Dr. Tracy's Advice Column

Cartoon Kiss

2/16/2003

Not Getting Enough Time
Visiting With Parents
A Price For Everything



Not Getting Enough Time

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I am not sure whether me or my relationship is the problem!!! I have been dating Steve for six months. He has a very outgoing personality and somewhat demanding work schedule. I work 9-5 and he works by appointment only, often in the evenings every night and on Sunday afternoons (he is a hair stylist). We are constantly battling over time spent together. I feel like I am always waiting for him to finish working, or whatever else he is doing, and he will say things like he's on his way or it won't be much longer when in truth he knows that is not the case in order to avoid hearing me get angry.

He says he feels like I am constantly pressuring him about spending time with me, which makes him want to less. I know he is partly right, because I have had the same problem in other relationships, but it may be that I just keep picking the same type of man. It ends up that we spend quite a bit of time together sleeping because usually by the time he comes over, he falls asleep in about an hour and in the morning I have to leave for work. I don't feel like he puts the same priority I do on our time together.

I'm not sure if I am being too demanding, but I often end up feeling anxious for hours at a time while I am waiting for him to call me back. What do you think?

Dear Feeling Anxious,

Relationships have patterns, and yours has fallen into the pattern of you asking for more time and Steve not giving it to you. He pulls away and you make the mistake of asking him not to.

Patterns can be interrupted once you recognize them. Your problem is that youíre always available and wonder why heís not. Why should he be? He knows youíll be there when he wants you. In order to make him act differently, change your behavior. Surprise him.

Instead of waiting around for him when he doesnít show up, go out. If he says heís on his way, tell him youíll wait a specified time and then if he doesnít show up within that time, leave. As long as there are no consequences, what does he care? The way it is now, he can show up when he wants and youíll still be there.

Make him wonder where you are and what youíre doing. Since you have a 9-5 schedule, make plans for the rest of your time. Plan activities that take you away for a weekend and leave him alone. Sign up for classes. Make plans with friends and go on trips. Let him see what itís like to be without you.

Thereís nothing worse than always feeling like youíre begging some man to spend time with you. Thatís demeaning and will ruin your self-esteem. So instead of waiting for Steve, let him wait for you and see what happens. I think youíll be surprised, and youíll definitely change the pattern thatís developed. If you find that youíre still always feeling anxious, then you should work on your own anxiety. Control that and youíll control the situation. Everyone feels anxious from time to time. The trick is to feel anxious and not let your anxiety rule your behavior.

Of course, the best solution is to find a man who has the same free time schedule that you have. Then you could more easily plan time together.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy



Visiting With Parents

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I am 40 years old and am dating a guy who is 41 years old. We are both divorced and have kids living fulltime with each other. (I have 4 boys he has 2 boys) We've been dating for 2 months now and live 55 miles away from each other.

My question is: He has met my parents but he seems reluctant to go to my parents for Easter. he says that he doesn't wasnt to get into a relationship with my family when he is still trying to get to know me.

This puzzles me. We are committed to each other as boyfriend and girlfriend and he talks about us getting married in the future all the time so why is he reluctant to spend a holiday with me? This hurts me. Please shed light on this for me?

Dear Hurt,

Whoa! Youíve only been dating this man for two months. This is way too soon to be pushing him to spend holidays with your family. Iím surprised he has already met your parents and is talking about marriage. Thatís so fast it's a bit suspicious.

How can someone talk about marriage when youíve only known each other two months and live 55 miles away? You canít have spent enough time together to know if you want to get married. You canít know each other well enough to begin to think about marriage.

If he doesnít want to spend Easter with your family, thatís just fine. Heís right. He shouldnít have to forge a relationship with your family or friends at this point. He should be concentrating on developing the relationship between the two of you.

The next important relationship that has to be developed is the one between the both of you and your various children. His children have to meet yours and you both have to determine whether you can merge these two family groups.

Donít be hurt. Be happy. Slow down. Take your time. Donít think about rushing this relationship - there are too many people involved already.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy



A Price For Everything

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I am a survivor of domestic violence and have been for the past two years now. My problem is that the man that used to abuse of me is back in the picture. He is telling me that the loves me and has not been able to forget about me though he did move on with other women in these two years.

I do not see him the way that I did then when I was so afraid of him that I would shake and shiver. I am no longer afraid of this man. He apparently has a woman pregnant and does not want to be with her so he says and he tells me that him and her are no longer togehter but when I call his house and he has told me a number of times not to call his house but yesterday something told me to call and she picked up the phone. My gut feeling was correct and what I suspected was true he is still with her and he just keeps telling me that since she is having his kid that he can not take the keys to his house away from her. I say that it is bullshit and I have had it with his abuse but he keeps calling me and inviting me places.

I just went with him on a short vacation last weekend and I told his woman that so that she can know that he is not only fooling her and me but himself. My heart tells me that he is a loser and not worth my valuable time and yet he just invited my family and myself to a week long vacation and I am taking it just because he owes me it. When I get back from this vacation I am dropping him like a fly. Am I doing the right thing here?

Confused and abused

Dear Confused and Abused,

Abusers rarely change. I donít think this man will either. If you let him back in your life, heíll find a way to abuse you again, either physically or emotionally.

Donít listen to him for a minute. Donít waste your time. Sure, he can say he loves you, and thatís very seductive. Itís hard for a woman to resist a man who says he loves her, no matter how much of a jerk he is.

But heís just using you so he can avoid his responsibilities to the woman who is pregnant with his child. Donít be surprised that heís lying to you. Heís lying to her too. And as long as you let him, heíll keep you both dancing on his string.

Remember, thereís a price for everything. If he invites you somewhere and you go, then you will pay the price. The price is that you will have allowed him back in your life. The price is that you will be involved in his melodrama and setting yourself up for more abuse. Beyond all that, the price is that you are acting in an unethical manner, by going on a trip with a man that you really intend to dump. The price is that you wonít be able to hold your head high and feel good about yourself if you do this.

Sometimes money is the cheapest way to pay for something. If you want to go on a trip, save your money and pay for it yourself. Donít compromise your integrity for a week-long vacation. The "right thing" to do here is not to tell yourself you'll drop him like a fly later, it's to drop this loser right now, forever.

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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