Dr. Tracy's Advice Column

Cartoon Kiss


Another Mistake
Busy With Friends
Swinging Just A Little

Another Mistake

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I am a recently divorced 43 year old mother of two beautiful children and have a problem that should have been solved while I was still in my 20's. While I was in college I fell in love with my best friend, a guy from my study group. But he already had a high school sweetheart and I never quite got up enough nerve to tell him how I felt. I also didn't find any of the other guys I met attractive. But soon after he married his sweetheart I was pursued by a man who had just moved into my neighborhood. He fell in love with me and asked me to marry him. Although I loved him, it wasn't strong enough to base a lifetime commitment on. But I was afraid he'd be the only man who would ever love me, so I married him. Big mistake.

Fast foreward 18 years. My two children were school age and I started working part-time. Soon afterward I found out my husband was having an affair with a woman he met on the Internet. I was so distraught I told someone I worked with at the time about it, a man 15 years my junior. He quickly became my best friend and confidant. He had a girlfriend, but I was only interested in friendship at the time, so it didn't matter. But while I was still trying to patch things up with my husband, my friend broke up with his girlfriend. I began to have feelings for him that were more than friendship, but tried to put them aside while I worked on saving my marriage.

But then the bottom fell out when I found out that my husband had taken our children to see his girlfriend behind my back. I filed for divorce the next day and my friend was there to help me deal with the aftermath. We went our separate ways professionally and of course I fell in love with him. But I wasn't ready for a new relationship yet and we both knew it. However, he was, and soon began to date one of our former co-workers.

I am ready for a relationship now, but I again find myself in the same situation I was in 20 years ago. I'm in love with my best friend, I never had the nerve to tell him, he's in a serious relationship with someone else, and I find other men utterly unattactive. I don't want to make the same mistake twice but I don't know how to avoid it. I've browsed your library for clues, but men I've met in single's clubs I find totally unappealing and those I've found online just don't interest me. I've tried limiting contact with my friend, but it seems the less I see of him the more I think about him. Help.

Dear Afraid,

Yes, you're making a mistake - again. But it's not the mistake you think it is. You think the mistake is in not telling someone you have feelings for him. That's not it at all. Your mistake is that you keep falling for men who are involved with someone else.

It does you absolutely no good to fall in love with a man who is obviously taken, not available and really only interested in you as a friend. Unless of course, you're really not interested in finding someone to have a relationship with - just someone to fall in love with whom you can't have. Then you get to be single and frustrated and you also keep from having to get involved with a real relationship. By being totally in love with someone you can't have, you keep yourself from being available to anyone who is free.

Now you've chosen to repeat the same mistake 20 years later with a man who's fifteen years younger than you and in a serious relationship. Your choices of whom to fall in love with makes it impossible for you to find love.

I suspect that there's some reason you are avoiding real love and only picking men who you can't have. If you are ever going to be in a satisfying relationship you will have to begin to choose men who are available and who want to be in a romantic relationship with you.

Women do choose the men they're interested in, and your choices are your mistake. The reason you don't find the men online interesting is because they're available and looking for someone. The best thing you can do for yourself is to get into therapy and find out why you are choosing men you can't have.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

Busy With Friends

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I'm a 23-year-old conventional yet adventurous gal. I'm brought up in a pretty conservative environment. I met my love slightly more then a year ago. And we have been dating for 9 months. The problem here is, my love is a gal too. We were very good friends and hung out a lot until one day she dropped the bomb. I was taken aback and confused. Rejected her flat cos i cant see myself being gay and i wouldnt be able to deal with stares and sneers.

However, being a wildful and open person, i still wanna be friends.. coz i loved her very much as a friend. We been through a lot... times when she was goin through a bad break with her ex and me with my ex. we were there for each other, we talked about everything and anything, hung out almost everyday. She is very sweet and slowly, i fell in love with her before i know it. in the begining i was having a bit problems adjusting myself to a 'different' relationship... i guess i've learnt to live for the moment and losen up and be less up tight.However, i must say, i'm definitely not 100 percent comfortable being labelled as GAY. But, told myself, heck, i love this person and i'm happy with this person.

I dunno if it's the normal process of a relationship, when everything fades... or perhaps like what your column says, too much romance too soon. We been having problems. we are basically two very different person. I'm a very open and straightforward person, i speak my mind, i feel that everything can be talked out, talking is good. Whereas she doesn't like to talk at all. To top it off, she yells and shouts when angered. And, she gets agitated and angered easily. This, i hate most. I don't understand why people have to yell and shout and refused to talk or listen... is it absolutely neccessary? Would it help at all? Or, am i forcing my theory on her?

Then recently, i feel different. I don't feel special anymore. I don;t feel she treats me with the gentleness and sweetness as before. Is it always the case? i mean i still love her.. and i'm sure she does. Just that, she used to be so madly in love with me, call me every now and then, surprises, cant wait to see me, call me every nite. Now, i would say, it's not as intense. i feel slighted.

