Dr. Tracy's Advice Column

Cartoon Kiss


Crazy In Love
Money Problems
What's Important in a Mate

Crazy In Love

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I'm a 35 year single man who found his soul-mate in a 38 year old single woman with no kids. It was passion from the start. I played my tricks at the beginning of the relationship (trying not to get too attached), but she was able to alleviate my fears and consequently we both wound up living together.

It had been awhile since I lived with a women, but I found I really enjoyed it a lot! I never got to attached to many women because I never felt fulfilled, yet here I was fully in love with this woman. The only thing that seemed out of the ordinary was her request to have a call everyday, which I begrudgingly accepted because I loved her.

The first incident came at my company x-mas party - about 3 months together. I won the suite we were in and planned a great evening, but as soon as everyone left she turned into a fire breathing dragon. I wasn't sure if she had too much alcohol or what. She had turned into the meanest, vilest creature I could imagine. I wound up leaving her there because I was afraid of what I might do.

I got a call a couple of days later from her expressing her regrets and somehow I had to share in the blame of her actions. "If you point one finger, two point back at you", she said. We got back together shortly thereafter.

I began to notice her drinking habits and it became clear she either drank a whole bottle of wine or half every night. Live and let live was my motto. Several other ugly incidents arose while being intoxicated and again I had to share in the blame. "You need to reassure me" or "If you had just hugged me". I explained to her she was unconsoluble and that nothing I did would stop her abusive words towards me, so I would leave. Again a few days would go by and she would call and say how much she missed me and that I was her soul-mate and I did really care for her.

It was a pattern of about every three months. The time in between though was the best I could ever imagine in a relationship. I was totally comfortable with her, we liked the same things, we had the same goals. I even stopped drinking thinking that would help ( I only drank occasionally and never by myself or very sparingly with her). Lead by example?

We had gone a whole 3 months without an incident and I felt that maybe we could take it to the next level. The last incident came on St. Patrick day. She came home late drunk with a bloody nose, I questioned her and she became verbally abusive then passed out. I was shocked and shaking -I was numb. After not speaking for two days she asked me to leave. This was the middle of the month so I asked her for half the rent and I would be gone. We decided to live like roommates until the end of the month. I was devastated, but I didn't let it show. On the third night of our breakup, she came into the room I was sleeping in and had her way with me - I wasn't complaining. Then, she wanted to share her bed again. Towards the end of the month she left to go out of town on business. I sat there on the couch and wrote her a parting letter. As I was sitting there I was tempted to look at her e-mails, so I did. WHAM O. She had gone to see this recently separated man two states away. They had been talking everyday for god knows how long and I could see all the little things start to make sense. She professed her love to this guy! I was shell shocked! The abusive words and all the hints towards the end and the little gifts laying around started to make sense. It put a terrible hurt on me.

She returned the next evening with a smile on her face. I didn't say anything, at 5am the next morning I left. I have not seen or talked to her since. It's been almost a month since I've left and not had any contact with her. This has got to be one of the hardest things I've encountered in my life! I'm a freakin mess and I'm trying to move on, but I break down and sob uncontrolaby.

Whats going on with a woman like this? She told me she had never drank heavily before me. Was I a complete idiot for staying 2 years in this relationship? What is she thinking or does she even care? I'm extremely afraid she will call before I am strong enough to stop this madness.

trying to move on

Dear Trying to Move On,

You are involved in a definite case of "Crazy Love" with a woman who is sure to drive you crazy if you let her.

You have left her over and over again -- after she tuned into a fire-breathing dragon at your company Xmas party and several times after that. Each time, she managed to blame you by saying "If only you had hugged me, loved me more, etc." Of course none of that is true. But alcoholics never blame themselves.

The woman you are involved with is an alcoholic and there is nothing you can do to help her. All you can do is help yourself. Of course she's wonderful when she's sober. Many drunks are. That's how they get people to take them back over and over again, just as you have done. Then, as you've noticed, she goes on another bender. By taking her back each time, you only make her behavior worse. You are teaching her that it's okay to get drunk and abusive and that someone (you) will always forgive her and take her back.

Don't do it again. Don't be tempted to take her back, no matter what. You'll only get the same results, more insults, more drunkenness, more pleas for forgiveness and the same endless cycle will continue.

What's going on with her is alcoholism. What's going on with you is co-dependency. You are the enabler, taking her back and making it okay. Read Melanie Beatty's "Enabler No More," and get out of this destructive relationship once and for all.

Find a woman who doesn't have a drinking problem and get on with your life. There are lots of women out there who are looking for a man just like you. Check out match.com, kiss.com, or love@aol.com.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

Money Problems

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I am 27 and have been dating a 23 year old guy, Dave, for the past 10 months. Neither one of us have been married before or have kids. I just received my MBA and Dave is a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer. Our relationship has been good up to his point.

We have been double dating with Dave's best friends Mike 23 and Kris 18 for the past 10 months. Mike is a felon, a dishonest person, has bad credit and lives beyond his means. Kris has a history of living with multiple men, a fowl mouth, low morals and lacks education. I have nothing in common with them but I tolerate this couple because they are Dave's friends.

