Dr. Tracy's Advice Column

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Strip Clubs
Two Time Loser
Is He Unfaithful?

Strip Clubs

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I am 21 years old, and engaged to my high school sweet heart who is also 21. Recently we were invited to a friends birthday party at a strip club. I personally feel that strip clubs are repulsive, and not a place for a couple in a monogamous relationship to go. He on the other hand thinks that it is just for fun and is adamant about going.

Here's the catch. We were both invited to go along with other couples, my fiancee said that I could go , but he would feel uncomfortable with me there. I do not want to go, and I do not want him to go. I feel that if he does attend, he is disrespecting me, and demolishing the morals that our relationship has built.

My question is, am I over reacting? Is it normal for people is committed relationships to go to strip clubs? And should I go with him, if he decides to attend?

Please help, Distressed in Detroit

Dear Distressed,

I can understand why you don't want to go to the birthday party at the strip club with your fiance and why you think strip clubs are tawdry and low class. However, lately some strip clubs, called "Gentlemen's Clubs," are much more upscale and worth at least a look before you make your decision about how bad they are.

Lots of committed, monogamous couples have gone to strip clubs - some just want to see what it's like. Others find that the sexy atmosphere actually turns them on. Since you've probably never been to a strip club, you should go to the party with your fiance. Why? Because you don't want to be such a prude. Because you don't want him to go alone. And because of basic curiosity.

What have you got to lose? Show what a good sport you are, and don't ruin his fun with his friends, but also cuddle with him and make sure some scantily dressed dancer doesn't dance on his lap.

It's really not fair for you to tell your fiance that he shouldn't go, especially since you have no first-hand knowledge of strip clubs. This is not about him disrespecting you and has nothing to do with the morals in your relationship. It's about compromise and sometimes doing things that you're not completely thrilled about to make your partner happy.

Yes, you're overreacting. Yes, you should definitely go.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

Two Time Loser

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I will try to make this short. Today I left my ex-husband that I have been with for over 9 years. We have been married twice to each other, and I guess that says a lot, meaning it's very hard for us to leave one another. We have been trying to get back together, but his fear of commitment has destroyed our marriage in the past, and I'm not sure it won't again. I'm 32 and he is 39. We don't live together now, just spend every free second with one another. We have deep love for each other, and I can honestly say I do love him. I just can't deal with his fear of commitment anymore. He is also scared of buying a house, and I don't necessarily mean with me. He makes great money, yet he still lives in an apartment. He has commitment phobia with everything! It makes me feel less of a woman, not to mention that I feel unworthy. I'm 5'5, 110lbs, blonde hair, blue eyes and have never had a problem getting any man, maybe this is why I'm still with him. I don't know, but I want a family of my own and I feel I'm loosing my youth because of him.

I need an answer, but a very honest answer. If you truly love someone and they leave you because of your fear of commitment, will that make you realize you don't want to be without them? Or will he feel that I don't care because I gave up on him? He came from a very bad family that has left him unable to forget his childhood, but I'm not nurse Betty, and I can't keep doctoring him forever! HELP!!!! I have absolutely no doubt that he loves me, but I need more....Is it possible that after being married twice it could actually work this time? I feel we have made great progress since our last marriage, but I will not waste my whole life on a man who can't seem to forget his. We all have bad pasts, but we don't dwell on them forever! Maybe it's because men are really babies deep down inside and can't cope with a little challenge.

He recently had to go on a business trip for three weeks, and he called like crazy saying he really missed me and how much he loves me. He worried about me the whole time, thinking I was out doing lord knows what, but the truth is I would never cheat on him. I don't even go out without him, as he would never allow me to do that and I have no desire to do that anyway. This is something he has never done in the past nine years. I see a real change in him and I have spent nine years of hard work on this relationship. Will I loose all that I have worked for? I did tell him it was over today, and I explained to him that I simply can't go on like this forever, but I know he doesn't believe me. Like always, I have never stayed away long. Please tell me I'm doing the right thing? I think women judge each other by their life, and me being single is a disgrace. Men judge each other by their earnings, and women by how many children we have and by how wonderful our husbands are. I just want the life I have so long waited for, but if I had it my way, my Sam would be right by my side until the day I die.

Waiting for your response..... I'm too sad to keep writing...

Dear Too Sad,

You've already spent most of your adult life with a man who isn't giving you what you want. He's had nine years of your life, and you and he have been married twice and it hasn't worked, and yet you are still thinking about marrying him again.

Other than wishful thinking, what makes you say "I feel we have made great progress since our last marriage"? You don't mention any change in this man at all. And unless he changes, the only thing a third marriage would accomplish would be to make you a three-time loser.

