Dr. Tracy's Advice Column

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Who Pays?
Online Dating Profiles and Commitment
Broken Promises

Who Pays?

Dear Dr. Tracy,

My boyfriend and I have had a long distance relationship more than 6 months. He would like me to move in with him, but the only problem is money. I have been in the USA only for 4 years, still going to college and can't earn much money at all. He wants to split every single bill, but I cannot afford it. Also, he said that is the way how he wants to live. Should I give up our relationship knowing that I never will earn as much money as he does?

Dear Under-earner,

Your boyfriend doesnít want to share, and a man whoís unable or unwilling to share is a bad bet for a relationship. Heís not ready for a long-term commitment with you. If he were, he wouldnít be insisting that you pay for half of everything. Men who are madly in love donít think that way. They want to share with the one they love.

Iím not insinuating that a man has to pay for everything all the time. In a marriage or committed relationship, both parties should contribute what they can. When the woman makes more, she should pay more. Even when the man usually pays, during dating, if a woman cares about him, she should think of ways to reciprocate, such as cooking dinner or surprising him with tickets to an event.

I could understand his thinking it might be a good idea to split everything if you made as much as he does and you both had lots of assets. But thatís not the case, and his thinking about life together and splitting every bill is the quickest way to a break-up.

Couples who try to split everything instead of sharing wind up needing a calculator all the time. Imagine the two of you at an intimate candle light dinner. It starts with the waiter's strange look when you ask for separate checks. You order separately but then agree to order a bottle of wine. You only have a glass and a half. He drinks the rest. What do you tell the waiter about how to charge for the wine? Very, very unromantic.

Picture your life if you go ahead with this relationship. Think about how you would feel being pressured to pay half of what you canít afford. Or if both of you wind up living in a broom closet because that's all you can pay half of? What would he do with all the rest of his income? And what he would do if you just couldnít come up with your share one month? Everything would be a negotiation. Who eats the most food? Who uses the most electricity? Itís a crazy and futile way to run a relationship.

You wouldnít feel loved by this man. Youíve only known him a few months. Donít rush into anything permanent with him until you find out exactly how selfish he really is. If heís really serious about splitting all expenses, forget about moving in with him or having a lifelong relationship with him. Life is too short to spend it adding and dividing.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

Online Dating Profiles and Commitment

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I am a single 32 (never been married) woman. I have been dating someone for about 3 months. We were friends for a couple of years before we dated, so we get along very well and everything has been great.

I knew, when we began dating, that he had a profile posted on a popular internet dating service site - I even helped him write his personal summary a couple of years ago. After about a month of us dating (immediately after we had sex for the first time), he told me he was taking it down, and he did. The problem is, he has another profile on another website and he does not know that I know about it. It was up for months before we dated. He did not take this profile down and he has been logging in regularly (presumably to check other postings). I know he isn't dating anyone else. We both have very hectic work schedules and spend all of our free time together and he is constantly discussing the future and asked me to move in with him a couple of weeks ago.

I know that he loves me, but I am really upset about this. My friends say it is "normal" and not a big deal. But it is for me because I am his first girlfriend in many years and prior to me it was a lot of casual flings. I am almost tempted to set him up - post a profile, send him an e-mail and see if he will respond, and perhaps even go so far as setting up a date. Or should I just confront him? The problem with confronting him is that he lied on his profile, reduced his age by a couple of years. Again, he used these sites as a means toward flings - not really relationships. But I am sure he would be mortified if he realized that I knew about this. What should I do?

Dear Upset,

Youíve only been dating this man for three months, so maybe youíre overreacting to the news that his profile is still up. Men often make decisions by comparing, and maybe heís just checking to make sure youíre still the one he wants.

Since you and he havenít declared yourselves officially committed, you really donít have a leg to stand on when it comes to objecting to his online profile. However, the next time he talks about the future and your moving in with him, that would be the time to bring it up. If he expects fidelity and commitment, and the two of you agree not to date others, then you can let him know you expect him to take down his profile.

Donít set him up and try to trap him into responding. Thatís tacky and could wind up ruining your relationship. Heíll wonder why you simply didnít ask him, if it bothered you.

Donít mention his little white lie about his age. People on online dating services often lie about their age, weight and sexual history, which is one of the problems with online dating. Pretend you never noticed the discrepancy.

By the way, have you considered that he might wonder why you were searching around those dating sites? All in all, you have a good thing going with this man. Just remember that positive communication means being able to work through problems without accusing him of anything.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

Broken Promises

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I am currently in a relationship. I am having some problems though and that's why i'm asking you. See my boyfriend of 4 months has been making promises to me that he's not keeping. I talked to him about it and told him that if he did it to me again that I couldn't handle it and the relationship would be over. Well he did it to me again today. I don't know if I should continue to go out with him and give him one more chance or really break up with him. Please Help.

Dear Promised,

Youíre definitely doing the right thing if you break up with this boyfriend. Men who make promises and then donít keep them are true crazy makers. Nothing makes a woman feel less loved or more unsettled than living with broken promises. Itís normal and reasonable to expect a man to do what he says.

Men who canít be trusted to keep their promises make terrible boyfriends and worse potential husbands. They set you up to have certain expectations, you depend on them, and then they let you down.

These guys can be like con artists, and itís amazing how they can suck you in over and over again, making promises they have no intention of keeping.

Since you talked to him and told him that if he did it again the relationship would be over, you must keep your promise. After all, if you continue with this relationship after you told him you wouldnít, youíll be giving him a clear message that he really doesnít have to keep his promises to you. Heíll learn that he can promise you whatever he thinks youíll want to hear and not do it because youíll keep him around anyway.

Stick to your guns. Donít give him one more chance. He doesnít deserve it. Find a man you can count on, a man who does what he says heíll do when he says heíll do it.

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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