Over the past 3 years of their "friendship" with my boyfriend, this couple has managed to get Dave to help them out by:
1. cosigning a $12,000 education loan for Mike
2. allowing them to run up $3,000 on Dave's Sears credit card for home appliances (washer, dryer, toaster, blender, etc...)
3. cosigning a $25,000 car loan for Kris (she is a teller at a bank but the bank won't give her a loan)

That's a total of $40,000! Kris has been late on car payments but is current now. No payments have been received from Mike on the education loan or the Sears bill. He makes alot of promises but nothing ever happens. Mike carries a money clip and spends money like water then we double date. Plus, Mike supposedly has a $350,000 trust fund available to him when he turns 25.

Well, Kris recently found out she's pregnant. Their wedding is planned for June 16 and their baby is expected in November. Out of the blue, Kris told Dave I was not invited to her wedding, bachelorette party or any shower because she's decided she hasn't liked me since she's met me. I have never said or done anything mean to her or Mike.

I think it's rude not to invite me and it bothers me. Dave is in the wedding party but cannot bring his girlfriend as his date. I'm also concerned that once this couple gets married, has the baby and moves away, Dave has zero chance of getting any money from them. I asked Dave to get them to sign promissory notes for the money they owe but he's scared that will make them mad and totally refuse to pay him at all. Dave says he loves Mike and Kris like his brother and sister but I think they are just using him.

I love Dave but don't understand the bond that he, Mike and Kris have and why he's willing to amass so much debt for these people. I have a hard time respecting my boyfriend when he consistently makes stupid decisions. Dave and I are on the verge of breaking up over all this. What should I do?

Dear Concerned,

First of all, it's a real slap in the face for Mike and Kris to un-invite you to their wedding after 10 months of going out with you and Dave. This insult is so blatant that it must reflect very deep hostility toward you. Mike and Kris may see you as a threat to the financial help they're getting from Dave, and what you call "rudeness" may have actually have been a calculated step to break up your relationship with Dave.

Obviously, it was up to Dave to insist that you be invited if they wanted him as part of the wedding party. Dave knows this, you know it, and Mike and Kris know you know it. Yet Dave didn't insist, and this leaves you as the "odd man out." So Mike and Kris win. But really, what do you care? It sounds like all three of them deserve each other.

Whatever their motivations, Dave's inability to stand up to his friends speaks very poorly of him as a person. He's apparently so entwined with Mike and Kris that he is unwilling to say no to them about anything, and you can assume that he will continue to do that. This is not a man you can count on to stand up for you.

You're also right to be concerned over the debt Dave's taken on for them. Right now, of course, it's his own money he's risking, not yours, and you really have no right to tell him not to do it. Just let it be a warning to you that this is not a man to tie your financial future to.

One of the main reasons that couples run into problems is because of their different spending styles and different attitudes about money. Consider yourself lucky that you found out about Dave's inability to say no when friends ask for money. It would be much worse if you were married to Dave and he were risking assets that were community property.

Date Dave if you must (if you haven't already lost all respect for him), but don't marry him. He's not a stand-up guy, and you can't trust him to make safe financial decisions.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

What's Important in a Mate

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I'm a 22 Y.O. caucasion female involved with a 25 Y.O. hispanic man. We have been together for over 4 years and are best friends.He is so perfect, except that he is not as well educated as I. I am months away from graduating college while he is still trying to go back (financial difficulties)to school. I've never met a person so caring, good-hearted, spiritual,and a great emotional support for me, but he lacks intellectual depth.

We have a lot of fun together, and have a lot in common, but we are not intellectual equals. On the other hand, he likes to learn new things, is artistically talented, and wants to finish school (associates degree).Of course since he grew up in the hispanic culture his vocabulary skills and understanding of english vocabulary is limited. Nontheless, we have meaningful conversations, but only on a level other than an in depth intellectual one. I am cultured and schooled, but he leaves much to be desired on that level.

His love, sensitivity, humor,gentleness of manner, commitment, and loyalty is above the rest! And all those who happen to make his aquaintance fall in love with his good-heart! But,my mother insists it will never work between us b/c of our intellectual incompatibility...Is this really true? I find I am frustrated by his lack of knowledge, but at the same time I can't imagine my life without his caring,loving, supportive, and sensitive companionship...Please HELP! What do I do???


Dear Distressed,

You have a man who makes you happy. You can get intellectual stimulation from friends, from the library, from the Internet. But you can only get love from a human being, and a special human being at that. There are lots of intellectual men who wouldn't give you the caring, emotional and spiritual support you get from this man you love. Don't throw all that away just because of what your mother says.

You're still quite young, however -- just graduating from college -- and you should give this relationship some time. And some thought. Your mother undoubtedly wants the best for you, and when she warns you about "intellectual incompatibility," she may be looking further down the road than you.

While you and your man are happy together now, long-term happiness requires that partners be able to communicate and have high regard for each other. When you say he "leaves much to be desired," it tells me you need more time. You also need time to think about Hispanic views of the husband/wife relationship and how you both will deal with these cultural differences in the real world of kids and in-laws, etc.

The important point is that you don't have to rush into a decision about who to spend the rest of your life with, and you don't have to dump your loving boyfriend either. If you eventually decide he's not fulfilling you intellectually, or other problems surface, let it be your decision that you want to be with someone else, not your mother's.

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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