Dr. Tracy's Advice Column

Cartoon Kiss

2/27/2005

When Not To Listen
What We Do For Love
How To Choose



When Not To Listen

Dear Dr. Tracy,

My girlfriend was playing with my bowling ball last night and got her right big toe stuck in the thumb hole. She had stockings on and I was teasing her about it wouldn't fit in the hole. Well, she pushed it in as hard as she could trying to prove me wrong. With the stocking on and forcing, it went all the way in the hole. When she tried to take it off it was stuck. I was laughing at first and thought it was funny watching her trying to get it off. When I tried to help her, I couldn't get it off. It was swollen and hurting her. We tried all night and today to get it off but it will not come off. I tried to call 911 or take her to the ER for help but she doesn't want anyone to see her like this. She said she'd be too embarrassed. She is a very pretty woman and vain.

Now its been stuck for over 20 hours and she blames me cause I was teasing her. I didn't stick her toe in the ball, I was just teasing her when she tried it but she is still mad at me. She refuses to let me call for help or take her to the ER. She is in bed right now a sleep her toe is swollen bad and hurts to touch the ball and try to take it off. I have tried everything I can think of to get it off but it wont come off. Please do you have any ideas how to get it off or what to say to her to get her to let me take her to the ER. Plus she is mad at me. Please help

Dear Teaser,

I'm sure you've solved your problem by now, but I hope you've also learned two important lessons.

First, don't tease. The danger of teasing is that the person who's teased could do something stupid just to prove they can -- like jumping off a bridge or running across the freeway. Or jamming their toe into a bowling ball. Even when there's no danger, teasing is unwise. Sometimes it's funny, but usually not to the person being teased. No woman likes to hear that any part of her body, even her toe, is too big for anything. And sometimes, teasing is a way of expressing anger without really getting angry. Let this be a lesson to you that teasing, like sarcasm, is usually unwelcome and not a good way to communicate.

The other lesson is that sometimes it doesn't pay to be too nice or too afraid of making your partner angry. You have to know when to listen to your partner and when you have to let good sense take over. So next time, call 911 immediately if your partner is in pain or in danger, whether your partner wants you to or not. Being embarrassed is not a good reason to lose a toe. A smart person protects their mate by getting help, no matter what their partner says. Her getting angry with you is not a good reason to let a minor injury get serious.

Since your girlfriend was already mad at you, you might as well have gone ahead and called 911 in spite of her protests. In any case, I hope she's okay and that her toe survived.

If your relationship survives, you'll laugh about this one someday.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy



What We Do For Love

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I am 34 years old, newly (married 18 months) and I am considering leaving my wife.

I was a non-Jew dating a Jewish woman for four years. In order to be with her I had to convert to Conservative Judaism, there was no compromise about this, and unfortunately, I was also uncircumcised. This meant that I needed an operation. I argued vehemently that I did not want the procedure, but since the conversion to Judaism was absolutely necessary for her and her family, I agreed to have the surgery.

It was horrible for me. Medically, things went relatively well, but I remember excruciating pain for several weeks both physically and emotionally. Not having sex was difficult during recovery but being an avid runner all my life, it destroyed me when I could barely walk from the pain in my groin. I felt violated. I was angry with myself for voluntarily submitting to an unnecessary surgery on a healthy organ. I kept thinking to myself, I'm doing this for the woman I love.

I'm physically healthy now and we have a baby on the way. Unfortunately, I have strong feelings of resentment about the circumcision. I have this urge to leave her. Now that I'm Jewish and I'm circumcised and I'm going to be a father - I want to end the relationship. I may not love her anymore because when I look at her I feel cold resentment.

I appreciate the Jewish faith, but I should have not acquiesced to the procedure. I wonder if I'm being honest, with myself, or making an excuse, but I rationalize that my love for her went with my foreskin.

I'm prepared to diligently provide financial support and be a responsible father, raising my child in the Jewish tradition (including the bris milah). I believe it is better to split rather than stay together for the sake of the baby. I can't tell her now, but this feeling of resentment towards her borders on contempt.

I need advice on how to process my anger constructively, and an appropriate way of communicating my thoughts to her, if at all, while she's carrying our baby.

Thank you, Cut

Dear Cut,

I can't say that I exactly feel your pain, but your anger is obvious. However, I sense that it's not just your foreskin you're angry about. You need to get to the root of your anger, and counseling could help you do that.

