Dr. Tracy's Advice Column

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Inviting Fiance's Dead Ex-wife's Parents to Wedding
Love with conditions
Sex With the Boss

Inviting Fiance's Dead Ex-wife's Parents to Wedding

Dear Dr. Tracy,

My fiance and I are in our early 50's. We've both been married before. He is a widower who has a twelve year old daughter. She is close to her maternal grandparents and my fiance is close with them as well. His daughter and I get along great and she is thrilled about our upcoming nuptials.

The inlaws have always been cordial toward me. The mother has broken down at several functions we've attended as she misses her daughter which I can fully understand. I am a mom too.

My fiance and I have been thru a lot and we see our getting married as a happy new beginning for both of us. My question is do we invite his ex inlaws as well as his ex sister in law to our wedding? I want it to be a happy day, not one where her family breaks down and cries because she is no longer here. They are nice people and it feels like it would be mean not to inivite them. I am totally unsure of how to handle this.


Dear Bride to Be,

Congratulations on your upcoming marriage. You and your fiance sound like you've got a great relationship, especially considering the good will you've established with his daughter.

You are older and wiser and more compassionate than most brides to be, and so you should invite his ex-inlaws to the wedding. After all, they are part of the family and know and love your fiance. Why cut them out of this joyful event?

Okay, so the mother might cry. Big deal. People cry at weddings all the time. You might cry yourself. There's nothing wrong with a few tears anyway. There are too many people who think if someone cries, it's not okay.

Children know better. Watch what happens when children are playing and one of them starts to cry for some reason. The others don't make a big deal out of it. They accept it as part of life. That's what adults should do too.

If you feel it would be mean not to invite your fiance's ex-inlaws, you're probably right. It would be. You don't want to start your married life off with hard feelings from anyone. So send the invitation. If they come, be gracious and compassionate. If they don't come, you have already shown grace and compassion.

Enjoy your happy new beginning,

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

Love with conditions

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I am a 23 year old female. My boyfriend and I have been in a long distance relationship (he lives in UK , I live in India) for little more than an year now. The main ingredients of a healthy relationship like compatibility, trust, love, understanding, chemistry were all in place so we decided to take the next step.

Lately, he's started to have second thoughts about marriage. He offered two reasons:

1) The shaky relationship I share with my family - Due to some past issues I don't gel well with my family. I live separately but interact with them on regular basis. This suits us fine but he isn't very comfortable with the idea and feels my life has no semblance of family bonding which is a must for any individual to feel complete.

2) No well defined career - He is 32 yr old and I am 23. He is a well settled corporate lawyer with a lucrative income whereas I have recently graduated and am planning to pursue further studies in the field of psychology. I support myself with a modest paying job in HR. It'll take me 4-5 years before I can claim to have a well established career.

Now, he feels that his family would have no reason to respect me if I step into marriage before building a career. Simply 'coz his parents are well known surgeons and his extended family too is full of ministers, bankers, lawyers etc. so a student with no family support or established career will be discriminated against.

Initially when we started dating he was comfortable with the idea of me studying post marriage but now he feels it'd be more respectworthy if I make something of my own before entering into his family. I understand his concern however I dont think its practical for us to maintain a long distance relationship for the next 3-4 years while I work on my career. Also he is not incapable of running the house without financial assistance from me so for the first few years of marriage even if I spend my salary to fund my education it shouldnt be a dealbreaker if he truly loves me.

Finally after much thought I told him to carry on with his life and find someone his age who's more settled in terms of career and more fit for his family. But he has asked me to reconsider my decision. Should I take up his advice or is he just being conditional? If we decide we are not fit for each other as far as marriage is concerned, would it be right to hang on to this relationship for emotional support?

Would appreciate your advice very very much.

Dear Hanging On,

Your boyfriend sounds like he wants to make you jump through hoops to marry him, if you let him. He's trying to keep you on a string while he does whatever he wants and give you hope that if you fulfill every stipulation he comes up with, he'll eventually marry you.

He is not playing fair. He must have become aware, while building the trust, love and understanding you mention, that you're not close to your family. Why does he now claim that "family bonding is a must for any individual to feel complete." And where did he get that from, anyway? I know of no such rule.

