Dr. Tracy's Advice Column

Cartoon Kiss


Put On Hold
Why Hubby Won't Stand Up For Her
In Love Vs. Love

Put On Hold

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I have a problem. You see, I have been talking to this guy for a long time now just as friends. I met him through my brother and we went to school together. We flirt a little here and there but nothing serious. Yesterday we made plans to go to the movies around 7 and I told him I would call him back with the exact time, he said OK and was very enthused. He even talked about stopping by my house with a couple of friends. It was 2:30 and I called him back around 3:30 and his roommate said he was not home. I called back 2 other times which was at 5 and at 7, still no Mark. I decided to give up and I went to bed pissed. He didnt even call at all that night to tell me what happened.

The next day I called him around 2:30 and he answered. I asked him what happened and he paused for a mintue or so and told me he and his friends went to another friends house. I was soo pissed. I said "did you forget about the movies?" He said "No..hold on a second" He put me on hold for about 30 seconds then I heard phone tone (what it sounds like when someone has hung up on you). I could not believe it! That was at 2:30 and it's now 5:00 and he still hasn't called me back. I don't know if I should dump this chump or give him another chance? HELP!

Dear Pissed,

You deserve to be pissed. But what puzzles me is why you're wondering whether you should dump this guy or give him a second chance. It seems pretty obvious to me that he doesn't want a second chance with you - as a matter of fact, he didn't even want the first chance.

Mark thought it was great to talk to you as a friend, but when you tried to push past friendship to going out together, he may have acted enthused, but he obviously wasn't. He just didn't know how to say no. The fact that he wanted to stop by your house with a couple of friends shows that he didn't want to be alone with you.

Turning a casual friendship into a dating relationship is always tricky, and you risk being rejected. When you make the attempt, as you did, and the other person shows by his actions that he isn't interested, stop. Back off. Don't keep trying.

Don't call him again and again day after day. That only makes him think, "Whew, I'm sure glad I didn't get involved with her, she'd drive me nuts calling and demanding all the time."

Mark can't bring himself to tell you he doesn't want to go out with you, so he's avoiding you. Even if he were interested in you, he wouldn't make a good partner since he can't confront and work through issues.

Next time, be more certain that a guy is interested in you before you push him to go out. Think about having coffee together or something less threatening to begin with. Or better yet, find a guy who's so attracted to you that he asks you out.

The key to these problems is self-esteem. If you have high self-esteem, you don't get into this kind of situation, because if a guy doesn't call you when he says he will or stands you up just once, you dump him instantly. You don't have to ask anyone. If your self-esteem is high, you know you're too good for guys who do that.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

Why Hubby Won't Stand Up For Her

Dear Dr. Tracy,

My husband and I are both in our early 30s. We're not in a marriage crisis at all. I just want to understand something.

My husband absolutely adores and loves me. No doubt there. Of the 10 years that we've been together, I've never doubted his devotion to me or this family. One thing does boggle my mind though. Here's a scenario. When we hang out with friends, sometimes the guys say things that I think are degrading to women, and I know that my husband doesn't agree with any of that. But he doesn't voice his opinion at all. The other day, someone in the group said something inappropriate and turned to him and said, "Right, Chris?" And he just shrugged it off and didn't respond. Then the guys laughed and basically assumed that he agreed.

Same scenario when we're with family. My family makes comments about my ability as a mother. And I know my husband doesn't agree, but he won't say anything to correct them. His family makes comments about the way we handle our finances, and he doesn't say anything.

I've raised the issue with him several times. He says he realizes he should say something, but he's just really bad at conjuring up any thoughts when put on the spot. He says when people make very general comments (in the case when we're with friends) he doesn't want to bother to explain himself. People are entitled to their thoughts. I do agree that people are entitled to their thoughts, but I hate it that he's agreeing with them by silence. He says (in the case with family) he doesn't see the point in making people see things the way we see them. If they want to believe we're bad parents, let them believe that. He says if someone physically attacks me of course he would jump right in on it and protect me. But with words, he just doesn't react fast enough or know how to deal with it.

