"Ask Dr. Tracy"

6/15/97 Advice Column

Flak from last week's column
Engaged and Depressed,
Under Her Mother's Thumb

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I was deeply saddened and disturbed by your response to the young lady who wrote in about her "Christian" parents' sexual activities...

Dear saddened,

I got a few such letters in response to my June 8th Column response, "Parents Too Sexy for their Kid?", indicating that some of you thought I was wrong in my advice to the 19-year-old woman who lived with her parents and didn't think they were Christian enough. She thought her parents' open and promiscuous sexuality was hypocritical since they went to church. I told her her parents could do whatever they wanted, it was none of her business and she should get on with her life.

Of course there are other choices. She could spend years in therapy working out her feelings about her parents' wild sex life. She could become frigid, deciding that since her parents were so sexually outgoing, she should do penance for them by not having sex. Or, she could become even wilder than them, to make them see the error of her ways.

I still think she'd be better off letting her parents live their lives the way they want and living hers the way she wants.

Thanks for your feedback,

Dr. Tracy

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I have a problem. I have recently gotten engaged to a woman who has been depressed for the last couple of years. Our sex life is terrible, but I have been supportive and hoping that she might come out of the depression and the sex problem will get better. It hasn't been working. (My friends think I am completely nuts.)

TO make matters more difficult, an extremely attractive and fun friend of mine has started to flirt me to death. Her ex-boyfriend tells me she has an enormous appetite for sex. She'll quit it if I ask her to, but the thing is that I've had a crush on her for 3 years. I guess I love the girl I'm engaged to and I'm in love with the friend. I feel I'm at a crossroads in which I'm going to make a tremendous mistake. You don't have to advise me on what to do if you don't want to. I'll settle for wisdom. Thanks.

Dear Wisdom Seeker,

Why would you get engaged to a depressed, unsexy woman and figure she's going to get happy or hot just because you are engaged to her? Being supportive doesn't cure a problem like depression, and the sex problem isn't just going to disappear on its own.

I agree with your friends and think you're completely nuts. You could hang in, get your fiance professional help and hope she gets well (yes, depression is an illness) and then see if she's sexier when she's happier, and then decide if you want to get married. This could take years. And then, it's quite possible that when she gets well, she'll be a different person, one who won't need your support or even want you. In the meantime, don't marry a depressed woman with whom you have a terrible sex life. Marriage can be difficult enough without starting with two big strikes against you.

Wisdom for you -- Think about what you need, instead of what you want. Perhaps you need to save a woman. In that case, maybe you've got just what you need, a dependent, depressed woman who needs support. If on the other hand, you need sex and fun, then you have to switch women. Please read "Developing Realistic Criteria" in my Library, ,

If you really love your fiance, get her medical treatment instead of being supportive and hoping she'll change. Hoping you make a wise decision,

Dr. Tracy

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I'm a 24 yr old female that has dated very little. I can honestly say I've had two occasions in my life I can call a "date". Part of the problem is my mother who's always been overprotective. Because my mom was always complaining to me about many of my friend's being boys, she would have friends watch me and make sure I didn't play with only the boys in elementary. For the record, I was a serious TomBoy. I've always wanted to be able to feel comfortable going on dates and maybe introducing them to my parents, I just get the impression my mom would rather me be single the rest of my life. I don't feel pressured into finding anyone. I want to but I guess I'm afraid of what my mom will say and nag on me about.

What I want to ask is this, what can I do to get over the problems I have with my mom and still be able to cope with dating more. I live away from home but am still under my parent's financial wing.

Dear Mommy's Girl,

Eventually you're going to have to decide who you'll make happy -- you or your mother! The longer you live your life to make your mother happy, the more you'll miss out. It's time to decide what you want to be when you grow up and who you want to date. At your age, many women are married with children. It's time to get an emotional divorce from mom.

Start by not telling her everything. What she doesn't know about who you are dating or not dating won't hurt her. Forget getting parental approval for everything. Instead, concentrate on getting your own approval. This doesn't mean you don't love your mom, it just means that you're growing up.

If you can't get a little emotional distance between yourself and your mom, you're going to make it really hard to find a fella. It's hard enough to find someone you'll love and who'll love you, let alone have your mother love him too.

First find someone you can love. Don't tell your mom about it until you're sure you are serious. That way you'll get a chance to shop around without having to hear your mother's opinion. You need to date a lot so that you can begin to sort out what you want from what your mother wants for you. Do it now and avoid years of therapy!

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

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