"Ask Dr. Tracy"

1/11/98 Advice Column


Dear Dr. Tracy,

I have always read your column and really appreciate your opinions on several issues. Only now I think it is my turn to write to you and seek your advice.

I am a 23 year old Arab girl. I have a traditional arab father who cares very much for his family. As you may already know, most arab girls are expected to be virgins till their wedding night. Five years ago I had met a guy whom I loved deeply. We had plans to get married but things did not work out very well. And as you may have guessed, we did make love several times during our relationship.

About two months ago I met a man (37 years old) at a social event. He lives abroad and had only come to attend the ceremony. I had also travelled to attend the ceremony as well. I was attracted to him the moment I saw him. We went out dancing after the party was over and it was obvious he was very attracted to me. The problem is that he is married! I made it clear that I had no intentions of playing around with a married man while we were dancing. As we left I went (along with some friends) to his suite to chat. To make a long evening short, I ended up staying over till 6 in the morning. We did not have sex that night... but we did for the next two nights. It was wonderful, and he was wonderful. Though I still insisted that there should be no relationship going after that. With this each one of us left back to where we live (we are originally from the same country and the same city!!!but live abroad.)

Surprisingly enough he called me after a couple of days and insisted that we meet abroad (this time in Europe). Deep inside I wanted it and fixed a week to meet there as he had suggested. Let me tell you one thing... that week was a week in paradise! He got me a diamond and sapphire ring as a present. I was treated just like a queen. He even proposed to me there but I had to say 'no'. I was thinking of his wife and his children and I just couldn't imagine myself destroying a family. We discussed this. He said he adored his children and he simply liked his wife. But he certainly was not in love with her. He told me he has had many relationships before but it was for pure sex, and he insists that he is 100% sure he is in love with me. (The first sex we had was great for me, but I did not respond much to him that night, so I know he did not come back for the sex!)

He is a very wealthy man who can get as many women as he wants. He insists, however, that I am all he ever wanted. He trusts me completely, I know this from the things he tells me... Now he started hinting again that we should be meeting soon, and I am completely lost. I really want it, but I am scared. I know I have fallen deeply in love with him and I do not know how to resolve it. Deep inside I wish he would divorce his wife and marry me, but my good side says that I should never allow such a thought to cross my mind again! What shall I do??? I am helpless!

Please do not throw this away because I need your response URGENTLY!

Thank you,


Dear Helpless,

First of all, I don't throw any letters away -- I read them all.

As for your problem...

If an unbelievably wealthy married man is in love with you, that doesn't mean he's going to leave his wife and marry you. If you're in love with him, and you've already slept with him, there's probably nothing I can say that will keep you apart. You've already stepped over the edge.

Now, that said (and I may get a lot of disagreement over this), you should just consider this a fling, an adventure that you'll remember when you get old, but not a real relationship. If you want to have a happy-ever-after affair with a married man, you're kidding yourself. There are always so many problems involved.

On the other hand, if you can figure, "He's married, I'm not. Being married is his problem, not mine," then you can enjoy your time together, the exotic travel and the gifts. Any other thoughts doom you to suffer guilt and unrequited love.

Fro example, you'll have to give up thoughts of being with him on Holidays. And you'll have to resign yourself to playing second fiddle to his wife and kids.

Tell yourself to give up on wishing he'd divorce his wife. Those kinds of thoughts will only leave you frustrated. Instead, concentrate on having a good time when you're with him.

When married men do leave their wives for their mistresses, it's usually because life with the mistress seems so problem free. And sneaking and being forbidden makes it all so exciting. Of course, then he finds himself married to the mistress and often has the same problems as before -- being bored at home, etc. So he starts being unfaithful again, and the cycle continues.

You're playing with fire and could get burned. But you're young and have time to recover.

Good Luck,

Dr. Tracy

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I'm 46 years old, have 3 grown kids and have been single since 1975. I've gone out with thousands of men (mostly blind dates as a result of all the dateline type ads I put the various papers over the years). I have gone out 31 times in a month that only had 30 days, because I went to lunch with one guy and to dinner with another. Out of all of these thousands of men, I have ended up with 2 friends, no boyfriends and certainly no marriage proposals.

