Dr. Tracy's Advice Column

Cartoon Kiss


Size Is A State of Mind
Marrying Mr. Wonderful
Married Before

Size Is A State of Mind

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I'm a single woman, 28, dress size 14-16 (it varies). Because I've gone back to school full-time, I don't generally meet people my age. So, I've taken to using online dating services.

The question? Whether to list myself as "average" or "a few extra pounds". The media says I'm "a few extra pounds". My friends and family say I'm "average".

By some standards I AM average. Probably the greater majority of women are around my weight. I have a body that by 1950's standards, would've been considered very desirable. The problem? Today's standards. If I list "a few extra pounds" (which is probably the truth) on my personal, virtually nobody responds to my ad. If I list "average" on my personal, I get swamped with responses. The problem? I then can't bring myself to meet these people, because I feel like I'm lying. Even "large" ladies have their own fan club. What's an "average sized" lady to do? I feel totally unloveable on account of my body. It's gotten so bad that I can barely even stand the idea of making love with someone, they'd have to see my body. Help!!

- average sized woman

Dear Average,

Your dress size is really not what matters. What matters is how you feel. If you feel chunky, then you probably are. But if you feel average, and your friends and family say you're average, then that's what you are. A size 14 - 16 on a woman who's 5'1" tall is a lot different looking than a size 14 - 16 on a woman who's 5'9" tall.

Instead of wondering whether you meet the qualifications for a listing of average, list yourself as average and say you have a "Jayne Mansfield" type figure, or compare yourself to one of the other very desirable 50's movie stars who probably wore the same size you do. And post some pictures of yourself. That way you don't have to worry about whether the men you meet are going to be disappointed. Or be brutally honest and put your weight and height down. That way, if someone objects to your weight, they can pass and you won't have to deal with them at all.

In general, weight and dress size are just numbers. They mean little or nothing about who you are or how sexy you feel. The fact that you're worried about making love with someone because you don't feel attractive is the real problem. Start accepting and loving your body just the way it is. Then look for a man who accepts you the way you are.

In the meantime, who says you have to only make love naked? I knew a lovely chunky woman who was very very sexy. She had men all the time lined up wanting her. When she made love, she always wore a babydoll nightie which only showed her sexy legs and arms, keeping the parts that were less than slender carefully covered. She was able to make love with gusto, knowing that only her best was showing.

Lots of men like full-figured women. So post some pictures and get past this hangup about defining "average." Let your pictures speak for themselves. And don't waste time with men who seem hesitant or are concerned about your weight. For sure, if a man's online profile says he's only turned on by thin women, then turn him down if he answers your ad. Just because a man responds, doesn't mean you have to say yes.

Only go out with men who are attracted to you just the way you are. That way, if you lose a little weight in the future, it's a bonus. If you stay exactly the way you are, you'll be loved and accepted anyway.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

Marrying Mr. Wonderful

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I am 33 years old and I have never been married. I had one 4 year relationship that ended over a year ago.

About 5 months ago I met Mr. Wonderful. He is 29 years old, never been married and around the same time I did, ended a 7 year relationship with an alcoholic girlfriend. He never says anything bad about her except why they broke up and the fact that because she abused drugs and drink he didnt want to marry and have children with her.

He has told me he loves me... Very much. We have spent every weekend together since we met. I have been introduced to his family and friends and we have made plans for future trips together. He told me I was the first person he has ever thought about settling down with, we even had a pregnancy scare and he was actually excited!

5 days ago, we happened to be discussing a friend of his whose marriage is falling apart. And he made this statement... "this is the reason I do not believe in the institution of marriage... at all." So I let it go at that moment. I called him the next day to clarify what he said. He again stated " I will never get married, they never work, my mother took my father to the cleaners, we do not need to have a piece of paper to have children or show our love for each other." I told him I needed to think about what he said, because I do believe in marriage and after saying that, he got very irate and told me "I was breaking up with him, he needed to get off the phone I was breaking his heart." 4 days have gone by, we still havent spoken. I left a message telling him we needed to speak in person and still nothing.

Should I have not been concerned with what he said this early in our relationship? Did I scare him off by confronting him about his declaration? Should I have waited to see what would happen in the next year? Did I ruin it by wanting to know if this relationship would ever go towards marriage? Do men that make statements like that rarely change their mind? On the phone he stated he might change his mind in a year or so but at this moment this is how he felt. I hope this doesnt sound silly but I feel terrible.

Thank you for your time.

Dear Concerned,

One of the most important things in a relationship is that the two people have the same goals and the same values. You and Mr. Wonderful may be in love, or think you are, but you appear to have very different values and belief systems.

You believe that a couple should marry and build a life together. He believes that marriage is just a piece of paper and that will lead to disaster. You want to be married and have children. He wants to be "settled down" and have children without being married.

Yes, you should be concerned about what he said this early in the relationship. He's letting you know that he doesn't want to marry. One of the biggest mistakes women make in relationships is not listening to what a man says because they don't want to hear the message.

You may have scared him off by confronting him about his declaration, but you're better off finding out now than in a year or two when you're even more involved, or maybe really pregnant, not just having a scare.

Sure, he might change his mind in a year or so, but then again, he might not. And if he doesn't, then where does that leave you?

Be smart. If you want to get married, find a man who also thinks marriage is important and wants to be married. Don't waste your time on a man who is a commitment phobic or thinks marriage is an unnecessary piece of paper.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

Married Before

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I am a 31 year old male who thinks that he is getting a raw deal with relationships. I have been married twice, both of them failing due to affairs on the females behalf. I just began dating again after a failed 2 year relationship. You guessed it, she found herself someone else she would rather be with while still seeing me. None the less, the problem seems to be with the people that I am seeing.

It seems that during the second date, my date is always curious about my past relationships. The question about being married before always comes up. Instead of lying, I take the direct approach and explain that I have been married 2 times before and that it is in the past. Well, after my date finds out I have been married before, they shy away and don't seem to be interested any longer. If this only happened to one or two people, I would understand, but it has been atleast 10. I have even tried to move around the subject and not answer, but that just makes things worse. Anyway, would you happen to have any advice for someone that has been married twice in the past and is looking to start a new relationship?

Sincerely, Two Strikes

Dear Two Strikes,

If you think about it the right way, being married before is an advantage, not a disadvantage. You know what to look out for, and you have had experiences that will make you a better husband next time. A smart woman who wants to be married would meet you and think, "Hmmm, he's the marrying kind." She'd know that she'd have an easier time getting you to the altar than a man who's never been married.

What concerns me though is that you think the problem is with the women you're seeing. As if you weren't there? You're just as much a part of the problem as they are. I wonder if you really notice when things start to go wrong with your relationship. When women stray, it's usually because they are looking for attention and romance that they're not getting at home.

If you look at your past marriages and relationships, you will see that you were also to blame for the outcome, if only in that you chose the women who would wander.

As for your current problems about explaining your failed marriages, you're wasting a lot of time by going out on two dates before you tell a woman you've been divorced twice. If you wait to tell, it seems like more of a big deal. Plus you've had time to get to like her and be disappointed.

Instead, tell a woman before you even go out with her. Getting negative information out of the way up front is a much better way to handle it than waiting. That way you'll know they're not turned off by your past marriages before you invest any time at all in going out with them.

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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