Dr. Tracy's Advice Column

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Crazy Love, Internet-style
When a Woman Loves A Woman
Dangerous Man

Crazy Love, Internet-style

Dear Dr. Tracy,

This is going to sound rather complicated, but here goes: I was involved in an 'internet relationship' with a guy who lives several thousand kilometers from me and is about ten years my senior, for about four years. This is going to sound stark raving crazy, but during that time I never once met him or even received a picture of what he looked like. I went through bouts of severe depression and hopelessness, wondering why he wouldn't say he loved me or why he didn't care enough to even send me a picture or a birthday card or a phone call.

Needless to say, over the course of those four or so years, I feel quite deeply in love with him. Contrary to what it may seem like, we did have a lot of good times, a lot of deep conversations, and occasions where I began to think I was just being paranoid and fussy about him not sending me things or wanting to arrange a meeting.

However, things came to a head about a month and a half ago, when I ran into an acquaintance I'd known for about a year, after having been in another province for eight months on an internship for college. He (the acquaintance) re-expressed his interest in me, and asked me on a date. I'd turned him down the first time we'd met, since I felt guilty dating someone while I had a boyfriend, even though I felt hopeless about the relationship. This time, though, I accepted the date from the acquaintance and we went on several more. At this point, I decided to bite the bullet and attempt to end the relationship with the internet guy for good (I'd tried several times before, unsuccessfully).

Now we are broken up, but I can't stop worrying about whether I've made the wrong decision.. I really love the guy I was with for four years, much more deeply than I imagined, and he finally admitted to me that he loved me too - now that it's too late.

I'm also worried that things are moving too quickly with the new guy; we are both trying to slow things down, but we can't get over how absolutely perfect we are for each other - we share almost all the same interests, life goals, laugh at the same jokes.. we are perfectly compatible in just about every way. He treats me like gold! Is one and a half/two months too soon to be getting so serious about someone? I haven't told him I love him, and I know that is something that will develop with time (I don't believe in love at first sight), but this relationship seems to have so much potential - I don't want to make the cardinal mistake of nipping it in the bud with Giving Too Much Too Soon. Help!!

Dear Crazy,

Yup, you're right. It sounds stark raving crazy to be in love with someone on the internet for a period of four years during which time you never once met him or even received a picture. You never got an "I love you," or a real letter which might have had a return address, or a phone call which you might have been able to trace with a call back service on your phone.

The "occasions where you began to think you were being paranoid" were, in fact, your only moments of sanity. You just weren't being paranoid enough. Did you ever suspect that this man is married and can't get to know you any more than he did because he's afraid his wife will find out? That he doesn't want you to know where he lives or what his phone number is because he's got six kids? Or that he's not at all what he says he is. He could easily be a very bright 16-year-old geek or a 600 pound man who can't get out his door, or a 70-year-old in a nursing home, or a nut in an asylum or a convict serving time.

You say you "really love the guy I was with for four years," but don't you understand that you weren't with anyone? You must have very low self-esteem to have settled for this poor excuse of a relationship. You deserve better, and you must learn to demand what you deserve and not accept such a pittance of a relationship in the future.

Don't feel guilty dating the new guy, because what you had was only an Internet correspondence, not a boyfriend. Of course you made the right decision to "break up" with the Internet guy. Big deal, now that you have someone else, he says he loves you. Don't be a fool. Don't be suckered back into this non-relationship.

Don't even think about giving up a guy who treats you like gold for a faceless someone who can't send a birthday card. Enjoy your new relationship. Take it slowly and relish every moment. A month and a half is time enough to know you're happy with someone and that the relationship has real potential. It's also time enough to find out whether you could love that person or not. Put the four years you spent on the Internet guy behind you and get on with your life.

It's time to have a real relationship, not an Internet one. Internet loves like yours are built on fantasy, not reality. You only imagined who he really was, you only heard what he wanted you to hear of his thoughts and you never got to look him in the eye and see who he really was.

Now you've got a real man. Don't let the intimacy scare you, and don't be tempted to go back to Mr. Internet.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

When a Woman Loves A Woman

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I have a question as to what does this all mean?

Here is the situation: I'm a female and have been in love with a woman for about 2 years, it has been quite a rocky relationship. I was her first and she is the first woman I ever fell in love with. Her background is that she is clinically manic depressed and is currently on medication. Our relationship has been rocky because she hadn't been taking her medication and would flip out on me often in addition to her dealing with the issue of her liking a woman and having feelings for one. In my opinion it seems to me that she is not ready to deal with her feelings. The last time we got intimate was about a year ago and she told me she wasn't ready. Ever since then I have left her alone when it comes to anything more than a friendship.

The other night we went out and she got drunk. That night she expressed her feelings towards me leaving all her inhibitions behind. She completely opened up to me and talked about how much she loved me and has loved me ever since she met me. She told me that I was the only one she ever loved, man or woman. She said she turned away because these were new feelings for her and didn't quite know how to react or deal with her emotions. During her talk, she continously told me how much she loved me and how much she wanted me to believe it. I pretty much sat there and let her do all the talking. I was a bit surprised by her telling me this since this was the first time she's ever really opened up to me. She's never expressed her feelings for me the way she did that night. So when she was talking to me I didn't really react where it made her think I didn't believe what she was saying. So we talked for about 2 1/2 hours about her feelings for me and even got intimate. We pretty much hugged, kissed, touched and basically she opened up all my feelings that I had for her again. Mind you, this is really the first time we've both openend up to one another in all this time...we never said we loved each other until the other night...