My friends tell me what a wonderful person I am and that I'm just meeting all the wrong guys. My 3 kids are all successful -- no drugs, no arrests -- I'm very good at what I do, not only in my organizational skills, but in cooking, cleaning, nurturing, ect. and I consider myself a natural born housewife. I am also slender, have good skin, hair to my waist (I'm half American Indian) and I certainly consider myself intelligent. I have no idea why men aren't attracted to me, other than the little bit of feedback I've received, which basically falls into the category of not being needy, being too independent, intimidating and being more of a man than they are (I grew up on a farm and I know how to do just about everything from sheetrocking to chopping wood to butchering a chicken to using a chainsaw plus all of the "womanly" things I learned from a very old-fashioned grandmother) and that I make men feel inferior just because of all of my strengths and skills and talents. They say it isn't anything I do that makes them feel inferior, it is just that I am so much and it makes them feel like so little. I've been told that the fact that I don't play games is confusing. I've been told that I'm so honest and straightforward that I MUST be hiding something. I've been told I'm too good to be true!

I'm totally confused. I'm not a career girl, I want to be a housewife. I love to crochet, sew, cook, clean and even iron. So just off the top of your head, what are a few things that I should look at. I really don't want to grow old alone. I'm self-reliant, but I don't like the fact that I don't have anyone to watch TV with, or play Yatzee with, or cook for or go out to dinner with -- except friends, and they seem to just feel sorry for me because they can't figure out why I'm still single after all these years. Can you shed any light on this matter at all?

Dear Too Good,

I often get letters from lonely men and women who like yourself are too good for anyone. They're so perfect (or so they think) that nobody else is perfect enough to deal with their perfection.

If you want to spend the rest of your life with someone, you'd better start by being a little vulnerable. Nobody wants to be with superwoman, and of course you have vulnerabilities -- you've just gotten real good at hiding them. Step two would be for you to make someone feel needed. After all, we all want to feel needed and appreciated, not like an unneeded accessory.

Surely there is something you need advice or help on. Making another person feel important and necessary is part of being a terrific human being. If you can't do that, all your skills are superfluous.

I recommend my book, "How to Make a Man Fall In Love With You," a Dell paperback available at most bookstores. You can learn skills that will make a man feel good about being with you. It's not about playing games, it's about becoming a making a man feel good when he's with you.

These are simple skills an intelligent woman can learn if she wants a man. What good is all that self-reliance if you're home alone?

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

Dear Dr. Tracy,

This Thanksgiving my wife of 18 yrs told me she loves me, but can't stay with me. We have 2 children(18,20). Well I didn't see it coming so of course I was stunned. I have since gone to counseling 3 times to deal with communication issues caused by Dad's 20 yr bout with alcoholism from when I was 10-30. She has gone twice, but dislikes the therapist and says it's a waste.

At first she wanted to get a part time job and move out. Since then she has treated me like a relative -- distant but polite. No sex for 3 months. Well she has come to me often during the holidays and today confessed that it's mostly her problem. She has no feelings for me and never has. We had never had any major problems and I have always been around, provided well for all, no serious issues on my part.

Well tonight she came to me after I suggested we start planing to divorce in the spring. She asked if we could stay together and have an open marriage. I was again stunned and asked why as I loved her too much to consider cheating in this way. Well she confessed that she had had only two partners in her life (her 1st boyfriend got her pregnant with our son) and me. She said she had never reached orgasm and never enjoyed sex. That's why she wouldn't mind if I found someone to take care of my needs. I am old fashioned (I'm 47 - she's 40). I don't even know where to start or go. I am just plain lost. Thoughts?

Dear Stunned,

If your wife says she never had an orgasm and never enjoyed sex, she's telling you she doesn't want to have sex, not with you or with someone else. She won't become sexy. I can't make a woman enjoy sex who hates it, and neither can you. The sad truth is that some women are hot and some are not.

As for "opening" your marriage, well, that's probably not going to work either. Open marriages are for people who have a basically good marriage and want to expand it, not for people who have a disfunctional marriage and want to use some other woman to prop it up. I know she says she loves you, but she also says she has no feelings for you. Most important, if she says therapy is a waste of time and doesn't want to go with you, she's really saying she doesn't want to make any effort to save your marriage. And if she never enjoyed sex, there's no reason for her to make an effort to enjoy it.

Unless you're willing to accept an empty shell of a marriage, get a divorce and find someone who will appreciate sex, so you can have a full life together. There are lots of women out there who do think sex is an important part of their lives.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

Submitting a Question to this column

Dr. Tracy regrets that it is simply impossible for her to answer all of the hundreds of questions submitted to this column each week. However, she does read every question, and tries to select the three which are of the most general interest to the visitors here.

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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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