The problem is that as long as he can have you and continue to be a commitment phobic, he has no motivation to change. Why should he? He has you loving him just the way he is and proving it by being with him all the time and marrying him over and over again. Even when you're not married to him, you "would never cheat on him."

He won't change until you make a change in what you're doing. So use your head instead of your heart. Let him know that you will only see him again if he makes changes in his life. Tell him that he must go for therapy and work on getting over his childhood problems that are ruining your life and his. Tell him that when he shows that he is able to make major changes, you will consider being with him again. Let him know you mean buying a house, being willing to start a family, and of course marriage, but only if he changes.

Don't be foolish enough to fear leaving. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. If you leave him and mean it, no contact at all, he will truly get a chance to miss you and realize what he could lose by letting his phobia rule his life. Only then will he be motivated to make the necessary changes.

His calling you from out of town shows that he does have fear of loss of you. That fear is your biggest ally in your fight to get him over his commitment phobia. Let him know that if he can't or won't give you what you want and need in life, you will find someone who will, and you're going to start dating other men. I guarantee that will get his attention in a way that being nice and supportive and faithful never will.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

Is He Unfaithful?

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I am a 47 year old women married to my husband for three years. I was previously married 24 years to a man that played around for almost our entire marriage. The one thing that I never thought my current husband would do is cheat.

Over a period of the last 6 months he has mentioned another women's name from work so many times that it made me wonder. So I have been keeping my eyes and ears open. Not long ago I found out that my husband used his power in the union he belongs to (he's an officer) to get this women hired on the same job he is on.

Two months ago, through computer monitoring software I installed, I found out that my husband and this other women e-mail each other almost daily and make plans to meet at break and lunch time. They don't say things real incriminating, but seem to speak in code. I should say that my husband is not very knowable about computers.

Example: "Howdy Duty was good today, I enjoyed seeing you at lunch"! (from my husband to her) "Where were you today, I tried to find you to 'share some snacks' at lunch! I will be at (location) all day, meet at break to share some Howdy Duty".(from her to my husband) "Yes, Howdy sounds good tomorrow, I haven't seen Howdy since last week, hope to see you tomorrow" (from my husband to her) And, this is a good one, "I only wish that my wife would do Howdy Duty."

Also, I was recently sent a file from my sister in Florida as a joke called "The Piano Man", which was a very hung naked man playing cloth hung piano keys with his private part. It was funny and I showed it to my husband before deleting it and thanking my sister for the joke. Now last week this women emails my husband about the good "Howdy Duty" at lunch, with a PS at the end of the email which said, "mmmmmmmmmmmPiano Man."

I have asked him a few times about this women when he speaks of her, he swears they are just friends getting through a hard day at work (they are laborers) with jokes and laughter. If he is doing nothing wrong, why is she the first person he emails directly after getting home from work each day, and why does he delete all emails he sends her from his mailbox and why does he not mention that she emails him daily as well. He does not know that I know about the emails or the "howdy Duty" meetings at work.

I have asked a few friends (fellow laborers) in passing about this women and am told that she is a hot ticket, sassy, cute, but not very pretty and that I have nothing to worry about. I think they are covering for him and her. She is married as well. I am not totally gullible and would like to believe that they are just friends from work and not having sex. But I believe they are. My questions is this, If Howdy Duty is something other than sex, (It may be smoking pot), is my husbands relationship with this other women still considered unfaithfulness? I say yes because of the intimacy involved, but my best girl friend says no!

I am completely stressed out about this to the point of nausea and depression. I desperately need an answer.

Dear Completely Stressed,

No wonder you're stressed. This "Howdy Duty" relationship has got to stop. (By the way, I believe the term is Howdy Doody, as in "It's Howdy Doody time" -- and it probably is a reference to pot.) But it really doesn't matter if he's having sex with her or meeting her for pot smoking or even just being friends. Married men and women don't have close friendships outside of their marriages with people of the opposite sex unless their mates are involved.

This is cheating. He is cheating you out of the time and energy he's spending with this other woman and she is cheating her husband in the same way. And if you belive they are having sex, then they probably are. It's time to put an end to this "friendship."

It's time for you to send a "Howdy" email of your own - to both of them. Tell him you've read all the emails and let him know that whatever he has going on with this other woman has to stop. Tell him he's endangering your marriage and you won't put up with it. Let him know that if it doesn't stop, you'll share the "Howdy Duty" emails with her husband as well.

Tell your husband that if he wants to have a close friendship with another woman, that's okay, but only if you're both friends with her. If it's really just a friendship as he insists, then tell him to invite her and her husband over for dinner and you'll all be friends. But let him know that you aren't willing to put up with this another day.

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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