"Ask Dr. Tracy"

3/15/98 Advice Column


Dear Dr. Tracy,

My problem is my boyfriend's dog. I love my boyfriend dearly but everytime i go to his house I have to compete with the attention of his dog. We sit on the couch, the dog sits next to us and he continues to pat her while he has his arm around me. At nighttime, when we're in bed, the dog lies on the bed, he's got one arm nuzzling her and one arm around me, when we make love the dog is there watching. I can't stand it. I don't know why he can't lock the dog out of the bedroom or just ignore her once in a while. Any suggestions???

Dog Tired.

Dear Dog Tired,

You're in a really terrible spot here. A man's dog is his best friend, the dog was there first, and he's not going to give up the dog for you. So, I suggest you make peace with the dog. Love him, love his dog. If the dog smells, take the dog to the groomer. If the bed isn't big enough, get a bigger bed or buy the dog a bed of his own that's so wonderful he can't resist it. Or, get a dog of your own.

The dog stays, so get used to it and try to love the dog. If you criticize the dog, it'll be taken as a personal insult by your boyfriend.

For a change of pace, why not go to a hotel where they don't allow dogs, or figure out a way to get him to go to your place right after work, when the dog isn't with him? Be creative here. Don't create a major fight over something that you can't win.

Instead, try to win over the dog. Bring dog treats. Get one of those giant bones that take forever to eat. That'll give the dog something better to do than hang around the two of you. Take the dog to a local park where they let dogs run loose and tire him out so that he doesn't care where he sleeps. It's easier to change the dog's habits than the man's.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I am a 30 year old female who has been dating the same man for 2 years. After 11 monthes of dating, he took a job 500 miles away and we've had a long distance relationship ever since. We've had a great relationship, lots of love, affection, companionship, and happy times. I feel I have met my partner for life. We are planning my move down there so we can live together and continue to grow our relationship. I was completely distraught to find he has changed his position on children. He is 10 years older than me (40) and says he doesn't want to spend the next 40 years of his life tied down to children and the financial committment. I am faced in a relationship with a man I totally am in love with yet I know deep inside we don't want the same thing. I love him to death, totally enjoy him and our relationship and wish so bad he wants kids. I know I am making a mistake by moving to be with him but I don't want to end it.

I am going to see a counselor when I move to figure out how important it is to me to have children and whether I am willing to give up this relationship. I wish he wanted what I want.

Please advise,

Dear Distraught,

You'd be nuts to move in with him with the understanding that you're giving up your childbearing rights. Let him know that you're not about to make such a huge sacrifice as not having children just for him. No matter how much you love him now, you will always resent him for pushing you into that kind of a decision at such a young age. Everytime you see a mother with a baby, your heart will break. You will lose an important connection with the future if you give up your rights to children and grandchildren. Every time you have a period, you'll be reminded of your sacrifice. Don't do it! You'll be sorry, I promise you.

Move in with him if you must, but let him know in no uncertain terms that you're not giving up your right to have kids.

As for seeing a counselor to figure out how important it is, that's okay, but I assure you it's very very very important. Most men aren't as enthused about having children as women, and often a woman has to insist on her right to bear children in spite of his lukewarm attitude. After all, men come and go, but a child (or childlessness) is forever.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

Dear Dr. Tracy,

Do couples really have to have a lot in common with each other to have a great and loving relationship? Or does love more involve the old saying "opposites attract"?

Dear Opposite,

I assume you're wondering whether you can be in a relationship with somone who's very different from yourself. Well, there are differences and there are differences. For instance, one of you is type A (always busy, always rushing) and the other is type B (laid back, relaxed). That's fine. You complement each other. Or if one of you is neat and the other's a slob, like the odd couple, that's okay too -- you still complement each other. Or if one of you is an extrovert (outgoing, life of the party) and the other is an introvert (shy and withdrawn), that works too.

But it's important that people have similar sociological backgrounds, like you both come from middle class backgrounds. Or if you have a Ph.D., you'd want him to have at least some higher education.

You see, when people have psychological differences, that's okay. But when the differences are in how they were raised, or their basic value systems (like one is honest and one is not), then it's not okay. So the answer is yes, opposites do attract, and yes, in some circumstances, they even make the relationship better.

It's easiest to have a great loving relationship with someone who's a lot like you. That way, you have less to fight over.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

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