"Ask Dr. Tracy"

4/25/99 Advice Column

A Virgin in Lust
On the Road To Morocco
Stop the Wedding!

Dear Dr. Tracy,

Where do I start?! I guess it should be with my main 'problem' -- I am a 28 year old virgin, which seems like such a rarity these days. There are multiple reasons behind my current status. When I was in high school, I dated, but was to afraid of getting pregnant to have sex. After I graduated from high school, I proceeded to gain a lot of weight...over 100 pounds. My weight remained out of control until two years ago, when I lost over 100 pounds. My weight is stable now, and while I am still in the process of becoming comfortable with my body, I like the way I look...(aside from the stretch marks!)

While I was heavy, guys were not interested in me and I feel that I missed a lot compared to my peers, including becoming comfortable with my sexuality. Since I have lost the weight, I do receive attention from men, but this attention almost sends me into a panic. I think this 'panic' is almost an issue of emotional self-defense where I am pre-emptively ending relationships before they really get started so I won't have to deal with explaining my lack of sexual experience. Of course, this just results in further prolonging the inevitable. I've read your columns concerning virginity before and agree that the longer you wait, the bigger deal it becomes and I am not aversive to having sex...I'm ready! What concerns me is that I have recently met someone that I would really like to get to know better. Unfortunately, I find myself growing increasingly fearful because at some point, I'll have to explain this to him and run the risk of feeling like a complete freak of nature! I'm also afraid that it will scare men off. When and how should I go about explaining my lack of experience?

Dear Ready,

If you were younger and wanted to stay a virgin, I'd suggest that you tell men right up front that you're a virgin and intended to remain one until marriage or whenever.

However, since you're mature and you've decided you're ready, and since you're afraid hearing that you're still a virgin would turn a guy off, then why tell until you absolutely have to? You're old enough to know a nice guy from a jerk, so choose someone you'd like to remember for the rest of your life.

Don't be foolish enough to avoid relationships because of your virginity. After all, that'll only make matters worse. Join Toastmasters and learn to be more self-confident in the way you present yourself.

Look for a man who is sensitive and gentle and who you can trust. Then let your relationship progress in a natural way. When it's time to kiss, touch, or go further, be guided by your own libido. If it feels good and you want to go further, go for it.

Then, just when you can't not tell any more, when you've gone so far beyond petting that sexual intercourse is inevitable, break the news. That way you'll know that he hasn't pre-judged you because of your virginity, that he desires you just like any man desires any woman. Also, hardly any guy will kick a woman out of bed when they're ready to have a sexual relationship just because she reveals she's a virgin.

There's no reason why you have to feel like a freak or be embarrassed. Choose the man for this first time carefully just as you'd choose any other important person in your life. Realize that you'll probably remember him forever, so even if you're not going to spend the rest of your life with him, make him worthy.

Also, try to make the surroundings memorable. You've waited so long, you deserve a big cushy bed, not the back of a car.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

Dear Dr. Tracy,

Thank you for your website! You have really helped me - I often read Giving Too Much Too Soon for inspiration, and that has really helped me to realize what I have to give is special and should be doled out when earned.

The problem is I am afraid I have gone overboard.

I am involved in a cyber relationship. When I met my guy, I talked with him because he is from Morocco and I was hoping he could help me find accomodation there this summer because I have 3 months of research I have to do. He agreed and has helped me find a place near his home that will be perfect for me.

We became friends and I was really surprised by how great our conversations are. We exchanged photos, and talked on the phone a few times too. As we discovered we both we hoping to be married someday soon, and have kids, and that we basically both wanted the same kind of life, we started checking each other out as more than friends. We played cautious and talked about religion (he accepts mine and I his) and where we would ever live (Morocco, or France), where we would spend our holidays. We both want and have the same sort of lifestyle and have the means to achieve it.

We have a lot of fun talking and figured we are 95% sure we are meant for each other, but the final 5% will have to be reserved for when we meet face to face.

