"Ask Dr. Tracy"

3/26/2000 Advice Column


A Dangerous Game
A Secret Past
Foolish To Be Friends




Dear Dr. Tracy,

I'm a 35 year-old Caucasian man married to a 29 year-old Chinese-American woman. Two weeks ago, I saw my wife giving oral sex to another man. It was our insurance agent, who had always been extremely nice to Rina. The strange thing is that when I saw them through the window, I didn't stop it, I just watched. They never noticed me. I had come home early from work and was returning the trash cans to the backyard when I faintly heard him moaning and caught sight of them through a back window. I was absolutely transfixed with watching. It was like some kind of amateur porn movie, and I couldn't take my eyes off.

I haven't told her that I saw them, and I'm not sure I want to. We are getting along great, and I can't stop fantasizing about it. Of course I'm concerned about what kind of damage this might ultimately do to our relationship, so I broke one of my own rules and cracked her password to read her email.

He's been our agent for almost three years, and it turns out that he has been sending Rina personal emails for quite some time. Rina has always handled our insurance, so it's no surprise that he emailed her. I found dozens of messages from him in her In box dating back over a year. Since Rina never cleans her In Box, in was pretty easy to put all his personal messages in order and track their relationship.

His early emails were basically innocuous, but full of compliments to Rina. They gradually got more forward until he is blatantly asking to "spend personal time" with her. I didn't have any of Rina's actual emails, but many of his were replies with Rina's original text still in them. She rebuffed him gently and at one point suggested that we get a new agent. Slowly however, it's obvious that all his attention started to soften her resolve. He's in his mid-forties and he's a very tall, extremely handsome man of mixed ethnicity; and clearly the type that works out regularly. Rina was obviously flattered that he found her so attractive.

I had noticed Rina's self-image improving over the past year, and I felt a little pang of jealousy realizing that his attention had probably done that. Rina has always felt fat because all her siblings are very thin. Although she's only 5'2", she is very voluptuous, with wide hips and very large breasts, but instead of being happy with that, she always wished she was thinner, and was even embarrassed by the size of her breasts. I've spent our whole marriage telling her how beautiful and sexy she is, but she always said I was biased. So it was a little frustrating to see that she needed someone else's opinion to start making her feel better about herself; it really hurt my pride. But at the same time I'm glad that she's feeling so good about herself.

The final piece of the puzzle is the most embarrassing. From the emails it's clear that what is so appealing to her is the size of his penis and the force and amount of his ejaculation. I know that puts Rina in a very bad light, but it really doesn't accurately reflect on the type of person she is. I'm not making excuses for her, it's definitely humiliating to me; it's just that she is just not the type of person at all that you might expect that from. The other problem, as I've mentioned previously, is that Rina's lust really turns me on, and this guy inspires all out sexual excitement in her. I feel inadequate in that I rarely inspire that kind of passion in her, and it's no fun realizing that my average-sized penis has a lot to do with it. That's not exactly what men like to hear. In spite of that, she is still very affectionate and loving toward me, and our love-making frequency has actually increased somewhat.

He continually relates his desire for intercourse in his emails, but Rina appears to have consistently declined. It's a strange sort of ethic, considering that what they are already doing amounts to a betrayal of our vows, but at the same time it makes me feel somewhat better that she at least saves that for me. My weirdness in all this is that I can't stop fantasizing about watching them have sex. On one level I would really like them to go all the way. How crazy is that? Until now I've always felt pretty normal. Now I feel like I'm in a freak show with me being the chief freak. What should I do?

Dear Chief Freak,

Watching your wife have oral sex with another man through your window does sound a little like watching a pornographic movie, where you're taking part vicariously. But this is no video you can return to the store. Your insurance agent has violated your trust, and so has your wife. By letting this situation continue -- either because it excites you in some perverse way or because you don't want to rock the boat and face the emotional turmoil that confrontation could entail -- you are playing a dangerous game.

Your secret will eventually rise up and strike your marriage like a snake, poisoning whatever love you and your wife now share. Since it's very likely that a woman who has a continuing romantic and sexual relationship with someone will soon form an emotional attachment to him, you are risking losing your wife totally.

Stop letting him steal your wife - because that's what's going on here. Think about what attracts your wife to this other man - besides his size which really has little to do with the situation. Size is not so much of a turn-on for a woman that she would risk her marriage to perform oral sex on the biggie. Nor is it about the size and amount of his ejaculation.

Your wife is looking for romance, excitement, flattery and attention -- which you apparently haven't been giving her enough of. Stop waiting around to reap the doubtful benefits of your wife's extra marital dalliance. Put a stop to it right now. Talk to your insurance agent and tell him you know what's going on and that he must stop writing to and seeing your wife immediately. Tell him that if he contacts her again you will inform the president of whatever firm he's attached to.

Then be prepared to give your wife lots of extra time and attention. She'll need it. Find a way to get more excitement into your lives. Take an exciting trip. Find a great and slightly risky hobby like diving. Find another way to get excited yourself besides watching this dangerous game through the window.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy




Dear Dr. Tracy,

I have a dilemma, and I swear that every word is true. I am a 23 year old woman who is engaged to an incredible man, the love of my life, who is 31. He and I have been dating for a year and 3 months, and I have always been honest and truthful with him, except for one aspect of my life.

