Dr. Tracy's Advice Column

Cartoon Kiss


Men Who Need Control
Wants a Confession
Vacation Love

Men Who Need Control

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I really want your opinion on something, and I didn't see the answer to it in your library.

Here's the background of my relationship with my boyfriend. I met him at a place where I worked when I was 18 and he was 36. I was immediately fascinated by his intelligence on just about every subject and his sweet personality. I promptly moved in with him and lived with him for about two years. I was depressed before I met him (I had actually just gotten out of the hospital for attempted suicide right when I started hanging out with him). He taught me to work out and helped get me off my anti-depressants, and I have never had a problem since. I am very thankful for that. He taught me how to box and mountain bike as a way to be healthy both physically and mentally. He's also taught me a lot of life lessons, and has been very generous and thoughtful, even at times when we argue. We agree on just about every subject, and if I believed in such things as soul mates, I would say he must be mine.

However, as greatful as I am for everything he's done, his 'teaching' paired with our age difference has created a parent-child relationship between the two of us, and he doesn't recognize his role in it. I love him to death, but I'm not sure if we can make this work or not. Therapy is out of the question for him.

One example of a common arguement is that I no longer box to work out. Frankly, I have lost interest in it, but he frequently tells me that I need to hit the punching bag to learn self defense and stay in good shape. I recently have been mountain biking a lot instead, so I am not in bad shape. I am just not doing the excersize of his choice. He says he is telling me for my own good, but he sounds like a parent to my ears. He sees no problem except that I am not doing what he wants or even trying to 'compromise.' What's comprimosing? I'm biking a lot, and I'm nowhere near fat. If I needed to punch someone for some reason, I would remember how. Boxing has always been a really big thing to him.

He says I've changed since we first met since I no longer want to box with him or skip rope. (There are other similar arguements where I've 'changed', but I don't want to write you a book.) Should I just get over it and do what he says? Do you think I'm being childish? And how is it possible to change the mentality of our relationship so he stops treating me like a child? (I have recently moved out and gotten my own place, but that has only made things more uneasy.)

Please help me! I love him very much and want this to work!

Dear Soul Mate,

First of all, just because you love someone, doesn't mean that you can be together forever. Some relationships are only good in a special time and place. Take them to another time and place and they disintegrate.

This man wanted you when you were a needy mess. Ask yourself what kind of man wants a woman who is so totally depressed? The answer is a man who needs to control his woman. He was kind and wonderful and helpful to you, figuring that if he did everything for you, he got to be your boss, to tell you what to do and how and when to do it.

His choosing a woman who was so much younger than him made the whole thing work. Also choosing someone as vulnerable as you were then made him feel like your savior, someone you needed so badly that you would surely love him. Men who do everything for a woman do it as a way to control their love object and to buy love. The thinking is, "If I give you everything, you'll have to love me."

That worked for a while. The trouble is that as soon as you became more self-sufficient and decided to be your own boss and choose your own workout, he couldn't handle it. He was only happy when he was in charge and you were submissive. He will never be happy with the new you.

Don't even consider going back to being submissive and letting him control your life. Of course you've changed since you met him. You're becoming an adult and he really wanted you to stay a child.

His personal insecurities keep him from choosing an adult woman with a mind of her own and from letting you become your own person. He will only try to become more controlling as you spread your wings and fly. To change the dynamics of your relationship, he'd have to change, and I don't see that happening.

You're not being childish. Don't just do what he says to keep the peace. You can't become a depressed, lost 18-year-old again to keep him happy. Find a new man who loves you as an equal, not a child. And please remember that just because you love someone doesn't mean you get to dictate how they live their life.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

Wants a Confession

Dear Dr. Tracy,

Ive been with my girlfriend for nearly a year, but i feel i can't fully trust her. I think the reason for this is when we first started goin out, a week in to be precise, i know that she had cheated on me. The evidence was stacked against her.

I confronted her a few times, but it normally ended up in tears, her giving me a different story each time. She swears she didnt cheat on me but i know she did, and i said to her, if u admit to me that you did then i'll forgive you, but she still hasnt admitted it to me.

Im pretty sure that she wudnt cheat on me now, and that she loves me, but i think what happened when we first started going out with each other is ruining our relationship, i cant stop thinking about it. I think if she admits to me that she did it would make it so much easier on me.

