Dr. Tracy's Advice Column

Cartoon Kiss


Desperate for Signs of Love
Love or Work
Not A Real Marriage

Desperate for Signs of Love

Dear Dr. Tracy,

Iv been wanting some advice on my situation for a long time but just didnt know who to ask and who to talk to.

My situation is: I met this guy online about 5 or 6 years ago, he's 24yrs old from Italy and im 18yrs old from New Zealand.

We started off just chatting online and emailed eachother, then when i really got to know him we exchanged our home address so we could write eachother letters and send eachother gifts and cards. Now we text eachother on our mobile phones everyday and we talk on the phone at least once a week (he's the one that mainly calls me). We know what eachother looks like from exchanging pictures and talking through webcams.

I believe that things happen for a reason and i dont believe in coicidence. I remembered that i saw a shooting star a long time ago (just a couple of months before meeting this guy) and of course i made a wish, i wished that my family will be full of happiness and i wished that i would find a guy that loves me for who i am and that's not like guys i know (i know this sounds strange) but then i met this guy online.

He sent me a glow in the dark star and he talks about the stars all the time without knowing i made that wish. Its like he's telling me my wish has come true, it cant be a coincidence, its too much of a coincidence. We have alot in common and alot of coicidence, for example: We were talking about rainbows, how we haven't seen one in ages, then the next day he saw one and i saw one, (there's too much coicidence for me to share but i hope you know what i mean) Our feelings for eachother has gotten really strong and he tells me he loves me everytime we talk and i say the same thing back because i really do feel like im in love.

Words cant express how i feel for him and iv tried expressing my feelings to him through words and he's been doing the same. I'v had doubts about this relationship a few times and wanted to give up because i keep saying to myself 'where is this gonna take us?', 'are we ever going to meet?' but he always put the faith back in me and he always says he's not going to let me go because he believes in us too much and that i've become too much a part of his life.

I think about him all the time, everything i do, everywhere i go. I'm even scared of dating guys because i feel like i'm cheating. I asked him what his goal/dream in life is and he said that he wants to be happy with someone, settle and find stability and he said that he only had me on his mind to do that with.

Is it possible to fall in love with someone you have never met before but, communicate in every possible way? Is what we have going to last?

What do i do?

Dear Desperate,

You want to be in love with this man so badly that you are imagining everything is a sign that your love is meant to be. Wishing on a shooting star and then meeting someone is a coincidence. Stars (shooting or not) have no power to grant wishes. If they did, weíd all have everything we want all the time.

His talking about stars doesnít mean a thing either, and neither does rainbow talk or seeing rainbows Ė they come from rain, not as a sign of your love. Youíre so desperate to believe he loves you and you love him that youíre willing to interpret anything and everything as a sign that itís meant to be.

It's okay for people to meet in cyberspace, but real love takes time together, not in cyberspace. Youíll never know if you're truly in love with this man until you spend time with each other in person. What you think you're in love with now is your wishful fantasy of who's on the other end of some romantic phone calls and a webcam picture.

It's easy for a cyber relationship to seem romantic because itís totally divorced from real life. Your cyber love never sees you when youíre cranky or your hair isnít combed or your teeth arenít brushed or you have a headache. Your cyber love never has to deal with real life problems that couples face Ė families that donít approve, finances that arenít enough, and lovemaking that isnít as good as it used to be. So itís easy to think youíre in love.

Itís also very seductive to have someone say they love you and want to spend their life with you. But even if itís true and he thinks he's in love with you, that doesnít mean you two could live together in real life. You donít even know if heís a good kisser or if there would be any chemistry between the two of you in person.

If your cyber boyfriend truly loved you, heíd show up in New Zealand or send you a ticket to Italy. Maybe the reason he hasnít is that heís not what heís pretending to be. He could have a girlfriend in Italy. Or several.

Whatís really sad is that you are only 18 and have been involved with this cyber relationship for six years Ė thatís 1/3 of your life, missed. Your teenage years spent without a real boyfriend and without dating Ė what a waste! Donít spend any more of your valuable life hoping for this relationship that may never be.

Tell your cyber boyfriend that you are going to start living like a real person, dating, going out, having fun. Then do it.

You will not be cheating on him if you date. Youíll be cheating yourself if you donít.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

Love or Work

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I visited your love library hoping to find the answer to my question under "my relationship is perfect except..." section. Unfortunately, I could not find anything related to my situation so I sincerely hope that you will have time to answer me.

I am a 25 years old woman, never married, and have been with my boyfriend (also 25, never married) for over 2 years. My relationship is perfect except for the fact we are being forced by circumstances to make major decisions regarding our relationship vs our careers. I am an American working in Japan at a job that will end in about 5 months and my boyfriend is Japanese, in a secure job. In a few months I will have to find a new job in Japan or leave the country. My boyfriend is willing to change jobs in order to stay with me, whether I go somewhere else in Japan or return home .

Even though part of me would like to move back to the states, I know it would be difficult for him to live there with nearly no English ability. Since I speak Japanese, I think that a good compromise would be for us both to find new jobs in Japan. (The area we're living in now is rural with no real job opportunities for foreigners.) I am currently job searching, although it's difficult to find a good job in my field. It will also not be easy for my boyfriend to change companies.

When I think about my future, I feel incredibly scared and apprehensive. Right now our relationship is wonderful, but if we both make too many sacrifices I'm afraid we may end up first resenting each other, and then regretting our decision to stay together. If we didn't have each other to worry about, I would probably go home, work for a year or so, and then go to grad school. He would probably stay at his current job and work his way up the ranks of his company.

