Dear Dr. Tracy,
I've found your web site so interesting and helping in resolving
problematic relationships that decided to do what I've never done
before - to write about my relationship "publicly" and seek an advice
(never wrote to any newspaper or magazine before).
To begin with, my name is Victoria, I am 27, and my husband is 50.
This is the first marital experience for both of us. Before we met he
had a habit to look at porn on the Internet and save the pictures of
girls whom he liked most. He had a huge collection of these favorite
girls saved in his computer, he gave a different name to each girl to
"mark them" in order to remember "who is who". After we got married
and I discovered his hobby, I made an ultimatum asking to destroy his
"harem", which he did, but later I found out that he secretly kept
the pictures on disks. The most hurting thing is not that he looks at
Internet girls showing their privates, but that he saves them,
distinguishes and personalizes the girls, and secretly enjoys the
slide show - automatic changing of different pictures of a particular
girl on the screen (he has a special software for that).
We have more or less satisfying sexual relationship, though at the
moment I am more than eight months pregnant, we still "do it". Now he
started to indulge this habit of collecting porn and making slide
shows again, and whatever I said and asked (even cried in despair),
he just ignores my words and says that I take it too seriously. I am
an attractive and educated girl, and now I am caring his (as well as
my) first baby, a boy, and I feel that this is so unfair that he
doesn't care and continues to do something what makes me so upset,
angry and hurt. Even my tears don't touch him.
What should I do? Should I let it be as it is and try to change my
attitude to these porn sessions, or should I try to change the
Thank you for your kind attention, and hope to hear from you soon.
Dear Upset, Angry and Hurt,
You are a 27-year-old with a 50-year-old husband. Be glad that he can keep up with you sexually and stop making such a big deal over his looking at girls on the Internet. The Internet is full of sex sites, and naked women of every size and shape are everywhere in all kinds of pornographic situations.
You are making much too much over your husband's looking at these Internet women. It's not like they're competing with you. There's no way your husband could actually have one of these women. I agree with your husband that you are taking this way too seriously.
You're fighting a losing battle here for several reasons. First, I don't know who told you that you could find a sexy man who doesn't like porn. Men have been looking at pictures of naked women since there were pictures. I'm sure there was cave-man porn.
Second, he had this habit before you met him. You're not going to change a 50-year-old man. He's already set in his ways.
Third, why would you want to? It's likely that his Internet porn helps keep him sexy and turned on -- enough to keep up with a 27-year-old wife. It's probably working to your advantage.
Sure, in theory he should try to do what will make you happy, but what you're asking for here is unrealistic and a bit prudish. Insisting on it is only going to drive a wedge between the two of you when you really should be bonding over your pregnancy and planning to welcome your new baby. If you're in pain over this, work on changing your own attitude and simply stop letting it bother you so much. Loosen up and lighten up.
You have much more important things to concentrate on right now - like having a healthy baby and enjoying sharing the birth of your first child. Don't let this silly issue mess up this wonderful time for you both.
Afraid of Getting Hurt
Dear Dr. Tracy,
I am 60 (divorced) and met a man on a 3 week trip earlier this summer. He is 72 (never been married). We are both attractive and look young for our ages. We were very attracted to each other and slept together several times on the trip.
We both have masters degrees and considered "bright". He is originally from India.
When we got to our homes (GA and NC) we called each other a lot and went on a trip together for 3 and 1/2 days. It was wonderful. I am really in love with this man and think about him day and night. He has been mostly wonderful to me, but started criticizing me the last day we were together about being too thin, not round enough.
The day we got back from our trip he called me and could not say enough loving and complimentary things about our relationship and the trip. However, he wants everything to be a secret. He presently lives with his sister and her husband. We can only talk on the phone when they are at work. He has told me not to call him for 3 days because they are home and have visitors. He makes excuses about not having a phone line or cell phone. He told me that he only had sex 3 times with a neighbor when he was 20, and never had time to form relationships. Our last phone conversation was very brief and he wished me good health and the best of everything and then "Bye"! It sounded like a farewell message. I don't understand because just last week we had such a loving and fantastic time together. I am sensing some "red flags" with this guy, and I suspect he's a smooth operator. He wants to plan another trip with me next month, but I am hesitant. I am afraid I will end up really getting hurt. What is your opinion?
