"Ask Dr. Tracy"

3/23/97 Advice Column

Internet Love,
Broken-Hearted Mess-up,
In Love with Lovable Flake

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I have had a very deep and meaningful relationship with one man on the internet for almost 6 months now. We chat(both text and voice)for hours and hours each and everyday.(some days up to 15 hours) We also telephone each other about 3 times a week. Our love for each other is very strong. We have exchanged pictures and because he has a quickcam, I have the enjoyment of watching him in realtime. We have committed ourselves to one another and have even wed online.

In one month I am going to take the plunge so to speak, by moving 2,500 miles to be with him and to get married for real. This love we share is the deepest and most wonderful love I have ever known. We are truly best friends and each of us is dedicated to one another. In the six months we have been loving each other online, we have gone through various problems, not only with each other, but also with those around us. No one understands the love we share because it is shared miles apart from each other and for those who have never experienced an online relationship, they simply cannot phathom such a bond. We are both independant, responsible adults, he being 52 years old and I 37 years old. We both have been married before and we both understand that what we are about to do without ever meeting face to face, will strike most people as totally bizzare. It may seem that way, but to us it is just the next step to completing the circle of love. We have so much in common and we know each other in every way, other than the physical. To each of us it makes no difference how the other looks, it is the heart, mind and soul that we have fallen in love with. We both trust in God and feel he has brought us together and is guiding us to everlasting happiness. Our lives are so much richer than they were 6 months ago.

My question to you is this: If you knew this man was your destiny, your link to life itself, if you felt that you and he were one, meant to share your lives together and eternity, would you let anything stop you from being with him? Would you actually pack up, sell your belongings and move to another country to be with the man you love, having never met face to face?

Signed, Giant Leap!

Dear Leaping Lover,

Since I get many letters from people who met on the Internet and got married and have lived happily ever after so far, I would never say it's impossible to find true love on the Net. Perhaps you will be one of the lucky ones.

Sure, if I knew in my heart of hearts that this was "the one," I'd follow him -- but I'd leave my belongings in storage with a moving company that could ship them to me at a later date. It's nice to be able to retreat if you have to.

Life in other countries can be very different, and men in person, and under stress, can change their behavior radically. In some countries, a romantic fiance can turn into a brutally domineering husband as soon as he's married, simply because that's his culture. I'd go, but I wouldn't throw caution to the wind. Look before you leap, and be sure you have a soft spot to leap back to. Wishing you happy landings,

Dr. Tracy

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I am 19 years old and have recently broken up with my girlfriend whom I've been going out with since May 6, 1995. I graduated in May of '96 and she's a Sophmore in High School still. She's going to be 16 in April. We broke up in Febraury just before Valentine's Day. It hasn't been easy since. We had broken up maybe twice since we were going out, but it wasn't something we couldn't work out. I mad several mistakes during our relationship which continue to plague me. The first mistake I made came in February of '96 and it was at a dance. I kissed this girl whom I didn't know and I certainly wouldn't have kissed her if I had known her reputation. Kathryn saw it and of course she was very angry. That night I went on the Senior Trip and couldn't stop worrying about how much I hurt her. When I came back I bought her some Godiva chocolates to try to smooth things over. Then I got drunk one night after an argument we had and partied with some friends and kissed the same girl and another girl that night. I told Kathryn a few days after that and cried alot tring to explain how sorry I was. Then Graduation came and another Senior Trip did too. On that trip I kissed one of my long time friends but it wasn't more than just a simple kiss lasting no more than 2 seconds and just a friendship thing. We were the only ones there not getting drunk and it just happened. I did not feel as guilty about this as before and it didn't bother me. So about a month later Kathryn went to the beach with her family a few friends. When she came back I could tell she was upset about something. She brokedown and told me she almost kissed my best friend during the trip. The only reason he didn't was because HE didn't want to endanger me and his friendship. It didn't bother me and I just thought it was no different than my kiss with my friend. So I told her about my kiss with my friend and she was a little upset BECAUSE I broke my promise. See, Kathryn is overweight and is very self-conscious about it. She is also very headstrong and straight-forward.

My problem is this Dr. Tracy: When me and Kathryn broke up, it was over a high school activity that her class did not do well at. I tried to help her and support her but all she wanted was to be left alone. I took our relationship for granted. We broke up and I thought "Well, give her some time to cool off and we'll see". Well, I did some, BUT I made it worse by bothering her and talking to her. The reason I did that was because she said she never wanted to go out with me again. It was like I hit a brick wall. We were so good together. I love her with all my heart and want to prove to her that this can still work out. I know this will take time but I'm so afraid she will find some other guy and blow it with him. What I mean is, me and her are still virgins. We had both agreed to stay that way until marriage. We did some things, but we never did THAT, because we wanted to say that wonderful expierence until marriage. I am so afraid though that she will find a guy and he'll talk her into doing something she might regret. I what to share this expierence with her. I love her so much and it hurts to think these things about someone you care about so much. She doesn't hate me, and wants to be friends again someday. I do too and with time this break will be healed. I wish I could explain in words just how much I love her. She loves me too (I think) and said more times than I did how much we'd be together, and now just out of the blue, this happens.

