Dr. Tracy's Advice Column

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Loving but not In Love
Moral Man Hot for an Immoral Woman
Turned on by Bad Boys

Loving but not In Love

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I am a 49 year old man, married, not so happily I must admit. I have a Female friend I have known for 8 years, We were both in outside sales in a similar industry and gradually got to know each other and became inseparable. She is also married. It seemed we were hanging out together almost every day. We have not had sex but have done some sexual teasing, usually after a few cocktails. It seems lately that we are even closer. We have so much in common. We laugh and kid around.

I want it to move forward. She stated the other day, "I love you but am not in love with you." Huh?

I have made a mistake and fallen in love with this girl. And she says she loves me too. But I am getting the feeling that I am the brother friend or just friend for life. When we are together we have so much fun. I do not usually do this but here it is. What to do. I cannot take it!

Sleepless in Seattle!

Dear Sleepless,

Wake up and smell the truth. You are simply a flirtation for this woman, not a love interest. She thinks you're keen to hang out with, but has no intention of becoming your one and only.

You can want this to move forward, but it's not going to go anywhere. The best thing you can do is accept the truth and move on. Stop flirting, hanging out and hoping that she will change her mind. She's trying to tell you in the nicest way that you're not the one for her. She will have cocktails, flirt, even tease you about sex, but that doesn't mean that she's going to be available to you as a lover. It just means she's bored with her marriage and is playing with you because you're so handy.

When a man or woman says, "I love you but I'm not in love with you," that really means "you're nice but you just don't push my hot button. I can really live without you."

You can love your dog, but you're not usually "in love" with a pet. Being in love means you can't live without thinking about that person day and night, yearning for them, wanting to possess them, be close to them. They ring your bell and you're hotter than hot for them. Just loving means you feel warm toward them, care about them, but there's no magic, no sparkle, no fireworks.

Remember, you're both married and there are two other people who will be terribly hurt if they find out about this relationship. Put an end to it before you cause problems that can't be fixed. Don't risk your marriage for an affair that's never going to happen. Don't risk your job and ruin your life. This one isn't worth it.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

Moral Man Hot for an Immoral Woman

Dear Dr. Tracy,

Hi, I'm a 31 year old male, who's gone through the most awful break-up in history with my son's Mother over a decade ago. I've been unable to even date since, and I've only been with 2 women since, until recently. I was recently invited to visit a friend of my brothers whom I've always admired and wished for a relationship with. She's 26 and somewhat of a introvert and we both have similar social dysfunctions like anxiety and depression.

She was basically house-bound for around 6 months, then moved to another city where her and my brother worked the previous year. This is where I went to visit her, and we "hooked up", complete with great sex and I felt very strongly for her right away. I was there for almost a week, and stayed in contact with her for the next 3 weeks until I came and visited her again.

Upon the second visit she told me that she was with 2 guys (3-some) about a month before my first visit. Ironically we've had the same number of lovers (9), and needless to say I was shocked upon hearing it, yet she told me it was a mistake and that she was done with both of them. I felt able to see past this, and continued to feel more and more 'love' for her every day. Before the 2 guys she hadn't had sex in over a year, and before her it had been 3 years for me.

However upon my next visit about a month and a half after we initially hooked-up, she told me that she had sex with someone after we had sex. Although she says she doesn't remember any of it, and that she wouldn't have even slept with the guy at all if she was sober. I honestly believe her, since I've seen the "Glazed over" look in her eyes when she drinks alcohol, but I find it unbelievable at the same time.

I almost left right then and there, since I felt so awful and insignificant, despite her assurance that she is falling in love with me and wouldn't do that again since she's learned a lesson. However I'm not sure I can ever really trust her again, since she did that, and secondly lied to me. We weren't officially together or anything, but I know the last thing I would have done is gone out drinking with girls, got smashed drunk & have sex with someone I didn't even know.

I'm torn between what I really, really want, and what my morals are screaming at me. She's somewhat immature and has never been in love before, and on top of her social issues, I feel like I'm "in for it", for lack of a better term. After she told me about being with someone after we hooked-up, I couldn't even look her in the eye for a day or so, and she completely pulled away and said that she didn't want to hurt me, and has already. I'm very sensitive and I have very high morals, and I know it scares her.

I told her I can deal with it, and put it in the past, but I'm not 100% sure I can or have. The fact she did it drunk, and compulsively scares me to say the least, and the deception feels like a sign. She's kind of deflecting responsibility by stating she didn't remember anything, yet she admits that if we switched shoes, she probably wouldn't tolerate it. She's even told me that at the first sign of trouble, she'll most likely run and end it all to protect her feelings.

Now I'm not sure what to do at all, since surrender and giving up are words that I find hard to accept when I'm in love. We've talked about starting a family and everything else is perfect, and I've never felt such a strong connection with someone. We have so much in common, and we've known each other for like 15 years. In the state I'm in, I'm not sure I can even trust myself since I've needed someone for so long that I might compromise my own best interest, for the sake of just having someone.

Please help me & thank you for your time and compassion.

Dear Sensitive,

A sensitive man with high moral standards has to be masochistic to want to be with a woman who has 3-way sex, gets drunk and doesn't remember what she did, and even warns you that she will run at the first sign of trouble.

A relationship requires two people who are willing to work out the problems that life brings. Not get drunk or run.

Listen to your inner voices that are warning you to give up on this relationship. She has so many problems you can't solve that you'd spend your life putting out the fires of chaos she creates. Consider yourself lucky that she hasn't passed on a sexually transmitted disease to you, since she sleeps around and isn't really sure she remembers everything she has done.

