"Ask Dr. Tracy"

4/7/96 Advice Column

Lost in lust, A Jerk is a Jerk is a Jerk, Being a Doormat

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I am kind of seeing this girl, now for about two weeks. But the problem is, she has a boyfriend for 3 years. Right now, she's living with him because her mother died when she was real little, and her father is a dead-beat dad. She comes to see me at work, and she'll stay over my house all night till about 6 o'clock in the morning. I have already slept with her once, and she doesn't feel guilty about it. She tells me how much she wants to be with me, but she doesn't know how her boyfriend will react to such a situation. What should I do, should I sit back and wait to see what happens, or just drop it and move on? Please help me by giving me some advice, it's really important to me!!!!!!!!

Lost in lust

Dear Lost in lust,,

You and this girl both have your heads in the clouds if you can't figure out that her live-in boyfriend is going to be furious. The situation is dangerous.

But that's not the only problem. The girl's been living with this guy -- for three years -- because she has no parental support? Gimme a break! Hasn't she ever heard of getting a job and sharing rent with a female roommate? And she's cheating on her live-in lover by sleeping with you, and not feeling guilty? If she's doing it with you, I'll bet she's done it before. I sure hope you had safe sex.

She has lots of problems. Get out while you can.

Dear Dr. Tracy,

First, I'm old enough to know better, but here goes, in a nut shell: I met a guy on the Internet. In spite of age, location, & previous relationships for us both, we "fell in love" & he moved to my city. Before he came here, he was diifficult, but mostly wonderful. Once he arrived, he was always unreasonable, cruel, deliberately hurtful & played games, which I attributed to an adjustment period. I took his abuse for 4 months; when he kept getting worse, I ended it. I've been feeling better about my decision & happy that I escaped his cruel control. I just heard that he now has a pregnant girlfriend & is marrying her soon, after only a few months of OUR being broken up. Given his behavior, I'm not surprised, so WHY am I so upset over it, & how can I get over it??? Thanks...

Dear Lucky to Get Away,

You're upset because you think this jerk is going to change and treat her differently than he treated you. You imagine that she's going to get the wonderful parts of him and not the unreasonable, cruel and deliberately hurtful game-playing parts too. You think the other woman's going to get the man you fantasized he could be when you first met him on the Web. Web fantasies die hard, but believe me, they're fantasies. It's so easy to only show your nice part in the beginning. We all try to do that. But eventually the real person comes out. In this guy's case, a jerk.

As a therapist, I can tell you that people don't change easily. It takes a strong desire and often lots of hard and painful work. So stop worrying. He's going to treat her in exactly the same rotten way he treated you, and eventually they'll break up too. Consider yourself saved, and have pity on the poor woman who's stuck with him. Keep telling yourself that -- especially when you start to fantasize him being the loving wonderful man you always hoped he'd be. Make a list of all the terrible things he did to you and post the list in a prominent place. Carry a copy around. Whenever you get those sad, wistful, lost love thoughts, review the list and rest assured that by now he's doing even worse. Read "Summary Guide for Letting Go" Section in my Library, as well as the two articles on "Men to Avoid."

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I'm a 35 y/o, DWM. My question Dr., is that the last few relationships(?) I've gotten involved in I try to be caring, gentle, and flexable. The problem is when these ladies find out that I'm like this they seem to abuse it. I've been treated like shit and when I bring up my feelings on the subject all I get is "I don't know what to mean". Some of these ladies I really cared about and I've stopped seeing them for these reasons, but I still miss them to death. What can I do? I don't want to be the overpowering asshole like some other guys I know, but they seem to always have someone by they're side. I sure could use a little advice.

Thanks, Ron

Dear Ron,

Nobody wants a doormat. I have the feeling you are too easy, too flexible, and don't really understand that women want a challenge too. Women don't like a guy who's too easy, or who does too much for them. They wonder if nobody else wants you, if you just have nothing else to do in life, or if you just want to be taken advantage of.

A sad part of human nature is that most people will take advantage of you as much as you let them. Then they don't respect you for it. Don't let women treat you like shit. Set rules and stick to them. Set limits. If you find this difficult, work on your self-esteem. Read "How To Raise Your Self-esteem" by Nathaniel Branden.

Perhaps you could date two or three women at the same time. That way you couldn't do too much or give too much to any one. Also, nobody wants to eat at a restaurant with no cars parked outside.

Men frequently come to me for counseling after they've done "everything" for a woman and then she treats them badly. These men don't understand how to give. The secret is to give intermittantly, not constantly, then go away. Give a woman a chance to wonder if she's ever going to get another nice gesture from you. Don't let her think you're so desperate you'll just keep giving and giving no matter what she does. "Are You Giving Too Much Too Soon?" in my Library explains this and gives you some guidelines. Good luck.

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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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