"Ask Dr. Tracy"

7/20/97 Advice Column


CAN FRIENDS BE LOVERS?,
ON AGAIN, OFF AGAIN LOVE,
WANTS IT BOTH WAYS




Dear Dr. Tracy,

I'm a 21 year old guy. I've been freinds with this woman since our freshman year of high school. We spent a lot of time with each other in school and I admitted to her that I had a crush for 2 years (when we first met) We've been like best friends ever since. We are very open with each other and usually never hold our secrets back. Lately though within the last month we have been spending a lot of time together (nearly every day) talking or having dinner, and now when she talks about guys she's interested in I feel myself becoming jealous. It never bothered me before. On top of that, my dreams involve her almost exclusively.

I guess my crush is coming back with a vengence, or is it something else? She calls usually late at night and we talk for hours sometimes, but is this an attratction on her side? We've always joked when people ask if we were together, saying things like "Us, yeah right, never!" I'm really confused. Do you have any advice, or comments?

Dear Lonely Heart,

Like lots of guys who find they can't have a real sexual relationship with a woman, you decided way back in high school to take what you can get, i.e. friendship. Now you're no longer 15, and the "let's just be friends" deal is becoming too painful to sustain.

Should you say anything to her? No, don't. Why? Because she already knows. Men always want to know how to tell if a woman is interested in them. It's easy -- she wants to be with you all the time. Doesn't that describe her? She wants to be with you all the time and talk to you on the phone when she's not.

The ideal way for friendship to turn to romance is for it to happen in a magical moment -- you both realize you're meant for each other and fall into each other's arms. But that rarely happens. Somebody's going to have to make the first move, and that's got to be you. After all, she is giving you signals.

Plan to be together in romantic settings. Then start making small moves. Hold hands and see her reaction. Casually put your arm around her. Be sensitive to whether she pulls away or not. It could just be that she likes you to hang out with, but not physically. Even if that turns out to be the case (and it doesn't sound like it), at least you'll know. If she doesn't pull away, do what comes naturally. If you turn each other on, you won't have to talk about it first. If you don't, find someone else and admit that you'll always be friends but never lovers. Better to know than always wonder.

Sometimes, in the best of cases, you can be both friends and lovers, so if you get lucky and become lovers, hold onto your friendship too.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy




Dear Dr. Tracy,

In December of 1996 I met this guy over the net. He was in a relationship that was basically unexsistant at home and had a net relationship also. He lived only 20 minutes away from me so I decided to call him up and we hit it off. In January we met for the first time and the first thing he did to me was hold me in his arms. Which was really reassuring because I'm overweight and never felt i could be in a relationship. So we started going out together and we got along quite fine. The thing that bothered him was that I was 20 and he was 32.

We seperated at one point, he said he needed time to think and I accepted that even though it broke my heart. The girl he was living with left and in April we were back together. But I put a condition in, so that I wouldn't get hurt again : NO STRINGS ATTACHED! So we acted like a couple but never called each other that. We still made love, when out together and saw each other almost everyday. Then a friend of his got in a depression and he spent all of his time helping him out. Which I understood since we both always pass others before ourselves. What alarmed me is that one night in June he told me he wanted to kill himself, that he had thought about it and that he kept walking in circles all of his life he didn't want to walk it again. His childhood was bad one and his wife left him 3 years back without any explanation. He's been in an unlucky streak most of his life.

Then in July he had to move, but didn't really see a reason for it since we wasn't going to be there anyways by then. That's when I kicked in and decided that I wasn't going to let him go like that without him giving himself a descent chance at life. So I searched for a house and found one to his liking at the last minute. Though we almost didn't get the house, we finally got it. Then his car broke down so his friend bought him one since he wasn't working so didn't have any money to buy one. But that one also broke down. He finally found another to which I payed half and his friend payed the other half.

During that time he stopped giving me affection.... I got caught up again because I loved him so much... and the No strings attached aggrement had been broking by me long before. I can't just turn off my feelings even though I really wish I could sometimes. For the past three week I've been living with him. No kisses, no hugs, no affection.... the only time I'll get a kiss is if I ask. I was drained, couldn't take the fact that I wasn't getting back at least of bit of the love and affection I was giving him. So yesterday I left and came back home. Now i don't know what to do. I told him to call me if he wanted to see me. I know that he told me that he wasn't ready for a relationship yet, that he wanted to straighten up his life first. A job, a car and thinking about himself for once in his life. But he was the center of my life almost for the past weeks and I miss him so. I feel like picking up the phone crying to tell him how i feel but I don't want to push him away either.

At first he tolded me he loved me, but not anymore. Though when I asked him if it was better if I left, if he wanted me gone, he said I could stay. He's all alone how, his firend is gone for 2 months in another country. So he's got me and that's about it. I love him, I really do. I'm hurting and I know that he is probably also (even though he has too much pride to admit it to me). I don't know what happened for him to be that way with me. We didn't have a huge fight, nor is there another girl in the picture.

Please help me figure a bit of this, I'm completly in the dark right now. Thank you!

Lost soul, Broken hearted

Dear Lost Soul,

You're brokenhearted because you've given yourself away to someone who doesn't deserve it. You don't have one good thing to say about this man except that he held you in his arms in spite of your being fat. In less than a year he's been on again off again with you enough to get you totally crazy. He's threatened suicide and shown he needs a lot of work on himself before he's ready for a real relationship. This turkey falls into several categories in When To Get Out in my Love Library.

When you get into a relationship with a man, you should make each other happy, not miserable. Why can't you listen to what he says and believe him -- his life really is too messed up to be involved with anyone else. He needs years of therapy, a job, and a better attitude.

As long as his friends continue to help him, he'll never help himself. You're "enabling" him. Read Melanie Beatty's "Enabler no more," and get on with your life. Find someone who doesn't need your help all the time, and next time, don't fall for the first hug that comes along.

Dr. Tracy




Dear Dr. Tracy,

A letter from Holland. And a real problem... To make a very long story short.. I am happy married with my wife for 25 years. And I still deeply care for her. Now I've fallen real deeply in love with the girl me and my wife met 23 years ago. And still is good friend. Let's call her M And I told my wife everything (of course)

The problem: If I let M know my real feelings about her my wife will kick me out of our house, then a divorce and selling of the house will happen. But I want my wife to have it all; I do not need the house if I have M. (Did I say that I do not know M's feelings about me but that I'm pretty sure?)

So telling M will cause our house to be sold (I don't want that) and not telling M leaves me with that ever burning flame inside. (And did I tell you that the first time I met M we had a romantic evening together? And I must have fallen for her then?) But you know; we all three had a relation then.

Now she's single, and I'm Desperate

Dear Desperate,

I'd suggest you douse your ever burning flame if you want to keep your wife. Forget about your fantasies and be happy your wife hasn't already kicked you out.

You really don't know if M will have anything to do with you, and the price of finding out is pretty high. What if M says she's not interested and your wife throws you out? You stand to lose bigtime, even if you claim you'd be happy to see your wife get the house.

I'd say you're a lucky man to have had 23 years of happy marriage, and if you're smart you'll have 23 more -- and a house, too.

Dr. Tracy





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