When i was still her 'friend', we used to hang out or talked till dawn. now, we hardly do that. she does with her friends tho.. i asked her, why is it that she can do that with her friends and when she out with me, she's tired. she accused me of not letting her spend time with her friends. am i? her friend is going through some bad times in love and she's keeping her company every night. i thought i've been understanding, so i just merely said i haven't talked to u in a week and now we are finally on the phone and you say you're tired and sleepy? She got furious and said why i always have to bring up her friends and why i always have to compare. Tho we still see each other everyday... i feel as tho we lost the intellectual connection we used to have before. She's impatient and quick with me. When confronted on this, she said it's all the process of getting close and comfortable with someone, does that mean taking for granted too? i just want what we had before. she feels that what we have now surpassed what we have before. am i too needy? am i picking on her?

Since she refused to engage in such conversation with me, and she will never see my point, what can i do to make her know that i don't intentionally wanna pull her away from her friends? What can i do to get the attention i used to have from her?

I feel very cooped up cos i dont have anyone to talk to about this. None of my friends knows about her too. So, Dr Tracy please advise. I will greatky appreciate it.

Thank You, upset gal...

Dear Upset,

No wonder you're upset. It really doesn't matter whether your relationship is with someone of the same sex or different sex, when it's in a downward spiral, there's little hope of turning it around. Once the romance is waning, your loved one is too tired to talk to you and would rather be with their friends, you're in trouble.

The biggest problem you have is that you two have different styles of communicating. You like to talk things through. She likes to yell and holler. She angers easily and is quick to shout when she doesn't agree. You'll never win an argument with someone who won't talk to you, so you might as well stop trying. But without any way of getting together to solve problems, I doubt if you two would be happy together in the long run.

Right now you are too needy. You're not picking on her, but you are asking for what she can't or won't give you. So you're doomed to being frustrated and alone. To top it all off, you don't feel special anymore. You feel as if her friends are more important to her than you are. You've lost your intellectual connection and have very little left.

Living in a gay relationship isn't easy. It requires a definite commitment from both people, not just to each other but also to being gay. You can't be just partway gay, or not really sure, and be in a gay relationship with someone who is sure of their sexuality and their lifestyle choice. It's possible that this has just been an experiment in the gay life for you, and that your lack of total commitment has turned her away. Or perhaps she's taking you for granted because she feels that she has you now and there's no challenge there anymore.

You can't demand that she give you the attention you used to give you. The best thing you can do right now is to let her go. Stop demanding that she be with you. Find other friends to spend time with, and don't sit around waiting for her to find time for you. You are feeling cooped up because she is your only friend. When she sees that you are no longer waiting for her to come, that you are happy without her, and that you aren't demanding her attention, she'll wonder why, and maybe that will spark her interest again. But don't count on it.

The solution to all of your problems is to get out and meet someone new. When you just have one friend, male or female, and want all of your love and attention from that one person, that person is sure to feel pressured and eventually resentful, and you are bound to be disappointed.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

Swinging Just A Little

Dear Dr. Tracy,

my partner and i have recently decided to take part in the swinging scene,as an extension to our relationship.it was a decision that we talked at length about and both agreed on. unfortunatley,i am of the disposition that i can take it or leave it and my partner is the one 'left' looking for couples and arranging meets. we have talked about the many issues that have arisen, but i still feel that it is more of his lifestyle than mine, and although i want and have taken part in meeting two couples,i fel that if i say no he will take it as a personal rebuff. more a case of don't do it sometimes, it's either all the time or nothing...

how can i explain how i feel,to myself and to my partner,without putting a stop on something that we both enjoy,but limiting it to an occasional occurance, without being made to feel guilty or a prude.

a confused swinger (!)

Dear Semi-swinger,

One of the biggest problems with swinging is that one partner is often more enthusiastic about the swinging lifestyle than the other one. That means the enthusiastic swinger is always manipulating his or her partner to get into a swinging situation.

Since your partner's more into swinging, that leaves him out there looking for other couples to swing with, arranging meetings with perspective swinging buddies, and hoping that you will like them. And you're left in the awkward situation of saying yes or no -- maybe going along to make him happy, but not really wanting to -- or saying no most of the time. If you're feeling pressured and put upon, you're much less likely to like anybody he finds, and that's going to make him frustrated and unhappy.

The solution is to simply accept that you're a part-time swinger, not a full-timer. There are some swingers whose life is devoted to the lifestyle of finding and having sex with other couples. There are others who do it once in a while. You've now tried it, and you've made your decision.

If you're a once-in-a-while swinger, make that clear to your partner. He should appreciate that part-time is better than never, and adjust his expectations a little. He should respect your decision and agree that you'll only meet other couples once a month, or once every two months, or however often you feel comfortable meeting. That won't stop him from looking and fantasizing, but it will put some limits on your involvement.

One problem with a lot of swingers is that swinging is the only thing they do in their lives for excitement. If that's true of you and your partner, if he's totally obsessed with the excitement of possible strange nookie, then it's time to find some other passion that you can enjoy together. Try golf, or sky diving, or some other hobby. Maybe he'll find that catching a big fish or hitting a hole in one is almost as exciting as strange nookie, and he'll become a more well-rounded person and that will take some of the pressure off 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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