"Ask Dr. Tracy"

4/12/98 Advice Column


Dear Dr. Tracy,

I am a widower for almost 2 years and I met a lovely lady that is good to me in all departments. My question is....Is it too early to marry again? Since I am 69 years old. My children think I am moving too fast..and should wait.

Dear Widower,

My father-in-law remarried after his wife died. He and his bride were close to 80 and his wife had only been dead a year. Sure, his grown children were shocked and somewhat upset, but so what. He was happy for ten more years before he died, and so was she.

In spite of the children's worries about losing Dad, losing Dad's estate, losing Mom's memory, you should follow your heart and marry the woman who makes you happy. After all, how many good years do you have left to enjoy together? Who knows? Grab the happiness that today offers and stop letting your kids be in charge of what you should do. If you feel you're ready, marry the lady.

Invite the children to the wedding, give them a lot of their mother's things so they won't worry about who's going to get what, and start over with your new wife. After all, you're not going to be any younger next year or the year after, and probably not any healthier either. You should enjoy the precious days of your life and if your children really love you, they'll want you to do what makes you happy.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I am very much in love with a married man.We have been together for 2 1/2 months.He lived with me for 2 weeks.I know he loves me as he tells me all the time,as well as his friends.His wife knows everything about me, he even told her he is in love with me,and she continues to ask him this everyday.He started counseling,he said he owes it to her and can't make a commitment to me until he finalizes things at home.We both agree we have never felt such love. So HELP!!!! WHAT DO I DO??????

Dear Mistress,

I know you probably don't think of yourself as a mistress, but that's what you are -- after all, you're sleeping with a married man who is most likely sleeping with his wife too. Oh yes, they say they're not, but they do.

So he tells you he loves you, and he tells his friends, and he tells his wife. Talk is cheap, but his actions (going to therapy) say he's trying to get back with his wife. So you should probably withhold a little of your love and emotions. The reason for that is that he could easily wind up staying with his wife or drawing this thing out as long as possible to have the best of both worlds, you and his marriage.

I'll probably get a lot of flack for giving you advice on how to survive being the "other woman," but other women need sanity too, so here goes.

It's not easy to break up a marriage, and he may stay with his wife simply because it's the easy way out, so prepare yourself. Have other boyfriends on the side, waiting in the wings so to speak. Try not to be upset and distraught all the time about his marriage and his wife and his problems. The way to live with this situation is to remember he's married and you're not. His marriage and his wife problems are only yours if you let them be.

If you can't follow that advice, you are doomed to be emotionally upset for as long as this goes on. Being the other woman is never easy.

Get a life that doesn't involve him. Don't let your entire existance revolve around this relationship and its problems. They'll either stay married or break up, neither of which is a guarantee that you and Mr. Married Man will wind up together.

So if you want to make a statement in your favor, to fight for her man so to speak, then the only thing you can do is see to it that his time with you is pleasurable in contrast to his problem-filled days at home. Don't put her down, and don't spend all your time talking about her.

Unfortunately, even if his marriage was already bad, you will be known as the one who broke up his marriage. You'll have to live with that and the karma that follows, so try not to make yourself crazy with love. There's really nothing you can do except enjoy your time together and tell your conscience and everyone else to shut up about it. And remember, feeling love is not an excuse to hurt other people without remorse. Try to have compassion for the wife. She's having more pain than you could imagine.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

Dear Dr. Tracy,

A year ago, my boyfriend of two years revealed to me that he did not believe in marriage and that if ever we do get married, there would have to be a Pre-nuptial Agreement between the two of us. This was the tip of the iceberg on our differences. First, there is the difference in our ages (he is 36 and I am 22), the difference in our religion (he is an adament atheist, and I am a strong Christian), the difference in our culture (he is from Croatia and I am Burmese-American), the difference in our political views (he is Republican and I am Democrat), the difference in our economic status (he is a millionaire, and I am barely surviving on going to school full time and working full time), the list goes on forever. Surprisingly however, we had an awesome relationship. We had our differences, but these differences came out as debates/discussions/fun competitions as opposed to emotional arguments. He was my very best friend, and not only was I in love with him, but he had become more important to me then anybody else in the world...above my family. Marriage, however, was something that I did not want to back down on because it is something that is important to me... and a Pre-Nuptial Agreement was out of the question, for my own reasons. I used all my resources to try to convince him otherwise, but he wouldn't back down. He said he wasn't sure, and there was no rush to decide.

Hurt, tired, angry, and disappointed, I decided to move on. In my mind, I had given up. I met somebody before I had officially broken up with my boyfriend. I did not actively go out picking up on guys, but this one particular one just happened to show up in my life at this time. He had just recently graduated with a BS, just turned 24, just moved to California from Colorado and was starting his first real job. We started out as friends. I had a boyfriend, and he had a girlfriend back in Colorado. However, it became more and more apparent that there was something between us that was more then friendship. I realized that I was falling in love with him very quickly. The feelings I had for him were very different from the feelings I had for my boyfriend...To make a long story short, I parted on good terms with my boyfriend, I am now living with this guy from Colorado, but am still in touch with my ex-boyfriend.

I am very happy with the way things are right now, but my old boyfriend wants to get back together, and it is very difficult for him to see me living with somebody else. I don't think that he will be able to be friends with me for much longer, and when I think about not having him in my life I start to cry. Some would say that I am "very lucky and fortunate" to have two such wonderful men in love with me. Some would say that I am being cruel to hang on to both of them. Even I would say that about myself. I don't know what to do. I know that I am very much in love with both men, and it tears me up to think of losing either one. It has come to the point where I am considering becoming single, so as to keep both as friends...You see, they are more then just a couple of guys who pay attention to me. I would love them just as much if they were not my boyfriends. I just don't want to lose them from my life. All my friends are either biased toward one guy or the other, so they are no help at all. Please help me figure out what the hell is wrong with me, and what direction I should be heading in order to stop the pain that I am causing everybody.

Sincerely, Split but Hopeful

Dear Split,

I suggest that one way for you to look at both men is to make a list... First write down everything you need from a mate. Not what you want, like money, but things you really need like affection, etc. Then write down what each man has to offer and see which one offers the most of what you need. It may help you to follow "Developing Realistic Criteria" in my Library. In addition, it may also help to compare your two men by using the checklist I have in "Qualifying Someone".

Above all else, separate Mr. Millionaire from his money in your mind. Think to yourself, "Would I love him as much if he were broke?" After all, he could lose his money and then what. Or, "Do I love him enough to support him if he needed it?" Or, "Would I take care of him if he were sick and would he take care of me?" Try to think in terms of qualities that'll last, like kindness, not ones that can be lost, like possessions.

In general, it's best to marry someone with equal values. If you're a Christian, you're looking for a lot of problems if you marry someone who's an athiest, not to mention cultural differences. What will you do at Easter? At Christmas? Go to church by yourself? Listen to his athiest philosophy? It may be intellectually stimulating to discuss, but believe me when he's belittling the beliefs that you're trying to teach your children, it won't be interesting at all.

There's nothing wrong with a pre-nuptual agreement if both people have their own lawyers and both parties agree to have such an agreement. But if it's absolutely a deal-breaker point with you, then I'd say you should let him go unless he gives it up. After all, he's just coming back with the same offer he made before. And you've already turned him down on that once. Don't back down on what's important to you. If Mr. Big Bucks really wants you, then let him marry you on your terms. If not, then let him go his own way and find someone who will marry him with his terms.

And remember, just because you love someone doesn't mean you should marry them, especially if you have such different values.

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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