"Ask Dr. Tracy"

7/13/97 Advice Column


Dear Dr. Tracy,

I am really concered with my fiance's latest behavior. We have been having a lot of troubles with our relationship since I returned from a year long trip abroad. However, the majority of the recent problems began to develop when we took a 17 year-old girl into our home while she was having therapy for cancer. We have all been friends for a time and she and I are both bisexual. One night, when we were celebrating the news that she was not going to have a hysterectomy, we all were drinking and in the typical loss of inhibitions scenario, the three of us spent the night making love. It was very sweet and really comfortable at that moment. but days later, he and I discussed it and agreed that it was too awkward and it couldn't happen again. Several nights later, he awoke with her laying next to him in his bed and she was stroking his penis. One thing led to another and when he woke up in the morning, he came over to my bed and woke me up and told me what had happened.

I felt really betrayed by this. Several days later, they were all touchy-feely in front of one of our friends. (I was there.) All of my friends are quite affectionate and it is not uncommon for any or all of my friends to hang all over each other. however, it does become an issue with me when it is my boyfriend and this girl. I really dont know what to do. i have been having second thoughts about our realtionship for a while, but now my self-esteem is rocketing desperately out of control and i just dont know if I can let it go.

Dear Concerned,

You have a right to be upset, because after all you do have your feelings, right? On the other hand, why would you agree to live in a group that accepts open relationships if you really don't want it that way? It sounds like your fiance is open and honest with you; certainly you and he are capable of talking about who, when and under what circumstances you will have an open relationship.

If you haven't had this conversation, have it immediately. Open relationships only work if there are rules. For instance, we'll only have outside partners we both agree on. Or, we'll have a signal that means it's okay. No signal, no sex. Or, we'll only have outsiders if we're both there.

In my experience, it's nearly impossible to watch the person you love give the love you want to someone else. Most of the couples I knew who tried it aren't couples anymore. In theory it sounds great. In reality, jealousy almost always rears its ugly head.

It may be that in order to feel totally secure you'll have to give up having outsiders as sexual contenders in your relationship. If your fiance finds himself unable to keep his agreements about what should and shouldn't happen with other people, you may have to give him up too. Read The Steps to Commitment in my Love Library.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I have been writing to a lady from Mexico, FOR OVER 3 YEARS. I had just received a letter from her stating that for an international student going to college is very expensive, for example one college told her that the cost of a semester is about $1100, and for an international student is $3900 (is plus 250% more expensive). One Dean at UBC, told her that everything is easier if she got married here before she starts her doctoral program.

"I 've been thinking if you want to help me; (you can get married with me), you are my best friend, in the last years when I did my master program you helped me too much, because your very nice letters helped me to continue studying very hard, I think that I fell a little in love with you. So I think that we can try to live together, maybe one year, and if it is o.k., we can continue living together, but it isn't we can to separated, but I need to know what you think about this, in your next letter." She says in her last letter.

I never been married before, and I'm actually nervous about marriage, so I want to be pretty sure about a marriage. Please email me back, soon!

Dear Nervous,

Getting married is a serious step -- one you shouldn't take simply because a woman says it would solve her financial problems and -- oh -- she's "a little in love with you."

If you think you love this woman and there might be a chance for a relationship, then go to Mexico and live with her first. Make sure she really wants to be your wife and isn't just trying to hit you up for some financial support.

Her letter is highly suspicious. You should never be pushed into doing something you're not sure you want to do just because someone has suggested it would be convenient.

Slow down,

Dr. Tracy

Dear Dr. Tracy,

My companion is a lot younger than I am but we have a significant though seemingly small problem. We have a cat which we both love very much. She is very touchy feely with the cat and indeed likes to kiss her on the lips and has no problem when the cat wants to jump up on the table during dinner. I draw the line at kissing and sharing the table. She thinks I'm cold and unfeeling and that I'll carry over these feelings to children. I've had children and cats before and know this isn't the case. I think she is too intimate with the cat. Any insights?

Dear Catlover,

This sounds like the old "love me, love my cat" test. I have cats, and I understand that they're very special, but not everyone is going to feel the same way about them. You're both being a little silly to make so much of this. Making kissy face with the kitty cat is a little extreme and certainly not very hygenic, but if she wants to, it's a losing battle to try to stop her. Similarly, she's over-reacting if she calls you "cold and unfeeling" just because you don't want to.

Are you sure this little cat fight isn't a symptom of other, unspoken dissatisfactions in your relationship?

If you really love this lady and she loves you, be tolerant of the different lines each of you draw. Since at least you both basically love cats, you're far more compatible than not. Remind each other that lots of people can't stand to have a cat around. As far as the cat being on the table, you've probably lost that battle, too. You'll just have to protect your food. Perhaps you could negotiate a special high chair for the cat or a special pillow.

Be glad your lady is warm and affectionate. When she has kids of her own she'll transfer some of her feelings to them. In the meantime, you should know that lots of women think their cat was around before you and will still be there if you up and leave. So the cat is emotional security.

Look on the bright side -- you'll probably outlive the cat and if you stay togehter, you can train the next one.

Wishing you a cathair-free dinner,

Dr. Tracy

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