Meanwhile, you are letting your second thoughts about circumcision poison your marriage, which is unfair to your wife and unborn child. We all make decisions and do things that we wouldn't do if we weren't in love with someone. That's because we make a conscious decision that we'd rather be with that person than do/have/be that other thing. Yes, loving someone sometimes involves sacrifice. The sacrifice can be big or little, but once you make a decision to do it, you have to live with your decision.

You made a conscious rational intelligent decision that this woman's love was more important to you than whatever other faith you had and definitely more important than your foreskin. Now, you're blaming her for the decision you made. You want to take your anger out on her and your unborn child.

Right now, your contempt and anger towards your wife is destroying any love you had, and it's really misdirected. Why don't you accept responsibility for the decision you made?

There's really no way for you to get out right now without having a horrible "he left his pregnant wife" attached to your name and reputation. That's a heavy burden to carry. Plus if you tell her and there is a problem with the pregnancy, you'll be blamed for causing her so much stress that it harmed your child.

So suck it up. Get some help. Learn anger management and show a little respect toward the mother of your child. Don't be so quick to throw away your marriage and child after the big sacrifice you made.

Dissolving a marriage isn't a unilateral decision. There are others involved. You don't leave because you're resentful, you try to work out the problem. Now I know you can't get your foreskin back, but you'll never be able to stay in any relationship if you can't work through problems.

Finally, it's time to stop mourning your foreskin. You should know that, for most women, foreskins are rather unattractive and not very sexually stimulating, plus they can be unhealthy. You're really better off without it whether you stay married or not.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy



How To Choose

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I have been reading your column for several years and it's been such a tremendous help in my dating life. It's odd though, because my problem now seems to be the opposite of most women my age who are single. I am 35 by the way and I've been divorced for about 7 years, with no children. I broke off a long term relationship last year because he didn't want children. You've had several columns on this subject and it helped me realize that I need to actively look for men who want the same things I do.

Well, I've found quite a few. In fact there's so many it's overwhelming! I've sifted through the bad ones over the last 6 months and I'm now left with four VERY nice men who aren't commitment phobic, and have some wonderful qualities. I've told them all that I'm taking my time in relationships now, so I can make sure I make the right decision if I choose to make a commitment. The problem is... I'd like to make that commitment, but I can't seem to choose which one. I don't even know if I should. Should I wait for one of them to finally step up and say "I don't want you to see anyone else".... and how long should I wait? I've known all of these men for at least 5 months if not longer. I want to have children as soon as I can.

I definitely dont want to make the wrong choice just because I'm getting older, but the ticking clock issue is impossible to ignore. Everyone looks for a particular quality in another person and that's what I'm struggling with. One of them is very kind hearted but he's not quite as physically attractive as the others, and his job is in jeopardy due to downsizing. One is in the army and may likely get orders to go to the other side of the planet. One has a very lucrative income and is extremely generous and open but has been divorced twice. One is a workaholic but the sex is out of this world.... and I'm leaning towards the workaholic! I've told him how his workaholism bothers me. He says if family came along, he would re-prioritize. I'm not sure if I believe that or not.

Do you think I should keep looking for a perfect man who might not exist? I want to be married and pregnant as soon as possible. I feel like the longer I wait, the more I'm pushing my luck. Early menopause runs in the family and I desperately desperately want to have at least one child. Please tell me what you think!

Dear Looking,

You could keep looking forever and never find an absolutely perfect man. You have to choose someone whose imperfections you can live with. So look at the men and figure out whose imperfections bug you the most, because what bugs you now, won't go away.

Then the best way to choose is to think about who would fill your needs. To do that you have to know what it is that you really need, not what you'd like to have. For example, ask yourself how much attention you must have on a daily basis. If one of the men won't give you as much or as little as you need, that would be a big problem.

It's important to choose a man who is absolutely positively crazy about you. Anything less won't stand up to the long-term battering ram of life's problems. As for Mr. Kind, ask yourself if his kindness would keep you loving him enough to survive his unemployment. For the army guy, are you willing to live with the Army being first in his life for some years to come? With Mr. Generous, I wouldn't let the divorces bother me if everything else is good. Mr. Workaholic will probably never stop being a workaholic, despite his sincere intentions. It's not easily cured. So decide if great sex makes up for his working all the time.

Only you can decide how you could live with each of these men and what they do or don't offer that you need. Whatever you do, don't figure on them changing. Then when you choose one, be sure to keep at least one or two of the others until you get "the one" to commit. If you dump all the others, he's likely to lose his commitment motivation.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy



Submitting a Question to this column

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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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