"Ask Dr. Tracy"

4/30/2000 Advice Column

Will First Love Last?
Sexy Secrets in the Attic
The Princess and the Frog

Dear Dr. Tracy,

Hi, I'm an 18 year old first year university student. I have had a serious relationship with my high school sweetheart for the past two and a half years. Unfortunately, he doesn't go to the same university as me, and he lives ten hours away by car (one of which I don't own). However, that is not the problem I am writing to you about.

We talk on the phone every night, and the more we do, the more superficial I realize our conversations are. He tells me about what he saw on TV, or how his hockey games went, or about his skidoo trails. Or in the worst case scenarios he just makes up silly little songs that he expects me to laugh at.

I don't mind this, but ever since I came to university I have met people who I can talk to about politics and international issues, and I now realize that I need this in my life. My boyfriend has no interest in these areas, and he is going to school to become an electrician. I love him with all my heart, but I'm beginning to wonder if that is going to be enough. We have talked of getting married years down the road, but I wonder if I'll be happy living with someone who has such different interests than I. True, I can have other friends, but another problem lies there.

My boyfriend has planned out our entire future, from how many children we will have and where we'll live to what kind of dog we'll have. I get no input whatsoever. This really frustrates me, and when I try to talk to him about it and tell him that, number one, we're young so we don't need to have everything planned out yet, and number two, when we do plan our future I would like to be included in the process, he just gets angry and hurt.

My boyfriend and I have an excellent relationship besides these two problems, but I find them to be large ones and he refuses to accept that. Any advice you could offer me would be sincerely appreciated, as I want to have a happy life one way or the other.

Dear High School Sweetheart,

You and your high school sweetheart are growing apart. It's nobody's fault. Since you've been in college, you've made new friends and developed new interests. Your boyfriend has been growing in a different direction.

The fact is that most relationships don't work out. And most long distance relationships don't last because the people grow apart. Since you are so young, you are still developing intellectually, spiritually, psychologically and socially. What you see happening is just the tip of the iceberg, and you and your boyfriend are bound to grow even further apart as your education separates you even further from him.

Also, the more education you get and the more independence you achieve, the less happy you will be with letting him make all the decisions for your life. As you begin to feel more confident and develop your own taste, you'll become even more frustrated with this situation. It's time to stop pretending that everything is just fine and that you're going to go along with his plans for your future. It's important for a relationship that the couple have similar educations and similar values. Your values have changed and his have not.

You may love him, but I don't think you'll be happy with this arrangement. You're just a freshman and you've already grown tremendously. Your boyfriend probably senses these changes and is trying to control you even more to keep you from growing away from him.

Break up with him now. Give yourself a chance to find someone who will challenge you intellectually and will be your equal, not your boss. And also, give him a break. Let him find someone who will love hearing about what he watched on TV, how his hockey games went, about his skidoo trails, and mostly someone who will laugh at his silly songs and let him plan their life.

Very few people who fall in love so young wind up together, especially when their lives take different paths.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I just recently (3 mths) got married to the most wonderful man. We are both widowed, middle-aged and we both have kids in college. I'm madly in love with my husband but I just discovered something about him that has me totally freaked out.

My husband stored a lot of his first wife's stuff up in the attic when we got engaged(I moved in with him). This past weekend, he was out of town and I went up to get something there and I found this huge box of his wife's 'other' stuff; her sex novels, toys (some of them I cannot believe existed), huge pornographic albums of her posing or having sex with my husband or her toys, diaries in which she recorded their sex life in complete detail and video tapes of them having sex or her doing strip teases or masturbating. They had a very very powerful sexual relationship. And I know they loved each other like mad.

They used this camera my husband (who's an electrical engineer) had designed to run on model train tracks he sets around, and randomly move around and change angles. She described it and I actually saw it in the box. I'm sort of ashamed to say this, but I watched some of the videos (there were about 25 'full' 240 minute tapes). What was wierd is that I found them more erotic than 'dirty'. They were doing things I still cannot believe (on a beach, in the woods, in the car, a picnic site). She was virtually insatiable. One sex session (with foreplay and afterplay) lasted almost three hours!

