Dr. Tracy's Advice Column

Cartoon Kiss

3/17/2002

His Brother's Keeper
Crazy in Love
Getting Him Back



His Brother's Keeper

Dear Dr. Tracy,

Hi. I am 21 years old and have been with my boyfriend for about 4 1/2 years. We have been living together for about 3 years. My boyfriend's brother was having marital problems, left his wife, and asked if he could stay with us for one month. We agreed, after all, it is his brother and it was only one month. Well, 6 months later, he's still living with us, I think that he's back together with his wife, but is not living with her because he, I think, is waiting for her to have her baby (that she is having for another man). He has totally taken over our apartment, is paying his share of the rent and the bills, but he doesn't buy any groceries, or necessities. I call him a "partial freeloader."

The point is I am really not happy with the situation anymore, it feels like I cannot call my house my home. I have explained my feelings to my boyfriend, and even though I don't want to ever come between him and his family, I just want my feelings to be considered. I t is obvious, however, that his brother, for the past ten years has always chosen his wife before any member of his family. My boyfriend is also getting tired of the situation but is too afraid to talk to his brother about it. This is really tearing our relationship apart, we're always fighting and I honestly don't know how I feel about him anymore.

I have told my boyfriend that I never want to come before his family and he responded by saying that one day, he hoped that I would be his family. I just feel really alone because we never spend anytime together anymore because he is always with his brother, and when we try to spend time together, it turns into a fight about his brother.

I know that I cannot understand the position he is in, but he also cannot understand mine. Any suggestions on what I should do?

Dear Unhappy Hostess,

Houseguests are like fish - after three days, they begin to stink. Your boyfriend's brother is long past his three-day limit. Six months is way too long to have someone living with you, interfering with your relationship, and overstaying his welcome.

It's time to have a talk with your boyfriend. Say three or four nice things first, and then tell him you understand he loves his brother and that you have nothing against his brother, and that you want to always welcome his family. However, you have reached the limit of your hospitality. Then set a limit for how long he can stay. If you and your boyfriend can't come to agreement over when his brother must leave, then you have to set the limit yourself.

Tell your boyfriend you understand his reluctance to ask his brother to move out. Then tell him that if he can't bring himself to do that, you will do it for him. Or, if the brother is still there in six weeks (or whatever time limit you set), that you will leave. Then promise that you won't bring the issue up again.

By leaving, if it is necessary, you give your boyfriend a chance to miss you and to think about what life without you is really like. You also take yourself and your boyfriend out of the pattern of fighting all the time, which is bound to destroy your relationship.

Eventually, everyone has to make a choice between their birth family and their new family - the one they make with their own mates. Loyalty to one's birth family is wonderful, but not at the expense of one's husband or wife. Hopefully, love can find a way for you and your mate to keep both your birth families happy. However, if you must choose, the choice has to be your mate.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy



Crazy in Love

Dear Dr. Tracy,

Im in love with a very pretty 21 yr. lady, i am 51 yrs old. she lives with me now and i just found out hours ago that she finally came clean and said that since we have been together she has used crack several times due to the fact that a so called girlfriend slipped her some and she didn't know it. her most recent us was about 3 wks ago.

i have offered her to pay for her to get help. she is now in counseling to get back on medicine for her depression, bi polar, she doesn't have a job and all she does is sit around our home. yes she does help clean,laundry,cook.

im very much in love with her, but she doesn't want me to spend money on her drugs [crack] yet she doesn't want me to spend money on her drug treatment. I don't care what it costs. She is more important than money to me. what am i to do? all i have told her is that i'll be there for her no matter what. yet i don't want her to be dishonest with me and hide it when she uses it. I do love her very much. i will be by her side no matter what happens.

thanks for any advice on handling this

Dear Gullible,

If you believe your girlfriend got "slipped" crack and didn't know it, I have a bridge to sell you, and some land in the desert, too. Nobody "slips" someone crack. Smoking crack is not like smoking a cigarette. You don't smoke crack by accident. If you're smoking crack, you know what you're smoking. And you don't have the same accident "several times."

You're being taken for a ride, and your girlfriend is going to break your heart over and over again if you don't get out of this relationship. What on earth do you think a 21-year-old woman wants with a 51-year-old man?

You are doing all the wrong things. Telling a woman you'll be there for her no matter what is like giving her a go-ahead to walk all over you, to do whatever she wants with no repercussions and to totally disregard you in every possible way.

She doesn't want you to pay for drug rehabilitation because she doesn't want to be rehabilitated. She simply wants to sit around your house and be taken care of. If you continue to support her while demanding no reforms on her part, she will get worse and worse, become more depressed, take more drugs, and drag you down emotionally and financially.

You are becoming totally co-dependent - you are making her problems yours and using her weaknesses to control her. I recommend that you read "Co-dependent No More" by Melody Beattie.

If you really want to help her, demand that she change. Don't allow her to live with you as if nothing is wrong when she continues to smoke crack. You are enabling her to become a drug addict. If you really love her, you'll insist that she get treatment if she wants to stay with you. Insist that she learn a trade and get a job. Insist that she get up every day, get dressed and go to school or to work. Letting her sit around your house all day is not going to help her realize her potential.

Of course, if she gets well, she may no longer want you, but then she does deserve a chance at a normal life with someone her own age. If you really love her, do the right thing and push her to reform her life.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy



Getting Him Back

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I just recently turned 17 and I ruined the best relationship I've ever had in my life! I've never been good with keeping boyfriends at all because I'd get bored and have to move on after a month or two. But then I met my boyfriend and I completely and totally adored him and I still do with all my heart. We broke up when I was kicked out of my house and my life went to shambles and I was really messed up. He walked in on me having sex with another guy I was so drunk beyond belief. I know it's not an excuse for what I did because I can handle my alcohol, I just didn't control my actions.

I'm so sorry for what I did and sorry just isn't enough. I went out with him for seven months (he was so beautiful and perfect) and I've now been trying to get him back for six. I've tried everything and I've run out of ideas. I've called him, talked to him in person, wrote him letters, asked him to dances and he won't even look at me anymore. He loved me and I so loved him. I know that I can be good for him I want to be more than anything, I never knew how perfect it was to have him around until he wasn't there anymore. Please help me I can't lose him. Please.

Dear Sorry,

In life, when you screw up, there are consequences. The consequences this time are that you have lost your boyfriend. Consider yourself lucky that you didn't lose more.

Read my lips (letter) - Adam's gone, out of your life, doesn't want you any more, and you won't get him back - at least not the way you're going about it. You can't get him back by insistently calling, writing, talking, or trying to convince him that you've changed.

You can only get him back by changing and letting him see for himself that you have changed. Then maybe, only maybe, he'll come back of his own accord. But chances are good that he won't come back. He's probably moved on by now.

You're one of many who don't realize how much they loved someone until that person is gone.

If you don't get Adam back, and I doubt that you will, let this experience convince you that your life will be better if you don't abuse alcohol and get drunk beyond belief. Being drunk isn't an excuse.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy




Submitting a Question to this column

Dr. Tracy regrets that it is simply impossible for her to answer all of the hundreds of questions submitted to this column each week. However, she does read every question, and tries to select the three which are of the most general interest to the visitors here.

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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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