When I was 18, I became mixed up with a very bad group of people...I began using lots of drugs, mostly cocaine and crack. I was working as a waitress at the time, and living on my own, with a male roommate. I got deeply mixed up with the drugs and soon I was not making enough money to support my habit. I went to an escort service, thinking that men would pay big bucks to go on dates with me. I was a very pretty girl who was raised with the best of social skills, so I thought that my idea was reasonable. Well, I was hired to work for the service, and I soon realized that I was basically expected to prostitute. At the time I was so into the drugs and the money, and I had such a low self esteem that I really did not care. I worked as a prostitute for about a year. Finally, I realized what I was doing to myself and became disgusted with the lifestyle I was living. I quit the drugs, and the sex for money.

Since then, I have been completely drug free, and I have not sold myself. My fiance knows about my past with the drugs, and he is completely understanding about that. He also went through an addiction and made it "to the other side." My question is, should I tell him about the prostitution? I really don't know how he will react. I have told boyfriends in the past and they have used it against me...called me horrible names while fighting and the like. I know that I am completely disease-free...I just got tested for everything under the sun last month, for my own peace of mind, so I am not putting his health in danger. I am inclined to not tell him, but I am so scared that once we are married, or sooner, somehow the truth will come out.

Please, Dr. Tracy, help me! I really don't know what the best thing to do is...and I don't want to be punished for a mistake a made a few years ago, and one I know I will never make again.

Dear Scared,

You have suffered enough for your past and you have confessed enough. Love doesn't mean you have to tell every detail of every single thing you ever did wrong. Lovers don't tell things that will make them look bad to the person they love, unless they really don't want to be in the relationship.

Since your fiance has accepted your past that you've already told about, that's enough. You've made amends. You've stopped the behaviors that were so terrible and that you feel so bad about. If anyone should ever claim to remember an incident of prostitution with you, just say, "In your dreams, creep," turn your back, and walk away.

Often the urge to confess is more for the confessor than for the person they're confessing to. If you tell, it will be to relieve your own guilt, not to make your fiance feel better about you. Why make him suffer for your past deeds? The past is past and there's nothing you can do about it. Find another way to make up for what you've done. Work with troubled girls. Become a big sister. Volunteer.

Confession may be good for the soul, but not for your relationship. You will just have to bear the guilt for your past prostitution and carry the burden of not telling. If you feel that you need to confess, see a therapist and confess to your therapist. Go to church and confess to your pastor. But don't use your fiance as your confessor.

Since you're never going to do anything like this again, it's time to forgive yourself and get on with your life.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy




Dear Dr. Tracy,

I'm a 37-year-old woman who has been seeing the same man for 4 years, and living with him for 3. Earlier this year I told him I felt it was time to either make a commitment to me -- get engaged -- or move on. Well, you can guess what he chose, can't you? I wouldn't be writing for your advice if he'd come home with a declaration of love and a diamond ring! He is moving out on Friday.

It didn't surprise me too much, because he'd warned me in the past that if I gave him an ultimatum he would leave...even though up until that day he'd been talking about us building a house together! But half-expecting the breakup didn't make it any less devastating to me emotionally. I was clinically depressed for weeks and still feel like I'm walking through a perpetual fog carrying a lead weight on my shoulders. I have a divorce in my past already so the failure of this relationship has been particularly hard to take. Even though I'm doing all the right things -- getting out with friends, making positive plans that don't involve him, etc. -- I can't bring myself to really care. I can't even imagine wanting to take a chance on another relationship after all this pain.

My dilemma is that he wants to stay friends after his move, and I can't think of any logical reason to refuse. Whatever his failings in the commitment department, he's always been there for me as a friend and companion. I don't hate him (although I am terribly angry about his decision sometimes) and I don't think he's a bad person. But the thought of having him visit as "just a friend" in the house we once shared as lovers/partners...or of visiting him in his new bachelor apartment...or even going to a movie together and not being able to hold his hand like I have a hundred times before...it just fills me with such agonizing pain that I can hardly bear it. Yet it's also unbearable to think of never seeing him again, of cutting him out of my life entirely. I just don't know what to do!

-Single Again

Dear Single Again,

Of course this non-committing male wants to remain friends. I've hardly ever heard of one who didn't want to be "friends," even if they wouldn't make a commitment. Remaining friends gives the impression that he hasn't done anything wrong or unacceptable and that life will go on as usual. Certainly he misses you - that's why he wants to remain friends.

If you remain friends with him, you'll be giving him almost everything he wants and hurting yourself. If he's ever going to recognize how much he really cares for you and really wants to be a couple, it will only be if you leave him alone totally.

Don't be friends. Don't give him the joy of having you on his terms and not on yours. There are many logical reasons to refuse. One is your mental health. You'll get over this quicker and find someone else faster if you're not still getting "friendship" from your ex. That's just a way for him to hold on to you and to keep you from being with other guys without giving you a commitment.

This doesn't mean you'll never see him again. If you let him see what life will be like without you, to really miss you, he may be back. Certainly in a year or two when you've recovered, he'll be there to be friends again if you want. But for right now, look out for your best interests -- and those don't include a hurtful friendship with your ex.

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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