Dr. Tracy's Advice Column

Cartoon Kiss

3/23/2003

Creepy Ex Dating Best Friend
Mother From Hell
Transvestite Pornography



Creepy Ex Dating Best Friend

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I am 22 years old and have been recovering from a very bad break up. My boyfriend and I had been together for a little more than 2 years, and were extremely close to one another as both friends and lovers. About 6 months ago we broke up for a variety of reasons. He had cheated on me in the past, we wanted different things in life and we were on different levels intellectually, spiritually, and emotionally.

The break up was long and painful but after 5 months I felt like I could move on. No sooner had I felt like I had finally cut all my old ties with him did I find out he is dating one of my close friends. I wasn't angry or jealous, I was just concerned for my friend. I feel like I know my ex in a way that no one else does, and I know that he is very manipulative and is a liar. I also know my friend is a wonderful person who deserves so much better. It's just that my friend is having a real hard time with school, her job, and a bad break-up. My friend and my ex always got along well, and I think she's just really vulnerable and lonely right now and needs a shoulder to lean on. It's just my ex was the one that happened to be there.

The problem is that I want to talk to her about it, but she isn't aware that I know the situation. I want to tell her to watch out, and that he is scum, but I don't want to come across as only telling her this because I'm vindictive or jealous. In fact, if this was any other guy that I knew I would have told her right away, but since the guy happens to be my ex boyfriend it creates a sticky situation. I don't want it to seem like I'm butting my nose in, but in all reality I am truly just looking out for the welfare of my friend. Should I risk looking like a bitch and confronting her about it, or should I just mind my own business?

Thanks for your time!

Dear Best Friend,

Your problem is tricky. If you tell your best friend that your ex is a jerk and will wind up cheating on her and giving her a lot of grief, you will indeed sound like a sore loser. Sheíll wonder if youíre still in love with him and jealous because sheís dating him. If you donít tell her and he does indeed live up to your expectations, youíll feel like you have let your friend down.

However, I wonder if your friend is really so ignorant about your ex. If sheís been your close friend for the past two years when you were with your boyfriend, she knows a lot about the pain and suffering you had with him and after your breakup with him.

Since your friend is so needy right now, I doubt if sheíd listen if you told her what a jerk he is. Instead of blurting out that heís a jerk, start by letting her know that you know sheís seeing him and that itís okay with you Ė that youíre not angry or jealous or anything. Let her know that youíre totally over him.

You donít have to tell her heís scum. Heíll show her what a jerk he is soon enough. Instead, open the doors for communication with your friend so that when he acts up, you can tell her that heís just that way and she shouldnít expect much more from him.

Then when he does show his true colors, you can be there for your friend. Even then, to make sure she doesnít think youíre being a bitch, be sure to find something nice to say about him. After all, you were with him for two years. He must have some good qualities. Let her know that in spite of being good looking, great in bed and even a good shoulder to cry on, he canít be trusted.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy



Mother From Hell

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I am 40 years old, have 2 daughters (18 & 14) and I am remarried. Have good relationship with ex-husband and my current husband and I have never been happier.

I was diagnosed with depression 10 years ago - at the time I was still married to my daughters' father. My depression was so bad that it got to the point that my mother and husband at the time tried to have me committed to a mental institute. After many heartsick discussions with my therapist I came to the conclusion that I was unable to care for my children. I gave my oldest daughter to my mother and my youngest to her father. Believe me when I tell you this it was the hardest thing I have ever done. My mother and my husband at the time would tell me over and over that I was doing the right thing. That what I was doing was in the best interest of the girls. To this day I still carry guilt - I am told I should not feel this way but I cannot change it. I do know in my heart I did the right thing.

Through out the years I have made great steps toward living a normal life. I stayed in therapy; I got a job, got my own checking account and have bought a home. I worked really hard to fight the depression and between medication and my therapy I have control. I am not saying that there are not times in the last 10 years that the depression has gotten the best of me but I fight hard and I bounce back. I have always been there for my girls, after-school activities, soccer, graduation etc. I go beyond my financial obligations I guess in a way it helps me compensate for the feelings of guilt.

Now current day, my oldest daughter stills lived with my mother. I have found out recently that both my daughter and mother have not been honest with me. It has been about many things; the amount of school missed (This lie caused my oldest daughter to graduate during a summer school instead of graduating with her class), money, boyfriends and most recently a car accident. So you can see that the lies are serious, not just your little white lie to save someone's feelings. When I first found out about the dishonesty I had a talk with my mother and daughter. We all agreed that there would be no more lies between us and I thought that is what was happening, until the car accident. My daughter was borrowing my fatherís car while she was looking for a new/used one. She returned the car to my father who brought the car back immediately; stating the car was damaged. When I confronted my mother and daughter both lied. Statements were made that contradicted each otherís story. I spoke with my father, we made arrangement with the insurance company for repairs but there is a deductible. My father is unable to pay the $250.00. I spoke with my daughter and explained that the right thing to do is for her to be responsible. She should have given the keys to him and had him look it over before leaving. In the future if you borrow someoneís vehicle you are responsible. My ex-husband and my daughter and myself agreed to pay for the deductible.

