"Ask Dr. Tracy"

3/3/96 Advice Column

"Training wheels lover," Driving men off, Runaway Boyfriend

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I am a guy who is in his mid thirties. I recently met a woman through a video dating service who is recently divorced. I do not know for how long she has been divorced. We have gone out a couple of times and everytime I have asked her to go out she has said yes with a lot of enthusiasm. At the video dating service, her interest in a relationship was to casual date and meet people. I would desperately like to have a relationship with her, but I do not know how to proceed. Should I let her know how interested I am in her or should I proceed slowly with her? Since she is divorced recently, should I not expect to much to come of this relationship? Since I am 34 years of age and have never been married and currently looking for that special someone whom I could spend the rest of my lfe with, is it wrong to want to have a relationship with this woman so much so that I pass up other oportunities? I am still looking for that special someone, but everyone I meet I am starting to compare to the one I really want at this point in time. Where should I go from here?

Dear Confused

Lots of women say their interest is to casually date, when what they really mean is casually date until they find the right guy. But since this lady may still be recovering from her divorce, you'd be wise to take her at her word. Don't pass up other oportunities. Lots of experience with different women will help you make a better decision on a mate.

My friend The Old Seducer says, "She's recently divorced and just getting back into dating? You don't want to be her 'training wheels lover.' Because when she feels comfortable and up to speed as a single woman, the training wheels are gonna come off."

What TOS is referring to is what I call the "interim" man, the one who helps a divorcee through the pain of the divorce, but who never "gets the girl." He's the guy who listens to her whine about her ex, is always there for her, and gets dumped when she regains her self-confidence and finds someone who's more of a challenge and less of a doormat. It doesn't always work out that way, of course, but as a cautionary measure, read "Women to Avoid, Part 2" in my Library, with special attention to "The Walking Wounded."

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I have a question nagging my mind? I am in my twenties. I have lots of friends (both male and female). But I have never had a boyfriend. I think that is abnormal since most of my friends don't have this problem. I think that guys look for looks (which I don't think I have). But really, what else can it be? Another problem is that if there someone I like then I will go to great lengths to ignore him and give him a hard time. Flirting for me is way too difficult and nothing ever happens. HELP!!!

Thanks, Fran

Dear Fran

You ask "what else (other than looks) can it be?" and then answer your own question.

You're driving men off. Men like encouragement. They look for signals that they're welcome -- a smile, a seductive look, a subtle touch. "Giving him a hard time" doesn't qualify. If you refuse to learn to flirt, you're not participating in our species' age-old mating ritual.

Flirting comes naturally to some women. Others find it initially difficult or awkward and then quit trying, taking the holier-than-thou position that it's "demeaning" and somehow beneath them. I suppose they figure their Prince Charming will have radar vision. You and the woman in "Too Proud to Flirt" are at least being honest in saying you find flirting difficult. I respect that. Here's how to learn.

First, read some simple steps to get you started in "Flirting and Meeting", and then some more advanced techniques in "The Amazing Power of Mirroring."

Learning these techniques can take some time, so while you're learning and practicing, think about trying some verbal flirting online. One reason you're afraid to flirt is fear of rejection. If you flirt on the Web, you don't have to worry about face-to-face rejection or about how you look. That could be a less threatening beginning. Try it!

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I am a 25 year old man, that considers himself a very nice and caring man. I have been living with a woman since the 1st of February. The problem is that things do not seem to be working out. I feel that I have been giving all that I can give. It has not helped that some of life goals did not happen this year. I wanted to go back and work on a Ph.D. in Business.

I am finding it very difficult to leave the relationship because we are expecting a child at the end of September. I believe that this child deserves 2 parents that love him/her, but I don't believe that if I am not happy the best thing for the child is a marriage. Yes, I care about this woman. I just really feel that our lives are too different, in the ways we react to situations. I feel that she is asking me to make the happiness for both of us. I am having a hard enough time with my own, and don't feel that I am responsible for hers. I am an independent type of person. Yes, I need support and love, but I don't need it constantly. I feel that this is what she wants from me. I feel that I have very little private time... I feel that I am constantly having to be with her. I have not developed any friends in the area to do things with, besides my Ex and her best friend. We (Ex & Me) are going to be friends.

I lately have felt that I should end my current relationship and just stay single for a few years and see where that leads to. I do care deeply about the woman I am living with, and things are difficult because her family basically kicked her out of the house. That is why we are living together. My family told me to think for myself and do what is best for me. I do want this child, I am not sure about the relationship though. I wish I knew what I know now last summer. But I can't live in the past. Life must go forward.

Dear Going Forward

You know you're being a jerk for even thinking about leaving a woman who was been kicked out by her parents and is now pregnant with your child. You can't have the child, end the relationship with the mother and go merrily on your way. You have to take some responsibility here. You should at least stick around until the baby is old enough for daycare and your girlfriend can take care of herself.

Find new friends -- and not your ex. Encourage your live-in girlfriend to find activities that are fulfilling to her. Make plans about how you intend to take care of your child. You have a lot of decisions to make, since it seems that you've already made the decision to become parents. Now you have to do everything that's necessary to take care of your future child.

If you leave now, you're going to be explaining your runaway act for the rest of your life. I'm not saying you have to get married, but you do have to be responsible.

Questions may be submitted to Dr. Tracy's column by e-mail. Dr. Tracy selects 3 questions of the most general interest per week to answer in this column, since it is not possible for her to answer all questions submitted.

(Featured art from cover of Letting Go, by Zev Wanderer and Tracy Cabot, published by "Bitan" Publishers, Tel-Aviv, Israel)
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