Dr. Tracy's Advice Column

Cartoon Kiss


A Bad Kisser
What to Tell Your Partner
Without A Ring

A Bad Kisser

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I have been going out with my boyfriend for a little over four years, and the relationship we have is perfect, except for one thing. Heís a bad kisser and I just donít know how to tell him. I find that kissing in a relationship is extremely important to me as it is one of the main things that gets me turned on. The problem is that when he kisses me, he just puts his tongue into my mouth without even touching my lips and he stiffens his tongue and doesnít move it at all. This is so frustrating! Is there any way of getting him to be a better kisser without telling him?


Dear Frustrated,

You have a major problem here Ė not so much because your boyfriend is a lousy kisser, but that you waited so long to tell him. Youíve been his girlfriend, and I presume, kissing him for four long years and you're just now thinking of telling him you donít like the way he kisses.

All this time youíve been letting him think that he has a perfect relationship and that youíre happy with the way he kisses among other things. If, at this late date, you start to tell him youíre not happy with one thing, heíll wonder what else youíve been unhappy with for a long time and havenít told him. Heíll wonder if youíre really getting turned on, really enjoying lovemaking, even having a real orgasm.

You could come up with some great story about why youíve suddenly discovered that your lips are an erogenous zone. However, if you don't think you can pull that off, here's how to get what you want without making him feel like you're suddenly criticizing him.

Pick a time when heís relaxed and receptive, say at least three nice flattering things to him, and then ask him if he'd please do something youíd like. Donít say heís doing anything wrong. Instead, tell him what youíd like him to do, and show him, by kissing him exactly the way you want him to kiss you.

Itís very hard to break a guyís bad kissing habits. Even after you show him what youíd like and he tries, he may not completely convert to your way of kissing. You may have to occasionally accept the kind of kisses he likes too.

Sometimes you have to accept the bad with the good. In the long run, itís better to have a bad kisser and a good relationship than a perfect kisser and a rotten relationship.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

What to Tell Your Partner

Dear Dr. Tracy,

Do we have an obligation to reveal everything about our pasts to our partners or loved ones to have true intimate relationships?

For example, if a woman has had an abortion in the past, does her partner need to know? If a woman has a health condition that may make it more difficult to conceive should this be revealed?

My instincts suggest that the answer is 'yes' because somebody's checklists for the right partner may include moral or religious criteria that they would never compromise on. Should these issues be brought up very early on when dating?

Secrets between loved ones obviously prevent intimacy and are sometimes linked to shame and guilt. Most people can remember being close to their parents but when dating and relationships begin, we stop telling them everything that's going on in our lives. It would be lovely to regain this intimacy but obviously not at the price of other people's pain. Are we being fake? Are we still trying to be the good little girls that we were brought up to be?

Somewhere on this website you've suggested that it's good for every woman or indeed person to have a secret part of themselves that's just for them, and a little mystery.

I hope you can offer me some advice to help me deal with these issues which I've been struggling with for some time.

Dear Struggling,

Of course you donít have to tell everything about your past to your partner or loved one in order to have an intimate relationship. Even if your partner is foolish enough to say, "I want to know everything about you before we met," giving him all the gory details of your single life is likely to kill intimacy, not enhance it.

And yes, as you've read, I believe that everyone deserves to reserve a part of themselves that they keep private. For example, if a woman had an abortion in her past, or even several abortions, thatís a private decision and she doesnít have to tell anybody, including her partner. On the other hand, if a woman has a health condition that may make it more difficult to conceive, and sheís with a man who wants to have lots of naturally conceived and birthed children, she should tell him.

Always be sure it makes sense to tell. Think about what will be gained, other than your personal relief for having told. And think about how hurtful it will be for your partner to hear. Decide if itís really necessary, and only tell on a ďneed to knowĒ basis. In other words, if something could really have an effect on the partnership, your partner deserves to know.

The next question is when to tell. If your partner is sure to find out something negative, always tell first. Itís better if he hears it from you. For example, if it seems inevitable that you will be introducing your partner to your family and one of your family members is a problem, itís good to say something like, ĒOh, my fatherís a crazy character,Ē well beforehand. That way, forewarned is forearmed and you canít be accused of hiding things.

On the other hand, some things can be held back for awhile. Some people give little dribs and drabs of information, carefully testing their partnerís reaction so that they know when to stop talking. Other people seem to believe they should tell everything right away "to have a true intimate relationship," as you put it. The big problem with that is you're likely to blab about things that he has no need to know and which look bad in his eyes, thus killing the relationship before it gets started.

If you have something bad that you want to unburden yourself of, and there's no time-critical reason to disclose it right away, then keep it to yourself until your partner has learned that you are indeed a lovable person who could be a great mate. Once someone has learned to love the person you are, they are more likely to accept negative information about your past without condemning you for what you once did.

In general, youíd be surprised at how much intimacy you can achieve and still keep some secrets.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

Without A Ring

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I'm 30 and single. I moved to Los Angeles to pursue my dream career in 2002. I 've been struggling and have yet to make a living solely with my dream career but i am making progress. My lovable adventuresome but slacker 32 year old boyfriend has been here 8 years and is sick of " the industry" and the insanely high rents and shallow people here. He hasn't had much success with the career he thought he wanted and wants to try something else, somewhere else.

First he said he was going to San Diego, then a friend told him he could live cheaper right across the border in Mexico. So he went and got a 2 bedroom apartment on the beach for the summer to try it out. (He had to find something fast because he lost the house he was renting here when it was bought by someone else .He couldn't find anything decent in his price range and has been couch surfing for three months!)

He wants me to move there with him. he says my expenses would be half of what they are here and that i could actually save some money instead of having almost everything go on rent. I can probably continue pursuing my dream in San Diego-I did some research and talked to some people who are doing what i want to be doing there. If i had to go to L. A. occasionally for business reasons it's a two hour drive which is tolerable, but i am just not sure about Mexico. He says i can commute to San Diego - a bunch of people who live there do.

I am concerned because he is asking me to change my life to be with him , give up my apartment however cramped and crappy it is and move away with him with no guarantee. There's no engagement ring on my finger. What if something happens between us and i am left there in a place i really don't want to be in (certainly not alone anyway)? Will i lose focus/momentum on my career? True, i have complained about how big city life has beaten me down and that i was tired of the expense and hassle also and i told him that if he went somewhere i wanted to go too.

Now I think i want some sign of a commitment like an engagement. We've been together 2 years and I'm not getting any younger! Should i tell him this now or spend the summer down there and see how it goes?

Hopelessly confused

Dear Confused,

More important than whether or not you have a ring is whether youíre really ready to give up your dreams of success in LA now that you are making progress. Are you sure youíre not taking on your boyfriendís attitudes about LA and the industry? Just because he hasnít had much success doesnít mean you wonít. Nor does it mean you will succeed. But you owe it to yourself to try.

If you must follow Mr. Couch surfer to Mexico, don't burn your bridges. Go for a visit. You might find that the accommodations in Mexico are much worse than the cramped and crappy apartment you have now. You may also find that commuting from Mexico to San Diego means long, depressing hours in lines at the border. And when you need to get from San Diego to LA, do you really think you'll be able do it in two hours and arrive on time? You better try the drive a couple of times and see.

Donít make any commitments. Youíre really better off going down there without a ring. That way, if you hate it, you donít have to break an engagement to leave.

The biggest problem, though, is not where he is but who he is. Doesn't it worry you that he's only 32 and is dropping out? Do you really want to marry a man who hasnít had much success and has no plans other than living on the beach in Mexico?

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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