Dr. Tracy's Advice Column

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More Parent Problems
Three-Way Fantasy
Bi-Sexually Curious

More Parent Problems

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I'm 25 and I've been seeing a 35 year-old Argentine man. I love him very much and we have both thought about marriage. I recently had his parents and my parents over for dinner. His parents speak little English, especially his mother who does not work although they have lived here for 25 years now. His mother is highung, fearful and dependent. His father is quiet and passive as well as dependent.

On the other hand, my mother came to America from Holland by herself when she was 25 and struggled to learn English because she had to in order to work as a RN. She met my father who was a Traffic Engineer for the City of LA. She later became a real estate agent and finally retired and is an extremely talented artist.

My mother hates the fact that they have not learned English and that they are dependent on their son who helps them with their rent and car payments. I also dislike the fact that they are so dependent on their only son. I am fearful that if we get married, I will be marrying them too. I will be supporting them as well. His mother calls him every day, sometimes 2-3 times.

My boyfriend, on the other hand is strong, independent and a go-getter. Being, the only son, he has no choice but help his parents if they need it and they need it.

My mother thinks this relationship is a bad idea. Part of me does as well. What should I do?

Dear Fearful,

You're afraid that if you marry your boyfriend, you will be marrying his parents as well. You have stated the problem perfectly, and it is a very valid fear.

If you marry your boyfriend, his parents will be a part of your life for a long time. They'll be your children's grandparents, and you'll spend holidays with them. That's the way life is - and your boyfriend feels that as the only son, his parents are his responsibility. So marry him and they'll become your problem too.

That's not a cheery thought in your case, because it means you and your future husband could have to support his parents financially, socially, psychologically and in other ways. Ultimately, you may even have to let them (or one of them) live with you. Also, his parent's somewhat strange relationship may color yours. After all, children learn how to relate in a marriage by watching their parents.

I can understand why your mother is concerned. The question you and only you can answer, though, is do you love him enough to put up with his parents in your life? If you're not really sure, then don't marry him, because they're not going to go away.

Your boyfriend and his parents are a package deal. Maybe that's why he's 35 and still single.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

Three-Way Fantasy

Dear Dr. Tracy,

My wife and I have been very happily married for 16 years. We are best freinds as well! We are in our late thirties, and have been monagmous. In fact, we are the only partners each has had, sexually.

Through online experiences, over the past two years, we have "practiced" each allowing the other to enjoy relationships and sexuality outside the marriage. These experiences have helped us both to grow in terms of our security , and as human beings. We lived a very sheltered life. We both agree on this. It also helped us understand that it is ok to have others of the opposite sex as friends..and yes, even to love them. These were BIG revelations for people like us, and I could go on for hours..but you have other letters to read! :)

Ok, so we have carried that energy and security into "real life" situations; discussing the "man at the grocery store".. or other men she finds attractive, etc. We both enjoy this, and in fact are turned on by it.

For informational purposes, my predominant "fantasy" is to have my wife ravished by two men. (Is that weird?) I could be, or wouldnt have to be, one of them. We have simulated this in bed using toys..and we both enjoy it very much. Her fantasy is essentially the same as mine.

To get to the point..which I am sure you are glad for, I would like to push the envelope a little. I would like to give it a try. I think My wife would too..but she has the normal objections.

(1) that it would be "adulterous". I dont agree, simply because I am in knowledge and agreement that it would be fun for a try, if nothing else. What is your thought?

(2) that it would "taint her", since I am the only man shes known. I wouldnt feel that way at all. In fact, I would like to be free enough with her to enjoy a modest degree of the swinging lifestyle.

(3) That feelings might develop and destroy our relationship. My feeling is that we could stop and talk about it, as we have done on every other major issue that has come up. I am of the impression that people who are in this lifestyle understand this. I have suggested that our first experience should be with an "experienced" couple, to help us sort through that, if it arises.

Doc, of course I realize that her feelings are valid, and, I wouldnt pursue any of this without her. With her, I would. Could I get your thoughts on this whole thing?