My mother on the other hand was angry and said all I was doing was trying to help out my father. (My mother and father are divorced.) Which is true but the deductible is paid to the dealer that repairs the car not to my father. There was a huge argument with my mother over the phone right before she hung up on me she said "why don't you pay the deductible you have never done anything for these girls anyway". This hurt me more than I can put into words. I was so upset that I left work and went to my mothers to talk about this. When I got there she just keep it up screaming and saying things like I lied to you all this time this is how I truly feel about you giving up the girls. She would not stop. I returned with my own nasty words and screaming. She then called my stepfather and asked him to come home. I agreed to this, that maybe an outside mediator would help. Let me just say that my stepfather is a wonderful man and was always there when I needed him - he is an all around great guy. He asked me to stay and we would all discuss this when he got there. In just a matter of 10-15 minutes, as my stepfather estimated time of arrival got closer; my mother became even more unreasonable. My personal feeling is that she did not want my stepfather to find out the extent of lying that has been going on. I was standing in front of the TV, she got off the couch from across the room and came towards me she started to push me and bump at me with her stomach saying things like hit me come on hit me you know you want to. Finally I turned to her and called her a bad name. She then slapped me across the face. As I tried to walk away my stepfather came in.

There was alot of talk but I cannot forgive her. Her words are more than I can bear but I don't ever see me forgiving her for the slap. I am not saying I was a reasonable person at the time, but I can say I would never hit her. Nothing was resolved - I said I love you before I left but I am not sure that is how I feel. Now I just feel so unhappy. Do you have any advice to help me either just turn my back for the sake of my own mental well being or should I try to resolve these issues.

Dear Unhappy,

Having a parent you canít get along with is very upsetting, but it happens. Your mother is harboring a lot of anger that she seems to have been saving up for a long time.

This is not about your daughterís automobile accident. Itís about your expectations. You want your mother and daughter to be honest with you. Thatís not much to ask, but since you have let your daughter live with your mother for all these years, sheís probably learned from your motherís behavior, including your mother's dishonesty.

When you found out they were lying to you and confronted them about it, you got an agreement that there would be total honesty from then on. Thatís unrealistic. People who are used to lying arenít going to change overnight to totally honest. Theyíre also going to resent you for catching them in the lies.

You have made a success of your life and have overcome your depression and other problems. You have a good relationship with your current and ex husband and are happier than youíve ever been. But it's not realistic to expect all your relationships to be perfect.

Your daughter is 18 and at a time in her life when sheís becoming her own person, independent of both you and your mother. You can try to teach her the ďrightĒ things to do, but from now on, sheís going to be making her own decisions. You canít micromanage her life or your motherís behavior.

The best thing you can do is protect yourself and stop expecting perfection in all your family relationships. Stop obsessing about what happened. Instead, try to understand that your mother has problems she hasnít dealt with and probably wonít. Chances are she wonít go to a therapist or change at her age, so the best thing you can do is forgive her and stay away from her.

Give this situation some time to cool off. Sure she was wrong. She knows it. Let her stew in her own juices and donít stoop to her level. You took the high road by not hitting her. Now take the high road and continue to live your life productively and happily. The best revenge is living well. Donít let her outrageous behavior continue to upset you.

Itís hard, but you can put this behind you. Remember, itís not what people do, only how you react to what they do that counts. Let your mother know she was out of line by ignoring her and putting her out of your life until you can see her without being upset. Some parents are truly toxic and the only way to deal with them is to stay away from them.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy



Transvestite Pornography

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I am 48 years old. After a long, unsuccessful marriage, I am now seeing a wonderful man whom I've known socially for many years. We get along well, enjoy great sex, and are in love. While visiting him at his apartment one evening and checking my e-mail, I saw a notepad with the website address advertising transvestite porn, along with what looked like a registration number. I attempted to ignore it, but curiosity and hurt got the better of me, and I snooped. Today, I found a DVD with definite TV porn on it. He had to have sent for it. Frankly, I am disgusted by this. I would never had known this if I hadn't seen the note. Since he is a private person, I feel he did not mean for me to see it. He tells me that I am absolutely the best woman he has been with, and other than this, he is perfect in every way. My question: what do I make of this? Are men who view TV porn transvestites? Or do they want sex with transvestites? I am very conflicted about this, and would appreciate your answer. Thank you.

Dear Disgusted,

When we peek through other peopleís belongings weíre asking for trouble. You canít snoop and then be self-righteous about it and disgusted by what you found. Really, arenít you a little disgusted at yourself for snooping?

Moreover, you're not sure what exactly you've learned about him. Is he a transvestite just because he watches transvestite porn? Not necessarily, but it obviously holds some attraction for him. Is he cross-dressing? A little? A lot? If a lot, then he's probably a closet transvestite, but even then, it certainly doesn't mean that he wants sex with other transvestites.

A surprising number of hetero men engage in occasional cross-dressing. Transvestites exist in many cultures, and cross-dressing has been a part of cultures around the world throughout history.

He may have this quirk. But youíre having great sex. Youíre in love. You say heís a wonderful man, perfect in every other way. Iíd say youíre lucky to have him.

No man is absolutely perfect. You probably arenít totally perfect either. Whatís important is that you find a man whose imperfections you can life with. I donít see how his looking at TV porn affects you at all except when youíre snooping or fretting about what you found.

Keep your mouth shut about what you found. If he wants you to know about it, heíll tell you. If heís a transvestite and wants you to know about that, heíll tell you that, too. Meanwhile, you have no idea whatís really going on and canít ask him without admitting youíve been snooping.

Enjoy your relationship. Wonderful men are hard to find.

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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