I will not arrive in Morocco to start my research for three months, but I AM OBSESSING over the final five percent. I have been stupid and telling him to come and see me in France as soon as possible, but he cannot come before the time I am scheduled to arrive in Morocco due to family business committments. He keeps telling me to be patient. He says good things come to those who wait, and that I am being silly.

I feel like my obsessing could drive him away. My insecurity makes me say dumb things now, and it seems like ever since we crossed in the 'almost in love stage', our conversations are not as fun. But I always seem to want to have everything resolved before the chat is over.

What I want is for him to get his butt on a plane and on to France asap cause the suspense is turning me into a crazywoman. He doesn't think it is neccessary since I am coming, and besides he says he really can't but wishes he could come now.

So I told him I wanted to cool it and that I didn't want to chat until I arrived in Morocco in 3 months and then we could take it from there and see if sparks would fly or not in real life. I said he could email me from time to time, and I would do the same (and that is better because then I won't be able to blurt things out the way I do in chat). But for now I told him I needed to refocus my energies elsewhere.

I want this thing to work out because it seems to have so much potential, but did I go overboard when I told him to put the relationship on hold until I arrived in Morocco ?

Thanks for your help !

Dear Cyber Lover,

I'm glad you're reading about how much to give and how soon, but why aren't you listening? You're giving too much. Too much information about yourself, too much love for a man you haven't even met, and too much commitment to a relationship that only exists in cyberspace.

It's a good thing you drew back and told him you didn't want to communicate with chat until you got there. I'd suggest you cut back on the emailings too. Don't email every day. Don't rush to answer. Don't write long letters. Be cool and act as if you have other things to do besides worry about him.

The only way to get this relationship back on track is to stop giving so much. Then, when you get to Morocco, plan on other activities and other friends so that you don't put all your eggs in one basket.

Start acting like you're not impatient and desperate to see him. You went overboard when you let this get to the "almost in love stage" without ever meeting the guy. You could be in the "in like" stage and that would be fine, but anything else makes you seem too needy.

Stop asking him to come to France. Don't be overly emotional with the emails. Keep it light. Get the fun back. And remember, in order to have the "in love" feeling, a man has to have his love returned somewhat, but not altogether. He has to hope and yearn to have that love returned altogether in the future. If you give your all too soon, you ruin your chances.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I recently became engaged to a man I met a few months ago. We have been engaged for two months and are plannng a wedding this summer. The first few months of our relationship he was very sweet and giving. He made me feel that I was special and he was very lucky to have me. He did things for me that no man has never done. I have been divorced for six years and have grown to be very independent. I answered to no one but me and did what I wanted to. Now he tries to run my life and gets very angry and yells at me like I am a child when I do something that he does not like or that does not suit him. Don't get me wrong, when he is not controlling he is still that same loving man that I met and fell in love with. He continues to tell me that he loves me and can't live without me. We used to communicate very well when he tried to get too demanding and angry, but now he threatens to call everything off when I retaliate against his demands. I do not know what to think. I still love him very much and do not want to lose him. But I can't deal with his Dr. Jeckyl/Mr. Hide personality. He does not physically abuse me, but I do not like threats.

Thank you for any advice you can give me.

Dear Bride To Be,

This one is seriously dangerous. A man who criticizes and controls, who tries to run your life and yells at you when he's not pleased, is a man with serious problems. If he's acting this way before you're married, he's going to be a lot worse after you're stuck with him.

His problems are not going to go away. I believe he loves you, and we all have an urge to control the object of our love, but you can't let him do that. Tell him that if he wants to get married, he'll have to go into therapy first. If he refuses, there's another red flag for you.

Angry men who can't control their anger are abusers. They abuse everyone around them. If he's yelling at you, that's abuse. If he's trying to control you, that's abuse. Mental abuse is just as bad as physical abuse. Men who yell and scream at you today will be hitting you tomorrow.

Sure, he's nice in between the yelling. That's why you hang around, to get the nice part. But with guys like him, there will always be the bad parts.

Insist that he get into anger management therapy and don't marry either Jeckyll or Hyde.

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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