Dear Dr. Tracy,
I am writing as an avid fan of your web pages and follower of your advice.
I have just moved in with my boyfriend. I am 34, he is 33. We are very
much in love and very happy with each other. Neither of us have had much
luck at relationships, I have a failed marriage and a series of short term
encounters over the past seven years. He lived with a woman nearly ten
years ago and has had only two and three months relationshpis since. We
have been together for eleven months and are looking forward to a happy
All in all I think that everything is progressing well. We are both very
aware that committment is a new word to us both and discuss fears and
anxieties and are taking things at a steady pace. So the problem....
Children. I really want a child, although I am only just learning how to
be in a committed relaitonship and have only just established my career, I
am very aware that I am not getting any younger. He also wants children
but not for a long time (five or six years)as even more than me, he is only
just getting used to the idea of being in a relationship and has many unmet
goals yet to reach (involving career and travel). I am scared that he does
not want children for so long, by which time I will be nearly 40. Yet, it
seems very drastic to end such a good relaitonship because of this - after
all I would then have to establish a whole new relaitonsihp with another
man - which takes time - or think about being a single parent. More
importantly I would have lost a kind, caring and loving partner. If I was
younger I too would want to wait.
Dear Wanna-be Mom,
You're at a time in your life when the urge to have children is so very strong, it's hard to keep it under control. And now that you've found Mr. Right, that makes you want to have a baby even more. I call it "Baby Hunger," and believe me, it doesn't go away, it just gets stronger.
Men, however, have very little baby hunger. They rarely understand a woman's biological urge to have children and some are really frightened of the idea, as much as they are afraid of marriage and commitment. Children, like marriage, make them fear that they'll lose their freedom and be tied down for life, which in a way is true. And it's unfortunate that men don't have the same biological time clock ticking away that we women do.
However, children bring a whole new appreciation for life and are the culmination of your love. So, you must lead him gently to the altar and then to babies. He wants children, but not now. Get him to think about how he'd feel being the 55-year-old father of a teenager, which is what would happen if he started having children when he's 40. Let him know that there are times in life when you want different things, and that when you're 55 it would be nice if your children were grown and you could begin enjoying your golden years together.
But you've just moved in. It's too soon to be pushing for having a child. You have to wait a while until he gets used to the idea of being a couple and living together.
Set a goal, say to be married by the time you're 36 and to have a child by the time you're 37. Think compromise, not waiting until you're over 40, but not having a child right away.
Don't dump him right now. Give him a chance to get used to the idea of becoming a father. It's not something men usually jump up and down about and say they can't wait. They usually have to be convinced. If he loves you and wants to make you happy, and having a child will make you happy, then he'll go along with it.
You say he's a kind, caring and loving partner. So give him a chance to change his mind and come around to having children sooner rather than later. I'd say it's worth the investment of at least another year with this great guy you care so much about in order to see if you can get what you want from him. Also, by then he'll be more secure and feel that he's in a lasting rather than temporary relationship, which is more conducive to making commitments like marriage and children.
Jealous Over An Ex's Happiness
Dear Dr. Tracy,
I'm confused, I ended a relationship that lasted for about a year and 1/2 due to committment disagreements. But basically we got along in every other way. I met someone else who is very giving and cares for me very much. I really care about him to. We get along very well plus he's been divorced just like me. Things were progressing nicely until I found out that my ex-boyfriend had recently met somebody else and is pursuing a relationship with her. I became extremely jealous and the old feelings I had for him started to surface. I started to call him and rehash things. But we just keep going in circles. As it stands now, we got into a big arguement and he doesn't even want to talk to me. I just don't understand why these feelings have surfaced anyway. I really like my present boyfriend. This jealousy that I feel is getting in the way of my feelings that I know I have for my present boyfriend. How do I stop these jealous feelings. Or is it that I really still like my old boyfriend. And if that's the case I'll have to get over him because he's found somebody else now.
Help I'm Confused
Your ex wouldn't give you what you wanted in the way of commitment, and now that he's pursuing a relationship with someone else, you are upset. You're feeling jealous, not for what you used to have with him, but for what you hoped to have.
You think that the new woman will get everything from him that you didn't. You imagine him being different with her than he was with you. You imagine that he's changed into a different person - the one you always hoped he would be, and that the new woman in his life is reaping the rewards of being with your fantasy man.
That's just not true, as you found out when you called him. You and he didn't work out then and there are still problems between the two of you. You have to simply admit to yourself that just because you cared for someone and got along sexually and in other ways, that doesn't mean that you can have a good, lasting, relationship with that person.
In order to have a good relationship, you need to be able to have peace, not constant upset. Give up worrying about your ex. He's not going to change. The new woman will have the same problems with him that you did. Realize you're not jealous of the reality of his and her relationship, you're jealous of your fantasy of what they have together, which is totally unrealistic.
You're jealous of what might have been, and you don't want him to be happy with someone else. But it's time to put that relationship in the past. Stop wasting your emotion and your energy on your ex. You don't still like him, you just don't want anybody else to take your place with him. You've moved on. Now let him move on.
Figure it just wasn't meant to be. You had your chance with him. Be gracious and let some other woman have him. After all, he's no prize, and you had no future together except more arguments and more stress.
Go with the new guy. Be happy.
Abusive Controlling Men Don't Change
Dear Dr. Tracy,
Hi I've seen you on tv shows and i think you're great, my Question is i've been involved with someone for about 2 1/2 years now, its been on and off. i really love him alot, but the problem is he's very controlling and abusive, both physical and verbally. I've pushed all my friends away cause he does'nt like them, even though they never did anything to him. I really care about him but this side of him i don't like, my friends are always asking why i put up with so much, like i said before i really care about him although he's nasty they're times when he can be really nice. My question is do you think people who are controlling can change or do they always stay controlling? I've kept this hidden, but now i feel like i'm getting used to it cause i've been with him for a long time. I feel like i don't have any control over my life and i don't know how to get control back. Can you please help cause i really don't know what to do?
Dear Out of Control,
You're not just out of control, you're out of your mind to spend another day with this abusive, controlling man. Every day you spend letting him be abusive and controlling toward you is another day of your life you've wasted. It's also making him worse.
He's learning that he can be abusive and controlling toward you and get away with it, and by staying with him, you justify his behavior. After all, you don't leave, he figures, so maybe it's okay. Maybe you even like it. Men like him always seem to find women like you who will let them get away with it. Sure he's real nice sometimes. And you stay around trying to get the good parts of him, but that means you're always going to get the bad parts too. It's not worth it, no matter how good the good parts are.
Will he change? Yes, he will get worse. That's how it is with abusers -- he won't get better without lots of therapy, which it doesn't sound like he's going to get. Don't stay around until he really hurts you both physically and emotionally.
Your friends have told you, and I've told you. Get out. The longer you stay with him, the worse you will feel about yourself. The longer you stay with him, the harder it will be to leave. . The very next time he abuses you, leave.
Locate a support group for abused women and go to it immediately. Talk to your minister or see a therapist. Find support on the Internet. Do a search for abused women and another search for abusive men and read up on the subject. I also recommend Dr. Susan Forward's books, especially, "Men Who Hate Women and the Women Who Love Them."
Save yourself. You deserve a better life.