"Ask Dr. Tracy"

2/23/97 Advice Column

Almost Married,
A Stripper for His Wife,
Remorseful "Relationship Murderer"

Dear Dr. Tracy,

Hello. I need some guidance on what appears to be a very common problem.

My boyfriend of 2 years and I were planning our wedding for this June; we had booked the church, minister, reception site, and I had ordered my dress. We have named our children, shopped for houses, dicsussed finances, everything. We are very much in love, and both feel that we have finally found the person that we have always been looking for. We were never officially engaged (w/ring), but that was a formality. Also, all of this was his doing (the scheduling, booking, etc). I never told him we had to get married or I would leave, and I never pressured him. Anyway, I ordered my dress on Monday, Jan. 13th with his knowledge and blessings, and then on Tuesday Jan. 14th, he came over crying and told me that he just didn't want to get married, now, possibly never!!!!

We are both devestated. He said he is terrified of all of the responsibilities that this would mean. He said he worries will he be a good father, husband, provider, everything!!! He is just petrified. I told him that I was shocked and devestated, but that what I want is him, and am in no hurry to get married. So, we cancelled all of the plans, and agreed to just "go steady" and worry about the marriage stuff later. He asked me if we could back off a little so that he could get himself together. Well, that was a month ago, and we are pretty much back to where we were before this happened. He says he still very much wants to marry me, and we still talk about our future kids and what it will be like when we are 80, and it feels right for both of us. He has asked me to be patient, but it is very hard. One month ago I thought I was getting married in June to THE love of my life, and now I don't know if we will ever get married!

My questions are these...Do you think he will ever marry me? What can I do while he is thinking about this to do the best for us and me? Also, how long do I wait (saying nothing about marriage) before I tell him he must decide. Please help me. This means the world to me, and we are so close to everything we have ever wanted. I don't want to blow it. By the way, he is 37 and never even been engaged, and I am 37 and was married once at 21, very briefly.

Dear almost a bride,

This guy sounds like the classic "Waffler" in my article "Men To Avoid, Part II". He just wants to have his cake and eat it too. He wants to be single and yet he wants to enjoy all the pleasures and privileges of married life. Why would you go along with such a scheme? He has no motivation to shape up and marry you. Why should he? He's discovered he can do just about anything to you and you'll take him back. You're in a very bad negotiating position.

Two years was enough time for him to decide, and his actions are really in the unforgiveable realm. Forgiving him and taking him back with such welcome only made him worse.

I wouldn't wait at all to tell him the free ride won't last forever. Let him know you expect to get married and you want to set a date right away. Also let him know that if he backs out, wants to be unengaged or any of his other stuff, then it's over. Let him know you won't put up with this kind of behavior.

Set a deadline. Tell him he either commits absolutely by _____ (you pick the date, but not more than three months out), or else you're breaking up with him and finding someone else. That kind of commitment means you shop for an engagement ring and make it official by putting money down on a place, a dress etc. You're about to blow more than just a marriage. If you and your guy want to have all these children you're talking about, you'd better get busy. Your clock is ticking and your childbearing years won't last forever.

Some guys don't appreciate you until you leave them. You may have to say goodbye to really get his attention. Then tell him you'll only take him back if he shows up with an engagement ring and a real commitment. Keeping him under any other circumstances will only undermine your own desires for marriage and children.

Wishing you a man who can commit,

Dr. Tracy

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I really need help. Last July, I hired a stripper for my wife on her birthday. I made up an excuse why she needed to go to our business' office about 10:00pm, and had the guy meet her there. I also made sure I was in a front office and could see the whole thing without either of them knowing. She really had a great time, (she did "behave" herself) and we had our best sex in close to twenty years. The heightened passion lasted for weeks.

Lately, I have had a fantasy of hiring another stripper for her, but this time I would like her to go a little further, like actually touching the guy's....well, you know. I told her about it and she really got turned on, but she is hesitating, saying she's "not ready" for another stripper. She keeps talking about it, and even fantasizes, while we're having sex, about having sex him. But she always asks me afterward, "Now, you wouldn't 'really' hire another stripper, would you?", and then she just stares at me, like she's daring me to do it. I have asked her directly several times, but she never gives me a straight answer whether she would like me to go ahead or not. I want to move forward, but I don't want to offend her.

PS: If you post this, please use the alias "VanGogh". Thanks!

Dear Van Gogh,

You paint a pretty picture of a wife who's been seduced by the idea of an outside lover, but you'd better be careful how far you take it in actuality. After all, the next step after touching is more touching and then total touching, if you know what I mean. Soon your wife will be in bed with Mr. Stripper instead of you.

There's nothing wrong with hiring a stripper for your wife if it excites her and enhances your sex life. There is something wrong with instructing her about what to do with the stripper. That's your fantasy, not hers. You should be happy she only wants to look and then come home and play with you more passionately. If she goes off with Mr. Cute Buns, you'll have only yourself to blame.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I'm a 26 year old female who has just broken off a 5-year relationship with my ex-boyfriend, age 28. After his repeated attempts at an engagement, and my repeated denials, I decided the only thing that would be fair to both of us is to break it off entirely. This man bawled like a baby, threatened to kill himself or hurt someone else (although he's never done a violent thing in his life), but I stuck to my guns and said, "No, this is the only way we can be happy." We have had problems, mostly due to his casual but covert drug use and our lack of communication, but I've always known he was faithful to me, worshipped the ground I walked on, and would do anything in the world for me.

My problem has to do with the fact that he had another girl living with him the VERY NEXT DAY after we split up, and now all I can think about is how much I love him, how much I want to be married to him, have his children, wait on him hand and foot, and live together forever.

How could my feelings have changed so dramatically, and why can't I find the feelings that made me want to break off the relationship? We are on very good terms friendship-wise, and I know he doesn't love this girl and still loves me, but I just can't stand the feeling that I threw away what could have been my only chance at true love, and the regret I'm feeling is overwhelming. I actually begged him to take me back, but he wants to give this new girl a whirl and see what happens. I recognize the fact that he is not ready for a relationship now, and luckily things don't usually work out on a rebound that happens so soon. I know he's desperate and needy, but I want him to need ME again, not someone else.

Is this just jealousy, or can feelings change that suddenly and drastically? Please answer, I am driving myself over the edge with guilt and regret.

Thanks a bunch. - relationship murderer

Dear Relationship Murderer

Some relationships deserve to be killed. You've been together five years and you still can't really get together. You can't get engaged. You can't acept his drug use and you don't communicate very well. Sounds like a prescription for a disaster relationship. Good thing you killed it before it destroyed you.

Now, of course you want him back. You think some other woman is getting all the good parts of him and not the bad. But she's not. She's getting the same old guy you decided you didn't really want, unless he made major changes, which I doubt. She probably just accepted him the way he is.

You miss his neediness and dependence, but you don't think of his shortcomings. Your problem is more than jealousy. It's out of control, childlike jealousy. Some other kid has a toy you thought was yours and now you're mad.

You'll probably suffer for a while, and he may or may not come back. If he finds the acceptance from this new woman that you wouldn't give, he'll probably stay for a while. Just remember, most relationships don't work out, so you could get a second chance. If you do, I'm sure you won't be so critical.

Good relationships require acceptance and appreciation, not criticism; negotiations, not demands. Whatever happens you'll have learned an interesting lesson in relating: nobody looks as great as the lover you've just lost to another.

Wishing you real love,

Dr. Tracy

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