Dr. Tracy's Advice Column

Cartoon Kiss

5/19/2002

Is This Cheating?
Men Who Don't Want Sex
Too Much Baggage



Is This Cheating?

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I am 31 years old and have been married for a year now to a man I have known since high school. We both pursued separate adult lives and only reconnected in the past couple of years and decided to marry. I love him very much and I have no doubt about his love for me. He is good to me and makes me happy and although our relationship is not "perfect", I know that none are and the good stuff out weighs the bad.

Ok, so here is the situation. Before my husband came back into my life, I was sort of involved with another man, "Adam". Adam and I worked in the same office and became friends. I admit I had a huge crush on Adam when I met him and we did kiss the first time we were alone and away from work, but Adam made it clear almost immediately that he did not want to pursue a romantic relationship with me because he had already been pursuing another girl from work, "Cindy", but that he did want us to be friends. That was fine with me and we did not socialize much outside work at first, but we talked everyday and became good friends.

Well after about 6 months, Adam and Cindy started having problems and Adam started coming around my house more often. At this time, I had just stopped dating a guy I was involved with for a couple months, so it was nice to have a guy around the house. Adam and I had some mutual interests and always had a good time together. Adam and Cindy began this "on again/off again" relationship that lasted for about 7 months. But during that whole 7 months, Adam was spending the majority of his time with me. Cindy always knew he was with me and that was a big source of conflict for them as she did not like me at all. I couldn't blame her, because who would like a girl that hangs out with your boyfriend.

Anyway, during this time period Adam and I decided we wanted to try going to a swingers club, so we did. We presented ourselves as a couple and went quite often to a few different swingers clubs. We always had a wonderful time together and had quite a few "encounters" with other couples or women who had no idea we were not really a couple, but just friends. Adam and I would fool around sometimes together in these situations, but did not ever have actual intercourse.

Also during this time, I started to have feelings for him again and let him know that. He told me that he loved me as a friend, but that he had unresolved issues with Cindy to deal with and that I would not want him as a boyfriend anyway because he was admittedly a jerk to women and he was, I saw it first hand in his relationship with Cindy. Cindy, by the way would never dream of going someplace where there were swingers and would have killed him had she found out. Adam was also between jobs and having some other personal problems. But I still had feelings for him and he was quite aware of it. I told him I could not help how I felt. Anyway, the very last time that he and I went out we finally did have intercourse (the one and only time), although we were at a swinger party with 2 other couples, so there was a lot of sex going on with everybody. I hoped that night would be the beginning of a real relationship between us, but I was wrong.

Well, about a week after that Adam decided his personal problems here were too great and decided to move back to his hometown in another state. He didn't tell me until the morning he was leaving and I was devastated. He called me when he got to his hometown and we talked briefly and I didn't think I would ever hear from him again. I went through a couple weeks of depression because I felt he and I were so compatible and would eventually be a couple and I was upset that he could just walk away like that. But I moved on and started dating another guy about a month after Adam moved away. Well, about another month after that is when I came back into contact with my now husband. I never made any attempt to contact Adam and eventually I heard what had become of Adam through mutual friends. He and Cindy got back together and both moved to California together. I was involved with my husband and had long ago let go of the anger I felt for Adam running away like he did.

About a month after I got married, Adam called me at work. I immediately told him I was happily married and he said he was happy for me (my husband knows all about my relationship with Adam). He told me how much he still cared for me and sorry he was for running out on me like he did and that he had a lot of regrets. Things weren't so great with Cindy and he did not think they would last (they are now broke up). He said he knows now how great things could have been with me if we were a couple and that he and Cindy were too different. I told him that he was right, things could have been great but that ship had sailed. He profusely apologized for any pain he caused me and told me he wished me nothing but happiness and that he would still like to be my friend and talk from time to time. I said we would just have to see and left it at that. Well I told my husband about the phone call and he said to me "he is going to be calling you is he?" and I said "no".

Well, he has been calling me (only at work). At first it was once ever couple months or so, but now it is at least once a week. We discuss each others lives, like women he is dating or we talk about my husband and me a lot too, just stuff that friends discuss. We also discuss the swinging lifestyle too as he and I were both into that and my husband and I have had a couple experiences with it too. Adam and I always connected as friends and I enjoy talking to him. I do not have any emotional or sexual feelings toward him and he is 4000 miles away from where my husband and I live, so I will not ever see him. I NEVER call him, he is always the one to call. I know if my husband found out we were talking he would be furious, but I enjoy Adam's friendship. If I had to choose, I would definitely choose my husband. I don't like keeping a secret from my husband, but does he really need to know everyone I speak too. Is what I am doing wrong? Is this cheating? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

Dear Connected,

It's time to disconnect. Your ex-boyfriend never called "as a friend" when he was with Cindy, but now that his relationship with her didn't work out, he wants to be back in your life. Sure, he's 4,000 miles away today, and you say you have no feelings for him, but he could show up tomorrow and put your feelings to the test. By taking his calls and not telling your husband about it, you are playing with fire.

