Dr. Tracy's Advice Column

Cartoon Kiss


Her Mother Hates Him
What's His Game?
Jealous Swinger

Her Mother Hates Him

Dear Dr. Tracy,

What I'm dealing with here is an 8-month relationship with a girl 6 years younger than me. I'm 26, she's 20... I treat her with a lot of respect and am always there when she needs me, and she is always there for me, too, up until this point. Prior to what happened, our relationship really seemed 50/50. Her mother, who is in bad health, has decided that I'm "controlling, possessive, insensitive, lacking all social manners" and has told this girl that if she ever thinks about marrying me, she will not approve, and if she gets pregnant by me, she'll be disowned.

I feel this is totally wrong. My parents would not do this to me, and I am at a loss to understand it. She and I are happy with each other, at least that's what she tells me. She says she loves me "more than you know," but cannot be torn anymore. She says she wants to be friends, and "maybe someday" things can be different. She says she doesn't want her mother to die resenting me, because that would make her resent me. She also says she "cannot function" without her family relationship and needs "space and time."

What's strange is her mother doesn't have a problem (or so she says) with us being friends and going to a movie now and then. I'm totally confused. What are your thoughts on the matter?

Dear Totally Confused,

It sounds to me like your young lady has made up her mind: her mother over you. I agree with you that choosing a mate shouldn't be one's family's decision; but have you considered that she may have actually have changed her mind about you? In any case, when a woman says she needs space and time, it's best to take her at her word and give her plenty of both. Most often, the "just want to be friends" line is a misguided attempt to be gentle about totally breaking up.

So get on with your life, date other women, and leave her alone except for a brief, friendly call every month or two. She's still quite young and may truly need some time to make up her mind about you. And, of course, her mother could die (as she seems to anticipate), which would remove a big obstacle to getting back together.

But forget the "movie now and then" -- don't let yourself get trapped in some limbo status with her. And don't spend your time pining away for her or trying to figure out how to worm your way back into the relationship -- with her mother against you and her asking for space and time, it's presently a hopeless situation.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

What's His Game?

Dear Dr. Tracy,

When I met my ex-husband he was having an affair with a married woman (his old high school sweetheart). When I found out I broke it off with him. He came crawling back, saying that he realized that he loved me and that he really was through with her. We were married for 10 years. Some time in that 10 years she got a divorce, but it wasn't until her next relationship broke up also that she came after my husband...and he went. He felt that there had always been a connection between the two of them and that he had to explore it!

Three years later he and I started talking again (we see each other at work and went for that long avoiding each other). Three years after that we began having lunch, etc. Now we are having an affair.

He says that it was a mistake to leave me, he would be happier with me, blah, blah, blah...But after all of this time, there is no indication that he is going to leave her. His friends dislike her, his children (yes he was married before me and left number one because of the affair!) don't like her and she doesn't like them. He won't give me a straight answer as to why he is staying with her..only that he feels that for once in his life he should honor a commitment!

If I never had to see him, perhaps I could stay away. But between seeing him 2 to 3 times per week and still being involved with his children (children! they are 20 and 23) my resolve is low. I promise myself that I will ignore him, but...

What kind of game is he playing?????


Dear Frustrated,

No wonder you're frustrated! You're being played for a sucker by a guy who wants to have his cake and eat it too. He wants you, but only if he can have someone else too.

You want an answer as to why he is staying with her and having sex with you? It's very simple. Because you let him.

If you want to get this situation resolved, tell him he has to choose. Then cut him off entirely and go back to the way you were when you were avoiding him. Let him know there's no nooky, no nothing, unless he leaves his old sweetheart for good. After all, he's not really honoring his commitment to her if he's with you, is he? What a bunch of b.s. he's handing you, and you're lapping it up like milk.

Tell him to honor his commitment and not to bother you until he's free. Then find someone to love who only needs one woman at a time.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

Jealous Swinger

Dear Dr. Tracy,

My boyfriend and I have been living together for almost three years now. We are both middle-aged--I've been married before; he has never been married. There are serious problems that I don't know how to handle -- that's why I'm writing to you.

He says he needs "variety" (lots of different women sexually), that he cares for me but doesn't love me, that our relationship will not last, etc. However, he wants an "open relationship" (i.e. be free to date and have sex with whatever and however many women he wants to, and he wants me to date other men, as well), and still live together. He says, "We can have the best of both worlds"!

I love this man very much, and I can't feature not living together, but his attitude, lack of feelings for me, etc. blow my mind. We belong to a Swingers group, and I've participated, but it kills me every time he gets close to or has sex with another woman. He says I'm jealous and that is true to some extent, but i feel used, disrespected, hurt, devastated, etc.

I've offered to go to counseling with him (he claims he has stopped having sex with all his many, many previous girlfriends), but he refuses.

Please help!

Dear Devastated,

If having "the best of both worlds" doesn't appeal to you, don't agree to do it. If you don't feel comfortable swinging, don't swing. Not everyone is meant to be a swinger. If you can't stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen -- if you're going to get jealous, don't go to a swing party with your boyfriend.

A man who refuses to go to counseling with you is saying, hey, I don't care if this relationship works or not. If you insist on staying with him, you should resign yourself to being repeatedly hurt by his words and actions.

Why can't you believe what he says? The truth is that he's telling you his feelings, and you are refusing to accept them. Always listen to what a man says. If he says he doesn't love you and he doesn't think your relationship will last, believe him.

It's hard enough to find a good relationship and make it last. It's almost impossible to do so if you start out without love or commitment.

This guy just doesn't care how much he hurts you and neither do you. That's a prescription for heartbreak and continued pain. Get a grip. Refuse to go along with activities you really hate. Swinging may not be as much fun for him if he doesn't have you along to torture. You'll feel better about yourself, and you may discover that he only really wanted you as a date to get into swing parties.

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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