"Ask Dr. Tracy"

6/9/96 Advice Column


Husband at the Neighborhood Bar,
Just Friends,
Love Me, Love My Kids




Dear Dr. Tracy,

I recently got married to a man I have dated for four years. We have a wonderful relationship--open and trusting--I couldn't ask for anything more. However, we live in a small town with a local "bar" (if you call it that), that he likes to go to quite often (about once a week). But I'm never invited. He acts as if it would be a sin if I were to go there with him. The problem is that I know there are other women in there, granted they are not the type I would necessarily want to be around, but I don't want him around them, either. He and some of his friends go there sometimes, and he doesn't get home until after midnight. I will trust him until he gives me a reason not to. And in a small town, I WILL hear anything and everything that goes on.

If I were to carry on in the same way with my girlfriends, he would get irate, wondering what I'm really doing, who we're with, etc. When he tells me he's going out, I never get mad (I definitely don't want him going to a bar mad at me!!). I just don't know if I should start "putting my foot down", so to speak, with his staying out so late or something.

He always appreciates my understanding and my being so "nice" when he goes out, so it doesn't go unnoticed. How can I get him to see things from my perspective? For all I know, he could be in another woman's bed!! And I want him to understand how his situations look to me. All I have to go on is trust. But I feel that you can't ask someone to trust you just because they tell you they can be trusted. Actions have to come into the picture at some point. What do you think?

Dear Trusting,

Married men belong home with their wives, not out at bars at midnight and beyond. The problem is that you've already allowed him to do this, and taking something away is always harder than not agreeing to it in the first place.

This is not an issue of trust. This is an issue of propriety, and it's just not right for him to be out drinking with the guys and strange women while you're home alone. It's a really bad idea to have your husband in a situation where he might be tempted by infidelity, while you're home worried that he could be in some other woman's bed and just waiting to find out whether he is or not.

When you're married, you're supposed to be included, not excluded, unless you really want to be. I'd suggest that you tag along and see if you like it. If you do, and you want to go with him all the time, go.

Tell him you're too uncomfortable home alone and you want to come along. If he won't let you, I'd be very suspicious. If you go and hate it, then I suggest you and your new husband find an activity you can both enjoy with people who are friends with both of you, not just one of you. In working this out with him, you may be able to use some of the techniques I offer in "Avoiding Fights" in my Library.




Dear Dr. Tracy,

My problem is my best friend. I love her tremendously, but she says that "we're just friends, and I don't see you in that way." I've always heard that friends make the best lovers. Is there any way I can convince her of this? Should I wait it out and hope something will change her mind, or should I just give up on her and move on?

Dear Friend,

When a woman tells you she just wants to be friends and she doesn't see you that way, she means you just aren't her type. You don't turn her on. What part of "no, I don't see you in a sexual way," don't you understand?

I'd suggest moving on and finding a woman who thinks you're just her type, physically. That is, if you really want a relationship. People who obsess over someone who's not available often are avoiding intimacy.

The good news is that if she sees you in love with someone else, she may begin seeing you in a different light. She may need to see someone else appreciate your sexual qualities before she relizes they're there. Or she may become jealous and decide she doesn't want toshare you.

Yes, friends can make the best lovers, but only if they both get turned on to each other. There has to be some two-way sexual energy for friends to become lovers. For more insight on this admittedly confusing matter, read "Why People Love" in my Library.




Dear Dr. Tracy,

I am 48 and divorced now for 3 yrs. I was seperated for almost 2 before that and dated as much as I was asked , which nicely enough was a steady stream. So, I am not just out in the stream, I have swam a bit these few years.

I carefully decided to live with a man who I fell deeply in love with, Mike. We lived together for exactly 1 yr, and he just up and left. Well, almost Just. Things had been getting sketch since his children started to appear about 8 month into the relationship and we had very diverse opinions on rearing and respect.

He had been a no show Dad, for years and I have raised my family. My two are out of school, drug and alcohol free, neat people and respect adults. His were beasts,,, and lied like rugs and respect was a foreign word. He thought this to be cool and they free thinkers! Not in my house they weren't.

We got through a vacation in July 95, 8 months into the relationship. Sent the daughter 18, home and went back to bliss. The son 17 shows up and he is a pothead, and did nothing but complain and never mowed a lawn or washed a dish. Dad tried, but in the end let the kid do anything he wanted and took it all out on me.

I could do no wrong in the beginning at the end all I did was wrong, and hauty, and not brilliant but cunning! I was in shock. The man had two sides, one the kindest most loving and interesting man I knew. The other, was his evil twin .

He drove away , in my car last December. I had word he did drugs himself, but no final analysis. I reclaimed car, we had much words, but I was not talking to the Mike I loved, but his twin, Merk. All too strange to tell, it has me heartbroken. I lost the guy I dreamed of all my life and he never said goodbye. I almost didn't make it through the holidays and occasionally find myself sobbing uncontrollably. I have no idea what sent him away so fast without a word, or even a call or goodbye.

He hates me now, he reverses the plot and tell people, (my mother and family) that I am a "drug dealer" ha!, my kids are on drugs, I am a neurotic madwoman..eeek! One minute I am so mad, the next I miss the jerk, he was great for me when he was himself.

No Closure, that is what I have been told. What does one do when the other will not CLOSE. I try, but so many questions. Was it a joke? Did he really mean all we did and said? How could a person do that to another?

I have tried to call, he will not resond. We live in a small suburb and I see him, but he doesn't seem to see me. I feel dead sometimes, he doesn't acknowlege my existence and that makes me feel unreal.

I am an intelligent, educated, wise woman, but in this instance I am at a dead stop, or moving slowly into recovery. But it is three step forward and then two back for me at this point . It has been 3 months apart.

Any help you can give me, I'd appreciate. Thank you so much, it was good to just type all this out. Writing is a great tool, and I use it daily, learned in Alanon.

Dear Druggie lover,

I guess you didn't know he was doing drugs, but once you found out, Mike should have been out of your life. After all, a 12-step person needs drug-free associates.

In the future, watch out for men with kids that might come to live with you. This is a real danger proposition and I know of more than one marriage that was ruined when his kids came home to live. It's a no-win situation: You're a step-parent and responsible for a kid you didn't create, nurture or train.

You've heard the old, "love me, love my dog," well it goes double for "love me, love my kids." You can't criticize them. You can't discipline them. You're stuck. Especially if the kids turn out to be "beasts." Just where did they learn such rotten behaviors? -- from their parents, one of which was your lover.

Teenagers are a problem anyway, whether they're yours or someone else's. They break up more relationships than younger children. And like many guys, Mike was fine as long as their was no real stress. He was living with you, having all the advantages of marriage, and few of the responsibilities. Not only that, but he convinced you to take on his children too.

I'd say you're lucky to be rid of him and his teenage monsters. What's sad is that you're missing the good Mike. Unfortunately with people like him, it's impossible to get close enough to get the good part without getting the bad part too. Avoid him like the plague. Be happy that he won't acknowledge you. Please read "When to Get Out of a Relationship" in my Library and follow the links.




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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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