Dr. Tracy's Advice Column

Cartoon Kiss

3/9/2003

Men Who Love You, ButÖ
Surviving Cheating
Women Who "Need Space"



Men Who Love You, ButÖ

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I am 35 years old, divorced with two girls. I have been dating a man for the past two years, we had a great relationship, we hardly ever argued, we had a great time together. Just recently he told me that he loves me, but he wants to have more kids and I have had my tubes tied. I to want to have more kids especially with him. I told him that I would have a tubule reversal but he thinks that I am doing it just to make him happy. This is not the case, I have wanted more children I was just waiting for the right person to come along.

I have pleaded with him to understand that I would love to have a child with him but he just won't listen. He claims that it would disrupt my life because my girls are 13 and 10 years old. How do I make him understand that I want this just as much as he does. He also claims that he wants to be with me but he has to have a child.

He was in a bad marriage for at least 14 years and also has two girls which he has not seen in almost two years. Could it just be that he is afraid to be in a serious relationship with me. I know that he loves me and does want to be with me because he is not one for saying things that he does not mean, especially the "L" word. He is also used to being on his own and I told him that I was not asking for marriage or to even live together, I just want to be with him and only him.

What should I do, sit back and wait?

Dear Waiting,

If youíre waiting for this man to give you what you want, youíre going to have a long, long wait. Youíve been dating for two years and he finally says he loves you, butÖ.

His ďbutĒ is a big one Ė one you canít do anything about. He's not agreeable no matter what you say or offer. You say you're willing to do without commitment or marriage. Youíre willing to get a reversal of your operation. You say youíre willing to do almost anything to have the child he says he wants. But whatever you say isnít good enough. He still has reasons why it wonít work.

He says youíre just doing it to make him happy and thatís not okay with him. Then he adds that he doesnít want to disrupt your life or your childrenís lives. Frankly, no matter what you say, heís going to think of a reason why you canít give him what he wants.

Heís a man looking for a way out. Heíll always have a reason not to commit. What heís really saying is that he doesnít love you enough, that youíre not the right woman, and that youíre not the one he wants to have children with Ė if he really wants to have children at all. It's likely that he actually doesnít. If he did, why didn't he mention two years ago that he wanted more kids? I suspect that he's simply manufactured this as a handy, ready-made excuse to get out of this relationship if it gets too close for comfort.

Heís used to being on his own, and men who really want to be on their own will always have a reason why they canít be closer to you Ė preferably one thatís your fault, not theirs. With this reason, he gets to avoid commitment by making you feel guilty and inadequate.

As a father, he sounds like a dud anyway. He already has two girls he doesnít pay any attention to. Why would you want to have a child with him anyway? Why donít you ask his ex-wife about his parenting skills? Some men just donít deserve more children. I think heís one of those men.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy



Surviving Cheating

Dear Dr. Tracy,

Recently I found out that my husband of 12 years cheated on me. He told me everything and we decided to try to move forward. I lost weight from a bout of depression and now am 15 pounds thinner and I have regained my self esteem. I am now enjoying a bit of flirting myself....it makes me feel good to know that I am attractive since he made me feel so unattractive by choosing someone else.

The tables seem to have turned. He is not looking and does not want anyone else. I, on the other hand, have met someone that I am very attracted to. I never would have let myself get to this point before, but I almost feel as if I have the right to the same experience that he had. I am very confused right now. I am afraid that I am not going to be able to stop this. I'm not sure if I want to. How far do I need to go to assure myself that I still only want my husband? Maybe our marriage should be over since the trust is gone? How can I tell?

Dear Confused,

Stop. Donít cheat to get even. Donít flirt. Donít do anything that you wouldnít want done to you. Cheating on a spouse who has cheated on you is no solution. Your husband has confessed and wants to move forward.

It's good that youíve lost weight and gained some self-esteem, but youíre playing with fire by testing your attractiveness with another man. If you pursue this, you will feel guilty and you will never forgive yourself if your marriage breaks up because of your cheating. You canít assure yourself you want only your husband by having sex with another man. You donít have the "right" to the same experience he had. Donít stoop to his level.

Give your marriage a chance. Go to a good therapist together or go by yourself. You donít just throw away a 12-year marriage. You can learn to trust again, but not if youíre cheating too.

Imagine yourself alone, with no husband and no boyfriend and nobody to cheat with. Imagine that you have gained the 15 pounds back and you donít feel so flirty. Would you then be happy without your husband? Would you feel as if you had given your marriage a fair chance? Probably not.

Set a time period to work on reawakening the romance and restoring the trust in your marriage Ė say a year. Give it your all. Then if you decide to leave, you will know in your heart that you gave it your best shot instead of responding with revenge cheating.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy



Women Who "Need Space"

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I just want to know if my girlfriend is giving me the runaround? Mistaking my kindness for a fool? My girlfriend claims she needs her space (I am assuming she has needed this in all her relationships). She can be so distant at times; very aloof! She admitted to me that she is very distant at times and needs her space. However, do you think this may be an excuse for something else?

We have not been together for too long (a few months) and I am just wondering if this gives her an ample opportunity to cheat? We mostly see each other on the weekends because of our long work schedules during the actual work week. I know there has been a few nights where she will not call me at all. I may talk to her over IM on the computer, but no oral conversation over the phone?

She claims she has a lot on her plate and she has some work issues going on (I know she is looking for another job). She does not want to discuss what is going on without having to relive the entire situation over again? She is 44 years old and she thinks sometimes I do not act my age(I am 30). DO you think there is some alterior motives here? I admit it would be hard for her to cheat with her schedule; not impossible. The other person (if that is the case) would be getting a little short changed.

Help me please. I am losing my mind!

Dear Losing Your Mind,

Donít lose your mind over this relationship. When a woman or a man says they need space in a relationship, the relationship is almost always doomed. ďNeeding spaceĒ is another way of saying, ďIíve already gotten too much of you.Ē

People who are really ďin loveĒ or even ďin lustĒ with someone else want to be as close to that person as often as possible. They canít get enough togetherness. When someone tells you they want less togetherness, thatís a big danger signal. And it often causes exactly the wrong reaction -- you feel desperate, you make yourself always available, you chase after them, and youíre grateful for whatever crumbs they offer. All of which makes them want to get away even more than before.

Youíve only been together a short time. I donít know if she wants to cheat or she just wants some breathing room. Whatever it is, your only response should be to back off. Tell her to take all the space she needs. Give her more space than she wants, and let her come to you.

The worst position to be in in a relationship is where youíre asking for more and the other person wants to give you less. This woman definitely wants to give you less. She wants to give you less time with her and less information about her and less communication.

You say there are a few nights when she wonít call you at all. That makes me think you are expecting to talk to her every night. Donít try to talk to her every night. Donít IM her all the time. Let her wonder where you are and what youíre doing.

Stop obsessing about whether sheís cheating and start looking for someone else. Donít be so available. Let her wonder whether youíre cheating.

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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