Dr. Tracy's Advice Column

Cartoon Kiss

8/10/2003

Watch Out For Men Like This
A Call From His Wife
Donít Tell



Watch Out For Men Like This

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I am 35 and divorced 10 years. He is 33 never married. When we met 9 months ago we both became very attached to each other very quickly. He informed me just days after meeting about his ex-girlfriend being pregnant and delivering in March. I had a choice to stay or go, and if I had gone it wouldn't have been much of a loss since we had just met days before. I chose to stay, and I can't say I totally regret it. He's very good to me in alot of ways.

Being in my mid-thirties with no husband and no children, I have been thinking I may not ever have children. Starting a family at 40 can be done, but I'm not sure I want to do it. I love children and would love to someday have one or two, even if it means adopting, or playing a role in my significant other's children's lives. My financial situation right now can only be described as desperate... so I'm in no position to even think about children right now.

He'd told me from the beginning that he'd wanted a vasectomy even before the ex- girlfriend got pregnant. He has no other children. I didn't realize how serious he was until a week ago when he actually did it. It was a real blow to me, but I knew it was coming. I never tried to change his mind... things like that are usually an exercise in futility. But it still hurt me. I guess what I'm trying to figure out is if he's subconciously saying we don't have a future together. He's working very hard on the custody/visitation situation with his baby girl, who I haven't met yet because the mom won't let baby out of her sight. He's mentioned that the baby will be part of my life too eventually, which is nice to hear. But talk is cheap. And what the mom does is a big factor.

A week has gone by since his procedure. Most of the time I think I'm ok, but sometimes I become overwhelmed with sadness at unpredictable moments. He has tried to reassure me that our future together is still intact... but I guess I'm sad because of the loss of possibilities for us to have children that are OURS biologically. The week before his procedure I was a mess. Some of my friends and family say he's totally selfish to do this. But at the same time, I know I do not own his sperm. At one particularly bad time, he said he would consider a reversal in a few years if that's what I HAD to have to be happy. But I think he was just trying to make me feel better.

I am starting to blame myself. What a woman I could have been, to be good enough to want to reproduce with! I feel like such a failure in every way. My business is failing, my boyfriend doesn't want children with me - ever, and I'm over 35. Part of me knows I'm not really a failure, but I feel my future family dreams slipping away. He is so good to me in other ways that I really don't want to start over. He's honest, faithful, reliable most of the time (he tends to overextend his visits with buddies at the local pub sometimes), and helpful. He has his own place and doesn't just 'crash' at mine when it's convenient. He's had the same job for 8 yrs in public service, his friends are all pretty good people. He's protective, has a good sense of humor, and is kind to me and thoughtful most of the time. He does small things for me like yardwork, and brings me coffee just how I like it. He cooks for me at his place. I've been in bad relationships. This is not one of them.

But the vasectomy thing... it really hurt me. I thought I would be ok by now but I'm not...I wonder if I'm fooling myself by being with him. Will I regret not looking for someone who might want children too? I don't rush into things, so best case scenario is me getting pregnant at about 38 or 39 years of age. And that's only if I find another great guy in less than a year. The odds aren't in my favor. I don't like the idea of starting that late anyway. He said adoption is not out of the question... but why adopt a child when he could have stayed the way he was?? When I ask him these things, he said that his mind had been made up for quite a while before we even met. He says he never really pictured himself with children in the first place, but I have since I was a little girl. And plus, why adopt if he never saw himself with children at all? Maybe he's also just trying to make me feel better on that one. An hour before his procedure, I asked him to PROMISE me that what he told me was how he really felt. And he did. But I don't feel right. I feel BAD. Not to mention OLD. What should I do?

Dear Attached,

What's wrong here is not the vasectomy, as such. What's wrong is that this guy is wrong for you.

Any man has a right to decide to end his reproductive chances. But for this man to do it while he's "reassuring you of your future together" -- knowing that you would love to have children -- is downright insulting to you. And his talk about future adoption or vasectomy reversal rings hollow. This man simply doesn't want any more kids. If he did, or was undecided, he would have kept his options open and postponed the vasectomy.

I'm not saying that he's a totally terrible person -- after all, he brings you coffee. But your friends and family are right: he was totally selfish to do this. Which tells you he's a terrible prospect as a life partner. In a good relationship, partners are respectful of each other's needs and life desires, and neither makes a huge life decision unilaterally.

If youíre overwhelmed with sadness about this situation now, I guarantee it will be worse in the future. Youíll be spending the rest of your life feeling like you werenít good enough to reproduce with. Youíll be looking yearningly at other womenís lives who have children. Youíll wonder why you missed out on this important part of life.

Having children gives you an opportunity to fulfill a basic life function as a woman, to have a connection with the future, and to experience unconditional love. Not every woman wants children, but if youíre a woman who has always wanted children, donít think that yearning will just go away.

Adopting is fine, but mostly for women who canít have their own. If you can have your own, donít give up on that. As for sharing some manís kids from his previous relationship, thatís no substitute for having kids of your own. Mostly, you wind up sharing the problems and not the joy of parenthood. Being a stepmother is nothing like being a mother and has its own set of problems.

