Dr. Tracy's Advice Column

Cartoon Kiss

4/21/2002

Why Demanding People Find Love
Blown Away By A Smoker
Abusive Men



Why Demanding People Find Love

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I've always wondered how people that are "high maintenance" find a partner. I'm talking about the demanding, vain, loud, perfectionistic, condescending type--male and female. I'm female, 39, and never married and increasingly ok with it. I know I shouldn't worry about others, but I am curious about this.

Dear Curious,

Some high maintenance people who are very demanding find partners just because they are demanding. Demanding people who are vain also tend to have high self-esteem - which, of course, is not a bad thing.

Sometimes, the best way to get respect and to be treated well is to demand that you be treated that way. People with high self-esteem won't put up with lousy treatment. They leave abusive situations immediately because they know they deserve better. People are attracted to them because their "I'm worth it" attitude is upbeat and attractive. They find mates easily and usually wind up with the respect they demand.

Their opposites -- the self-effacing, shy types -- never ask for what they want. These are the people who never demand respect. When people realize that they can get away without giving these undemanding people anything, that's just what they get, nothing. Or they wind up with the "loud and condescending" types you mention, because they're uncritical and grateful for whatever they can get.

As for perfectionists, they are doomed to eternal dissatisfaction. Nothing in life is ever perfect - at least not for very long. Even a perfectly clean house gets dirty. Even perfect people can't stay that way. They age. That's life. Their perfect figures become less so. Their perfect faces get wrinkled. Also, perfection, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. What I think is perfect could be absolutely awful to you. Most people accept this, but a perfectionist will take a difference of opinion seriously and argue over something hardly worth discussing.

I'm not excusing being loud and condescending -- those are obnoxious traits. And we can only feel sorry for the perfectionists, because they are doomed to be unhappy. But being demanding and vain isn't all bad - up to a point. If you're not finding the partner you want, perhaps you should consider a little more of both. Remember, if you think you're terrific, others are more likely to think so too.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy



Blown Away By A Smoker

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I'm 25 and my wife is 47. We live in Georgia and have been married for two years.

Obviously my wife knows I have a sexual/emotional preference for older woman (She prefers the term preference to fetish). However she has no idea that I'm arroused by her cigarette smoking (smoking fetish).

I don't smoke. I wish I did, but my mom put an end to that when she caught me trying it when I was 14. My mom smokes. Any way, the experience with my mom solidified my attraction to older smokers into a fetish. My wife would not tolerate it if I started, so I guess I enjoy it from voyer point of view.

Despite being in an age-gap relationship, my wife is the furthest thing from kinky. She likes to pretend we're like every other conventional couple. I think she enjoys my youth, and I definitely enjoy her physical and emotional maturity. However, she would never participate in any mommy/son fantasies that I have on a regular basis.

Back to smoking. Whether she knows it or not, she is a sensuous-exquisite smoker. The way she holds her cigarette, the way she taps her ash and inhales- she smokes like a refined lady- not a truck driver.

She's also a very heavy smoker, having a three pack a day habit. This makes her taste and smell like a piece of heaven to me. I love kissing her and lighting her cigarettes. She thinks I'm a gentlemen and that I love her. She's right, but I also get turned on by it.

Like my mother, she says she wishes she never started. Like my mother she says she wishes she could quit but she never makes an effort. It's as if she's trying to mislead me, trying to make me believe she doesn't enjoy every puff that flows through her lungs.

I've tried to give her little hints but she rejects me. For example, I've tried to kiss her while she still has smoke in her mouth- she thinks that's dirty and disgusting. I've tried to play with her vagina while we're in bed next to each other while she's smoking. I've tried to give her oral sex while she's smoking. These are the things I want to do with her. I've tried every thing except coming right and telling her that I'm a pervert. I'd do it if I thought she wouldn't be offended or put off.

Yes, I know smoking is an unhealthy habit. So does my wife, but knowing isn't going to make her stop. It's not like I want her to start smoking so I can enjoy her more. I just want to enjoy her the way she is.

Women like her and my mom really confuse me with the way they act in regard to their smoking habits. It's as if they don't know they're pretty and attractive to at least some men when they smoke.

Slap me with a stick, but I think women are motivated to do the things they do because they want to be attractive to men. That's why they put on make-up, wear sexy nightgowns, put on nice clothes. They would also never start smoking if they they thought it made them look unattractive.

Do you have any advice for me?

Dear Smoke Lover,

I get all kinds of letters about sexual preferences and fetishes, some really bizarre, but yours is one of the most destructive. By encouraging your wife to smoke, you are definitely limiting her life.

