"Ask Dr. Tracy"

2/20/2000 Advice Column

Breaking Up Is Easier Than Cracking Up
The Sounds of Love
Waiting To Hear The Magic Words

Dear Dr. Tracy,

My boyfriend and I have been living together for two years. I pay for everything, (rent, bills, music recording, some music equipment, most of the food,etc.)I support his music because I really think he can do something with it, so I have helped him substantially in that area, setting up gigs, being the driver-roady, making sure the fliers go out, making contacts-I work hard at it, in addition to my full time job. He is getting more and more controlling over everything, including the money that I earn. He was in an accident in my car and has not been working at all for close to two months.

We have had problems from the start and everything is getting worse. He is the kind of person who will do anything to find your most vulnerable spot and then play games with you. He has no money, has alienated himself from most of his friends (people do not want to help him anymore or get to close to him because he causes pain or problems for them. He is extremely smart, talented and entertaining, and mostly very sweet. Everybody who has dealt with him has experienced his ego or cruelty. He HAS to be better than you and he will make sure everything is a competition. I am low key mostly but will not allow anybody to control me. The more he tries the less I want anything to do with him.

It is a very complicated situation, but I do not want to move into my new house and have the same things continue. I don't want to leave him high and dry either. Sometimes I think the only thing that will change this situation is something really drastic (crash the other car I have so I won't be able to work, or that he will get into legal trouble or something worse. I don't know if I need a lawyer or a therapist. Any suggestions?

Dear Musical Supporter,

You are a typical victim -- unhappy, but unwilling to take the steps necessary to save yourself. The longer you let yourself continue to be victimized by your would-be musician, the worse you will feel about yourself. If you want to regain your self-respect, stop supporting him, stop paying his bills, and stop being his driver-roady.

You think if you do everything for him that he will be forever grateful if and when he ever makes it big time. But you're absolutely wrong. Men who are helped along the path to success by a supportive woman don't feel grateful when they make it. Instead they want to forget everything that reminds them of how they got there, including you. They don't want to be reminded of how much they needed your help and how much help you gave. Believe me, if he ever does make it, he'll drop you like a hot potato and never miss you, because the groupies will be flocking around him. Just seeing you will remind him that he couldn't and didn't do it on his own, and he won't want that reminder.

I've seen it happen that way time and time again. And since your guy isn't the nicest person to begin with, I wouldn't expect anything different from him. He's cruel, he's ungrateful for what you've already done, and he's not going to change. Don't let him control you another second. Kick him out and have no regrets. You don't need a lawyer, but you may need a therapist if you can't get a little backbone on your own. There's a reason this guy has no friends - nobody wants to be victimized by him.

Stop trying to save him or help him and save yourself instead. This is your life you're throwing away on an ingrate. If you continue, you'll regret it to the max some day. You've had the musician experience. Get smart. Let him play his musical roulette with someone else's life, not yours.

Consider moving into a new house a chance to start a new life without this sad excuse for a boyfriend. It's better to be alone than to be a sucker.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

Dear Dr. Tracy,

My problem is a little wierd, but here goes. We have been living in our apartment for the past three years since we got married, no kids, and we've had no problems with the place until now. Just before Thanksgiving last year, the people who lived in the apartment on top of ours moved out and this middle-aged couple moved in. I'll call them Jack and Jill.

Jack is 45 and Jill is 43; and according to Jill, who I've become friends with, their last kid just entered his sophomore year of college and had moved out of their old house so they decided to sell it and get a smaller place. They both work and they've been married for 23 years. Jill is extremely attractive and looks 35, so does Jack. Jill probably has the largest natural breasts I've ever seen.

They redecorated the apartment by removing the carpets and putting oriental rugs all around instead. The thing is, the carpets helped cut out noise and since they're gone we've been living with the noise coming from their apartment for the past few months.

Their living-room is above our bedroom and their bedroom is above the bathroom. It's muffled enough that we cannot hear their words but we can always hear them when they make love because Jill is apparently an extremely LOUD lover. And they do it ALL the time! I'm not kidding, they probably have sex at least two or three times a day. Once I think they were at it for 4 hours straight and 2 hours later they were at it again! It's sometimes like living below a porn studio.

We were too embarassed to tell them at first but just when we finally got fed up enough to tell them about it, they invited us and two other neighbours for a friendly dinner and I decided to tell Jill then, afterwards. So we went and it was great fun. All the couples teamed up to play charades and scrabble afterwards. But I think what got all of us guests was how much love Jack and Jill seemed to have for each other. They were always touching, kissing and flirting with each other. I'd spilt something when they'd gone to get more dessert and I went to the kitchen to get something to clean it up and I almost interrupted a really hot and heavy kissing session. I completely forgot the noise problem at the end of the night.

