"Ask Dr. Tracy"

6/23/96 Advice Column

Giving too much -- way too much,
Driving 'em nuts,
Feeling Rejected

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I have been dating "Susan" for almost 18 months. During that timeframe, I have made every effort to promote a caring, loving relationship. I have always been there for her in the time of need, flowers, cards, letters, romantic dinners, put up with her son's (8 years) bad manners, bad language.

She refers (referred) to me as "her fairy tale" because no one ever treated her as nicely as I have. However, during this 18 month period, she rarely calls me (I initiate phone calls), has never written me a letter, rarely gives me a card and it has been 7 weeks since we have had any one on one time. She always says she never has time for me due to her son's demands. I have been very patient and understanding, but my needs are not being met.

Often, she flings insults (at least I feel insulted). I think of her often - Going Crazy! She doesn't appear to want my affection. When I ask her if the relationship is healthy, she says I worry too much. Only thing I can think of that I've done wrong is to maybe question her love for me. I think I'm giving 95% and maybe receiving 5%. Question.....This isn't working and I think for my own sanity I should get out-What do you think?

Dear Fairy Tale lover,

No wonder she feels like you're in a fairy tale, because no real person with any sense gives, gives, and gives and doesn't get anything back. You've made several mistakes. You've given too much. You've continued to give when you got nothing back. That means you've given Susan the message that you'll give to her even if she's not reciprocating. You've also taken bad behavior without objecting which gives Susan the message that it's okay to treat you like shit. You've set yourself up for her not to love and respect you.

If you really want Susan to coe to her senses, stop everything. No calls, no gifts, no cards, no letters, no romantic dinners, no nothing. If she calls, tell her you've met someone who really seems to appreciate you, who makes time for you, and who loves you. Then let her imagine this fantasy other woman getting all the goodies she used to get. If that doesn't make her want you back and appreciate you, then nothing will and she'll never treat you any better.

In the meantime, be smart. Do in fact try to find someone who appreciates you. And read "Are You Giving Too Much?" in my Library, and follow the links, so when you find a new love, you'll know how much to give and when, and what really makes people fall in love.

Dear Dr. Tracy,

Hi Tracy, I am 22y/o and was dating a guy for exactly 4 months when all of a sudden he broke up with me. At the time he said that "something just didn't feel right" but that he didn't know what it was, and that he had to talk to his mom. He is very close to his mom and really values what she has to say about any kind of problem that he may have. Anyway, about a month and 2 weeks after we broke up he said that he missed me and wanted to get back together. I wasn't too sure about that but after thinking a little bit decided that I love him and want to be with him, even though he hurt me very deeply, more deeply than anyone ever has. So we got back together but didn't really talk about it, then I was asking a lot of questions which revealed to him that I wasn't too sure of him and getting back together. So then he wasn't sure if we should try again, but I didn't find that out until I talked to him and told him that I was going to put my all into our relationship once again. He talked to his mom and she told him that we should wait to try again until I get back from California (I'll be there for 2 months this summer) and if our feelings are real then we will still feel the same.

So the problem comes in with the fact that I was doing a lot of stuff with his roommate, we went out on a few dates and he really likes me. I love to spend time with him, I always have a blast, and when Craig broke up with me he was the only one who could make me laugh. Kevin was really hurt when I decided to go back out with Craig, and I appologized to him for hurting him and said I wanted things to be the way they were. So now we have been dating, I guess, but there is a lot of animosity in him towards Craig, I can see it growing.

Craig and I have also been seeing each other, and Kevin knows when we do things because I tell him. I feel like I'm cheating on them, like I'm playing them against each other. I don't really know what to do now. I don't want to hurt either of them or myself. I don't know if I should wait for Craig through the summer, what if I get back and he still doesn't know how he feels? It will drive me off the deep end if he tells me that he has to talk to his mom again. I think that he depends too much on her and what she thinks. I told him that and also said that she can't tell him how he feels that that is something only he can figure out. Anyway, I don't want to lose Kevin's friendship, and I know I will if I tell him that I only want to be friends. I also don't want to lose Craig, although I may have already, I'm not sure. My roommate thinks I should be there to support Craig and help him to Figure out his own feelings without depending on his mom so much, which I am trying to do, but it's awful dif- ficult. Should I wait for Craig? Should I tell Kevin that I only want to be friends? Should I bow out gracefully and tell them both that I only want to be friends? or Should I bow out gracefully from everything, so they can salvage their friendship? and do you think they can do that even if I do step out of their lives. Also what makes things more complicated is that Kevin and I have the same major and have 3 classes together now and more together next semester. I would really appreciate any input you have for me.

Dear Chatterbox,

You are driving these guys nuts. Pick one and get on with it. The problem with taking Craig back over and over again is that you take back the same problem. Craig hasn't changed. I suggest you dump him before he dumps you again. Or if you do take him back, make sure about his feelings and that he has changed. People don't change easily.

Personally, I'd go for the guy who didn't hurt me over and over again, not the one who did. There's nothing wrong with falling for a nice guy. I vote for Kevin, unless you want to have Craig's mother in your life for a long time to come. But it's your call. Just make the call.

Dear Dr. Tracy,

Let's see if you can help on this one. I'm 36, single, never been married, and probably would consider myself overly sensitive to rejection.

Anyway, I was very good friends with a female co-worker four years ago. She was going through a divorce and I was involved in a horrendous relationship with a person who just couldn't tell the truth. My friend at work and I spend about a year sharing a lot about ourselves and about the problems that come with relationships. We never dated and we're not romantically involved, although it was hard not to grow fond of her - she's nice and very attractive.

But we grew apart, stopped calling each other, and she started dating someone else she had known for years while I still tried to end my relationship.

I know this is getting long. But for the past four years my ``friend'' at work has been decidedly cool toward me. Hardly talks to me and is not interested in carrying on any kind of conversation with me. And this is a person who is very outgoing. She treats now like I have a social disease and avoids being seen with me at work. I've asked her what's wrong and she says we're still good friends. But her actions say something else. I never came onto her four years ago and always treated her with respect. What's wrong?

Dear Feeling Rejected,

Have you considered that your friend's new fella is behind this? Maybe she told him about you two being such good friends and he over-reacted, insisting that she have nothing more to do with you. It's hard to know for sure. Who knows what's going on in another person's life or mind unless they're willing to tell you?

So don't let her attitude bother you. Life is not a popularity contest. You can't win 'em all. And sometimes, sadly, friends outgrow each other, or the need that brought them together is no longer there. Just keep being nice and friendly and if she snubs you she's going to look bad.

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