"Ask Dr. Tracy"

7/26/98 Advice Column

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Dear Dr. Tracy,

You responded to my question in your March 22 column "The M Word", in which I asked for advice on how to approach the subject of marriage with my supposedly commitment-shy yet otherwise wonderful boyfriend. I'm just going to update you on how it turned out since, in your next column after that, a lot of people wrote in about it. I was very skeptical about your advice on being so open and, uh, pushy. I thought girls were supposed to be, you know, the passive receptive ones, and I didn't want to scare him. And I still think that is true to SOME degree. But, you were right, we had been dating for a while so it was time to not be patient anymore, and I love him enough that I was willing to lay it all on the line and pin him down for a timeframe of sorts. I did it kindly though I could not help getting emotional about it. Well, your advice worked: It turns out he WASN'T commitment-shy. He HAD already been thinking about it. I You were right, he just needed that little "push". We had a few long discussions, a few tears and a few laughs and yesterday afternoon (2 1/2 months after I first "cornered" him) he proposed to me with the most beautiful ring I've ever seen, AND he even has a date already in mind!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thanks for your advice!

Sincerely, One Happy Customer

Dear Happy Customer,

Congratulations and best wishes for a wonderful marriage and future with Mr. Reluctant. Also, Thanks for letting me know about your success. So often I give advice and don't hear back from the person about their results.

So often in life, we're complaining about what we didn't get when all we really have to do is ask for what we want and we'll get it. So you pinned him down and gave him a little push. Good for you. Most men will commit if you insist. And if he won't, at least you find out without wasting the rest of your life waiting for him to decide.

Wishing you happiness,

Dr. Tracy

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I would like to thank you immensely for the advice you gave me. I am the Big Beautiful Woman who didn't know what to do about the small minded man. Since I have talked to you, I have learned a lot more about this man through his mother. She tells me he is not the guy he says he is. He lives with her, and according to her women do not fall at his feet as he proclaims. Everything he told me to build himself up as a "drop dead gorgeous" man is not true at all (the photo he gave me proved that further). I myself never proclaimed to be beautiful, just average. I made sure I never gave him anything to fantasize about that was not true. And now I know why his women have to be "perfect": It will make him look better to society.

Thank you again, Dr. Tracy, for answering me.

Sincerely, Big Beautiful Woman

Dear BBW,

If your self-esteem isn't as high as it could be, it's easy to put others down to build yourself up. But eventually the truth comes out.

In any relationship, I'd be checking him out a lot before I'd believe a guy who describes himself as "drop dead gorgeous" and who says women fall at his feet. It's always a good idea to talk to someone close to a man to find out the truth about him, especially another woman. And on the internet, where it's so easy to pretend to be someone you're not, you have to be especially careful.

When you meet on the internet, it's always best to tell the truth in the beginning. That way you have a chance to have a real relationship some day.

Keep looking for someone who loves you just the way you are. And thanks for getting back to me.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I don't really have a question, only a comment to the virgin-issue...

I'm 29 and a virgin. You said that being a virgin is missing something in life or whatever, but the REASON why I'm a virgin is simply because I've had such a wonderful life! A very busy and fulfilling life, so I never even thought about the fact that I was still a virgin - not until I realized that I was "too old" in the eyes of most people.

What's the big deal anyway, nobody ever heard of masturbation?! I'm not saying it's the same thing, but the result is the same - you're doing it to achieve sexual satisfaction, right? It's faster, easier and you don't have to worry about what to say to the guy afterwards...

Well, I didn't wanna be a rabbit and f**k anyone that comes along, and one-night stands are not for me, I'm just not that kind of person. And I haven't found a guy that I'm willing to waste my time on yet, so - I'm still a virgin. I feel it's nobody's problem if I'm a virgin or not, it's my choice and my life, and I feel good. Too late to worry about it NOW anyway, it just feels like... Well, now that I waited THIS long, there's no point in "getting it over with" with just anyone.

Sex is NOT the key to a happy life, and if you think it is, then YOU're the one with a problem..! :-) How is it gonna change my life in general - is a dick inside of me such a big deal, does the world evolve around that..? I'm not saying that I don't like the idea of sex, I'm like everybody else - I think about it, sometimes watch pornos (for the education!) or read about it. Like somebody said: "You don't have to taste a donut to know it's sweet".

Sex is a bit overrated, as nice as it may be, there are other things in life. I've travelled, met lots and lots of people, made all my dreams come true, done so many things and I have so much more I wanna do. I can do all of this even if I haven't been f**ed...!! Men and relationships just tend to complicate things. I guess I'm too independent. If a guy only wanted to have sex with me for one evening, I'd feel used but on the other hand, if the reason why the guy had sex with me was that he wanted to marry me or something, I'd run like hell too, cause I don't want to commit! So you see - sex gives you too much trouble.

People have different ways of looking at things. You are sexually liberated and your joy is probably to explore the world of men (and women?) and sex. To me, it's not that important and that doesn't make me boring or retarded or anything.

I just felt I had to say this, cause that comment about "not living life to its fullest" or whatever it was, sounded very narrow-minded and wrong. Sex means different things to different people. When the time is right, there will be plenty of it - I'm not dead yet, what's the rush?!

"Like a virgin"

Dear Virgin,

It's interesting that I've never heard virginity defended by anyone who's in a position to compare being a virgin with being a non-virgin...   Not that sex is always great. And it's not "the key to a happy life" -- did I really say that it was? If so, I went too far. I will say that a good sex life makes most people feel more fulfilled.

As pleasurable as it can be, masturbation will never replace sex with a real person -- it's solitary and selfish instead of engaging and giving. Love and sex (and even masturbation sometimes) are meant to be shared.

And that seems to be the problem for you. You don't really believe that sex means either a one night stand or a commitment to marriage -- you're too smart for that. You know that sex is about sharing and trusting and opening up yourself to another human being. I believe that's what you find threatening.

I don't buy the independence bit either. You know from reading history and looking around you that the world is full of independent women who have had lovers. Of course, if your sexuality -- or your curiosity -- doesn't tempt you to do the same, that's your choice, and you're entitled to it.

I still believe that after a certain age, however, virginity gets to be burden. Sure, now that you've waited this long, there's no reason to just do it with anyone to get it over with. And sure, nobody should have sex with anyone unless they really want to. Getting it over with isn't a good enough reason. But the older you get and the longer you wait, the bigger a deal it gets to be. So I hope you find a worthy man soon.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

Submitting a Question to this column

Dr. Tracy regrets that it is simply impossible for her to answer all of the hundreds of questions submitted to this column each week. However, she does read every question, and tries to select the three which are of the most general interest to the visitors here.

Dr. Tracy says, "Is your question urgent? Many of the most beseeching, desperate messages I get are not answered in this column because the answer is just a couple of clicks away in my Love Library. Have you tried my Love Library? I know that nobody goes to libraries anymore, but check this one out -- it's so easily searchable that it's fun and easy to use!"

If you can't find your answer in the Library and you feel you MUST have an answer, you can get a personal answer from Dr. Tracy within 48 hours by availing yourself of her inexpensive private counseling.

You may submit your question to Dr.Tracy's column by e-mail here.

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