Having a relationship is hard enough without having different values. Shared values are very important, and you and this woman don't share the same morals or values. If she claims to have the same morals, she certainly isn't living up to them. To be with her, you would have to basically change who you are, and that's not going to happen. You will always distrust her, and that isn't the foundation of a good relationship. If you can't trust her, you can't be with her.

You're right; you are in danger of compromising your own interest because you're lonely and needy. You seriously need to date more. So move on and consider yourself lucky that you escaped this one.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

Turned on by Bad Boys

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I am an intelligent, educated and attractive woman. Men continually approach me for dates but I am in anguish over a handsome, intelligent, yet very disturbed 37 year old man (I will call him Kris) who seems to suffer from narcissism. He is addicted to both marijuana and crack cocaine and when he drinks he always gets intoxicated. I certainly have other options besides Kris but I am not interested in anyone else. I know my attraction towards him is highly irrational. However when we first met he was sweet and vulnerable. He pursued me ardently and although he displayed some unusual and rather unlikeable characteristics, (such as criticizing my figure when comparing it to other women) he more than made up for them with charm, a sense of humour and in my opinion, intense sexual appeal.

I am no therapist but I would like to provide you with a brief background on Kris in order to explain why I believe he may be narcissistic. When he was 10 his mother abandoned him and his father. She re-married, had another child (a girl named Nicole) and rarely saw Kris again. Kris's father did not explain his mother's abandonment to him. He remained distant and coldly detached from Kris. I suspect he was also verbally abusive during Kris's teenaged years. I also suspect he blamed Kris for his mother's abrupt departure from their lives. Today Kris retains a lot of anger at both his father and Nicole.

Kris's drinking and drug experimentation began when he was 16. He regularly attended bars with his friends that served underage teens and became very intoxicated. Soon after, he dropped out of high school and began getting into trouble with the law (he has been in and out of jail for various petty charges such as possession of marijuana). His adult life spiralled downwards although he retains his independence from his father and his estranged half-sister.

After several weeks of "hanging out" as he calls it (he doesn't like to call me his girlfriend as that seems to be too intimate and confining for him) he admitted he has a great deal of anger towards women. At first he was generally very kind to me but over time he became impatient, irritable and moody. He verbally and physically abused me. When he got angry he called me names such as "fucking bitch" and "fucking whore". I believe his abusive behaviours and his mistrust of women stems from his mother's abandonment of him when he was a child, and then a second abandonment of sorts when she died in his arms two years ago.

Kris always seemed to need something from me, be it money, food, companionship, or sex. Whenever we had sex Kris had to be the one who initiated it and he outright rejected me when I attempted to do so. Half the time he had to put porn on the television and occasionally smoke crack in order to get "in the mood". I know there was little intimacy in it for him but the sex act only made me love him more.

It sounds crazy but every time I left him I kept taking him back since I missed him so much. Whenever I broke off the relationship I woke up every morning feeling very anxious and lonely without him. Even after he threw me up against a wall and threatened to "knock my teeth out" I didn't leave him. I hate to admit it but there was something rather sexually arousing about this erratic behaviour. My malignant relationship with Kris is not the first one I have been in. Several years ago I was involved with a very narcissistic guy (he was always bragging about his imaginary exploits and talents) who beat and verbally abused me. I was nowhere near as attracted to him as I am to Kris and in fact over time I found him to be repulsive, but I stayed with him for 8 months.

I am diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder I and I take medications to treat my symptoms which can be severe. I am in counselling with a terrific psychiatrist and I am a recovering crack addict myself (I didn't get involved with drugs until I met Kris although he actually tried to discourage me). My psychiatrist urged me to move out of the building where Kris lives. He believes I became involved with this man due to loneliness and isolation, not because I suffer from Bipolar Disorder but I do not entirely agree.

Finally one morning Kris announced quite nonchalantly that he had sex with my obese, unattractive neighbour across the hall. (By coincidence her name happens to be the same as his half-sister, Nicole). I was at home the whole time and he could have come to me instead. I was devastated and made a serious suicide attempt by slashing my wrist with a razor blade. I had to be admitted to a local hospital and they extended my stay for several days. This was NOT an attempt to gain Kris's sympathy in any way. I was truly devastated when Kris betrayed me. Kris knew about my suicide attempt but he didn't contact me and didn't try to see me.

I finally moved away from him without making further contact (he doesn't know where I am) but I cannot stop thinking about him. I miss him terribly and I am very lonely without him. I don't think I can get over him. I know I can't change Kris. It doesn't matter to me.

Do you have any theories as to why I am so attached to this type of man aside from being Bipolar? Do you have advice for me as to what my next move should be?

Can you please help me?

In Love with a Narcissist

Dear In Love With a Loser,

You are so worried about analyzing this man's "narcissism" that you're missing the big "L" for Loser on his forehead.

The only question here is why do you think you don't deserve a nice guy?

You have such low self-esteem and regard for yourself that you think only a very disturbed, abusive, drug addict will love you. It's time for you to get over your attraction to bad boys. Sure they're sexy, but there's more to life than sexy.

You may be turned on by the danger of the whole situation, and that's going to get you in big trouble. So far he hasn't knocked your teeth out or hurt you physically, but if you stay with him, he will. He's poison.

I don't know why you're looking for theories, when all you need is a little common sense. It doesn't matter what happened in his childhood. What matters is that he's a beast now and probably belongs in jail, but certainly not in your bedroom.

Accept that you had Kris in your life as part of your past, put him behind you, and make an effort to find a man who is simply a nice guy. No drugs, no abuse, no jail time would be a good start.

A life partner possibility would be someone with a car, a job and a home -- someone without a history of anti-social behavior. Remember, the man you spend your life with will probably have access to your checkbook and your bank account. If you can't trust him to be faithful, you can't trust him with your assets. Don't be a fool for another bad boy.

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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