Penpal in the Pen
Dear Dr. Tracy,
I'm a 31-year-old guy, divorced, and "been around the block" a few times. Over a year ago, I started a "penpal" relationship with a female inmate (white collar crime) in another state. This relationship has grown into a loving romance and I have flown to meet "Lisa" on many occasions.
LIsa will be out in two months, and I want her to join me where I live. I have already proposed marriage and we both know the difference between love and infatuation. The big problem is that no one in my family knows of this love affair, and they will be upset when they find out. Should I keep Lisa's crimes in the past or should I let my family know? I could really use your advice.
Dear Been Around,
You may think you've been around the block a few times, but unless you've been inside the block walls of a prison, you really don't know what your future bride has been through. It's easy to be in love with someone when you know exactly where they will be all the time - in prison, for instance. And it's also easy for her to be in love with you - there aren't many choices where she is. Things could change a lot when she's out.
So slow down and see how you two get along after she gets out. Don't rush into marriage. Figure on spending some time getting to know each other in the real world. She needs time to adjust to being free and you need to see what she's like on the outside.
There's no reason that your relationship couldn't work out, but there are some cautions here. Crime, white collar or blue, is crime, and being incarcerated changes a person's perspective. Give her a chance to make sure she really loves you and give yourself a chance to make sure that you love the woman she becomes after she gets out.
The big problem is not your family, it's you. You've already proposed when you probably should have waited until your relationship developed under more normal circumstances. Then you would have had a chance to slowly bring Lisa into your family grouping.
As it is now, your family will have to accept your relationship. You are not marrying someone for your family, you're marrying for yourself. However, if you give yourself and your family time to get used to the idea that you've got a fiancee, they will be more likely to accept her than if you insist on an immediate marriage.
Whatever you do, don't tell your family about Lisa's crimes. You know about her past, and that's all that's necessary. She deserves a clean slate when she gets out. It's hard enough for a woman to enter a new family without having all those strikes against her. She's paid for her crime. Don't make her keep paying over and over again with your family.
In general, it's always a good policy never to tell your family anything bad about the person you want to marry.
Afraid to Commit
Dear Dr. Tracy,
I am 38, bisexual, never married and have been in a 3.5 year long distance relationship with another woman. After this amount of time I must move to Germany to be live with her or we must now break-up. She is 29. I do not speak German-but I'm willing to learn. However, I am an only child and I would leave behind parents in decent health in their 70's.
I am a journalist presently not working full-time who's traveled a lot before. However I fear that because of our tumultuous relationship so far-I have reneged several times to move there-if I finally do move there it will fail and I will lose out. Also, she is fully gay, I am a little unsure. She wanted to get married under German law, neither am I sure about that. I love her a lot and when we break up long distance, I FREAK out. She is responsible, mature and dependable and I rely on her more than I will admit. She works full time and promises to support me until I can get on my feet but I am leery of the situation. The big pressure is the time factor: after all of this time I need to go now. Otherwise it will not work, being so far apart any longer.
Nothing has been planned well in this long distance affair and I have always been under the pressure of my parents who dislike my GF intensely. Despite my age I still haven't been able to break my mom's heart to move to Germany. In the meanwhile, I lose out on being with her. We fight, break up, cannot break up and so it goes. She has become everything to me and the thought of losing her is frightening. I want to dare to live abroad but I cannot seem to make myself take the risk. She admittedly works harder at the relationship than i do-being gay is fine with her family-but when I face losing her permanently, I go all to pieces. Breaking up is like asking me to take off my right arm.
Holding my life up over this decision
Dear Only Child,
You're 38, you're a big girl. It's time to cut the umbilical cord and move on with your life. Stop using your parents as an excuse. Stop refusing to grow up. You need to accept your sexuality and get on with your life.
You've been in this relationship for long enough to make a decision. What on earth do you have to lose?
Go to Germany and find out if you and this woman are meant to be together or not. You will never be able to make this decision long distance.
Your mom will be unhappy, but she'll learn to accept the life you have chosen. The important thing is for you to make a choice. You say you'd rather take off your right arm than lose this relationship. So keep your arm, and get a ticket to Germany.
Germany is not the moon. Planes fly both ways. If you really hate it, you can always come back. However if you don't go, you'll never know if you would have found happiness there or not.
Think of this as a life adventure. Sure you're scared - but being scared doesn't mean that you should stay stuck. Don't hold your life up another day.
A Virgin's Lament
Dear Dr. Tracy,
I'm 17 and am certain that I will never find love, I've tried really I have and there was nothing wrong with many of the lads I was with briefly. However I just can't keep one.
When I was 15 I was in the happiest of relationships he was a year older than me but we were in the same school year he said some really foolish things the short and narrow of it being that if I didnt sleep with him it was over. I told him to well I said no and we split.
He spent the next two years chasing me dissaproving of people I dated and I always ended calling things off. I've done it again tonight I dont want to go off to University as the only Virgin and on freshers week lose it in a drunken state, but I am getting increasingly more horny and either need to do 'it' or find a good masterbation technique!!
What do I do?
You're too young a virgin to really worry about virginity. If you were 37 and not 17, I'd agree that it's time. At seventeen, you may feel certain that you'll never find love, but you're about 20 or 30 years premature in drawing that conclusion.
Let me assure you, having sex with a man definitely doesn't guarantee that he'll stay - or that you'll want him to. You shouldn't be finding a man to keep right now, anyway. You should be glad that they are moving in and out of your life. That's how you'll learn about different men and develop the good taste to choose one who will stay and be a lifelong mate.
In the meantime, be glad you're a virgin. You won't be the only one in your University, and don't be stupid enough to lose it in a drunken state during Freshman week. Losing your virginity shouldn't happen because you're horny or drunk. You shouldn't think of your virginity as something you lose, anyway. Instead, see it as a precious pearl that you will bestow on some wonderful man whom you love more than anyone else - someone who deserves it. Meanwhile, get yourself a vibrator.