Most important, he can't expect a 23 year old new graduate to have the kind of career he thinks would suit him. For sure, he's playing you and making excuses just to see what he can get. He wants to keep you hanging but not fulfill the commitment he gave you. His second thoughts about marriage are not really second thoughts about you, they're about other people and what he thinks they will think. That's not a very good reason to put you off.

You are doing exactly the right thing by telling him to find someone else if he wants a woman with an established career. Whatever you do, don't hang on to him for emotional security. Cut him off instead, and you will probably find that he'll change his mind about marriage and commitment and that he will reconsider his conditions.

Tell him you can't be the person he wants right now. He's already asked you to reconsider. But you have to tell him he has to reconsider instead. Stick to your guns about not being in a relationship with conditions. Then, don't email him, don't contact him. Let him miss you and wonder what you're doing and with whom.

If he truly loves you, he will come around and decide that his love is stronger than his desire for a woman who has a career. It's not a good idea to try to maintain a long-distance relationship with him for the next three or four years. After all, these are the best years for you to find someone who loves you and wants to start a life with you without conditions and stipulations. It's always best to have a life partner who loves you just the way you are and for who you are, rather than for who you might become.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

Sex With the Boss

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I am a 22 year old black girl. I started to work at the age of 16 on weekends. Since then I have finished school and am working full time. My boss has always been fair to me, I do my work and he pays me.

Last month I got fed up with staff members stealing from the business and told my boss. As he did not want anyone to know who was giving him the information, he told me to go to his house. I went there and told him everything. I have been to his house three times and every time his wife is out of town. He, a white man in his late 40's, has never made any advances towards me and has always been very professional. He has fixed the problem at work, no one knows how he found out and has rewarded me very well.

Recently when I went to his office he told me that if ever I wanted, we could have sex. He said that as I had helped him we could have some fun, but that I must decide and if I did not want to then that was it. I said no but I dont think that I sounded too convincing. I started to only think about what he had said and it became like an obsession, but it just made me very excited thinking about it. I told my friend, who is still at school and she said that if I did not do it then I was very stupid. I asked if she would join us and she said, anytime.

The next time that I went into my bosses office he asked me if I had thought about what he had said, I said that I was afraid and I do not know why I said it, but I said that if I could bring a friend then I would think about it. Of course he said yes and told me to speak to my friend. I asked if he would give my friend any money as she was still at school and wanted to buy some things. He said how much he would give both me and my friend. We have not done it yet but both myself and my friend are very excited about it.

The only thing that is bugging me is the fact that he is paying us. Does this make us prostitutes and can this become a habit and lead to other things. I do have a boyfriend and we are planning to marry next year, and my boss has said that it is just fun sex and nothing else and that it will not become a habit. I have never been unfaithfull to my boyfriend and have only had sex with him once and with no-one else and I will not have sex again with my boyfriend untill we are married and he knows it. But this white man I must have.

Dear Too Hot,

How could you be so silly? Don't you know that this is absolutely the worst idea you've ever had? Sex with a boss is always dangerous. If you keep having sex, you both will eventually be found out and he will be under immediate pressure to fire you. If you decide to stop having sex, you are also risking your job. A middle-aged married boss with the hots for his 22 year old employee is a disaster waiting to happen -- and you'll come out on the short end of this deal.

This is a very dangerous obsession. You've never been unfaithful to your boyfriend. Why start now? And for such a ridiculous reason -- that you have the hots for someone. You aren't in love with your boss. You would just be letting him use you, and you would be using him back.

Don't feed his fantasies about sex with you and your friend. Don't let him give you money for sex. Yes, having sex for money would make you a prostitute. That's what prostitutes do. You'll wind up feeling terrible about yourself and you'll carry that feeling around for the rest of your life. You'll also have to lie to your boyfriend and maybe even kid yourself about whether you're prostituting or not.

Your boyfriend doesn't deserve this kind of treatment and neither does wis wife. You're young and that's the only reason I can think of that you would consider doing such a stupid thing. You have the rest of your life ahead of you. Keep your self-respect and don't do it, no matter how hot you are or how obsessed you are. You won't feel good about it afterwards and your self-esteem will suffer.

Stop going to his house. Stop talking about having sex with him. Tell him you were just kidding, and let it go at that. Tell your friend that you've thought about it and decided it's not a good idea after all. Then get back to work and be grateful that you escaped without ruining your reputation, losing your job, or getting caught by his wife or your boyfriend.

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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