"Ask Dr. Tracy"

5/21/2000 Advice Column

Beware the Au Pair
How Much To Put Up With
Last Chance For Love

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I recently have become involved with a very charming, attractive young lady from abroad (Poland). She was working as an Au Pair in a nearby neighborhood. We met at a bar one evening and have spent nearly every day together. We have great conversations and share many of the same interests in what a relationship should include. However, her stay as an Au Pair ended when the family did not want her any longer. I really believe that the woman of the household was insecure about such a pretty and provocative woman in the house. Because of this, she has moved in with me and I am helping her with her language, schooling, and education, not to mention having a place to stay.

Now she has informed me that on what was to be our second date she was sexually assualted by another man. I was supposed to pick her up at a party of which I never made. Therefor, her friend arranged for her to have a ride home from a stranger. The stranger said he did not know the way and took her to his place to make a phone call. This is where she stated he forced her to have sex with him. This charming girl has a way of dressing and acting very seductive. When I think back to the next day after this happened, I do not remember her being the lest bit disturbed by this event. However, now she says this is the reason for our never having made love. She feels ashamed of what has happened and now wants to wait to have sex. What should I do in this situation? Am I just being strung along her?

Dear Strung Along,

It sounds to me like this charming, attractive young lady has a very active imagination. And she's learned to take advantage of every opportunity. She has managed to fabricate a rape and make it your fault for not picking her up at the party. What a convenient story. I don't believe it for a second. Women who are raped are usually upset about it the next day.

There may be some tiny truth in her story, but there is a lot more here that you don't know about. Instead of supposing that she was no longer needed as an au pair because she is so attractive, start by calling the family and finding out exactly why she is no longer employed there. Make some inquiries about this mysterious stranger/rapist (who may or not exist at all).

But most of all, you need to look at yourself. What are you getting out of being this young woman's total support, giving her a place to live, teaching her the language and helping with her schooling and education? Does it make you feel needed? Does it give you a sense of power? Does it make you feel entitled to sex from her as well?

Often men who give everything to a woman do it so that they will have power over her. Unfortunately, this is a slippery slope, and usually what happens is that when the woman gets enough education, she dumps the man for someone who appreciates the woman she's become. Looking for a needy woman is always dangerous. A needy women is often desperate and will often take any man whether she really likes him or not. She may even give him the impression that she likes him, and would have sex with him, if only she hadn't been raped.

If you really want to have a good relationship with this young lady, insist that she start helping herself. If she persists with this rape story, suggest that she see a rape counselor. To see if she cares about you and not what you can give her, insist that she get a job.

Better yet, if you really want a healthy relationship, find a woman who wants you for yourself and who doesn't need you to help her.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I'm engaged to be married. My Fiancé's best friend's wife is causing problems between us. When we go out with them to this local club & drink she touches him (rubs his back & last time she was caressing his chest when we were all out group dancing) I feel this is improper, my Fiancé says he does too but all he does is back away, never actually telling her to stop. His best friend seems to think this is innocent behavior & as long as my Fiancé goes home with me & his wife goes home with him, I shouldn't be bothered by it. They obviously have a different view of what is wrong or defined as "cheating". My Fiancé doesn't want to lose his best friend but I say he needs to take a stand & let them know this is crossing the line, if they can't agree, he should end the frienship because it's causing problems in our relationship. His friends should respect our relationship & morals & not push their beliefs on us. His friend says I'm just being jealous, so I'm the bad person. My Fiancé won't stand up to him with his opinion for fear of ruining the friendship.

I understand they're not having an affair but actions like that could lead to something more, especially when alcohol is involved. My Fiancé says he feels uncomfortable when his friend's wife touches him. I have to wonder if it really bothers him at all since he hasn't told her or her husband that. I'm not saying they should change their values, just respect ours. I know it's hard when friends are involved (after all, he's known them a couple of years longer than me) but don't you think that my feelings should prioritize over theirs and if they were true friends they would understand. Without my Fiancé telling them how he feels, they must think he agrees that there is no problem. Please give me your advice on how to handle this & just how much I should put up with.

Dear Bothered,

You don't like someone's hands on your fiancé -- not anyone's hands, friend's wife or anyone else. There's no reason why you should. Of course you're bothered. I would be too.

The fact that your fiancé doesn't see fit to tell his friend's wife to keep her hands to herself is a problem. He should be listening to your feelings and not so worried about someone else's feelings. He says he's worried about losing his best friend, but if the best friend is even just a good friend, he wouldn't want to upset your relationship. I suspect that your fiancé secretly finds it exciting and flattering that his buddy's wife can't keep her hands off him.

So what do you do? Obviously you don't have to put up with another woman's hands all over your husband-to-be. Tell your fiancé that if he can't bring himself to tell his friend's wife to keep her hands to herself, then you'll do it for him. Then the next time it happens, if he doesn't say anything, speak up. You have a voice. You're not tongue-tied. Don't let yourself be victimized over and over again without speaking up. There's a great book by Wayne Dyer called "Pulling Your Own Strings," about how not to let other people victimize you. I recommend you read it.

Of course your feelings should come first, but don't stand around whining and waiting for someone else to keep you from being a victim. Stand up for yourself or you'll find people taking advantage of you all the time.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

Dear Dr. Tracy,

This is my last resort, I am so desperate that I don't know what to do any more. I feel as if happiness and carefree feelings are the thing of the past for me. I am desperately unhappy at the moment and I feel I cannot do anything.

I met this guy 7 months ago and after a month of seemingly blissful happiness, we argue and quarrel everyday. This has progressed to us physically fighting just, the other day. My feelings are that he is resentful of the fact that I am more educated than him. He moved in with me and he seems to resent this as well. He is always going on about the fact that I feel too educated for him and that I always make him feel he is living in my flat. I have done everything possible to please him even act dumb sometimes but this is getting us nowhere.

He feels women should always please there men, speak quietly, never go out of the house, never have friends and many more. We never go out even to watch a movie as he feels this is waste of money. I think I love him but I cannot go on like this anymore. I am 31 years old and I feel this is my last chance of meeting someone I can marry. But if this goes on I will go mad. I spend most of my time crying and I hate arguing. In myself I know I should leave him but I am afraid of being alone.

Please help me.

Dear Afraid,

If you are unhappy more than half the time in a relationship, it's time to get out. Don't hang around waiting for the good times to come back. They won't. Relationships either get better or worse, and this one has sunk to the lowest levels. If you are physically fighting with each other, say good-bye. Don't try to fix this one.

There are men who are capable of living with a woman who is more educated, who makes more money and who owns the flat, but he's not one of them. He's insecure and has low self-esteem and he's blaming you for his feelings of inadequacy.

Stop doing everything possible to please him. Stop acting dumb. Instead, find a man who is pleased by your brains and doesn't find your education threatening. Just because you think you love this man doesn't mean you should let him control your life. A man who doesn't want you to have friends is trying to make sure he controls your life. Don't be a fool.

This is not your last chance to find love. You're not that old. You're at a great age to find a terrific man, so don't waste another minute trying to make this pathetic relationship work. You can't spend your life with this guy, crying, arguing and fighting.

Being afraid of being alone is not a good reason to stay in a relationship. Being with someone who makes you miserable is much worse than being alone, I promise you.

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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