"Ask Dr. Tracy"

4/9/2000 Advice Column

Right Woman, Wrong Time
A Fool For Love
Confessions Aren't Always Good For The Soul

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I searched you out on the net to ask you a specific question. My name is Brian, I am 32 yrs old. I was married for 6 yrs and have been divorced for a year. I met this wonderful woman thru a telephone dating service. She is 33 and is separated and filed for divorce but not divorced yet. She is beautiful on the inside and out. We have so much in common and talked forever on the phone. Some nights we talked for 6 or 7 hours at a time. We had out first date and in her words it was "perfect." She said later on that she felt God brought us together. Then after a few days she stopped calling completely and "disappeared." A week or so later she called to tell me her father passed away after a week in the hospital.

After this, the calls started again and things went really really well. We planned to meet for lunch on Tuesday and go out to dinner the following Thursday. On this past Thursday, we had our dinner date and she started to cry about her father and said she felt she was entering into a depression. She was away for the weekend so I didn't talk to her all weekend. Then I call her last night and she says she doesn't want to talk to anyone - she is really depressed. I spoke to her for about 2 minutes. I asked her if there is anything I could do and that she could call me anytime to talk. She said it was nothing I did, she just needs time.

Now, my question. I care deeply for this woman, I want to show her I care. I sent her a card expressing this. How long should I wait to call her again to check that she is alright or do I wait for her to call me?

I would appreciate your response. I could easily fall in love with this woman and do not want to kill the feelings we have.

Thank you for your time!

Dear Out Of Sync,

It's too bad. You've met the right woman at the wrong time.

In love as in life, timing is everything. If it's not the right time, it doesn't matter how much you have in common or how perfect everything was between you.

As someone who lost both parents a little more than a year ago, I can sympathize with the depression your wonderful woman is going through. She was already working through the upset of a divorce, but there's nothing more depressing than losing a beloved parent. You are suddenly facing so many things -- feeling like an orphan, feeling guilty for all the times you could have spent with the parent and didn't, and feeling sad for all the things you wanted to say and never did.

I personally felt depressed about the death of my parents for at least six months to a year. If I had been single, I doubt if any man would have interested me at that point in my life no matter how great he was or how much I had enjoyed him previously.

So if you are expecting a love relationship with this woman at any time in the near future, say the next six months to a year, you are deluding yourself. It could take even longer before she is prepared to face life fully and move on with her life. It's possible that having another man in her life right now would seem like being "unfaithful" in some way to her deceased father. Being happy with another man right after his death might seem like a betrayal.

It was nice of you to send a condolence card to show you care, but there is very little else you can do. You could send flowers, you could make a donation to a charity in her father's honor, but none of that will get her over her depression and ready to have a relationship with you.

It's okay to call once in a while, say every three months or so, but don't expect her to be over it. She has obviously been deeply affected by this loss, and whatever feelings she and you had are mostly gone. If you do get together in the future, you'd have to start over from square one.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I have been dating this guy for about a month and he always mooches off me. I pay for his food, necessities, gas, let him live in my apartment, pay the bills and rent, buy the groceries and he's the one with the job not me. I don't have the heart to say anything but its just getting way out of hand. I just had a baby 5 weeks ago and I was very vulnerable when we met. I know this sounds wrong but I feel like I am basicly buying his affection for me. Everyone tells me to get rid of him but he is really nice to me besides the whole money thing. He would rather buy beer than take me out. Please help me solve this problem.

Dear Vulnerable,

Get a grip. You've got one baby you're responsible for. Why are you taking on another one?

In the beginning of a relationship, you set the stage for how it will be for the rest of your time together. If you start out letting this guy mooch off of you, he will mooch off of you forever. You think he will love you for taking care of him, but that's not the way it works. He just thinks you're a sucker and wonders what kind of fool you are to be so easily taken advantage of.

It's almost impossible to take back what you've already given, but it can be done. Stop paying for his food, necessities, food, gas and rent. Of course you are buying his affection. Is it because you feel that you won't get a man without paying for him? If so, you need to work on raising your self-esteem and feeling better about your own self-worth.

If you don't stop this now, it will get worse. He will demand more and more as long as you give and give. It's a sad fact of human nature that people will take as much advantage of you as you will let them. It's time to sit this guy down and have a heart to heart talk with him. Paying his way in the world is not doing either one of you any good. You're demeaning yourself and you're demeaning him too.

This is not a question of his buying beer instead of taking you out, it's a question of his freeloading on your back. You say he has a job. That's outrageous. He's working and not paying for his own basic necessities! No wonder everyone tells you to get rid of him.

If he's really nice to you, that's great. But you're not really appreciating his being nice because in your heart you know you're buying his niceness. And how nice is he really when he lets you support him?

Put a stop to this right away, even if you have to throw him out. Sit down with him and write out a budget. Let him know how much he has to contribute and if he refuses, then tell him he will have to find somewhere else to live. You'll be lonely, but you'll have your self-respect. And who knows, he could change, but only if you demand your rights.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I have a problem, my fiance who is also my childs father has been incaurerated for four years now. We were planning on getting married in December. We have worked through the problems and concerns that we have had with one another but now he keeps asking me a question that I don't think I should have to answer. The question in "Whens the last time I had sex" to which I told him that I was not gonna answer that queston.

He tells me that it doesn't matter if I did or didn't he would still love me just the same, but I feel that if thats the case he wouldn't keep harassing me about it. He says by me not answering the question that I'm hiding something from him and maybe now he might not want to get married if I'm not able to be honest about everything. I think he is just using this as an excuse to not get married because he knows I'm a person that if I feel that I am right I will stand my ground. So my question to you is, should I answer the question (to which the answer is about 2 years ago give or take a few months) or should I stand firm on not answering?

Dear Harassed,

Your question has been asked by countless lovers for centuries. Men are driven by the green-eyed monster of jealousy to know, and then when they're told, they're sorry they asked. Or worse. Sometimes much worse. Smart women avoid answering or tell a little white lie to keep from hurting their lover's feelings. You know he doesn't want to know that you've been with someone else. He wants to hear that you've been faithful.

Confessing might make you feel better, but it won't do your relationship any good and could destroy it. If you confess to having sex while your Fiancé was in jail, you'll be reinforcing his worst fears. And if you tell him you had sex once or twice two years ago, he'll think there was more to it and want more details.

I am reminded of the great scene in "The Godfather" where Al Pacino is asked by Diane Keaton, who plays his non-Mafia wife, whether he had anything to do with killing someone. Pacino is furious at her for asking and finally says, "Okay, I will answer this one time, but never ask me anything like this again." Then he looks at her and he says, "No."

So as much as I hate to tell someone to lie, my advice to you is either stick to your guns and not answer, which will mean he will continue to harass you about it, or tell him you haven't had any sex and to never ask you again.

If he still continues to harass you about it, then you should seriously reconsider whether you want to marry him. He is looking for something to come down on your case about, and if it's not this, it will be something else.

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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