The man it happened with is her parent's best friend's son, so they see them once a year, on holiday or just home visits. This means she will see him occasionally, and it makes me worry.

What do u think i should do, or what shall i say to her? Thanks for your time.

Dear Suspicious,

The problem here isn't whether your girlfriend cheated or not, the problem is that you don't trust her. Trust is the most important ingredient for a good relationship and you don't have it.

The incident you're obsessing over happened only a week into your relationship. How could you expect instant monogamy at that point? You've got to let it go. Stop trying to get an admission out of her. If you keep bugging her about it, you will surely lose her for good. What's ruining your relationship isn't what happened with her and another man back when you barely knew each other, it's your constantly reminding her that you don't trust her and that you haven't forgiven her.

Tell her you've decided that you want to put in the past anything that might have happened when you first started going out; tell her you just want to move on with your life together. Forgive her in your heart and see if you can make this relationship work.

On the other hand, if you can't do that, and you feel that you can't trust her the next time this man visits, then let her go, because you can't build love on a base of suspicion.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

Vacation Love

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I met a man while on vacation and we fell madly in love. He was a local, and he told me he wanted to marry me. His last words to me at the airport were, I want to marry you. He had told me this many times before. Our relationship moved at breakneck speed because of our lack of time. Of course, being a single 30 year old, was awestruck by all of this, and I was admittedly head over heels

When I arrived home, he informed me there was another woman whom only came down twice a year to see him, but he was bound to her. I discovered that this woman is not only his boss, but also, twenty years his senior, and I think she may be a sex tourist who uses him as a gigolo. He lives very well there, and appears to have a better job than most. He is also the boss of many people. I have a feeling that he not only runs things for her down there, but she is using him as her boyfriend while sheís down there as well. He also uses her last name in his emails, in which he corresponds with customers. I have a feeling that he worries for his livelihood if he was to tell her he wanted to be with someone else.

I know I should just get over it, and let him be with her, but he kept insisting that despite her, he really loves me. I feel terrible that he may be trapped because she is in control of his job! Before Iíd figured all of this out, I got upset with him. He told me he loved me, but that there was nothing he could do about it. I got upset because I didnít understand, but now heís not talking to me! I know this whole thing is convoluted, but I really felt this man was the ONE! I want to make up with him and wait for him to figure everything out, but I donít know how to approach it. Please help!

Dear Head Over Heels,

Most vacation loves should be left exactly where they started, on vacation. When you're in a new place, on vacation, you're in a different reality, and the relationships you get involved in on vacation rarely translate into good relationships at home.

You should definitely be suspicious of this whole thing. Any relationship that happens at breakneck speed usually falls apart just as fast. And when a man says he wants to marry you after just knowing you for a short time, you have to wonder why. Ask yourself, why would a man want to marry you after just meeting you, and what would your life have been like? Do you imagine you would move to his world? Or that he would move into yours?

Even if everything were perfect and he weren't involved with some other woman who probably supports him as well, this probably wouldn't work out. But with all the complications involved, with this other woman you suspect could be a sex tourist and his customer, you'd be a fool to continue thinking this could be the love of your life.

You need a man for the 50 weeks of the year when you're not on vacation, and you really can't do anything to release this man from the woman who has him in her clutches. I have a feeling they're way more involved than you think. If you're really curious about what's going on, find the woman and ask her.

You won't want to do this because you really don't want to know the truth. You want to continue to live in your fantasy - that you really could marry this man.

He's not the one. You're clutching at straws. He's using her last name. He works for her. He told you he can't give her up. And now he's not talking to you. How many reasons do you need that this won't work out?

You've been seduced by his saying he loves you and wants to marry you. That's hard to resist and lots of women have fallen for that line for ever. Who knows how many vacationing women he's told the same story to over the years. In any case, his life is too complicated, too foreign and much too sordid for you to marry into, even if he still wanted you, which he doesn't.

This is one to leave where you found it and file away under the category of "summer love."

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

Submitting a Question to this column

Dr. Tracy regrets that it is simply impossible for her to answer all of the hundreds of questions submitted to this column each week. However, she does read every question, and tries to select the three which are of the most general interest to the visitors here.

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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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