Donít waste another minute if you want children. Donít forgo your chance. Start looking for a man who wants a family. Donít let your family dreams slip away without fighting for them. Find a man who makes you feel good about your self and whose dreams are more like yours.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy



A Call From His Wife

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I'm 27, have never been married and am currently single. I have a good friend that I have known for almost 6 years now; he's two years older than I am. I moved about a year and a half ago and hadn't been able to contact him until recently. As we've been talking he's brought up an old sore subject. We both have deeper feelings than "just" friendship goes, we've had a "thing" for each other for a long time. We were intimate, but he became angry when I had to leave. We went our separate ways a little miffed at each other.

When I first contacted him, he was constantly telling me how much he had missed me. How sorry he is that he acted the way he did and asked me if I would forgive him. I did, and things have been going great, until he started professing his undying love for me. Then his wife called me. She is a very nice woman and simply stated that she doesn't mind her husband having female friends, but she is suspicious and jealous of anyone who wants to or has done anything with him physically. She asked me if I would please consider keeping our contact to a minimum.

I don't know what to do. I could easily fall in love with him, if I'm not already. I don't want to cause problems in his marriage. Should I back out, or should I simply make it very clear that I only want to be friends, even though I want more?

Dear Wanting More,

Stop before you get into serious trouble. This man isnít for you. Heís willing to cheat on his wife, so even if you and he were to wind up together, youíd never know if heís going to cheat on you too.

Consider the call from his wife as a wake-up call to get out of this dangerous relationship. Sheís absolutely right. You and her husband have no business seeing each other or even talking on the phone. She has a right to be suspicious and jealous of youóafter all, you were intimate with her husband in the past, and now he is professing his undying love for you. She correctly sees you as a danger to her marriage.

Youíre young and have your whole life ahead of you. You havenít screwed up your life irreparably yet, so why start now?

If you really donít want to cause problems in his marriage, it should be obvious to you that you should back out. You didnít contact him for a year and a half and you survived without him in your life.

As for making it clear that you just want to be friends, thatís a joke, especially with a man who says heís in love with you. You know that the first chance he gets, heís going to want to take your relationship to the next level. And with you already wanting more, where do you think that will go?

Youíre too young to mess up your life by becoming some guyís mistress. Imagine the two of you sneaking around with his suspicious wife trying to catch you together. Imagine yourself six years from now, at 33, with a lover you canít see on weekends or holidays, waiting for this married man to give you his leftovers.

You had your "thing" with him. It's a part of your past you can always remember, but it didn't work out, you've both moved on, and you can't turn back the clock. It's time for you to find someone who can give you 100%, not less than half.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy



Donít Tell

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I'm a 30-year old woman and I've done a horrible thing. I'm not sure how I can deal with this overwhelming sense of guilt. I cheated on my husband. While he was out of town, I spent some time with a male friend of several years. We're best friends and I've always wondered what would have been if circumstances had been different... My husband had gotten a job in another state and I was preparing to move there with him later this month. I'm going to miss my friends here terribly and the whole move has caused a sense of urgency on my part to spend as much time as I can with everyone before I leave.

Over the weekend, I went out with a bunch of friends and drank too much. I know that is no excuse, but it at least influenced my really bad decision. Although there was no technical intercourse, it was pretty much everything else. I regretted it immediately and still do. Honestly, I didn't really enjoy it--I felt guilty during it all. I regret not speaking up and stopping it before it began. If my husband had done something like that I'm not sure if I could forgive him. I love my husband dearly and can't believe I've done this thing and still love him so. I really don't know what to do from here. I feel sick...with myself emotionally and just plain physically ill. My instinct tells me to bury this whole incident and never to speak of it again. Is this something I should confide in him about and hope that he would forgive me? Can I live with myself and these horrible feelings? I feel as though I am unclean.

Your advice on this would be appreciated. Thanks, the guilty adulteress

Dear Guilty Adulteress,

Technically, you didnít commit adultery, at least not according to Bill Clinton. According to Jimmy Carter, though, you probably did. But no matter which presidential philosophy you believe is right, the best thing you can do is not tell.

Lots of people think that confession is good for the soul, but the betrayed partner is always hurt so badly that telling isnít worth it. Sure, you might make yourself feel better by telling, but think about how much you will hurt your husband. He doesnít deserve to be hurt just because you want to relieve your guilt. Husbands who find out their wives have been unfaithful are haunted by dreams of their wives with the other man. Often they find it impossible to trust their wives again.

If you love your husband, keep your mouth shut. Make it up to him by being especially loving and affectionate and never straying again. Now that you know how much pain you will cause yourself, youíll be unlikely to repeat your dalliance.

If you can, bury the incident and get on with your life. Forgive yourself, just as you hope your husband would forgive you if he knew. You will eventually get over it, and like most bad memories, yours will fade.

If you need to confess, see a therapist. Get help working through your problems and donít cause your husband unnecessary pain.

Concentrate on building a new life in your new location. Throw yourself into the move and give your husband the support he needs to succeed in his new job. The last thing he needs to deal with right now is a betrayal in his marriage.

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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