Dr. Tracy's Advice Column

Cartoon Kiss


Dad Has to Go
When No Means No
Torn between Two Men

Dad Has to Go

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I am a 41 year old female in a 9 year relationship with a good man, we are not married. This is the history:

His father has lived with us since we moved in together.Recently he became disabled and started staying at home.During this time he drank excessively, all day, while his son was at work.But he became a problem for me during the day because he would do weird things, he would click and whistle at me, and mumble around the house, he would just come into the room and stare at me, he would urinate on the floor in front of the toilet and leave poop on the toilet seat, light switch and on and on and deny it was him.

And I found all these things generally disturbing.I talked to my partner, he made promises because his dad made promises but the end result is nothing changed and I am the only one affected.For the last year his dad has caused major problems between my partner and me.I am the one making concessions, I am the one being affected by his father's behavior and I get promises things are going to change but it's been over a year and again, I am being asked to make concessions,again, so his dad won't be disturbed.

I'm not sure what I am asking.I am running out of cogent explanations of how this situaton is making me feel and I feel powerless because nothing is changing.

Dear Powerless,

You are only as powerless as you allow yourself to be. There is no reason you should put up with this kind of abuse, and that's what it is.

Your "good man" is abusing you by making you take care of his father. Unfortunately, you have been doing it for so long, he thinks it's okay. There are only two solutions to your problem. One is to decide you will have dad in your life for the rest of his life, and the other one is to decide, it's dad or you.

Frankly, dad belongs in a care home where they are used to taking care of people with his problems. There is nothing you can do to make dad sober and clean. He's only going to get worse and you will become more and more miserable.

Get a spine and tell your guy that it's dad or you. And mean it. Set a date. Tell him that if dad isn't gone by that date, you are going to leave and they can deal with the problems by themselves.

There is a good chance that if your man sees you are serious, he'll take care of the problem. But be prepared, you may have to leave him before he sees how bad it really is.

Right now, he thinks you will go on this way forever and that he can continue to promise you everything and do nothing. What you've been doing hasn't made any difference at all. Only by changing your behavior will you change the situation.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

When No Means No

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I am single, 20, and shes also single, 19. Well its a long story, I will try my best to summarize it.

One of the girls in my college that I really find attractive, fortunately we had a mutual friend so I did not have many problems in getting to know her. Instead of directly asking her out I decided to be friends with her, using that mutual friend as the medium I started with Hey Hello! she responded very well, whenever we passed by each other, we smiled to each other. I found she responds to me in a very good manner.

After some weeks we got a direct contact, we used to chat on web and text however we did not use to be with each other in college. Soon we had college vacations for about 3 months, during this period our friendship reached another level, we used to talk to each other (chatting on internet or texting) everyday, sometimes even for 6 or 8 hours a day.

We had alot of fun talking to each other, had a good chemistry and really had a lovely time. By now we had developed a good understanding and trust. While at vacations she had left to another city so we never met each other.

I never directly told her that I actually like her and did not want to be friends only. However I did show some signs of attraction towards her, e.g. said words etc that normal friends won't, she got an idea that I want to be more that just a friend. Okay in between these three months of our relation's peak she once told me that she didn't like texting and will be in contact with me only via the internet (at this time we talked only via text and chatted on internet only once in a week or so). I asked her the exact reason, she said no, its not about you, nothing is wrong with you but I just don't want to text.

I did convince her to change her decision but after a month she again said that she didn't want to text, again after a long long emotional discussion I convinced her to change her decision.

Now the college was about to restart, I committed a very minor mistake for which I said sorry, sorry and sorry. She didn't want to talk to me after that (as if she was simplyawaiting an excuse to endup), I tried to convince her with all I had, I guess I over tried, so much that may be I degraded myself and lost respect.

Anyway, things took a turn. She said we are no more friends, I know you just because of that mutual friend we have, and we will only have hello/hi. I asked her what had happened? Why is she saying so? She never answered and said 'this is the way I am' just stay away from me.

I talked on the topic 3, 4 times and every time I talked it got worse, the more I tried the worse it got. (Like initially she was saying sorry we can't continue, I know its wrong but sorry). Then she got a little straight and said she didn't want to continue, thats it. Finally she started responding rudely.

I tried to convince her in college, text and internet. I made her remember all the good times we had spent, and I told her she is hurting me by doing this and since I was attached to her emotionally now, I am feeling very bad for all this, she should not leave like this.

However finally the situation took its worst face, while I was still trying to convince her she showed no respect and replied 'just get away, this is too much, don't text me back and neither am I going to reply you anymore. Just get lost, I don't want to talk to you, do whatever you want.

I have no idea what has happened... I had tried to ask her many times what was wrong, but she never told me anything.

Was she bored? Did I lean too much to convince her? May be when she had initially told me that she didn't want to text anymore, she wanted to endup this even that time?

