"Ask Dr. Tracy"

8/17/97 Advice Column


LOVE HIM, CAN'T LOVE HIS MOTHER,
IN LOVE OR IN FANTASY?,
WILL HE CHEAT AGAIN?




Dear Dr. Tracy,

I am dating a 26 year old man who is wonderful in many ways, but has a very difficult mother. This woman has a tremendous sense of entitlement and demands a great deal of both her sons (the other is married and just had a baby). She thinks nothing of resorting to screaming and manipulating if she feels they are not making her their first priority. Both men resist her, but not always with much success, and I am finding it increasingly hard not to feel hatred toward her, and demanding and frustrated with my boyfriend for not setting more, stronger boundaries.

What do you have to suggest for this situation? My boyfriend and I feel strongly toward each other, but the closer we get, the more threatened and difficult his mother becomes and the more his energy get turned away from me to deal with her.

Cindy

Dear Cindy

Sounds like she's winning.

Every man's mother knows the old saying, "A man is a son until he takes a wife, a daughter's a daughter for the rest of her life" (or something like that :) Anyway, you're right; she probably feels threatened by you, thinking that you're taking him away from her.

She sounds awful, and I have no suggestion except that you and your boyfriend move as far away from her as possible. If you marry him, you also marry her. If you think he's going to stand up to her on a day-by-day basis, you're mistaken, and demanding that he do so will only result in serious friction between the two of you.

Many women hate their mother-in-law (and with lots of reasons), so don't feel guilty about it. The problem is that hating only hurts the hater, not the person who's hated. Try to come to terms with the problem and figure, "Oh well, I'll outlive her and then I'll be free."

Just because you love a man doesn't mean you have to love his mother. The best way to deal with her is to ignore her and try not to let her get to you.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy




Dear Dr. Tracy,

I don't know if guys do this often, but I'm writing for advice... There is a girl that I have admired for some time. But recently(within the past week or so) I have found myself thinking about her. I have had dreams about her, fantasies about her, and I have had her on my mind 24 hours a day. She's the last thing I think about before I go to sleep, and the first thing on my mind when I wake up in the morning. I have even been making extra trips to Dillons where she works, just so I can see her, and I can't even look at another girl without comparing that girl to her. I am very confused, having never encounterd these feelings before... Am I in love? Is there any way I can get her to love me in return?

Thank you very much,

"Desperate for Dillons"

Dear Desperate for Dillons,

You're not in love. You're fantasizing a love relationship with someone you don't even know.

Don't start mixing up reality and fantasy. Just because a girl looks like Snow White doesn't mean she is. Just because a girl stirs your imagination doesn't mean that you're going to stir hers -- or that's she's even worth knowing. I'd say you have a long, long way to go to find out if she's available, interested in you, and deserves your feelings.

Dr. Tracy




Dear Dr. Tracy,

I met a man about a year ago, we hit it off, and it ended up that he cheated on his girlfriend with me. Now a year later, we are the best of friends. We live an hour away from each other, and have both been in relationships, and helped each other through the hard times.

I'm moving soon, and my current man and I have decided to end the relationship when I leave, and although I won't be any closer to my friend, when his relationship ends, we will undoubtably start a relationship. My only fear is that with a long distance relationship is that if he cheated on his ex-girlfriend, would he do the same to me?

Dear New Girlfriend,

So he cheated on her to be with you. What does that tell you in your heart of hearts? You're not just wondering if you can trust him; you know you can't. That's the downside of being the "other woman." Even if you "win," you know deep down that sooner or later there will be an "other woman" in your life, too.

Every woman wants to believe her guy is different, or their circumstances were special, but reality is that cheaters rarely change. Sometimes they reform when they get married, but often only old age finally slows them down. Your guy might not be faithful even if you were living in the same house; being far away is really asking for trouble. Attempting a long distance relationship with a cheater is like locking an alchoholic in a house full of booze; what's likely to win, good intentions or overwhelming temptation? Even faithful men can learn to cheat if a long distance relationship drags out long enough.

Barring some extraordinary change that's come over him, I'd say to stress the friendship part and forget having a love relationship with this guy. He sounds like a better friend than a lover.

Dr. Tracy





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