Dr. Tracy's Advice Column

Cartoon Kiss

3/25/2001

Dating a Doctor
In Touch With An Ex
Marriage and Money



Dating a Doctor

Dear Dr. Tracy,

Recently met a new doctor, My doctor. He asked me out. I'll be 19 next month and he's probably at least 7 yrs or more older than me. I've barely taken any life steps yet and he is already out of college and careering. I like him and i never thought a doctor would want me so i am flattered, but I am not sure i even want to date or know him even as friends. I am shy and it is hard to be my self in a relationship partly cause i don't have a life yet. My dad always wanted me to be someone special, and this guy is, and my mom and sis are all 4 it. What should i do? I am young I want oppurtunities, lots of them but i am afraid someday a nightmare i once had will come true, being alone, single no family just me. I believe this is coming true my mom is older going on 70 my dad just died and my family isn't there much. Should I accept the doctor's offer. I am so scared. i lose everyone i need somebody friend boyfriend to back me up when my world / my mom dies.

Dear Shy,

There are several things going on here. Your doctor is someone you look up to, so you are intimidated by him. That's especially true because you're so young and because you haven't got anything going on in your own life yet. Don't substitute some man's life for your own.

Try to think of him as a just another guy, instead of a doctor. Then imagine whether you'd go out with him if he weren't a doctor. Don't go out with him just because he's a doctor. Don't go out with him because your mother and sister say you should go out with him. Only go out with him if you want to because of the person he is, not because of what he does for a living.

Your mother and sister probably imagine you marrying this man and you do, too, thinking you'll have security for life and won't wind up single and alone. However, doctors in general don't always make the best husbands.

Doctors are used to nurses and co-workers treating them like gods, saying "Yes doctor," "No doctor," "How high should I jump, doctor?" Then, when they get home, it's hard for them not to expect the same from their wives. They're used to being put on a pedestal. How can they be expected to do the chores at home that other men have to do, like taking out the trash?

Also, doctors as husbands aren't always there when you need them. Many doctors' wives complain because their husbands are gone all the time. Somebody's medical emergency is always more important than what the Doctor's wife wants.

If you want to date him, fine, but don't do it just for the prestige of dating a Doctor. Think about being someone special yourself instead of marrying someone special. Marrying a doctor won't make you special, it'll just make you a doctor's wife. Unless you are self-directed and can spend lots of time alone, entertaining yourself or with friends, you aren't a good candidate for a happy Mrs. Dr.

You are young and you want to do lots of things in life. You're just starting. Before you jump into a relationship with the Dr. or anyone else, give yourself a chance to explore the world and find out what you can be. In the end, you only have yourself. If you don't take care of yourself and your life, nobody else will. No man, Dr. or otherwise, will save you from that reality.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy



In Touch With An Ex

Dear Dr. Tracy,

Please help...I am in a relationship with a man that I used to date when I was a young girl of 17, He is now 50 and I 40. The problem is this; he is a rock performer and has a long history of women and rock'n'roll....He still wants to maintain friendships with an ex-lover who is now married with children. I find this inappropriate, he doesn't. What do you think. There is way more to this story but that's it in a nutshell. Please help, as I am ready to pack it in because of this but I love him.

Lost in Love

Dear Lost in Love,

If you really love this man, then allow him to keep in touch with his married-with-children ex-lover. After all, she's safely married, and they had a chance at each other and both chose other lives.

You can't come into a man's life at this late date and completely control how he lives and whom he decides to keep as friends. He's led a life of rock'n'roll, and that has formed the person he is now. He's too old to change. You'll either have to love him the way he is, or forget about him.

There's no harm in keeping in touch with old friends and lovers. The problem here is you and your insecurity. It's time for you to change your attitude about this or you will surely lose this man you love. Just because you love someone doesn't mean you get to control them or say what friends they can or can't have.

Be gracious. If you have him now, be happy and enjoy your time together. Don't begrudge him keeping in touch with his past - after all, you're becoming a part of his past too.