I still like her very much and we spent so much good times, now I just can't let her go. What should I do?

Dear Can't Let Go,

You must start with the realization that most relationships just don't work out. If they did, everyone would be married to their high school sweetheart. This one never really got started. You should have quit when she first told you she didn't want to text.

When a woman says she doesn't want to text, talk, kiss, touch, date, or be with you, that's a sign that she isn't interested. You had a good time talking, but that's as far as it went. Talking is not romance, let alone a real love relationship, it's company.

If she was interested in you, she would want to see you, be with you, and get closer than texting or talking on the phone. She said it wasn't you, but of course that was just a polite lie. The truth is that she doesn't want to be with you, and probably never did. She had all she wanted of you on the phone and by text and wanted no more.

Instead of taking a hint, you became more and more persistent and kept demanding a reason for her lack of interest. How could you not realize that she tried a little friendship with you and then decided she simply wasn't interested? There doesn't need to be a reason, and if there is one, a woman doesn't owe it to you to explain it. You kept insisting on having her attention until she finally had to tell you to take a hike, get out of her life and leave her alone.

Of course you pushed it too far. And the more you pressed, the more desperate you seemed, which is very unattractive. You should have backed off at the first "no," but you didn't. Learn to take no as a truthful answer, and back off. This just isn't going to be. Get it through your head. This woman doesn't want any part of you.

You wound up harassing her. You're lucky she didn't report you. I don't blame her for wanting you out of her life.

The next time you find a woman you care about, be more discreet. Don't push for more than she wants to give you. Don't give more than she gives. Most obvious of all, don't chase her after she says she doesn't want you in her life.

You went way too far with this relationship and kept at it well beyond the point when you should have taken a hint and left.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

Torn between Two Men

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I am a 24 year old single mother. I was involved with my daughter's father since I was 17 years old. He was my first love, my best friend, my everything. There have been several occassions where he has cheated on me, one with my best friend and one with my daughters teacher. The affair with my best friend was very early on but the teacher affair was about 1 year ago to date. We have always had an on again, off again relationship but with the last affair I decided that I wasnt going to put up with it anymore and we broke up.

A few months ago I met a man whom I started to date. He is everything I have ever dreamed of. He is so respectful to me and makes me feel absolutely incredible. There is no other feeling like the feeling I have when I am with him. The only problem is hes married and has six kids. His wife is across seas in the Army. She will be home in a few months. He tells me that she has broke his heart, he found love letters she wrote to another guy. He tells me that he loves me and wants to be with me, he just has to handle her in his own way. What gets me though, is that when she calls he still tells her "I love you" when they hang up. He has told me before that on the strength of the kids he would try to make it work but he wont forget what she did to him and he doesnt think they will last long term.

This has taken a huge toll on my heart. I have started to go back to my daughters father for comfort and he has been trying to change and be a better person. He has been so sweet and loving towards me and I really feel like I should stop being so selfish and be back with him because of our daughter. The married man is starting to seem like a fantasy to me. I just dont ever see him leaving his wife, no matter how much he hurts, because they have six kids together. Its starting to effect my every day life. I am so depressed lately and I dont know what to do. I am trying not to make the wrong decision. My heart says to be with my new love, but my head is saying to be with my daughters father, who loves me unconditionally and can father my second child when the time is right. Im so confused! Please help.

Dear Confused,

First of all, you are already a single mother. You did it once. Don't do it again. If you are going to have another child, get married first, whether it's to your daughter's father or someone else.

Definitely leave the married man. No matter what, he's married. It doesn't matter that he makes you feel incredible. He has a wife and six kids already. The last thing he needs is you, and you certainly don't need him. Your life is complicated enough.

Also, you're right that Mr. Married man isn't about to leave his wife and kids. He's playing you and you're falling for it. Married men will say anything to get a woman to love them. It's an ego thing and he just wants to feel like a big shot who can get you in bed even though he's married with six kids. Don't be a fool. Take your heart back from this philanderer. Remember how you felt when you were the victim of an unfaithful partner.

Be respectful of his wife. She's serving in the Army, and whatever suspicious letters she's written are up to the two of them to resolve. Be respectful of yourself and find someone who isn't married. As for your daughter's father, he could be "the one." But right now, you aren't in a position to make that decision. Once you have dumped Mr. Married man for good, then you will be able to decide if your ex is right for you.

It's possible that he will be faithful now but there's always a chance he would cheat again if you got into a relationship with him. Sometimes relationships have run their course. You've been on and off with him so many times, I wonder what makes you think this time would be different.

In this case, you can't follow your heart, and your head could be leading you down the wrong path. Instead of making a decision right now, put it off. Continue to see your ex, but don't make a permanent commitment to him until you are sure he's changed his cheating ways.

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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