"Ask Dr. Tracy"

7/5/98 Advice Column


Dear Dr. Tracy,

Hi Dr. Tracy, I've been reading your column for a few months now, and I think that you just may be able to help me. I'm in the middle of a serious situation. My cousin Alonzo is in love with my cousin Wanda. In fact, they've been together as a couple for three years now. No they are not related to each other, Alonzo is my cousin because his mother and mine are sisters. Wanda is my cousin because her mother and my father are sister and brother. The problems started a while ago, between the three of us. Alonzo and I are not only cousins but also best friends. Whenever you see one you see the other. So anyway, Wanda and myself are also close. There is nothing that Alonzo donsen't share with me. I mean I know everything, including all the other women he's been with. He's been cheating on Wanda for quite some time now. But to make this situation a little more complicated she's cheated on him a couple of times too.

The problem is that they both confide in me. Alonzo can also sometimes be very physically abusive to Wanda. When I found that out I told her that I thought she should'nt see him anymore. (I was against this relationship from the start) At one point things had gotten so out of hand that I told him a couple of things about her that I thought would make him leave her. Needless to say it back fired pretty badly. Not only did he stay with her but he told her everything I told him. The only thing that came out of it was that she and I had'nt spoken for about six months. Well, we've since made up, kinda, but I vowed to stay out of it the next time no matter what.

Now it's really going to get complicated. Alonzo's childrens mother, which by the way is not Wanda, has asked him to marry her and he has excepted! Even though he still resides in the same house with Wanda, my cousin. He's supposed to tie the knot at the end of the month in an informal ceremony. I guess you can understand what my big problem here is. I don't know what to do. Do I just contiue to stay out of it, and not say anything to Wanda? Do I tell Wanda and risk upsetting Alonzo? Because the two of them are both first cousins of mine, who am I obligated to? Oh, Dr. Tracy please help me.

Caught in the Middle.

Dear Caught in the Middle,

Sure the situation is terrible, sure you want to help. But if you try, if you mention anything to anyone, you're going to be the one they all wind up angry with.

You got in trouble last time you butted in, yet you didn't seem to learn an important lesson. In the days of old (before e-mail :) when a messenger arrived and gave a king bad news, the king would often have the messenger shot dead on the spot. And still today, it's human nature to want to shoot the messenger. So if you want to wind up friends with all the people involved, don't be the messenger. Surely you're not the only one who knows what a jerk Alonzo is. Let someone else be the one to tell.

Let Alonza marry his children's mother. Then let Wanda find out, because she certainly will, and perhaps that will be enough to get her to leave him. But don't you be the one to tell. It won't be a great loss for Wanda if she loses her abusive boyfriend, but it would be a loss for you if you lose the friendship of either of your cousins.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I am a 36 year old woman who has been with a man 10 years (married 7) I recently divorced him (very amicable relationship to this day) due to my sexual preference. I had a very difficult time coming out to myself as I believed you had to look a certain way to be a lesbian. Well, I am feminine as ever and am in love with a 40 year old woman. I did alot of mourning and healing of my marraige even before it ended. I did therapy through the entire process and am gratefule for that! My family now knows and so I have set the stage.

Now I am in this relationship with a woman!!! I have what I wanted!! I am very happy most of the time! However, the fear I feel is so incredible I can't tell you. When we have sex and I orgasm (which has always been difficult for me to let go..) I sob so hard I am exhausted and don't look forward to the next time. Although our intimate (sexual) life is beautiful!! I am in love with this woman and feel unlike ever before!! Yet I am so afraid...so ill at ease at times when I am alone and think about "us". I am afraid that something is going to lead me to either "having" to leave or her leaving, something I do not want. We have an intense connection..very communicative and detailed in our converstaion. We practice patience and lovingness like I've never known. We are both in a 12 step program, her for 2 yrs, me for 5 yrs, both free from drink..We are on a spiritual path and share our deep faith at times. We pray together. I won't mediatte witrh her..too personal for me. I was in a brief encounter last year through my divorce that led me to great pain with another woman and I think alot of her and my ex-husband as if I am looking for things to get in the way because these two people are gone, history. Please help me with a different perspective. I am open to your suggestions and point of view.

Dear Fearful,

It's interesting; the problems experienced by women in gay relationships are often exactly the same as those of women in straight relationships. Only in the gay relationships it seems to be so much more dramatic, so much more heart rending, and even so much more volatile. That's because it's so much harder to find a good gay relationship than a straight one. Also, you've worked so hard to get to this place, you don't want to lose the progress you've made.

So what you're feeling is simply the same fear of loss that straight people feel when they're in love. It's the old, "this is so good, something terrible is probably going to happen soon. I'm so in love, it's bound to give me a terrible broken heart. I love this person so much, I'll die if I lose them," etc., etc. None of that is true, of course, but the fear of losing the love you've finally found is so terrible that it can actually be the destructive force in a perfectly good relationship.

So stop letting the fear drive you. Tell the fear that you're in charge. Practice deep breathing and positive affirmations. Stop scaring yourself with thoughts about leaving or being left. Take control of your emotions and stop letting them control you.

When you start having the scary thought, replace it with a positive statement in your mind. If you find yourself thinking, "(insert name) is going to leave me," replace that thought with "(insert name) is going to love me forever." The second thought is just as probable as the first, and much more comfortable to live with.

In addition, I suggest you read the series of articles in my Library about closer communication with a loved one, starting with "The Amazing Power of Mirroring". They will help take your mind off fearful thoughts and give you more self-confidence.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I'm a single 21 year old hetero male and I am having trouble finding a woman to will accept me as I am. I love to dress up.

I have this almost need to tell the woman that I find interesting that I cross dress. I'm afraid that if I fall in love with her and then she finds out, she will want to leave me. The more people I tell, the bigger the chance my secret will come out into the open.

What can I do? Where can I go to find the right kind of woman. I've already placed a few internet ads as Alexis but I have never recieved a legitimate responce from a single woman.


Dear Cross-Dresser,

No wonder you're having trouble finding a woman who will accept you. What woman wants a guy who wears her clothes? Most women don't even want a sister or a girlfriend wearing their things.

You must know that your devotion to cross-dressing is going to cost you bigtime in your search for a woman companion/lover/spouse/or even date. So, if you love to dress up that much, try finding a girlfriend at the clubs where everyone loves to dress up. Or move to a more open-minded city like San Francisco where people are more accepting of those who like to cross-dress.

Or advertise more specifically for what you want. Why are you advertising as Alexis if you're hetero? Instead of advertising on the general internet ads, advertise in publications that are aimed at alternative lifestyles.

Of course you should tell right away that you are a cross-dresser. Be fair, wouldn't you want to know? Besides, it works both ways. You could fall for someone and get left with a broken heart and so could they. As a matter of fact, since you have a great need to tell, why not get it out in the open? Tell everybody, because if you keep telling everyone one person at a time, they'll all know sooner or later.

If you're gonna have the vice, you gotta pay the price. The more vices you have, the harder it gets to find someone to love and be loved by.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

Submitting a Question to this column

Dr. Tracy regrets that it is simply impossible for her to answer all of the hundreds of questions submitted to this column each week. However, she does read every question, and tries to select the three which are of the most general interest to the visitors here.

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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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