I am in a quandary right now because I don't know whether it's possible for me to satisfy my husband seeing what he's been used to. I've always thought he had a huge sex drive but I never knew where he got it from. He wants sex at least twice a day and every night. And since he came back on Sunday I've been terrified of saying no to him. We've had sex SIX times since then and I've enjoyed it each time (he's a mind-blowing lover) but I don't know what would happen if I can't keep up with him. I have decided to try and keep up for now but what if I can't? Would he cheat on me or leave me? I don't want an open marriage but I seriously cannot see a way through this. Can you help me?

Dear Snooper,

Yours is once again a case of someone who snoops and finds more than they're prepared to accept.

Your husband's relationship with his deceased wife is really none of your business. Unfortunately, now that you've snooped and looked into his private things, you're worried about whether you can compete with the excesses they enjoyed. Certainly you knew when you married this man that he was highly sexed. And surely he wouldn't have married you if he didn't think you would satisfy him.

Stop worrying about your husband's former sex life. What he did with her was part of their relationship and existed in a different time for him. He put those things away in the attic because he probably was afraid you'd be shocked by the kinkiness and toys and perhaps would worry that he'd expect you to participate in similar endeavors.

Since you've been able to "keep up" with his insatiable sex drive so far, don't worry about whether you'll continue to keep up. Enjoy today. Nobody knows what tomorrow will bring. Practice living in the here and now - not the past and not the future.

Stay out of the attic and leave your husband's past alone. Comparing your relationship with your husband to his former relationship is a no-win activity. You'll only wind up making yourself feel bad. Instead, enjoy what you two have together.

It's doubtful that you won't be able to keep up with him. As men age, they slow down faster than women, so chances are you'll be able to keep up as long as he can. Worrying about whether he'll leave you or demand an "open" marriage is a big waste of time and will keep you from enjoying the wonderful sex life you have now.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I fell in love with this man about 8 months ago. Since then, I have spent thousands of dollars on this man because he was incarcerated for something that happened before we met. I have chosen to stay with this man because I loved him.

There are a few things that trouble me. First of all, he is 16 years older than I am. I am 37. He has a lot of medical problems and even though he hasn't smoked since November of 1999, he says he will smoke when he gets out (which will be very soon). He ran up my phone bill three months in a row which I had to borrow money from church to pay for. He is very impatient about certain things, has a tendency not to take the blame for things (thinks he's innocent most of the time)

He says he loves me and I truly believe him but I don't know if I can handle his temper. He doesn't hurt me but he yells about things. What makes him so great? He is the only person that I have ever felt really loves me. He worships the ground I walk on. Calls me his angel, his princess. He swears that when he gets home that he will take care of me. He used to make a lot of money before he got sick. I believe in his feelings but I don't know if I believe in his reality. I am concerned that he's going to help rack up debt and then die on me or leave me. Should I continue to put so much effort into this relationship? He is planning on living here when he gets out of jail. I would look like such a hypocritical liar if I were to tell him I don't want him to live here. WE've been engaged to get married when he gets home. What should I do?


Dear Princess,

I am afraid you have fallen for a frog who is not going to become a prince. He's more likely to turn into a toad. At your age, you shouldn't be burdened with a man of 53 who's in jail. You should have a man with whom you can make a life and a family, not one you have to support.

You've already lost a bundle on this one, but money is just money. There's no sense in throwing your life away as well. He's run up your phone bill and believe me, he'll soak you for everything you have to give before he's done. Don't be a fool. Just because he says he loves you doesn't mean you have to take him in and marry him.

You should find a nice guy closer to your own age and think about a family of your own, not setting yourself up to take care of an old guy who's sick and about to make himself even sicker by smoking when he gets out. It's not just that he's sick. He's already started to soak up all your assets and run up your bills. That'll just get worse.

Also, if you think he's yelling at you now, you ain't heard nothing yet. Wait until he gets out and moves in with you. And if you should be foolish enough to marry him, he'll be yelling at you even more. He'll think he has a husband's right to yell. Plus he'll think as the elder he can control you.

Of course it's very seductive when a man claims to worship the ground you walk on and calls you his angel and his princess. But get a grip. Talk is cheap. And look who's telling you all that. An obvious con man who knows exactly how to wrap you around his little finger. Of course he says he's innocent. Most men who are incarcerated do.

Be smart. Break this engagement before he gets out and tell him there's no way he can come and live with you. Don't worry about looking like a hypocritical liar. Save yourself before it's too late. He's already messed up his life. Don't let him mess up yours.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

Submitting a Question to this column

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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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