You're right, there are lots of red flags in this relationship. The biggest one is that you consider yourself "in love" with a man you have only known for a very short time and who has so many "mysteries" about his life and living arrangments.
As for his criticizing you, you shouldn't simply accept criticism. Challenge it and tell him he's not in a position to criticize you. Your feeling that you are "in love" is making you accept behavior that an intelligent experienced woman should not accept.
So stop the in-love business and get back to basics. You have accepted too many of his "rules" for this relationship without challenging them, just because you think you are in love. You let him criticize you for something silly. You then let him decide when you can talk on the phone and that your relationship should be kept a secret.
Are you sure he's not married or hiding something from you? It certainly sounds like it to me. Why else would he want you to stay hidden from his family. Why does a grown man with an advanced degree live with his sister and brother in law? Why does he not have a phone line or cell phone? The whole thing stinks to me, and where there's a smell that bad, there's bound to be something rotten.
I suggest you do some checking on him before you get more involved. Hire a private investigator. Do some web searching. Check out the "check him out" website recommended in my links. It's fine to take a trip and have a fling, but if you are going to feel like you're "in love" with this guy, you are most likely setting yourself up to get hurt.
Stop giving away all your power and stop letting him set the "rules" for this relationship. The way you're handling this, even if this relationship should work out, this "smooth operator" is going to be calling all the shots and you're going to be jumping through hoops to please him.
Put a stop to his rules and start making some of your own, like he has to get a phone and be reachable. A man you can't call on the phone is a man who you can't depend on to help you if your car breaks down on the freeway or you have some other more serious life emergency. He's useless and unavailable except when he decides to be. That's a real one-way relationship. Either change it or forget about it if you want to be happy.
To Tell or Not to Tell
Dear Dr. Tracy,
I am 23 years old and never married.
I have been dating this guy for a year now and we have a great relationship. During the course of the past year we have talked about "us" in the future and having kids and marriage. I was really feeling very comfortable with him and this relationship that I had recently let my guard down and let him
get close to me. However like clockwork in my life, a few weeks ago he told me that he was moving 1000 miles away and that when he leaves in September he doesn't want to continue the relationship. I can't understand what happened? He is still telling me that he loves me and he doesn't particularly
want to break up, but it just has to happen because he can't deal with a long distance relationship and this has been a dream of his for several years now. Why would someone do this if they really cared about the person and wanted a future with them?
In the large scheme of things all this really doesn't matter because my real problem is that I just found out that I am pregnant. I have been debating whether or not to tell him before he leaves because I don't want him to change his life dream because of me, especially when I know that he doesn't
love me enough to include me in his future plans. I plan to tell him after he is settled in his new home, a few months before the baby is due. I feel like a horrible person, but I don't want him to think that I am telling him I am pregnant as a ploy to keep him in my life. I know that I can provide
a loving and secure home for my child without him as a primary figure in the baby's life. Am I being selfish? Does he deserve to know before he leaves and does he legally have a right to know right away?
Thanks for your help,
At this point, it really doesn't matter what your boyfriend or soon to be ex-boyfriend wants or doesn't want, he's going to be a father. And you're going to be a mother. Whether he loves you or wants to continue the relationship or not, he has the right to know about his baby.
You absolutely, positively, must tell him before he leaves. The sooner the better. His new life plans must now include being a father and being responsible for his child. You as a mother, must also be responsible enough to provide a father for your baby, even if he's not going to be your primary mate.
Fatherhood means that your boyfriend has to provide child support and that he has the right to visit and know his child. You shouldn't feel like a horrible person for telling him, but you would definitely be doing a wrong to him, to your child and to yourself if you didn't tell him.
Even if you can provide a loving and secure home for your child without his father being a primary figure in the baby's life, you are being selfish to try to keep him out of it. Yes, he deserves to know about the baby before he leaves. And I'm not a lawyer so I can't tell you if you're legally obligated to tell, but I can tell you that you're morally and ethically obligated to tell this man he's about to become a father.