Dr. Tracy's Advice Column

Cartoon Kiss


Choosing FWB is Dangerous
Absentee Husband
Gaining Family Acceptance

Choosing FWB is Dangerous

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I'm a 32 year old, divorced for 7 years, single mom. My best friend is a 32 year old, divorced for 1 year, single mom. I've done a lot for her over the past few years, because that is how I was raised - to help those in need - but mostly because I love her very much.

We are both bi-sexual, as are several of our mutual and not mutual friends. Friends with benefits is fairly common in our circle, for both physical and emotional needs and just for fun because we're friends. Yet, my friend constantly denies her belief in FWB, saying how it never works out, ending friendships etc. Which is true, of course, it can be more difficult to maintain than a 'regular' sexual relationship, or any relationship. I have no problem with her viewpoint and while we are affectionate with each other at times (hand-holding, cuddling, cheek kissing) I have kept my hands to myself, as it were, despite wanting to just kiss her silly at times.

But then she's gone and had sex with her 'best friend' who lives in Washington DC (several states away), twice. Twice! And since her divorce she constantly talks about trying to find jobs in DC and this friend can help her get a place and I simply sit there and listen while she essentially talks about leaving me and our friendship and everything I've done for her (yes, I shouldn't have done all that stuff, Crazy Love) .

This has happened to me before with anti-FWB friends who don't practice what they preach, at least not with me. Obviously, this hurts my pride and self esteem and causes great self doubt. I'm certainly no super model, but neither are the 'Exceptions to the Rule' that my friends are sleeping with, and neither is my personality so far off from theirs. I'm a very direct and straightforward kind of person and I would have appreciated and more easily accepted an honest " You just don't float my boat, but I still love ya," in the beginning. Instead, I'm left to wonder why I didn't stack up in their eyes.

So now my one sided best friend will leave, eventually. It may be next month or next year, but it will happen. So, knowing that I apparently wasn't the one, and knowing that when she moves we will most likely grow apart, I want to know if I should just confess it all before she gets on the plane ( or rental car, as it were) or just put it on my long list of ' Shoulda Dones' and leave it be?

Thank you for any assistance you can offer,

Ms. Less Equal Than Others

Dear FWB,

Friends with benefits rarely works out. Too often, one person really wants more; they want love but are settling for FWB. Settling for friendship avoids the possibility of getting hurt, so they think. But they wind up getting hurt anyway.

This happened to you, even without the benefits. It sounds like your best friend has someone else she wants as more than a FWB -- perhaps a committed relationship. So of course you're hurt and jealous. Imagine how much more you'd be hurt if you'd been having sex with her.

The basic, age-old problem is that sex is hard to keep it in its place. Having sex triggers more intimate feelings, and it's hard to just have sex without having feelings grow beyond friendship.

I don't think you really wanted a FWB relationship with your best friend to begin with. You hoped to be a FWB, but that was less than you really wanted, and you didn't even get that.

So what do you have to lose by confessing your true feelings? Not much. You've already been rejected. You can't get rejected more, and you'll get it off your chest. So you might as well tell her how you feel instead of suffering in silence.

That will clear the air, but it probably won't cause your friend to change her mind about moving to D.C. What you really need to do is find someone who wants you as much as you want them and maybe even more. You've been in a one-sided relationship here and I suspect it's not the first time. Look for someone who isn't needy, since you have a tendency to "do to much." Doing too much is a way of trying to control the other person and only makes you wind up feeling used and abused.

So write this one off and move on. Start fresh with a new attitude and a new resolve to do things differently. Forget FWB, it doesn't work for you.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

Absentee Husband

Dear Dr. Tracy,

My age is 36 I am married. I met my husband in 2007. I got married in August 2008. We live in 2 different countries (about a 4 hour flight).

I was suppose to move to his country June 2009. About 1 month before I was due to leave he called to tell me it was not going to happen. He is a musician and his group signed a contract to record a cd, in the capital city of his country. This city is somewhat dangerous for foreigners. He told me they would be finished in September and I can come then. I had already quit my job, sold my car, found a home for my dog and gave up my apartment. I was crushed.

Around end of June and beginning of July there were problems, the group hated the company they signed the contract with and they could not get out of it. There were major delays and recording was not happening. They were to start recording again in September of course at the same time I was suppose to be there. He didn't tell me right away someone else in the group told me because my husband was "missing" everyone was looking for him. He ended up getting drunk (he called me) he told me he thought I would finish our marriage because of this. Obviously I didn't.

