"Ask Dr. Tracy"

3/12/2000 Advice Column

My Wife Works at a "Gentlemen's Club"
Dump the Guy; Get a Dog
Help With Stepkids

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I have been married for 9 years and although I think my wife has been straight with me I can not be sure..? Anyway she recently went to werk for a Gentlemens Club as a waitress.. Shortly afterards she started to change thing about herself,.. She shaved her personal Area? she dress's completely different,.. She keeps refering to flirting but saying flirting is different than making love or in her words fucking? She admits to flirting? But I do not know what else might be happening ,.. She has already told me 2 stories which I confirmed to be a lie? What can I do? I really need help. I do love her and I have told her if she will just talk to me maybe we can werk it out? but she proclaims nothing is happening?

Help me?

Dear Worried Husband,

Your wife is in a dangerous situation. She says she's not doing anything with the men at the club where she works, but the changes in her behavior would indicate otherwise. Changing the way you dress and shaving one's personal areas is just the beginning, and shows that your wife is beginning to accept the values of the people she works with.

It starts with flirting, but that's definitely not the end of it. Life in a "gentlemen's club" is not like life in an office or a factory. And the customers aren't all "gentlemen." Many come to the club looking for sex and they pay big bucks to get it. Nobody's immune to that kind of temptation - not waitresses or hatcheck girls. Sooner or later they all begin to think, "Why shouldn't I get the big bucks too?"

If she admits to flirting, but not screwing, that's fine, but there's a lot of unexplored territory between flirting and intercourse. There's touching, kissing, showing your body and all the other things that go on in a club.

When you're around a gentlemen's club and everyone accepts the behaviors that go on there as perfectly normal and no big deal, you soon begin to accept that it's okay too. That's what's happening to your wife. Her values are changing and soon, perhaps, she won't see anything wrong with much more than flirting. If she hasn't already engaged in sexual favors for money, you can be sure that's just an easy step away. It's almost impossible not to slide into easy money and loose morals when you work in a gentlemen's club. The big red flag for you should be the fact that your wife has already lied to you about a couple of things. There are probably way more lies you haven't found out about yet.

Do whatever you can to get her out of the club and working in a "straight" world. Help her go back to school to learn a skill that will enable her to earn good money without working in a gentlemen's club. Offer to work extra hours yourself to make up for the money she makes if she leaves the club. Get her out of there.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I have gone through your love library, but this is a rather unique problem that doesn't seem to be covered. For the past week I have been very sad and depressed because my dog died, and I was very attached to her. My live in boyfriend dismissed it as nothing big, which broke my heart even more. We are arguing a lot over nothing, I can't seem to break the depression, and he says he will give me some "space" which means he will run with his friends for days. I love him, but it seems as though I can't be happy until he is sad with me for a while, which he won't be.

Please help.

Dear Depressed,

First, I am so sorry about your loss. A dog can represent a whole part of your life, and when she's gone, you feel as if you've lost a best friend. It's normal for you to be sad and depressed without your old friend.

The best thing you could do for yourself would be to get a new puppy. Your new dog won't replace your old one, and you'll always remember the dog you lost, but a new dog will give you someone to love unconditionally. Your dog will give you more affection than your boyfriend and will not run away when you're sad.

Then, after you get the new puppy, get a new boyfriend.

You love a guy who's just not able to be there for you when you need him most? What good is he? Anybody can hang with you when things are great. It's when life turns sad that you need someone who really loves you, to hug you and be understanding.

Some guys are only able to be around when everything's going great. They're only happy if you're happy. But when you're unhappy, they run. Guys like him are no good for the long haul, because life isn't always a big happy merry-go-round. Your boyfriend lacks one of the most important qualities for a good relationship - empathy - the ability to sympathize and understand someone else's feelings. He obviously needs to grow up and learn to look outside of himself and is definitely not ready to be a good mate.

Tell him to go find his own "space" -- and stay there. You deserve better.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

Dear Dr. Tracy,

My husband and I have been married four years today and I have a major problem with his ex and his kids.

Iam 39 and he is 27. I have two grown children that I raised by myself and he has two smaller children that his ex has custody of. The problem is that I always have to put off whatever I want for his kids and it seems like I am the only one making any sacrifices.

like today is my anniversary and instead of doing something for me, he is taking the money to put his kids in soccer. I don`t have anything against him trying to help his kids out but why does he always choose them over me?

His ex expects us to have the kids every weekend and if I tell her no then I am the bad guy and I am trying to keep him away from his kids. When they are here he may spend a total of 15 minutes with them and then I have them for the rest of the time. Please respond to this I need help desrerately. I am very depressed and I need help badly.

Dear Desperate,

You have a problem that's not going to go away. Your husband will always have these two kids and their mother in his life. Since they're young, I suggest you get used to them. Try to think of them as your own. You knew when you married him that the kids were part of the deal. It's always upsetting when a man puts his kids ahead of his wife, but when push comes to shove, most divorced men do exactly that.

On the other hand, your husband should consult with you about when they're going to be at your house and exactly what he's going to do to help take care of them. Also, he should consult with you about how much money he spends on them and when. But even if he does ask you, it's hard to say no without being the bad guy.

It seems reasonable to me that you should have the kids every other weekend. Every weekend without a letup is a big thing to ask. However, he may not want to give up having them because he feels guilty for leaving them in the first place. His ex-wife may not give up having you take the kids on the weekends because she wants to go out. You are really trapped. If you say no, you're the wicked stepmother. If you don't say no, you're the victim.

Every blended family has problems over time and money spent on previous families, and nobody gets away without some bad feelings. The ex-wife is angry because she's stuck with the kids and no husband. The kids feel like they're always competing with the new wife for attention, and the new wife always feels like she's second fiddle to his kids.

I'd suggest that you and your husband find a family therapist and work on making arrangements that are fairer to you. You do deserve an anniversary present. You do deserve some weekends to yourself. But getting those things won't be easy.

You're not the only one making any sacrifices. It just feels that way. Try to remember that, most of the time, she has the kids and you have the guy.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

Submitting a Question to this column

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