So, the next day she doesn't remember a thing. She says she doesn't remember a single thing about our talk. I'm upset after I realize everything from last night meant nothing to her. She asks why I'm upset, I tell her, "basically you opened up to me about your feelings and you don't remember, that's what's fucked up." And then she left. Didn't say good bye or anything, gathered her things while I was in the shower and immediately left.

And still, she hasn't asked me about what she said, or did. I told her you act like you don't want to know and she replied, "I'm ambivalent. I do and I don't." "Why," I asked, "why don't you want to know? Don't you want to know what made your friend so upset?" And she replied, "I don't know why."

So where is she coming from from your perspective? Why would she say all that stuff and then when confronting her with what she said, it is totally the opposite. She tells me that she only likes me as a friend and didn't mean to hurt me. She thinks someone slipped something in her drink since she's never "blacked" out before from alcohol. If she really doesn't feel that way about me then where did all the emotions come from that night. We really talked about everything, when we first fell in love, why she can't let me go, how she doesn't want me with anyone else, just everything!

Can you assess anything or do you need more details? Thank you so much for taking the time, I am really dazed and confused.

Dear Dazed and Confused,

The best gay relationships happen between two people who are well-grounded, know who they are, and understand and accept their sexuality.

You have fallen in love with a woman who is manic depressive, possibly alcoholic, and sexually turned off. And her mixing alcohol and depression medication is seriously dangerous. No matter what your sexual orientation is, even if you were a man in love with her, I would tell you to find someone else.

She is a total crazy-maker, promising you love one minute and saying she doesn't remember it or isn't interested the next. Stop riding on her emotional roller coast. Stop letting her tap dance on your brain. Don't try to be her shrink. Protect yourself and find someone who is stable, ready and able to love, and without serious emotional problems.

I know it's hard to leave a gay relationship because it's so hard to find someone new. However, staying in this kind of emotionally damaging relationship is really worse than being alone. You need someone who wants you as a lover and a friend, and is willing to own up to her feelings. The woman you love has no chance of making you happy.

Her way of telling you she loves you is unsatisfactory and emotionally dangerous to you. She manages to keep you around while giving you nothing. Don't be a fool. Move on.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

Dangerous Man

Dear Dr. Tracy,

My boyfriend and I met a few months ago at a wedding. I'm from New York and the wedding was in North Carolina. We instantly bonded and both agreed we never experienced this feeling before. We talked every day long distance and visited each other a couple times. It was amazing. We decided we wanted to be together. This was fate. Being 25 years old, and he's 26, we knew this wasn't puppy love. So, I moved in with him to NC in mid-May. It was a huge step for me, considering I was born and raised in NY and still lived at home. Also, I'm very family oriented and hold my few true friends very dear to my heart.

Things are definitely great between us, we are so in love and affectionate. We can't stop smiling or having fun around each other. The thing is, he's a very jealous person. I'm not. I know an attractive person is going to get hit on or looked at no matter what.

It started right away. He constantly started accusing me of flirting and staring at other guys. I know I'm a very friendly person but I haven't even been looking at any other guys. I don't want to. I moved here to be with him and him only. I constantly have to remind him that I gave up everything to be with him and he still questions my intentions and feelings for him. It's become a repetitive thing to prove myself and reassure him how I feel. He's such a wonderful person except when he's mad. He gets so angry and becomes someone else. He immediately puts up a wall and has no feelings. He says anything and everything to hurt me.

I know I'm not perfect when we fight. And I also know you say things you don't mean when you're angry, everyone does. but it's the way he says it and some of the things he says. He puts me down and makes me feel worthless. Then when he's calmed down, he'll apologize so sincerely and tell me how much he loves me. He says he holds on too tightly because he's just so afraid to lose me. I've always been such a strong person and would never put up with this, but here I have no where to go or no one to talk to when things get out of hand.

Now, it's gotten to the point where I've already packed up my things to move back to NY twice. I've since told him this can not happen again. This isn't healthy and I don't have the energy to go through all this drama. I told him, next time I will not hesitate.

I see everything in this man that I want in a husband, except for the fact that he can't control his anger. He's insecure and paranoid but says I make him that way. I know I'm not perfect but I would really like to make this work but I'm afraid I'm just prolonging the inevitable. I want my boyfriend or future husband to treat me with the utmost respect and never hurt me. No one has made me as happy as he does, but on the other hand, no one has hurt me as much as he does. I've never been in a situation like this where someone is black and white like that. I'm used to a loving environment, whether it be family, friends, or boyfriends. I don't want to accept that this won't work because I really love him. But I also know when things go too far. Do you think this can ever work out? And if so, what do we do to make it work?

Stuck between a rock and a hard place

Dear Stuck,

You're only as stuck as you're willing to be. You are in a dangerous relationship with a man who can't control his anger. His jealousy will only get worse. He's very typical of abusive men, and like all of them, manages to make it your fault that he got angry and abusive.

You try to get close enough to him to get the good parts, but then you always get the bad parts of him as well. He needs therapy, and if you can't get him to go to a therapist and an anger management class, then go back to New York before he hurts you in more ways than he already has.

His willingness to go to therapy with you is a definite indication as to whether this relationship can be worked out. If he refuses and insists that he isn't wrong and doesn't want to change, then you must leave. He's ticking like a time bomb.

If you stay in this relationship the way things are, your self-esteem will be damaged and the fighting and upset will drain you. I am certain that if you were to check, you would find out that this kind of jealous angry behavior isn't new, but rather a pattern he has had throughout his past relationships. See my Nose Biter story in the Love Library!

You went into this relationship too quickly before you really knew who this man was. Now you know about his problems and you know his behavior isn't acceptable. Men like him don't change without ongoing therapeutic help. If he won't get it, your relationship is doomed.

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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