"Ask Dr. Tracy"

6/25/2000 Advice Column


The Virgin's Dilemma
What is Cheating?
His Broken Heart is Driving Him to Drink




Dear Dr. Tracy,

I have been reading your column, and based on the advice you give out, specifically when related to virginity, I am hoping you can help me with the desperate situation I find myself in. I am a 27 year old woman (even though I can honestly say I do not feel like a woman, more like an over-grown girl) who is still a virgin. I have remained so largely because I have not met anyone with whom I wanted to experience that---at least, not until now.

The problem, Dr. Tracy, is that the man that I want to lose my virginity to, the man I want to make love with for the first time is my ex-boyfriend, who has been living with another woman for about three years now and has two children with (the first of which isn't his). He and I had kept in touch over the phone after we had broken up, and surely the old feelings began to re-emerge. He, of course, wanted to begin a "relationship" outside his living arrangement, and for a while I refused on moral grounds. But, my feelings were stronger than my convictions, and we began to see each other. After a few months and confessions of love from both sides, he wanted us to have sex for the first time. He said that he wanted to be my "first" and wanted to take the relationship to the next level.

I truly felt that his feelings for me were sincere, and I admit that I, too, wanted to finally experience that moment with him. I deeply sense his ability to make my first time a wonderful moment---he makes me feel at ease with myself. His realtionship with his girlfriend is extremely unstable (I know--you've heard this a million times before) and he says that he's with her because of the kids (another cliche) and i have no doubt that he does adore those kids. They have broken up at least three times and gotten back together, and he says that they constantly argue and have no respect for each other. I truly feel that is no place for children to be raised in, which is why I think that the best thing they could do is go their separate ways.

However, the point is that that has not happened. He says that if she decides to leave, he won't stand in her way, but that he doesn't have the heart to throw her out with his children. We are not "together" anymore (even though we never really were) because he can't be with me without being able to be intimate with me, he says. And I had such a hard time making do with the little time we spent together that part of me is glad we are not seeing each other anymore. A bigger part of me, though, is hurting because I want to be with him , and I feel I can't. My friends all say that he's a jerk and I should just forget him, that he just wanted to use me for sex: just wanted to be the first one and maybe looking for some distraction outside of his troubled relationship, and logic tellls me they're right, but my heart and my feelings don't see it that black and white. Dr. Tracy, I deeply love this man, and I've tried to forget him---but have been unable to. I also agree with your views on virginity: the longer you wait, the bigger a deal it becomes.; you miss out on alot that life has to offer. If I DO forget him, I don't know when or even IF another man with whom I feel that way will come: I don't want to be a 30 year-old virgin, or worse. I'm feeling more and more as if there's a big joke out there that everyone else gets except me. I deserve to experience that joy that everyone else seems to experience so easily---to know what it's all about already!

Especially with someone I love so much. But I also know that I could not stand the heartbreak that could very likely, no matter what he has said, result from my losing my virginity to a man that lives with another woman---even if he swears he would leave her after that, because that would prove to him that I gave it all to be with him, so he has to do the same. Why can't he do that now, knowing that their relationship is so bad? I really don't think I NEED to sleep with him to "show" him how deep my feelings are, nor for him to leave her! Bottom line, I can't go on like this and I need your advice. I am a virgin and no longer wish to be one, but not at the expense of my heart or those innocent children. Should I try to explain my side to him, hoping he might understand and make some changes in his life? Should I just sleep with him and trust him to do what he says he would do (leave her)? He tells me that he feels alienated because I don't trust him enough to believe that he would do what he has said. I truly don't know what to think. Please help.

Thank You, Torn and Confused

Dear Confused Virgin,

No wonder you're confused. At 27, you deserve to start feeling like a woman and not an overgrown girl. There's no reason for you to remain a virgin any longer than you want to. You're old enough to make a sensible decision about who you want to have sex with for your first time. If you decide your old boyfriend is "the one to be first," it's your decision and yours alone. Not your friends', and really not even the old boyfriend's. After all, it's your virginity and yours to give or not as you see fit.

However, just because you have sex with a man and just because you choose that man to be your first, doesn't mean that he's going to spend the rest of his life with you. As a matter of fact, it usually doesn't work out that way. Sadly, in spite of our fantasies that the first one will be the last, most firsts are just that. His unstable relationship with his girlfriend will probably break up eventually, but even that doesn't mean that you and he will stay together. Actually, it says something in his favor that he's not willing to just toss out the mother of his two kids to have sex with you. At least he has some sense of responsibility.