Smoking causes cancer, heart disease, strokes and a plethora of other illnesses, mostly fatal. There is nothing wrong with a fantasy or a fetish or a sexual preference as long as it is between consenting adults and doesn't hurt anyone. Your preference is deadly.

I suggest that you start thinking about how you'll feel as a young widower, since that's what you're on your way to becoming. What you really should do is get over your smoking fetish - or if you must, enjoy old (dead) movie stars smoking in black and white.

Your wife's three-pack-a-day habit is digging her grave as surely as if she were shooting heroin or smoking crack. Smoking cigarettes is just as addictive as any other drug -- and your wife is not smoking to turn you on, I assure you. She's smoking because she can't help herself.

If you really love her, try to help her stop. Encourage her to get into a stop-smoking program. Find other reasons to love her besides her smoking habit. Don't be so selfish about your fetish that you're willing to sacrifice your wife's life so that you can enjoy the smell and the sight of her destructive habit. You're not going to be enjoying her long with that heavy smoking habit.

Do the right thing. Get her to stop.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy



Abusive Men

Dear Dr. Tracy,

My boyfriend and I just celebrated our 3 year anniversary on the 12th of April and in the last 3 years we have definitely had our ups and downs. Since September it's been a big down. In September I turned 18 and decided to move in with my boyfriend. My mother hates him and of course disapproved. Now she won't let him in the house or come to family functions. It's hard for me because I use to be very close with my family (but my Mom and I never got along). But this is also putting a strain on my boyfriend and I's relationship. He doesn't understand why even though he's not allowed there I still want to spend a little time there especially on holidays and such. We always argue about it.

And then when I thought things couldn't get any worse it did. There was a 9 month period where my boyfriend and I weren't together although we still dated and were intimate. In those 9 months we also dated others. One of the others that I dated (and I also went to prom with) my boyfriend hated and had no clue that this guy and I were even dating. I didn't tell him either because deep in my heart I eventually wanted to get back with him. Well, a girl he knows made sure he knew it all but, I continued to lie and deny it all. After we moved in together though I was at work one night and he went through a bunch of my personal things (he claims he was looking for something of his), and in doing so he found my journal and began to read it. In the journal it stated how I was with the other guy and all the other truths. Even after that though and to this day I deny going to prom with him. That night we had a huge argument. He said we could work past it but, now every time we argue or he is mad at me he accuses me of cheating on him with this other guy or even guy friends of mine that I have never dated. If I go somewhere without him (If he allows me to) he asks me where I went, with who, how long I'll be gone, and makes me take a cell phone so he can reach me anytime. Even the other day when I went to my Dad's he got mad because I was there "all day" (which really was 3 hours). And just recently it started to get abusive. Not necessarily hitting but, we were fighting and I went to walk past him and I pushed through him and as I did so he pushed me really hard to where I fell and hurt my wrist. I had a big bruise and swelled and I hid it from everybody. I get tons of bruises from him pinching me, punching my arms and legs and although he says he's playing around I've told him many times that it hurts and to either do it lighter (when he's playing) or don't do it. I'm beginning to get scared and I don't know what to do. I don't wanna go home to my Moms because it'll prove she was right and that I screwed up but, I also don't know if I wanna stay there. I'm so scared one day we will get into a huge argument or he will find something else out about my past and get so infuriated that something bad will happen. Especially now that I am pregnant.

How can I make him stop is mental (name calling) and physical ause? I love him and don't want us to break up and eventually I hope to be married and raise our childeren together. Please help me.

Dear Scared,

Your boyfriend has serious problems. He can't control his anger and he's not going to get better.

To the contrary, he'll get worse. Men who are abusive start with words and shoving, but it always gets worse. It soon becomes slapping, then punching, and their women wind up with broken bones in emergency rooms. He will surely hurt you if you don't get out.

Forget about whether you or your mother is right. Leave your boyfriend and go home to your mother. Then tell your boyfriend you'll only come back if he gets into therapy for anger management. Insist that the two of you get therapy together. If he won't go, then don't go back to him.

You have to think about your baby now as well as yourself. You will never forgive yourself if you lose or hurt your baby because of his violent behavior. There is no excuse for his behavior, no matter what you did. And since you were not in a committed relationship with him at the time you went out with the other guy, you had every right to do that. That wasn't "cheating."

His controlling ways will only get worse. He won't improve without help. You are hoping he'll get better if you talk to him or reason with him or try to make him understand. But he won't. You can't stop him. He probably doesn't know how to stop himself, even if he wanted to. That's why he has to get into therapy and learn other ways to deal with his emotions besides abusing you.

You're too young to ruin your life with an abusive man or to wind up in the hospital because you couldn't leave him. The saddest thing about abused women is how long they stay in the relationship with the abuser and how many times they get beaten up and how many broken bones they suffer before they leave.

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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