If we can work out our respective career locations, we would like to stay together, and eventually marry and have a family and grow old together. Despite the differences in our nationalities, we really are very happy together. I would like to find a way to stay together but be somewhat satisfied with my career as well. We don't have much time to decide. Every day I feel more worried and stressed about the approaching deadline. Could you give me some advice? (I'd rather not hear "most relationships don't work out" but I have a feeling that is what's coming...)

Thank you for your time.

Dear Worried and Stressed,

When a couple is in love, they should be prepared to make sacrifices for that love. Those sacrifices could be that they give up a job, move away from friends and family, or even go to an entirely new country.

Your boyfriend could learn English Ė after all, youíve learned Japanese. You could teach him. Or you could both move to another area of Japan. Either way, you can stay together.

You are both young and should be flexible enough to make life changes. Take a chance. You are at a perfect time in life to explore new jobs, new places and new opportunities. Donít worry about making too many sacrifices to stay together. If you love each other, changing jobs or locations is a small sacrifice. Even if your relationship doesnít work out, you will have experienced life and shared experiences.

If you end up married with children, how you got there will be of little import 20 years from now, and being together will be so much more important than where you are.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

Not A Real Marriage

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I am 44 and have been married to a 52 year old man for 10 months.

Prior to meeting this man, I was newly divorced after being married for 2 years to a verbally abusive man. Prior to that, I had a wonderful 15 year marriage to the man of my dreams, and father of my children. He died of cancer 7 years ago.

My "current" husband was married for 30 years to a woman he didn't like or trust, and worked hard to be an uninvolved with her as possible. They have 4 children together, all grown.

My husband and I have not combined households or finances, mostly because his children would be upset to see that he is with a woman, other than their mother. (This is his choice, not mine....I want to be married in a traditional sense).

Due to a financial hardship, I just moved into an apartment (after having my home foreclosed upon), and although my husband helped physically move me to the apartment, he didn't offer to move me into his large home. He states that he doesn't want me living in his house because it needs work, but it is liveable.

Also, he isn't helping me financially, which makes me wonder, on a logical basis, why am I even married? I love him, as I see some wonderful traits in him.......but I also see that he can be very selfish by not including me into his life.

I know he is divorced, and I don't think he has a girlfriend on the side. When we are together, he is very tender and loving......but all in all, the behavior is bizarre. For example, his father recently died, and I wasn't "allowed" to be at the services because it would upset his children, and they "may refuse to attend", which would just "kill" his dad.....I know, that is rediculous, he was already dead. The funeral has been a source of contention between us because it hurt me terribly that at such a sad time, he wouldn't let me help him, or be his partner. (No one could know that we were "together") He just (last week) admitted that it was a mistake to not let me attend the funeral, but something is amiss.

I'm being told by friends to get out of this relationship.....that I'm an idiot for sticking by this man. I'm starting to wonder if my friends aren't seeing things more clearly than I am. What do you think?

I've mentioned that we should go to counseling many times, and he agrees, but never follows through. Help!!

Dear Married ButÖ,

Your ďmarriageĒ is a sham. Youíre living hidden from the manís family like a mistress. But youíre paying your own bills. So youíre not even doing as well as a mistress.

What on earth makes you want to stay married to a man who wonít give you the respect of inviting you to live in his home and attend family events? You had your home foreclosed on and he moved you into an apartment? Thatís unbelievably callous and unloving on his part.

Why are you letting him make all the decisions and choices in this so-called marriage? Marriage is supposed to be a partnership where couples make decisions together, not unilaterally. What heís doing is terrible, but even worse, youíre allowing him to do it.

Your friends are seeing things a lot more clearly than you are. They are right. This is a marriage from hell and you should either fix it immediately or get out. The longer you let it go on this way, the harder it will be to change.

Tell him youíre not going to stay in this marriage if he doesnít make changes. Then give him a list of what he has to do.

  1. Integrate you into his family and invite you to live in his home.
  2. Tell his adult children that you are his new wife and will be shown respect.
  3. Combine finances.
  4. Make an appointment for counseling, keep it and pay for it.
If he doesn't do all of those things, you and he have no future.

If heís not willing to share his life and his home with you, you shouldnít be sharing his name.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

Submitting a Question to this column

Dr. Tracy regrets that it is simply impossible for her to answer all of the hundreds of questions submitted to this column each week. However, she does read every question, and tries to select the three which are of the most general interest to the visitors here.

Dr. Tracy says, "Is your question urgent? Many of the most beseeching, desperate messages I get are not answered in this column because the answer is just a couple of clicks away in my Love Library. Have you tried my Love Library? I know that nobody goes to libraries anymore, but check this one out -- it's so easily searchable that it's fun and easy to use!"

If you can't find your answer in the Library and you feel you MUST have an answer, you can get a personal answer from Dr. Tracy within two business days by availing yourself of her inexpensive private counseling.

You may submit your question to Dr.Tracy's column by e-mail here. (Tips: to increase your chances of having your question chosen, state your age and your marital history, and remember to use paragraph breaks so that your question isn't just one big, hard-to-read clump of words. Also, questions in all caps won't be answered.)

(Featured art from cover of Letting Go, by Zev Wanderer and Tracy Cabot, published by "Bitan" Publishers, Tel-Aviv, Israel)
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