dear Dr. Tracy,

After placing an online personal for a mate in my area, and turning down some very compatible females because of distance, I now find myself "in love" with a California woman who seems to be EVERYTHING I'm looking for in a lover. I live in New York, however, and am the survivor of a failed move to California to be with a woman I loved then. I've yet to meet this woman face to face yet, and we are making plans to hook up to see if there is any chemistry. But she insists that she loves me and believes that we are being brought together by God. I tell her I love her, but she doesn't believe I really do, and frankly, I'm afraid that I'm in love with the torrid phone sex we've had and the many things we have in common.

As I get to know her better, I find that many of her spiritual beliefs are not in tune with mine. I have a teenage daughter that lives with me and I promised her when I returned from California the first time that I would never leave her again. I've been alone for so long (six years) that I feel I just may be acting out of desperation. And while I want to see if we can make a monogamous, long-distance relationship work, I also don't want to get bit by the same dog twice. I told her I'm unsure and thought we should either rethink this or ease out of it, but she became very hurt and angry. Eventually we "kissed and made up" and she understood that I wasn't ready to pack up and leave for the coast. I have a photo of her that she has sent. She is an absolutely beautiful woman of color, and I am a handsome, yet overweight, white male. I'm afraid also that my weight will turn her off, despite her assurance that it wont. I'm really in a quandry because I don't want to be alone, but I don't want to get hurt or hurt her either. Here's the kicker...we've only known each other for two weeks.

They say advice is the truth you get from someone else, but don't want to accept. Tell me, Dr. Tracy...what is your advice?

Mr. All-Mixed-Up

Dear All-Mixed-Up,

You are both over-reacting and over-reaching. Nobody knows how they really feel about another person in two weeks. I usually suggest you know someone for six months before you make any kind of commitment. Monogamous long distance relationships are almost impossible to maintain and very unsatisfying to both people.

If you're not prepared for an in-person move, either you to move where she is, or her to move where you are, then you should forget being in love. Also, real love requires real life commitments. That means your new love would have to love and accept your teenage daughter as well as you. She would have to be good at mothering as well as phone sex. Finally, you would have to resolve the differences in your spiritual beliefs, which could prove more difficult than the geographical problem.

Desperation is not a good reason to continue a relationship. You need time and lots of visits back and forth. You need to meet her family and she yours. You two are playing love games on the internet, not really loving each other. Perhaps she is using you as a crutch just as you're using her. Real love takes place in person, in life, and in bed, not on your computer. Computers are good for meeting people and finding possibilities. Only face to face meetings can make love grow.

Your weight problem shouldn't matter if someone really loves you. But there's only one way to find out for sure. Go to California, or fly her to New York. If you're not prepared to do that, you're just wasting your time on "cyberlove."




Dear Dr. Tracy,

I am a 28 year old professional female, single and not loving it. I used to focus on education and career, but I have always been involved with a man or several of them. I never went out with men with the attitude that I might want to ever marry them. I believe this attitude, or lack of one, was picked up on by the men I involved myself with. I had several relationships which I know could have ended up in marriage, but I never allowed to go in that direction.

Now, I feel I am ready to get involved in a committed relationship. Career has lost much of its importance and I am focussing on preparing myself for a new type of relationship. However, I allow myself to continue to end up in dead-end relationships. The men I find myself getting involved with seem to want a commitment at the beginning, but it never gets that far. I am aware of this pattern, but I can't seem to break it. I don't know if it is my attitude or the men I am picking. Help...I need specifics on breaking the cycle. Any advice will be deeply appreciated.

In a rut

Dear In a rut,

Your age, 28, is a good time to start to look for commitment. Take it easy though. It usually takes 6 months to know if a man is the right one, another six months to get settled into a committed relationship, and then another six months to plan a wedding. So even if you met Mr. Perfect tomorrow, chances are you wouldn't be married for a year and a half.

Break the cycle by dating more than one man at once. Continue to only date men who want to commit, are available and ready. If you can afford it, join a dating service like Great Expectations where the men have made a real monetary commitment to find someone. Put an ad in your local paper or magazine. Continue to date more than one man until you and one of them become really serious. Men need to compete, and nobody wants to eat at a restaurant with no cars parked out front.

One reason a man's commitment urge fades is because he gets all of your love, attention, time, etc., without committing. My guess is that you give too much too soon. When they say, "I love you," you probably let your guard down. You make yourself too available. You forget how to say "no" or "not yet." Read "How Much to Give and When" in my Library, and think about picking up a copy of my book, "How To Make A Man Fall In Love With You," a Dell paperback.




Dear Dr. Tracy,

I have been dating this guy for a while know four or five months about a mnth ago I even lost my virginity to him (I am 18 he is 20) I know that I love him and I have told him so but he can't tell me the same I was very neavous dating a guy with such a past he has had several flings in the past. He tells me that he regrets only one but he has never had a long term relationship with anyone we have been together longer then any other. Having sex with him ment a lot to me but I don't think it ment the same to him. I don't know now what to do I want him to relize that it should mean something. I don't regret having sex with him I am gald I did but it makes me think

No longer Pure

Dear No Longer Pure,

Nothing lasts forever, especially virginity and first lovers. Your deflowerer doesn't have any of the qualities that would make him stay around. He's a player, not a stayer. His history of no long term relationships is a bad sign. It means he can't stay after the first blush of being in love begins to change to real deep caring.

Your first sex will always mean a lot to you. It's something you'll never forget. Since it wasn't his first time, it doesn't have the same meaning for him. You'll never convince him that your first time should mean to him what it does to you.

A man who can't tell you he loves you is a terrible man to be involved with. Every woman deserves to hear the magic words, "I love you," every day from the man in her life. This guy's a dud.

Now that doesn't mean that your first experience was a dud. I hope it was wonderful for you, filled with satisfaction, joy and love. Just don't plan on spending the rest of your life with this guy, it probably won't happen.

First loves are rarely last loves. You're young and have a lifetime to find the perfect man.





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