"Ask Dr. Tracy"

3/8/98 Advice Column


Dear Dr. Tracy,

I met a guy on-line (he answered an old on-line ad of mine) almost two years ago. I'm Asian, by the way and he's Latin American but born here. He was taking care of his invalid Mom so he was rather cooped up in their apartment. At first I was reluctant to get to know him more because he did not have a job and only had odd jobs (building computers and repair). I got to like him over the months because he had a good sense of humor, a very nice man and a good heart. We became good friends and talked often on the phone or on-line or exchanged e-mail. However, he did emphasize to me that he had a handicap. He injured his eye so he could not see very well with one eye plus the fact that he is overweight which to me doesn't matter. It's his personality and what he is inside that counts and I liked what I saw and who I know.

Sometimes he would hint about us getting together and our conversations would get a little raunchy but we felt comfortable with each other. We had mentioned it was like we knew each other forever.

In November his Mom passed away and things changed. I guess because he has so much pressure like looking for a job, a place to stay, and getting back in the stream of things. He is now staying temporarily with a cousin while looking for a job. He has some odd jobs on the side in the meantime - handyman and computer. Where before I was always welcome, this time he says I was crowding him and not giving him space. This was true. I was afraid of the changes in his life and I was used to knowing he was always there in the apartment because he couldn't easily get out and now suddenly he was free and I guess I felt insecure about it. I know he likes me because he does show it but there are times he is not forthcoming about it.

We have seen each other twice. The second time I stayed longer and we got to know each other better. He asked why I wanted to see him again and I said so we would get to know each other better. I think it was a silly question because we were, I felt, close since we chatted almost everyday. During my second visit, we almost were intimate but we both hesitated. The next day he said it would not be wise to be sexually intimate because things change. I stopped because I thought maybe I was just there conveniently for him. Bottom line is he said his priority now was to find a job and a place to stay. He couldn't take care of himself much less take care of me. He said to give him 6 months and we will re-evaluate at that time. What I don't know is if at the end of 6 months it could either be he will think we were not meant for each other or just to give him time but we are sure to be for one another. I will be putting my life on hold because I will feel like a traitor if I go out with anyone else and I told him that that meant I will be committed to him for the 6 months. But he said friends are not a problem.

I really really like him and have had depressive moods and anxieties and it has not been good on my health. I wish I could look towards a happy future. I don't know whether I am right in waiting for his decision which seemed reasonable at that time but now I find it too long and can't bear it. I have waited for a relationship for 20 years (I'm 45 and he's 54). I'm wondering if there's anything wrong with this relationship or that his past circumstances were what has made him today. Am I right in waiting. I like him too much to just give up.

Dear Waiting,

This relationship has a potential problems just being cross-cultural, so it's a good idea that you waited before deciding to jump into bed. Smart man for putting you off, and smart you for not pushing for sex.

The fact that this guy is overweight, one-eyed, unemployed and without a place of his own will definitely affect his self-esteem. Until he gets his act together, he's not going to feel worthy of your love, so don't insist that he take it.

Since you've already waited 20 years to find someone to love, what's another six months? Get a little perspective and if you really care for this guy, back off and reevaluate the relationship in six months. Can a 45 year old Asian woman and a 54 year old Hispanic man find happiness together? There's no reason why not. But you will have to wait. I'd say you have very little to lose and everything to gain by giving him some time.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

Dear Dr. Tracy,

PLEASE keep my name, mailbox and any identifying information very confidential!!!

I really need your help, so please respond to my letter. I know that you recieve many requests, and must limit your responses to those of general interest. Unfortunately, mine will not fit that catagory. I beg you to respond to mine nonetheless.

I am 36 years old and have been seeing the same man for 17 years. He is 42 years old and we live together in a house which we jointly own. We have lived together for about 16 years. We met in college and fell in love with each other almost immediately. For the first 5 or 6 years our relationship was awesome. We had the occassional arguement, but nothing which lasted very long. We really respected and trusted each other. We always helped each other and we shared a fantastic sex life. He was my "prince charming", everything I had ever hoped for. About this time, we were seriously discussing marriage. Then I found out that he is a transvestite/ cross- dresser (I don't know what the difference is in those terms, if any). I was and am, repulsed by that. He knows about my feelings. He promised me that he would "stop" and I told him that I would not marry him until he did. Needless to say, I am still single.

For the last 10 or 11 years, our sex life is almost non-existent. He has no interest in me at all. On an average, we have sex about twice or three times a YEAR.--and ONLY after I "nag" him into it. I have begged him to explain why he is not interested in me anymore. He responds by telling me that he truly loves me. I typically ask him something like "if that is true, what is the problem?". He generally replies by telling me he was not feeling well, he was tired, etc. Now, I could understand being tired and sick once in awhile---but not 362 days a year!

I do love him very much and he is my best friend, but I am a relatively young woman with a very helthy sex drive. And I have tried my best to understand why he isn't attracted to me. I am still about the same physically as when we first met (maybe 10 pounds heavier, but he complained that I was "too thin " before). I have tried so many times to help the situation. For example, once I "made a date " with him. I took the day off and called him at work and invited him to meet me at our favorite restaurant. I flirted with him on the phone and he seemed genuinely interested and intrigued. I started by dressing up in the sexiest dress and lingerie that I could find, filling our living room and bedroom with dozens of candles, and setting up a fire and air mattress with satin sheets in our living room. I made sure my hair and makeup were perfect. At this point it had been about 17 or 18 months since we had sex. I was nervous..it was almost like my "first time" with him. To help the situation, I also bought several items which are way out of my norm---a "playful" sex game, edible underwear massage oil, etc. I really wanted one night of sex like we used to have. We met at restaurant, as planned, and had a wonderful dinner complete with "flirting" etc. When we got home, we started kissing, and playing the game I purchased. In the game, players "lost" clothing. He seemed interested, but once we hit the sheets, nothing happened. This particular evening was about 8 months ago. I tried similar evenings a few other times. Some of them were much less "lavish" and some were less "pressure", but none of them made any difference.