Dear Wannabe Swinger,

There's nothing weird about your fantasy. Lots of men have similar ones, and women too. In fact, the swinging lifestyle, or open marriage or love, has been tried and tried, and truth be told, some people manage to make it work. Since the groundbreaking book, "The Harrad Experiment" by Robert H. Rimmer, about people trying to "open" their relationships, there have been many others -- "Open Marriage," "Thy Neighbor's Wife," etc.

There has always been an idealistic thought that we could have unlimited love and share ourselves sexually with others without disturbing our basic love relationship. But of all the couples I've known who have tried such a thing, almost all of them wind up breaking up. Very few have succeeded.

Natural insecurity and jealousy and fear of loss of the loved one come into play, and people often wind up getting nutsy, and there are lots of tears and repercussions. This is not a lifestyle to explore lightly. Once done, it can't be taken back. So if your wife feels that she'd be "sullied" or jealous or insecure or whatever, it probably won't work.

The simplest thing for you and your wife to do would be to keep this whole thing in the fantasy realm until she's sure she's ready to do otherwise. If you push her into it, you could be risking more than you want to. I've noticed that often a husband pushes his wife into swinging only to find out that she likes it a lot more than he does. Then he's stuck. I've seen them at swing parties. He's shot his wad and she's still going strong with much younger, studly guys. And he's very, very worried.

You're right that there are people in the swinging lifestyle who understand it. There's a group of swingers who gather for a swinging convention in Las Vegas each year. It's called a "Lifestyles" convention. But they're really wild and that's probably not a good introduction to swinging for you and your wife.

If and when she ever decides she wants to explore an alternate lifestyle, proceed very carefully. An experienced other couple could help, but finding another couple to be with means four people will have to like and trust each other, which is harder than working it out with three.

Don't think this is just for fun and won't affect the rest of your life. For devoted swingers, the lifestyle takes over and becomes the most important thing in their lives.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

Bi-Sexually Curious

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I have read your column on your website for over 2 years now. I wait in anticipation each week, to see what advice will be given. Well, I finally have the courage to ask a question.

I am a bi-sexual CURIOUS 25 year old. I was brought up in a religious home, where any gay relationship was WRONG! A SIN!

So now I am grown-up and have discovered a few things about myself. I am attracted to women. Not for a relationship, I don't think I could ever "fall in love" with a woman. But I am very interested in the sexual aspect.

My problem is my fiance. I told him about my discovery that I would like to partake of this. Basically to see if my fantasies are as good in real life. Well, now he is relentless in setting me up with other women. EVERYTIME we go out for drinks, anywhere for that matter, he trys to set me up!

He is so anxious to see me be with another woman. He doesn't even care to partake (well, I am sure he does, but says it would turn him on to watch). Well, needless to say I get very tired of this. Everytime we go out he pushes me to ask this girl out or that one. To tell you the truth, he is so bad, that if I do get the nerve to experience something like that, that I don't even want him there! But then I would feel like I was cheating on him. And I could never do that. We love each other very much and I could never hurt him.

If you have any advice on how to deal with my fiance or any advice for me, I would really appreciate it.

Dear Curious,

I'm glad you asked the question, especially because it will give the man in the question above a chance to see what a turnoff it is for a woman to be constantly pushed toward a sexual experiment, even if it's about living out her own fantasy.

Your bi-curiousness is very normal. As a matter of fact, making love with another woman is the most common female fantasies. Often this fantasy doesn't include a man at all.

It's time to tell your fiance he's ruining your fantasy. Tell him to shut up about it because he's just about turned you off on the whole adventure. Tell him you're not even sure anymore that you want to experiment at all and that if you change your mind, you'll let him know. Tell him it's your fantasy and you'd appreciate it if he'd butt out of it.

The kind of fantasy you have probably isn't one that you can be fulfilled with some drooling guy looking on anyway. If you want a girl-girl experience, go to a girls-only bar and see what it's like to talk, dance, touch a woman in that kind of intimate way. Or just wait until an opportunity presents itself.

If you only want to experience another girl with your boyfriend present, you'll certainly make living out your fantasy harder, because she'd have to be comfortable with this guy watching. And frankly, you'd be taking more chances with your relationship than you would by having a little harmless flirtation by yourself.

You've obviously got his fantasies going about watching, so now he's trying to get you to fulfill his fantasy. He's not really concerned about yours.

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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