We live in a small East Texas town and I find the more I see her the more hurt I feel because I know she wants her "space". I hope and pray everyday that God has plans for me and her someday. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't wish for that. I'm just afriad of losing her for good. I know in time we can be friends and HOPEFULLY much more. I have nver felt this way about anyone in my whole life and want desperately to prove that I wasn't true to myself or to her. I wasn't raised to be unfaithful and inmoral and I want to spend the rest of my life with this girl. Thank you for listening. I hope you can give me some much needed advice and input on this pain and confusion that I feel. I sure would appreciate it. It would mean alot to me. I still think I can save this relationship. I hope it has a happy ending.

Thank You,

Lost Without Her

Dear Lost,

Will you ever learn? There are several good lessons here for you.

1. Never ever kiss other girls when you have a girlfriend, and if you do after you promised not to, never ever tell her.

2. If a girl tells you she doesn't want to see you for a while, don't bug her and become a pest on top of what she's already mad at you for.

3. Once you're not a girl's steady, you have no influence or rights over her. Her body is her own. If she decides to have sex with someone, that's her business, not yours. If you love someone, you love them whether they're a virgin or not.

4. The only chance you have of getting her back is to become a better person. Show her how you've improved, don't tell her. She'll notice.

5. Sometimes a woman will want you if she sees you being a good boyfriend to someone else. Try that. With someone else, at least you're starting fresh. With your old girlfriend you have to dig yourself out first, and then start over, which can be a lot tougher. You're both very young; a little experience with others will help you avoid making these kinds of mistakes again if you do get back together.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I looked through your library and didn't find anything that specifically addressed my dilemma. I have been dating a wonderful man for the last 7 months. We met at my summer job and have come to love eachother since. I am currently pursuing my masters degree. My boyfriend, however, has no educational experience beyond high school. When we initially met, I told him that I wanted to marry someone with a bachelor's degree because without it, job security is completely absent as is the chance for more rapid advancement. He seemed to agree initially and slowly began applying to school. He planned to start school five months into our relationship, but financial aid fell through at the last minute, so he delayed. Then he was going to start during the next quarter, four months later, but he is still, as he says, "financially unable to do it right now." Basically, he puts off doing these things until the last minute and then wonders why he gets less than he expected. For example, he sent his insurance in a day late and got in an accident and now will have to go to court, etc. Just a poor planner in general. The school he is interested in is not very much in relation to other schools and his loan money would've covered classes, rent and food. He would still be able to work a little to pay off some outstanding debts, totalling about $1,000. Nobody in his family has been to college and his dad thinks he should be able to "work his way to the top in any job if he just works hard." His dad also thinks he needs to be completely out of debt to start school. My boyfriend agrees with his dad, but working as a waiter doesn't seem to be doing the trick in getting him out of debt.

At any rate, I broke up with him. This may sound selfish, but I've worked hard for 23 years now and in one year I feel I will finally start to enjoy my life. I want to settle down and get going. He said he'll start in July now, but I don't know if I can believe that. He has some antique toys that he could sell (one of them is worth $500.), but won't, because he likes to have "aces in the hole". He says I don't really love him because if I did, it wouldn't matter if he was in school or not. I feel like I'm falling out of love because we're just not on the same page as far as this issue is concerned. I'll never find someone with a better personality than him. We get along great. But, he's had problems with drugs and alcohol in the past (way before we dated) and I just feel like I don't want to hang on to someone with not much stability to offer. I'm not getting any younger, but I'm so depressed because he's so wonderful to me other than this one issue. Am I making a mistake by losing the love of my life? Let me know and thanks for reading.

Dear Flake Lover,

You've chosen to love a man and then to say, "I want him to be different." Well, if he were different he wouldn't be the man you fell in love with.

He's financially unstable, undereducated, and unable to live up to your expectations. Many people would agree with him that he shouldn't have to. Just because you love someone doesn't mean you get to run their lives.

You're old enough to make your own decision: can you live with this man and love him without demanding that he live up to your expectations? If not, then you did the right thing in letting him go. If, on the other hand, you feel that the love you two share makes up for what he lacks (in your opinion), then you should take him back.

You have plenty of time to find a "love of your life" who will far outshine this "love of your life." But don't think you'll find someone you love who loves you and who will be perfect in every way.

Give some serious thought to what you really want and need the man in your life to be. If loving and wonderful in every other way is enough for you, go get your charming waiter back. If not, make a list of what you really need, be honest, and don't make yourself and the men in your life crazy by demanding what they don't have to give.

Instead of comparing a man to some fantasy man, compare him to other real men you've known in the past. That way your assessement of potential mates will be based in reality, not fantasy. I suggest you read "Developing Realistic Criteria" in my Library.

Wishing you love,

Dr. Tracy

Submitting a Question to this column

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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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