You're happily married to someone who loves you and whom you love. You had a crush on Adam, but you say that's in the past. So why are you risking these weekly phone calls? Surely you're not that much in need of a friend to talk to. Your husband should be your best male friend. And Adam has shown you in the past that he's a jerk. You know in your heart that this phone relationship is the wrong thing to do.

You were into swinging with Adam and have dallied in it with your husband. You know the rules. Full disclosure, no sneaking around. The same rules go for marriage. Don't go sneaking around talking to Adam, who's really not worth it.

The next time Adam calls, tell him firmly that you think it's better if he doesn't call any more. This is not about whether you have to tell your husband everyone you talk to. This is about behaving in an ethical way. Smart happily married women don't carry on secret conversations with ex's - especially ex swinging buddies.

Give it up before you destroy your marriage.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy



Men Who Don't Want Sex

Dear Dr. Tracy,

Hello, my name is Jeannie and i'm 22, and I have been with my boyfriend for one and a half years. I'm a little frustrated and need some advice on two issues that we are always fighting about. One is that fact that he hardly ever wants to have sex. He says he could have an erection if he wanted to, but he doesn't want to have sex. He's not "in the mood." I wonder if something is wrong in our relationship because he never wants to have sex, or is it just stress? We usually only have sex one a week, and I always initiate.

The second problem is that he refuses to give me a key, because i don't live at his house, (and he refuses to let me move in- he needs his "space".) So if I want to go in the house for something, he makes me sneak in through the backyard if he's not home.

What should i do? I love him, and he loves me, but i feel at the end of my rope. I want this relationship to work, but I feel like something is wrong. Please help.

Dear Frustrated,

If you feel like you're not getting enough sex, then you're not. Sex isn't something you should have to fight for. Your boyfriend who doesn't want to have sex often enough to make you happy is just not the right guy for you.

Everybody has different sexual needs. Some people are just hotter than others. If you want sex seven days a week, and your boyfriend only wants it once a week, you're going to be unhappy. If you always have to be the one who initiates sex, you're going to feel like he doesn't desire you. Eventually, you're going to start wondering what's wrong with you. You're going to begin feeling bad about yourself and your self-esteem will suffer if it hasn't already.

As for the second problem, having to sneak into his house through the back door because he won't give you a key - well, that's ridiculous. What would happen if you just didn't go to his house at all? You don't have to agree to accept his rules. Why don't you just tell him that if he doesn't give you a key, you're not coming to his house again until he does?

Tell him you don't feel good sneaking around. It's time for you to stand up for yourself. Better yet, find a boyfriend who will give you a key and all the sex you want.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy



Too Much Baggage

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I am 27 year-old woman old and in a relationship with a 39 year-old man for the past 4 months. Neither of us have ever been married, although he does have 3 children, 2 from one woman and 1 from another. I have no children.

He owns a cleaning service and is extremely busy (he also has lots of pets, including dogs, snakes, turtles, 2 goat, rabbits, a cat, etc. to take care of). Additionally, a 35 year-old man lives with him (this is a man my boyfriend is helping get off drugs and they have lived together for 3 years.) And an elderly mother who is often sick completes his lists of duties. My dilemma? He has a lot of baggage. I can't say for sure I'm willing to go though it with him, especially since I seem to be last on his list of priorities.

When we first got together, he went out of his way to see me 2-3 times weekly. He's done a complete 360. For example, this past weekend- I didn't see him at all. Nor did I hear from him. When I called on Sunday to check on him, he said he was helping someone move and he would call me back. It's Monday noon and I still haven't heard from him. He usually does this- not doing what he says he's going to do. For example, he will tell me he's going to call at 6pm and I don't hear from him till 10pm.

I am really getting sick of it so I'm backing off. What keeps going on in my mind is that I really love him and want things to work. I just don't believe I have a place in his life right now because no matter how much I ask to see him or spend time with him, he says ok but then something always comes up. He says he loves me and to just be patient. What's really going on his his mind?

Not a mindreader

Dear Patient,

This is ridiculous. It would be a huge mistake to wait for this man to solve all his problems. Right now you come after his three children, his cleaning service, his dogs, snakes, turtles, goats, rabbits, cat, elderly sick mother and drug recovering roommate. Not to mention the people who need his help moving.

If you're smart, you'll run, not walk, from this relationship. He gave you his full attention - or what was left of it - in the beginning, but that's over. He's got way too many other obligations to have time for you.

What's wrong with him? He's one of these men who need to be needed. So he feeds off all the people in his life who need him. He'll never stop and you'll never get enough of his time or attention.

The other big problem with him is that he doesn't do what he says he'll do. He will always disappoint you. You'll always be waiting for him to show up, always wondering where he is and if or when he's going to call. Don't be a fool. You've been involved with him for 4 months, which is plenty long enough to find out that this won't get better. Don't stick around for another four.

Don't worry about becoming a mind reader. Instead, worry about finding a new boyfriend, one who's really available and who can put you first in his life

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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