Recently, he lost his job. One day I came home from work and found women's underwear on the living room floor. Most women would suspect another woman, but I really doubt it in my case. I have also found cut outs of photos, like you would find in playboy, nearby on the floor. The items I found were definitly overlooked by him in "cleaning up " before I came home. I don't understand this side of him. I don't understand why he is not attracted to me at all anymore. I don't understand what connection--if any--there is between the women's clothing thing and his impotence?/lack of desire?--(I don't know what to call it).

And to add icing to the cake--I have NO ONE who I can talk to about this. I am so embarrassed about not being attractive to him AND no one has a clue about the women's clothing thing----and I don't know if I could ever discuss that with even my close friends. From the outside, everyone thinks he and I are the perfect couple. If they only knew how many tears I have cried.

I am at the end of my rope. I am so depressed and confused. I suggested counciling to him several times before, but he would not even try it. I guess the only choice I have is to leave him. After 17 or so years, I am afraid to venture out on my own again, especially when I do still love him. I am hoping that you can suggest something so that we can salvage our relationship, but I fear that my choice is either leave or never have sex again. Some choice!

Dr. Tracey, please please help me---and please keep my name/mailbox confidential. His anger would be beyond description if he knew I was even writing you about this.

Thank you for taking the time to read this letter. I feel a little better already and am very hopeful that you will give me guidance and help me understand.

Dear Transvestite Lover,

You've been living with this man for 11 years and having a lousy sex life, waiting for it to get better? It's time to face facts. This guy is doing exactly what he wants to do. He's cross-dressing, always has been, and has no intention of stopping.

He may love you and still cross-dress. He may love you and not have sex with you. The real question is whether you can stand being with a cross-dressing guy who won't make love to you. If he refuses to go to counseling with you, that's a sure sign that he's not going to change, has no intention of changing and -- most important -- is unwilling to work on this relationship.

Now you have to decide. Live with him the way he is, accept him for who he is and what he has to offer, or move on.

You're at the height of your sexuality and will be for some time. This is not going to get any easier for you. You're going to be hornier and hornier and he's not going to help you out.

Perhaps if you're going to stay together, you should try being permissive about his cross-dressing. Lots of women actually help their cross-dressing men buy undies and dress up. Your constant disapproval has got to be destructive to your goals of having a sexual loving relationship. Maybe if you accepted his sexual desires for cross-dressing and allowed him to indulge in what really turns him on (dressing) he'd be more turned on to you. Or perhaps if you want to stay and can't accept him, you should have an arrangement -- one where you're both allowed to fulfill your sexuality in the way that pleases you, yet stay together.

If that's not okay, then you have no choice. Get out while you're young enough to find someone else.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I am writing to you because I am in a state of great despair !

I was in a relationship with a man for approx. 4 months. We met on-line and had 5 dates before we became intimate. As we were both dating other people at the time, we decided to become exclusive after being intimate. The decision was mutual and we both were very happy with it.

I just turned 42 and he's 40. I was married before and never had any children, but wanted to eventually (with the right partner in a solid, stable relationship). He's never been married and has only been in 3-4 longer term relationships).

We liked spending time together and for the most part, we had a satisfying relationship. There were some problems a few times which caused some upsets for both of us, but we were still committed to make it work.

About 3 weeks ago I found out I was pregnant with him. When I delivered the news, he was pretty calm about it. He expressed concerns about the relationship, but then he wanted to work towards the "ideal", i.e., marriage/family. He suggested counseling for the relationship and subsequently for the decisions that need to be made in regards to us and the baby. I agreed and was very positive and confidant that we could work on our problems and make the right decision.

Well, within one week his feelings changed and he broke up with me. He still wanted to do the counseling about the decision for the pregnancy. We have had a few sessions so far, but no decision yet. I'm leaning towards having the baby, but it really scares me having to go through this alone. I cannot count on him being there and that makes it very, very hard. He was (and still is) hoping that I won't keep it and is very upset right now that I even consider it. We have some more counseling sessions scheduled, but I need to make a decision soon as I'm running out of time (I am 8 weeks + pregnant).

Dr. Tracy, I really want my child to have a father and I wanted him to be it and be my husband. Could he change his mind? I am 42 and this may be my last chance to have a child ! I am so torn, especially since I still have feelings for him and hope that he might change his mind. How should I act towards him ? Him being angry and possibly hostile hurts me and might influence my decision. I want the best for me and the child. He abandoned me and the relationship at the most critical time. What can I expect of him ?

I am so depressed. desperate, torn and scared !! Please help !!

Dear Desperate,

At your age, 42, there is no reason to make this decision based on whether he's going to be the perfect father with the perfect relationship. You're right. This could very well be your last chance in life to have a child. Getting pregnant when you're older is iffy at best. So make this decision for you and your future child, not him.

There is no guarantee that any woman is going to have the father of her child stand by her forever, or even for nine months.

Don't let his anger influence your decision. Have your baby if you want it, and he'll probably come around and be there when he realizes he can't control the situation. You can't expect him to be everything you want. You can only depend on yourself in this situation.

There are lots of women out there who have babies and raise them alone. I also know of many circumstances like yours where the woman had the child and the man turned into the perfect husband and father afterwards, but of course you can't count on that either.

If you're able, emotionally and financially, if you have the support of friends and family, and you want a baby, have it. Don't let him or your feelings for him rob you of this most important opportunity to be a mother or you will regret it for the rest of your life.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

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