"Ask Dr. Tracy"

4/11/99 Advice Column

Dr. Tracy Returns -- Her Very Personal Message,
Man Wants To Exchange 46-Yr.-Old For 17-Yr. Old,
Old Love Letters

Dear Dr. Tracy,


When will the column start again? Tell the Dr. to get over it!

Dear Cyber friends,

Thanks so very much to those of you who sent your condolences to me about the loss of my mother. We were very close and she was ill for a long time. I don't think you ever recover from the loss of a parent, especially one who was your best friend as well.

And to those of you whose problems have been waiting so patiently for an answer, I will work my way through the backlog and answer as many as I can.

Also, to those who thought I took too much time off and that I'd mourned enough: perhaps you've noticed that www.loveadvice.com is a pure site without advertising or sponsors. That means I get to do whatever I want, including taking time off when I need it. When you have your own problems to deal with, it's difficult to deal with hundreds of other's problems with clarity and empathy, so when I feel the need to take time off for personal reasons, I hope you will understand.

However, there was another reason I took time off -- and that's because, after my mother's funeral, Marshall and I went ahead with our long-delayed move from California to Hawaii. And everyone who's moved a well-established household knows how all-consuming that can be.

Anyway, I'm back. Aloha to my old friends and some new ones too. Let the questions roll.

Dr. Tracy

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I am male 32yrs and have been in a wonderful relationship with an older woman (14yrs older) for more than nine years. The two of us have never seriously considered marriage and have never waned children. Recent events in my life have got me thinking otherwise...and I know that even though she might consider marriage...the question of having children is impossible and out of the question. I am not considering adoption at this point. There is another person that has been on my mind...but nothing has happened yet. She is 17yrs. and from the country I was born in but where I was not raised. There is a connection between us but she is not a relative.

My dilemma is am I crazy for forsaking a great relationship for the possibility of finding someone to marry and father children with (not necessarily the person mentioned above.) I would love to wait for the 17 year old to be a few years older...but I have and know that there are no gaurantees...help!!!!!

Dear Waffler,

I can understand a man's urge to have children, which is why I always recommend settling that question early in a relationship. However, when you entered your current relationship at the tender age of 23, I'm sure being a father and having a family was the furthest thing from your mind. Now you are 32 and thinking rightly that you may be missing something in life by giving up marrying and having children.

I'm sure the older woman you've been with all this time has wondered when and if you're going to dump her day for a younger woman. Now that you're getting serious about leaving her, don't you think it's a little selfish not to consider the way she will feel?

Although I understand your feelings about marriage and children have changed since you first entered this relationship, you're totally out of your mind if you think you're going to find happiness with a seventeen year old you hardly know. You are also nuts to give up a great relationship wihout trying to work out the problem. Have you discussed this with the older woman you've been with for nine years? Perhaps she'd be willing to consider adoption or hiring a surrogate.

If you can't work out a solution with the woman you are with, then find a woman your own age, but forget about the seventeen year old.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

Dear Dr. Tracy,

What do you think about a husband still keeping old love letters and photos of past loves? We've been married almost a year - and I personally think he should have gotten rid of these old 'reminders'. I'm upset?

Dear Newlywed,

Just because you're married now doesn't mean that you get to control your new husband's life. You are not his boss and you don't get to say whether he keeps old love letters or not. Some things are meant to be private and that includes the sentimental souvenirs a person wants to keep.

Old reminders are a person's history. Should he throw out all the old pictures that don't have you in it? Of course not. Do you have to throw out your high school prom picture because another guy was your date? Of course not. Memories are just that. Your husband's past, including all the women he dated before you, is what molded him into the person you love.

He's yours now. She's just a face on a picture and a signature on a letter that reminds him of a relationship he once had. It's meaningless.

Believe me, if that's the biggest upset you ever have, you'll be a lucky bride.

I hope he has some letters from you too in his memory box. If not, I suggest you start writing. You don't have to be apart to write a love letter. Tell him how much you love him and why. You have the rest of your life to write to him, and to appreciate having such a sentimental guy. Most men toss everything.

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.

Dr. Tracy says, "Is your question urgent? Many of the most beseeching, desperate messages I get are not answered in this column because the answer is just a couple of clicks away in my Love Library. Have you tried my Love Library? I know that nobody goes to libraries anymore, but check this one out -- it's so easily searchable that it's fun and easy to use!"

If you can't find your answer in the Library and you feel you MUST have an answer, you can get a personal answer from Dr. Tracy within 48 hours by availing yourself of her inexpensive private counseling.

You may submit your question to Dr.Tracy's column by e-mail here.

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