"Ask Dr. Tracy"

7/7/96 Advice Column

Worrying needlessly,
More time vs. sex now?,
Runs hot and cold

Dear Dr. Tracy,

Help! I'm in a dilemma on what to do in my relationship. I've been dating a wonderful guy for about 4 months. We're great friends, and I've never been so happy. The problem is that I'm not ready for a serious relationship, and he is starting to talk about getting married, and even invited me along to meet his small son when he had him for the weekend. He and I are activity organizers for a social group, so if we dated others, we'd be in constant contact with each other. I'd like to start dating other guys because I'm not ready for the big commitment right now, since I'm still attending college and working full-time. I'm afraid of losing him because I am starting to really care for this man, but am uncertain whether I'm more friends with him than attracted to him. What is your advice for me to do?

Dear Worried,

It sounds to me like you're worrying needlessly about the future instead of enjoying the present. If you've never been so happy, enjoy it. Believe me, life's "never been so happy" times are few and far between. They are meant to be relished, cherished and remembered forever.

Four months is too soon for you to have to respond to the subject of marriage. Just tell him you're not ready to make any big commitments, but you'd like to continue seeing him. You have very little to lose and everything to gain.

If he turns out to be Mr. Right, you'll be well positioned to become Mrs. Right. If he doesn't, you have only gained experience for that time when Mr. Right comes along. You'll know how to meet your true love's family, what to say to his child, and how to build a relationship. Friendship, which you say you have, is often more important than passion over the long term. And don't worry -- the "other guys" will still be there.

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I am a 46 y/o man in love with a 36 y/o woman who is not quite 1 yr out of divorce. We have been seeing each other for five months. She knows I love and adore her but she says she isn't ready but to give her time. I said ok and would put my emotions on back burner and we would just date and have fun. Last weekend I told her that dating is ok but that I felt we could get serious at the same time but that Iwould not set a time limit on getting serious as I don't want to push her. I think she is holding out on getting serious in hope that her ex will return. I told her that if he was coming back he would of by now and she needs to accept that. Said I can help her get over her pain but only if she lets me in her heart. I know she has affection for me because last weekend was by far the closest we have gotten yet. No sex yet as I feel that in order for us to have sex there has to be love or emotional ties between us. Any suggestions on how I should proceed with her? I really love her and don't want to lose her.

Dear Waiting,

It sounds like the woman you love has a hangover broken heart. You could try to get her to read "Letting Go" and its related articles in my Library, or give her my book, "Letting Go," a Dell paperback about how to get over a broken heart.

You should push gently for sex. The reason is, if you are not sexually compatible, the love and emotional ties won't work. Let her know you're waiting but not forever, that the "no sex" situation can't last forever. Be assertive. Be romantic. Plan to go away together for a weekend. Get her in an irresistible romantic setting.

Meanwhile, keep your self-esteem. Don't do too much for her or let her think you're a doormat. That means giving her lots of attention when you're together and intermittant attention (phone calls, e-mail) when you're apart. Make romantic gestures intermittantly, not all the time or she'll begin to expect them and it won't work. For more information on this, read "Why People Love" in my Library.

She's lucky to have you, and you have to let her know that. Hint that other women are coming around. Let her know that if she doesn't grab onto you, someone else might. Sometimes fear of loss is as good a motivating factor as any.

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I'm a 22 yr old female with a question for you. I was dating a man for 5 years, during that time we had a few break-ups. And during those break-ups, I was seeing another man off and on. Each time I got back together with the first one(I will call him jim) I blew off the second one ( I'll call him jeff) off, not in a nice way either. Now I have since broken it off with jim, in March, and am now dating jeff. The problem is I understand that I have hurt him in the past (Jeff) but I am asuring him I'm here to stay. I finally realized that I am in love with him. He acts as if he really cares, and I told him that I love him a week ago. Now the real problem....He lives an hour away, works 16 hours a day, and never comes to see me.

Dear Pain in the butt,

You've really been a pain, and you're lucky Jeff has taken you back again and again. But it sounds like your welcome this time is limited. Jeff may be unwilling to go out of his way to see more of you because he's concluded that you're not really ready to settle down. Are you?

Or maybe he has some secret life an hour away that he's not telling you about. On the other hand, if he's just being cautious after the prior breakups, and you really want to develop a long-lasting love with him, you need to know more about him. What is his personality type? Is he a visual man (most influenced by how things look)? A feelings man (most influenced by how things feel)? Or is he an auditory man (most influenced by how things sound)?

All men aren't alike. Some will be positively influenced by having a picture of you (visual), some by hearing your voice and certain words (auditory), and some by a whiff of your perfume or special food or just your touch (feelings). When you know what type of man you're trying to influence, you have a better chance. Read "Inner Languages" in my Library to learn more about these techniques.

Visit with him for a weekend, or even a week if you can arrange it, and use these techniques to get to know him. Find out what his real everyday life is like and whether you can fit into it.

Right now you're fantasizing about him. I hope the reality turns out as good as your fantasy, but reality hardly ever lives up.

Submitting a Question to this column

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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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