By the time we were back in our apartment, they were already at it. This time it turned me and my husband on and we were going at it as well. This is my problem; ever since then, I've found myself trying to make my marriage more and more like theirs. I'm giving and demanding more and more physical intimacy and affection and trying to have sex as much as they do. Now, the noise quite simply turns me on. My husband is going along with it and I'm enjoying my marriage immensely right now, but he thinks it's kind of sick and that we should tell them but I'm very hesitant about it and I can't really say why.

What I'm asking is; is my husband right? Am I being sick or somehow competing with Jill? How healthy is this for my relationship with my husband?

Dear Downstairs Neighbor,

There's nothing better for your relationship than modeling a loving, hot couple. It's always better to spend time with a couple who love each other, who are affectionate and who can't keep their hands off each other than to hang out with people who are indifferent or cold. You'll find that their sexy ways will rub off on you and you'll want to be sexier and more affectionate too. There's nothing wrong with that. As a matter of fact, it's a great idea.

They're showing you the way, and why not. There's nothing sick about letting yourselves get turned on by the sounds of your neighbor's lovemaking. You're not competing with Jill, you're using her to enhance your own relationship. You could find a lot worse people to emulate than your upstairs neighbors. You're all adults. There's nothing wrong with just about anything you do to turn yourselves on as long as it doesn't hurt anyone else.

Jack and Jill aren't stupid just because they're hot. They know how much noise they make. They know how sexual they look to others. It's probably part of their turn-on to know that others are watching or listening and may not be as intimate or affectionate as they are.

In any case, what matters is that they're enjoying each other and so are you and your husband, so stop worrying and enjoy.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I have been in a relationship for 4 1/2 years now, we and have been living together for almost 4 of those years. We have a very good and loving relationship. You could say we are sole mates. He is very good with my Kids, he has been more of a Father to them than their own.

We have never had a single argument and I always feel so happy and content. A year ago we joined bank accounts and bought a house together, and life has been great! So you may wonder why I'm writing you? He hasn't asked me to marry him yet.

I have ask him if he ever plans to ask me and he said yes, but still hasn't. I have wonder why and what I have come up with is that I am his first serious relationship (His Family has verified this) and he might be afarid to make that final step. I am 41 and he is 40. Or He has started taking me forgrated because He has said that he knows "I'm not going anywhere" so he didn't think there was any rush.

My friends have said that now-a-days women ask men, I'm not to sure about that because I don't want to force it and maybe ruin his moment if it were to ever happen.

I love him very much and I'm not "going anywhere" and I know and feel that he loves me. So the question is - What do you think?

Dear Waiting,

Four years of living together is plenty long enough for a man to decide that he wants to be married. If he wasn't happy with the arrangement, he'd have been out of there long ago. Instead he's bought a house with you and mingled money. You're doing everything that a married couple would do, so you should be married.

Stop worrying about whether he will ask you to marry him. Stop worrying about whether he's afraid or not. It's time to take this bull by the horns. Don't let another year go by with him taking you for granted. The longer this goes on, the longer it will go on. Of course women ask men to marry them today. But that's nothing new. Women have been asking men to marry them for hundreds of years. You'd be surprised how many women asked their husbands instead of vice versa.

Set a date and screw up your courage. If he hasn't asked you by the date, say your birthday or his, then ask him. Tell him you want to be married. Let him know how important it is to you and your kids. Make a list of all the reasons you should be married. I'm sure it'll be really long by now. Make a list of every possible objection he might raise. Then have answers ready for whatever he could say. Tell him yes, there is a rush -- this is the millennium, and this is the year that you want to be married. Tell him he'll easily be able to remember your anniversary and how long you've been married that way.

Point out to him that as long as you're not married, you have no legal standing -- for example, you wouldn't be able to visit him in the hospital if something serious happened to him, and the same for you. Explain that you're tired of living with this little string of insecurity that comes from living together without being married. Tell him you deserve marriage.

Be sure to say lots of nice loving things about him before you ask. Feel him out first. Make sure you have him in a state of agreement by saying things like, "We really love each other." And he says yes. Then you say, "And you're so wonderful and a great father and the kids really love you." And he says yes. "And we've been so happy together." And he says yes. Etc., etc. And then, when he's saying yes to everything, pop the question. Start by asking reasonably and politely and lovingly, but don't be afraid to argue, to demand and to insist if it becomes necessary. Because he's not going anywhere either, and neither of you are getting any younger.

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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