How can I get him to stand up for me?

Dear Mind Boggled,

Yeah, in a perfect world, your husband would stand up for your beliefs and be your verbal white knight in shinning armor. But you love him and you know he loves you and you're otherwise happy with your marriage. So maybe that's just the guy you love and married -- a nice, soft-spoken guy who doesn't confront people on every issue, even if you think he should.

Maybe he's not as verbally agile as you'd like and doesn't want to spar with people. Or maybe he just doesn't think the issue is worth fighting for. It hardly matters why he doesn't do it.

What really matters is why you don't. If someone makes a sexist remark that you think is insulting to women, you should call them on it. Chances are they'll shut up. And you're a lot less likely to wind up in a fist fight with a guy than your husband is.

We've moved beyond the time when a woman had to stand silently and wait for her husband to speak up in her defense. You don't have to be a Stepford wife who keeps silent and suffers. We have too many silently suffering women who have all kinds of ailments brought on by anger turned inward such as depression, irritable bowel syndrome, and migraine headaches.

If someone makes a comment about your ability as a mother, speak up for yourself. You can only be victimized by others if you let them victimize you. So stop allowing yourself to be the victim. If you don't like what someone says, if it hurts your feelings or your sensibilities, tell them so.

Simply say, "I'm an excellent mother and it really bothers me when you say otherwise." Same for your finances or anything else. In all these instances, it's not just your husband who is agreeing with these people by his silence, but you are too.

Perhaps the real question here is, how can you stand up for yourself more? If you're still wondering how, read "Pulling Your Own Strings," by Dr. Wayne Dwyer. He'll explain how to recognize when you're being victimized and how to stop it.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

In Love Vs. Love

Dear Dr. Tracy,

My lesbian partner and I have been together for 5 years. I am 43 and she is 41. I thought we had the perfect relationship until she approached me a couple of weeks ago and said that she loves me with all her heart but that she is not "in love" with me like she was at the beginning of our relationship. She says that you have to be "in love" with someone at ALL times to make a relationship work but I say that she is wrong.

She is also having problems dealing with people accepting her as a lesbian, she fears people will dislike her (she is a very social and friendly person). Her family is also very religious and they don't understand this type of love. I truly love her with all my heart and she says she wants us to work this out and to "rekindle" which is what I want as well. I don't want to lose us.

Please explain to me and her, what is the real meaning of "Loving someone with all your heart and soul", versus "in Love", and is being in love required daily to have a happy and forever relationship? What can we do to save us? Please help me...I love her so much and I don't want to lose her. Your advice will be greatly appreciated.

Dear True Lover,

You can truly love someone and they can truly love you without being "in love." The "in love" part of the relationship happens in the beginning, when there's still a little uncertainty about getting all the love you want from the other person. The "in love" feeling is intense because it's stoked with unfulfilled desire and hope for future fulfillment.

Being "in love" means wondering about your love object, fantasizing about them, and often adoring them in a totally unrealistic way. To learn more about being "in love" read Dorothy Tennov's "Of Love and Limerence."

As couples stay together through the years, the drama of not knowing how it will work out is replaced with the comfort of knowing that it has. Life is full of problems, and it's hard to fantasize about your lover and feel romantic when you're both dealing with a plumbing problem or a family or financial problem.

Couples who wrestle through life's problems and manage to stay together develop a deeper kind of love that goes way beyond the in love feeling. It's silly to expect that you're going to feel the same way about a loved and trusted partner as you did about a new lover. You can't remain madly in love every minute of every day. Who could live like that forever? You'd be too goofy to get anything done.

I suspect that there are other issues invoved with your partner, such as her unresolved self-acceptance issues, her problems with her family, and her unrealistic expectations of a relationship.

Still, you can rekindle some of the romance by taking time out to be together, doing new and exciting things together and by thinking back to the time when you felt really in love. Try to remember what you did then and try doing those things now.

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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