I went down to another city in September and his friend/group met me and we thought surprising would be good. But he was angry and happy at the same time. He tells me he is happy to see me but angry because of the danger. At this time he promised me December 1, 2009 we would be together. I went back to my parents house in my country.

Around the beginning of November they signed a new contract with another company to finish the production of the cd. December was cancelled. Due to my embarrasment I didn't tell my family. The day I left I told them I was going to be with him. Instead I took a taxi to motel to a city located about 1.5 hours away. I stayed there until April.

The company told the group they would be in the USA in February then it was delayed to March then to April and then to May and now it is going to be December 2010. The delay was a member of the groups legal papers are screwed up.

He has been telling me he wants to be together. He missed our 1st anniversary, and now our 2nd is approaching ---- really I am waiting for the excuse this time.

I am confused....he tells me he loves me and needs me, he does call me when he has minutes on his phone. He doesn't make alot of money right now.

What do I do? Do I wait? Am I being played a fool? I am depressed and sad and lonely and I hate lying to my family but I am so embarrased. I feel like I am being lied to but I don't know what to think, also I have no one to talk to.

Please I need your help,

Dear Embarrassed,

No wonder you are upset, depressed and embarrassed. The man you married is playing you and not being a husband. He's telling you he loves you, but the truth is that if he really loved you that much, he'd want to be with you.

He's more in love with his music group and his career right now than he is with you and he doesn't show any signs of changing in the near future. You spent months living in a hotel to avoid letting your family know know badly you are being treated by your husband. That's no way to live. You deserve a real husband who is there for you not one you have to lie about or beg for time and phone calls.

This marriage is a sham. Get out and consider it a life lesson. Remember, when someone loves you, they want to be with you, not in a different country with other people who are more important to them than you are.

Don't waste any more of your life waiting for this man. He's never going to be the husband you want. He'll always be more in love with his music and his CD will be more important than you are.

A marriage is supposed to give you joy, not grief. A husband should be there for you and he just isn't.

It's time for you to see a lawyer and get out of this marriage once and for all. Stop lying to cover for him. The more you do that, the worse you will feel about yourself.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

Gaining Family Acceptance

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I'm a 22 year old college student. Up until March I was dating my former boyfriend. He and I had been having trouble for quite awhile before the break up, and so neither of us felt as though we were in a relationship since the first of the year. After the breakup I leaned on my friends for support, one of which being my best friend, J.

J. and I have known each other for over three and a half years, and we have both had feelings for one another. Sadly, neither of us were both single at the same time, so we never acted on our feelings. With me being single, I started dating J. and I have found myself to be in love with him. This is very exciting for me, as I've never met someone who has made me feel so happy and wonderful about myself. I obviously want to tell my family.

The problem is that I know my family will disregard this relationship. They will say that it's too soon, it's just a rebound, I shouldn't be dating anyone, etc. I know that it's not any of these things and that my feelings for J. are genuine. I want my family to like J. and give him a fair chance, as I feel that he and I will be together for a long time. I'm worried that if I tell them about it now, they will dismiss him and not give him the shot he deserves. What makes this more difficult is that I live with my sister and her husband, and I'm finding it more and more difficult to hide my relationship with J. from them.

How can I approach this subject with my family in such a way that is adult and respectful, but firm in letting them know that this is serious and that it isn't too soon or a rebound?

Dear Worried,

You are spending too much energy worrying about what your family will think. They will most likely be happy for you if you are happy. In any case, the family shouldn't be the deciding factor in you relationship. If you are really in love with J, and he is the man you want to spend your life with, they will eventually accept him.

It's really very soon -- you've only been single for a short time. There's no need to rush into forcing your family to accept your new love.

The best way to get them to understand your situation is to take is slowly and let them get used to the idea that you and J are a couple.

Start by mentioning him in conversation and getting them used to the idea that you are with someone new. Tell them nice things J does and share your good times with J. Tell them what the two of you did together. Also be sure to let them know about the trouble you had with your old boyfriend. That way they'll begin to understand why you broke up with one and why you are with J.

You don't have to make a big issue of it and you don't have to force them to like J. Instead let him insinuate himself into your life slowly. Invite him to family gatherings and give your family a chance to see what a nice guy he is. Make sure he shows up with flowers for your sister and that he gives your family the respect the deserve.

There;'s no need to insist that your family totally accept J right away. Most families will accept someone given time. It's better to show them what a nice person J is than to tell them.

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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