Your friends say he may just want to use you for sex. But have you considered that you may be using him for sex as well? I'm all in favor of a woman choosing her first sex partner carefully and with lots of thought ahead of time. After all, you'll remember your first time for the rest of your life. You don't want it to be a miserable experience or an accidental happening with someone you'll never see again and wouldn't even want to.

When a guy's your first, it's natural that you'll feel as if you're madly in love with him. And since you already feel that you're in love with this guy, making him your first will only increase your feelings for him.

Don't have sex with him to prove your love. Only have sex with him because you want to, and don't go into it expecting him to leave the woman he's living with for you. Sex (even your precious but tiring virginity) isn't something to be bartered, i.e., "If you leave her, I'll give you my virginity." Sex is something you give because you're ready to and want to. Unless you feel that way, you should save it until you do.

Give up trying to get him to leave the woman and then have sex with you. You can talk until you're blue in the face and I doubt if that's going to happen. Keep in mind that if you do have sex with him and he does leave his girlfriend and children, they will always have a place in his heart. You will have to deal with her and the children for the rest of your life if you wind up with him.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy




Dear Dr. Tracy,

recently my boyfriend of 5 years went to a strip club for a bachlor party in indianapolis, we are from kentucky, he bought two lap dances and touched the girls butt and outter thighs. to me this is cheating, she is naked and he is "fondling her"

i consider this cheating and when i asked him why he had cheated on me he blew me off and told me i was over reacting. what is your outlook on this situation?

Dear Blown Off,

Whatever a man does at a normal bachelor party is not cheating, anymore than what you would do at a bachelorette party would be cheating. Bachelor parties are a special circumstance. It's boys acting up and showing off and there's definitely nothing serious about it.

Give your guy a break and stop making such a fuss over a bachelor party. Girls at strip clubs are not in the least interested in your guy except for the money he can spend. They're not having sex with him; they're working hard to make a few bucks. They have lousy jobs and are often working to support their kids. So she was naked and he was fondling her. It meant nothing to her and he was just being one of the guys. Believe me, he wasn't fondling her the same way he fondles you. It wasn't done with love or affection and has nothing to do with real cheating.

Cheating is when a man sneaks out to have sex with another woman. He didn't sneak. He told you exactly what he did, and it wasn't having sex.

I agree with him. You're overreacting. Settle down and forget the whole thing.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy




Dear Dr. Tracy,

i dont know if life is even worth living anymore, i mean i dont have the guts to kill myself but my life is completely array. I've went out with this girl for 8 monthes and she was absolutely perfect and i thought that i was perfect for her also. i loved this girl with all my heart and wanted to eventually marry this girl. the only problem was her and her parents were of a very strict religion and forbid her to date outside of her religion. a couple of monthes ago her parents found out about our relationship and she broke up with me. i was devastated and so was she, she cried in my arms and apologized for like an hour or two.

so its been like 4 monthes since weve broke up and now i found out that she is getting married to some guy and moving to San Fransisco with him. I confronted her and blew up at her calling her every bad word i could think of. i then apologized to her saying that i was drunk even though i wasnt. Ever since then about a 4 days ago, i've been tremendously depressed and cant sleep because every little thing reminds me of her. She was the love of my life and every promise we made to each other while we were going out has been broken. My question to you is how do i get my life back on track after that? I've been drinking, smoking, gambling, everything bad for me and i cannot get a good nights sleep like ever. My heart has been thrown away forever is how I feel right now. Please respond.

Dear Broken-Hearted,

First of all, you must stop your self-destructive behaviors. Drinking, smoking, and gambling will only make everything worse. Drinking is a depressant and the more you drink the more depressed you will become.

Begin substituting positive behaviors for your negative ones. Exercise instead of drinking. Go to the gym instead of the casino. Exercise will create endorphins which will help you overcome your depression.

Realize that someone raised in a strict religion who will leave you because of it would never be happy out of that religion. You're angry with yourself for blowing up at her and you're trying to punish yourself. If you want to get your life back on track, start by forgiving yourself. Next, forgive her and wish her happiness.

Go to the library and get a copy of "Letting Go: A 12-Week Personal Action Plan to Overcome a Broken Heart" by Wanderer and Cabot. You can also order the paperback from Amazon.

When I wrote that book, I was suffering just like you are now. However the techniques I learned in writing "Letting Go" allowed me not only to heal myself but also gave me the confidence to go out and find an even better relationship without fear of getting hurt again.

Follow the 12-week plan in the book, and I guarantee you will feel better.

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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