5/23/99 Advice Column
I desperately need advice on how to get through the time he lives with us - from the looks of things, he's going to be there a while. I am truly desperate. I feel invaded and my s.o. feels I am "borrowing trouble" if I try to discuss boundaries and rules for this kid. He loves to party and has a lot of friends. I just know the first time that phone rings in the middle of the night from one of his buddies, I will come completely unglued. I don't want to alienate dad or the kid, but I cannot tolerate watching this adult child mooch off his father, who is too kind for his own good. And I cannot tolerate this feeling of being invaded. My privacy is precious to me. Moving out over this is situation is not an option - neither dad or I want this relationship to end, and that has not ever been discussed. One last example and I will close so you can (hopefully!) offer me some advice. S.O. and I have a standing weekly dinner date with two other couples that we all really look forward to. Well, the cincher for me was this afternoon when dad invited junior along, since he didn't want him to be sitting at home by himself with no dinner (he later told me). Am I wrong to expect that we should continue to do the things we did before we had a houseguest? Please, please respond to this. I really don't know how to handle all these feelings I have. I am a very outspoken and honest person. Can you please offer advice on controlling my tongue?! So many times I've wanted to just explode but I end up enraged and holding it all in, then blowing up at dad when it's just the two of us. That isn't fair to him. Please, Dr. Tracy, I need professional advice before my relationship goes down the tubes. Just sign me,
Desperate Step mom
Learn to love the son and don't criticize the way his father indulges him. I have seen longterm marriages fall apart because the wife criticizes the husband's handling of the children. You're in an especially touchy position because of your age -- how can you act like a tough stepmom when you're only 9 years older?
Instead of getting involved in parenting, let his father come to see that the boy is spoiled and lazy. Eventually, he'll try bringing the party home and his father will begin to realize he's being taken advantage of. If you say it though, you're buying trouble. In the meantime, begin to make private time for just the two of you.
Find a private space that's just yours, away from everyone, so that you can enjoy your privacy. Insist that the two of you have grown-up time alone and then plan separate times which include the errant son. Set aside a room that's off-limit to the son - one that's just for you and his father. Make arrangements to travel a lot - after all, you now have a built-in housesitter. Find a hobby that you can both enjoy that will take you away -- golf, for instance, or diving.
A twenty-one year old isn't going to want to hang out with his parents forever. Keep telling yourself he'll be gone soon. Hasten his departure by playing classical music or old 50's or 60's music in the house. "Help" him by "cleaning" his room when he's gone. Both will drive him crazy but are not obviously antagonistic.
When you feel the urge to blow up at dad, remember that's not in your best interest -- it will destroy your relationship.
Sure, there's friendship and that's nice, but when a couple sleeps together all the time with no sex, their libido will either go away entirely (which yours hasn't done) or they'll begin to resent each other.
If you marry him, you'll only be frustrated and pulled toward extra-marital sex with the first man who comes along who turns you on. Marrying a man who you don't want to have sex with is like going to an Italian restaurant when you hate garlic. What's the point?
Since you have a normal, intact sex drive, you should find someone you can enjoy having sex with. Don't marry a man who you doesn't turn you on. You'll be denying yourself an important part of marriage. Since you haven't been physically attracted to your fiance since the beginning, your friendship isn't likely to turn into a sexy marriage. Nor is your fiance likely to become a sexual being if he hasn't been up till now.
You're too young and too sexy to give up sex forever.
She knows you're no longer there pining for her anymore, and she misses having someone who loves her and might just be waiting for her to think things through. She wants you back in that insecure position so that she'll feel secure.
Don't be taken in. Don't let yourself become the backup lover for someone who wants to play around and have you on call just in case.
Even though she's crying and says she misses you, she's still saying she doesn't know what she is doing and can't make up her mind. Nothing's really changed except who's crying now.
Don't give up feeling good about yourself and wind up back in the same situation. Either ignore her, or tell her you'll be looking for someone who knows what she wants. Once your ex finds out that you're with someone new, there may be even more tearful phone calls. But don't be taken in.
If you dated for two years, that's plenty of time for her to know if she wants to spend the rest of her life with you.
Dr. Tracy says, "Is your question urgent? Many of the most beseeching, desperate messages I get are not answered in this column because the answer is just a couple of clicks away in my Love Library. Have you tried my Love Library? I know that nobody goes to libraries anymore, but check this one out -- it's so easily searchable that it's fun and easy to use!"
If you can't find your answer in the Library and you feel you MUST have an answer, you can get a personal answer from Dr. Tracy within 48 hours by availing yourself of her inexpensive private counseling.