Be smart. Make friends with the married ex-lover. Loving someone means giving them joy, not taking pleasure away from them. At his age, old friends are even more important than ever. Don't try to take his past away.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy



Marriage and Money

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I am a single mom with 3 children. When my husband left, he left me in financial ruin. Everything was in my name, so I had to pay back $30,000 in debts (I did this because I had A1 credit and wanted to keep it this way). I have taken on 2 mostly 3 jobs to support my children and to pay off my debts.

I now owe only $1,500.00 of the $30,000.00 and will be paying that off within 2 months. I have purchased a cabin for an investment and I am very proud of myself. I have even managed to put $10,000.00 away in the bank to save for a house (a dream I have for my family- we live in an apartment and the cabin is just a family getaway place).

5 years later I met my boyfriend and we are to be married soon. My problem is that he is $33,000 in debt and I resent this. I have come to the conclusion that I feel more superior than him because I have accomplished so much by myself and with children to boot. He has let his credit go and has not paid on any of his debts for years.

I am scared, mad and confused. I have taken over his finances and he is now caught up with his monthly payments required. I still work a 2nd job as a bartender and my plan is to save every penny I make to put away for a house. He does not contribute to the home (food, laundry, phone, etc.) as his money is used to pay for his bills. I have calculated that in 1 years time I will have enough to buy a house with the money I save, but he will still be paying his debts for at least 3 years.

I feel confused and selfish for being mad at the thought that I will be providing financially for the household and will be putting all my money away so we can build a future together and still I will have to work 2 jobs. I am scared that if something were to happen and we were to get divorced that he would get half of everything I worked so hard for.

I have suggested a prenuptial agreement but that made him angry because he doesn't feel I trust him and he promises to pay his bills and will not ever take what I have put away (Cash and cabin). I don't like to think like this and I feel selfish for feeling this way, but I have explained to him how it was so hard to get where I am and how I can't have anyone take it away from me.

We fight a lot and I know a lot of it is this insecurity I have of being married and losing everything. I know while I am paying for everything, food, clothes and everything else required to support my family and working a 2nd job to buy us a house, I will resent him for not contributing to the home but only paying for his bills.

I am wondering if I'm being taken and when all his bills are paid, will he leave and will he own half of everything. I asked him if we could postpone the wedding until he could pay off his bills and I would continue to pay for everything else, but he says if I loved him, the bills would not matter.

He loves me very much, loves the kids, cleans the house (which is rare) and always has a job. He really is a great guy in so many ways. We have a lot invested in this relationship (not money) and my children are very happy for the first time in a long time.

Dear Single Mom,

You have done such a good job of getting yourself and your life together after your divorce, you should be careful not to backslide.

You have just recovered from the problems your ex husband left you with, and now you're thinking about getting into a relationship with another man who could leave you with similar problems. Have you thought that you may be recreating the same problem?

Whatever you do, don't rush into this marriage. And don't let him bully you into it by getting angry because you won't. Sure, you've invested a lot emotionally into this relationship, but you're not ready to marry and you shouldn't. Think about going for premarital counseling to work through some of your issues with him. You must work out these problems before you marry.

You need to find out if there are ways you can be protected from being responsible for his debts. If you marry him and then buy the house you've been saving for, he may be entitled to half of it if the marriage breaks up, as well as part of your other assets. He could also claim that you supported him, and so he wants alimony. You need a lawyer as well as a counselor.

Why are you the only one working two jobs? Your boyfriend needs to get a second job too, so that he can contribute to the household. You already resent paying all the bills. If you marry him, your resentment won't disappear. It may get even worse, because anyone's reasonable expectation would be that, as your husband, he should contribute more than a boyfriend would.

By paying all the expenses, you are "enabling" him to live nicely and not contribute. You have taken over his life and his finances and are doing everything for him as if he were a child, not an adult. Doing everything for someone is a way to control them, but it doesn't give you someone you can lean on or depend on if things get tough. I recommend you read Melanie Beattie's book, "Co-dependent No More."

Protect yourself and your children. You've just dug your way out of a huge financial hole. I agree with your friends. Don't jump into another one.

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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