Dr. Tracy's Advice Column

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What About His Kids
Fantasy Love
A Very Dangerous Problem

What About His Kids

Dear Dr. Tracy,

Im 26 years old, never been married and dating a 35 year old divorced man with two children. I know that screams red alarms, but we are pretty happy together. He has an ok divorce from his ex-wife with little drama, but the one thing that continues to haunt him is his guilt for not having his children, 7 and 4, with him. Im an optimist and I think that I help him out a lot with trying to accept the situation, but I wonder will he ever? We plan on getting married and having children of our own one day, but I wonder if this guilt will kill our relationship. What should I do? What can he do?

(sidenote: hes recently divorced and separated 2 years)

Thanks so much, hope to hear from you!

Dear Wondering,

You can stop wondering. He will always feel guilty over not having his children from his first marriage with him. He has "father guilt" and it doesn't go away. The kids will grow up and whatever problems they have, he'll think it's his fault.

He may come to accept the situation, but it will always haunt him. If you want to marry this man, you too will have to accept the situation. The progeny from his first marriage will always be a part of your life in one way or another. You will always have to deal with their mother, them and their problems, even if you are an optimist and think you can make him forget the guilt.

The guilt won't kill your relationship or affect your marriage any more than you let it. The children, however, will affect you more than you can anticipate. You don't know how difficult they will be as teenagers, what trouble they will get into, and how your husband-to-be will react -- but it will probably be that he has to help them out. After all, he has that guilt.

The kids will play on his conscience and they will make demands on your time and energy. If you are willing to take on the burden of his first marriage, then you will just have to live with his past. Realize that what he did before makes him the man you love. His past is part of him.

He can only do the best he can to live with the decisions he's made. You can't anticipate what the future holds. All you can do is decide to love him no matter what baggage he brings with him.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

Fantasy Love

Dear Dr. Tracy,

hi my name is nicole im 21 years old. I have been in some of the worst relationships.. yet this one, which is a long distance one seems like its the one!! I met this guy 4 1/2 months ago online and we just hit it off everything went so perfect. I found out he is deployed in Afghanistan right now but soon to be home. We would talk almost everyday wether it be a phone call from him or email.then on Christmas day he told me he loved me... i was extatic because i have fallen in love with him also BUT it seems like things have slowed down.

i no longer talk to him as much so i started getting doubts and i told him about the way i felt several times and he has explained himself each time but for some reason i just cant help but question him if this is real and now im worried that im pushing him away.... it upsets him that i have doubts. what do i do before i ruin the best thing thats ever happend to me????

Dear Doubtful,

No wonder you have doubts. You haven't even met this man in person. You've only met online and he's in Afghanistan. What are you thinking? This isn't love. This is a fantasy. He may or may not be "The One." Chances are he's not.

After all, he's far from home and lonely. He'll probably say anything right now to get your attention. So when you tell him you have doubts, he reassures you. It's the easiest thing for him to do.

The answer for you is to wait until he gets home and then see how things go. Stop thinking this is "the one." Instead, think of him as a candidate for being "the one." He really doesn't know if he loves you or not. He hasn't even met you yet. You don't know if there's chemistry or not. Chemistry happens in person, and you will find out soon enough.

In the meantime, if you don't want to totally ruin this before you even meet him, the answer to your predicament is to shut up about your doubts. Keep them to yourself. If you keep telling him about your doubts you'll put ideas in his head and he'll start to have doubts too.

Instead, act as if you have no doubts and that everything is fine. Stop telling him your problems. He's got enough of his own if he's in Afghanistan. He doesn't need you to give him more.

So stop asking him if this is real. He can't answer that. You'll only find out when you get together in person. Reality only happens in person, when you each see how the other reacts to things, when you have real problems and solve them and still love each other.

So relax. Enjoy your fantasy, but realize it's just that. Not the real thing, just a possibility.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

A Very Dangerous Problem

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I am a 29 year old who has recently caught the eye of my friends 15 year old step-daughter. I have been a friend of the family for 6 years and go to their house two to three times a week. Only recently has she been showing her interest in a sexual way by showing more of her body around only me and using more and more inuendos. The problem is i am sexualy attracted to her and she knows it.

I do know that the age difference is the biggest problem and her inexperience with men would lead her to want to experiment with someone she knows and trusts. There has been no physical contact, although Ive been in enough relationships to know thats what she wants next. I havent told her parents yet because i would take that oportunity if she asked me to. I also havent had the opportunity to sit and talk with her because i only go there when my friend is home, and talking to her in front of them would be awkward for everybody.

I think of men throughout history taking young wives as soon as they reach puberty, and that gives me a sense of justification. Im not just looking to score some young tail, I have honestly grown to love her and want her in my life. I dont want to be responsible for any heartache or personality problems later in her life.

I am aksing for advice on whether to let things play out as they will, or to tell everybody what is going on in my head and hers. I want to be more intimate with her and she feels the same way, the problem is shes 15 and im 29.

Dear Attracted,

This is explosive. You could go to prison if you fool around with this young woman. You could be in deep trouble if you just spend time alone with her. If she makes advances and you rebuff her, she could say you came on to her and get you in trouble. If you make advances and she accepts them, she'll probably tell someone about it. Young girls her age can't keep quiet about such things. Then your friends will find out and you could lose their friendship or worse. They could call the police and you could be arrested.

You're too old for her. If you really care about her, then wait until she's much older, at least 18, preferably 21, and then see if she feels the same way. Don't be her experiment. You could wind up ruining your life and hers.

Don't dare spend time alone with her. It's just not right. Even if she wants to. This isn't historical times when men took young wives. This is now and the law is very clear. Stay away from her.

And don't tell her parents anything. You'll only freak them out and make her hate you for telling them. At which point she's likely to deny any attraction, which will make you look worse.

She's at an age when young women begin to experience their sexual power over men. She knows what she's doing and probably doesn't really want you. She just wants to try out her new sexuality. Don't be a fool.

The best thing you could do would be to find someone your own age to love. Intimacy with a 15 year old is absolutely taboo.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

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(Featured art from cover of Letting Go, by Zev Wanderer and Tracy Cabot, published by "Bitan" Publishers, Tel-Aviv, Israel)
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