"Ask Dr. Tracy"

10/5/97 Advice Column


Dear Dr. Tracy,

this is going to seem like a really dumb problem i'm sure, but i can't find any reference to it in your library.

i'm 20 and haven't been very social up until this year (lost a lot of weight, appearance changes, etc). i've had a few offers for dates and went on my first real structured date where i've initiated a couple weeks ago. i've gone out with her twice since, and it seemed like we got along really well, though my physical advances were nowhere to be seen (like i said, i'm rather inexperienced). we've been doing all of our date arrangement and talking via email in the meantime. the past week i haven't heard from her at all, and she recently told me that she's been in a bad mood for the past week and "probably won't be able to go out on dates this weekend" because of it, though she hastened to reassure me that she wasn't just blowing me off.

i don't know whether to continue pursuing this relationship or just quitting and going out with someone else (i really would like to keep dating her, but only if it's a rational choice by both of us -- i don't even feel comfortable sending her email now, for fear of imposing pressure or seeming desperate). as it is now she hasn't contacted me for a few days and i'm getting both bored and lonely. on the other hand, i don't want to screw anything potential up by blowing HER off and just going out with someone else -- the problem is that i really don't know how to read this situation and i have no idea what to do. please help me!

confused in connecticut

Dear Confused,

There are no dumb problems but there are plenty of dumb solutions. People react from emotions and fear instead of from thoughtful analysis.

You are about to react that way. Your inexperience makes you upset. Be cool. Don't react. Instead of getting upset or insecure because the girl says she's in a bad mood and doesn't want to see you, be glad she's not going to take her bad mood out on you. Be flattered that she cares about you enough that she doesn't want you to see her when she's not at her best. And whatever you do be cool enough to say, "Okay, that's fine. Call me or e-mail me when you're feeling better."

Then, don't wait for her to call or e you before you start going out with someone else. As you will see from the following letter, nothing makes a woman appreciate a man as much as seeing him with someone else, or fearing losing him to another woman. To understand this better, read Why People Love in my Love Library.

It's okay to e-mail her in a week or so, just a "hope you're feeling better." Then if she replies, carry on as usual. If not, forget about her until she does.

It's also okay to see more than one woman at a time, especiallywhen you're starting out. You need more experience with more women so that you react better to the ups and downs of a relationship.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I don't know what to do. I feel, no, I know I completely ruined my whole life and I am hoping you can help me see if I can fix things up, or at least tell me if what I want right now is hopeless.

I am a 33 year old divorcee, a successful six-figure per annum earning attorney and if I may be as bold as to say, a very attractive brunette. I was married for seven years from 25 to 32 to Michael. He's a high-ranking executive in a very successful computer company. We have two kids, a boy and a girl. During our marriage the higher earner among us fluctuated between him and me, him making more this year, me making more the next. We lived very comfortably on both our salaries.

The whole mess started two years and a half ago when Jake came into the firm I work for as a Senior associate. Let me explain, Jake happened to be Latin greek god, intelligent, ambitious, romantic and altogether an absolute dream. Michael is mediocre good-looking with what I considered a slightly immature attitude who is now 35. Anyway, every female in the workplace wanted Jake and I was no exception, even though I was in a considerably (or so I thought) happy marriage. He seemed to find me attractive and we both flirted outrageously when we were together. The tension between us grew steadily every day. When Michael and I made love I was constantly fantasizing it was Jake giving me orgasms.

Then as if on some cue, we were both assigned to work on a very important case. I introduced him to Michael as my associate and though I think Michael was suspicious he kept quiet about it. Anyway, about a week later when we working late, it happened. One kiss led to another and we were doing it on the floor of my office. I felt extremely guilty afterwards when I went home to see my kids lying asleep in their father's arms and I resolved it was a one-off thing. Unfortunately, when Jake asked me out to a movie on Saturday I couldn't stop myself from saying 'yes'. Lying to my husband that I was going to see a friend I went and we made fantastic love again in a motel just three miles away from my house.

Thus Jake and I began a torrid and heated affair. I only told my best friend about it and she seemed to approve of my 'expression of independence' as I justified it to be. I guess I felt tied down by my marriage then and I wanted to prove to myself that I didn't need it to be happy. I could be independent. It was then that my behaviour changed at home. I was always picking an argument with Michael and only had sex with him to allay any rising suspicion, but in other words I was saving all my love for Jake.

It went on six or seven months when without warning one day Michael found out. We were in our favourite motel room, the one three miles from my house, buck naked as I was riding Jake on my way to another orgasm when the door quietly slid open and Michael stood there looking at us, completely expressionless. For a moment I was in shock, and believe it or not I came then, squealing loudly even as he stood in front of me. Michael looked me in the eye for a moment and I stared right back with no trace of shame. It was as if Jake didn't exist at all. Then Michael grinned and simply turned around walked away.

Our marriage was history, and to compound it further I spent the night in Jake's arms. I returned home the next day in the afternoon and proudly told my husband that I filed for divorce first thing that morning. I told him I realized I needed space and to start seeing other people a long time ago but I didn't know how to break it to him. The only response I got from him was a calm "My lawyer will contact you as soon as possible."

Our divorce took four months to come through. I moved to an apartment in town and I maintained my relationship with my kids even though they were staying with him in our old house. It was a completely amicable end to seven years of marriage, no alimony due on either side, just child support from me. Michael was completely calm about the whole thing, a friendly handshake and " Call me if you ever need anything. Y'know, someone to talk to." at the end of it all. My mother and most of the family called me a fool for what I did to an excellent marriage but I told her I wanted to discover a new me, unshackled by marriage and completely independent.

Unfortunately my relationship with Jake, hot while it lasted, burned itself out two months after my divorce became final. I guess 60-80% of our relationship was down to pure physical chemistry. I began dating again and have been in three relationships within the last one year and a half. Two of them were disastrous and the last one was with another greek god, only empty headed. After the sex died down I couldn't stand him anymore and I dumped him. I then had a whole series of noings-attached-one-night-stands and I found myself more and more miserable after each one. The only things that remained constant in my life were my children, who spent 40% of their time with me ... and Michael.

When my first relationship after Jake was over, I was devastated and knowing my family would only make me feel worse and my best friend was too deeply involved in her high-flying life to really help, and though it felt strange and even, frightenning, I called the only other person who knew me well enough that I could talk to. I called Michael.

We had lunch the next day and with his help I managed to pull through. He has been my support ever since, making special time for me and becoming my new best friend, in fact much closer than that as we had kids together. He made me laugh when I was down, gave me practical advice in everything and asked for mine when he needed it. He never brought up our marriage or what ended it and when it was brought up he always smiled about it and said something very non-committal, as if he was happy about it all.

Not that he didn't have his own new life to lead. He had dates every now and then and he got his recent promotion and a corresponding increase in salary at his job. However about three months ago he started going out with this girl, Dianne, who is around twenty eight and I realized it was getting serious. It was then I realized something terrible. I had fallen madly and desperately in love with him again. Maybe I never stopped being in love with him, I was just so stupid that I pushed him away.

Even though he had not changed he was like someone new to me. Impulsive, daring, affectionate, romantic, confident, aggressively passionate, sensitive, supportive and so, so sexy. I even found his childish quirks, like playing video games and singing along to rap (ie. really explicit rap), endearing. It's not that I forgot his bad side: when he was mad, you could get more emotion out of stone, he could be a perfectionist, he could easily drive you up the wall with frustration. But I love everything about him, good and bad. I loved him for being him. I wonder why I never saw it before. Every man I've met, including Jake suddenly can't measure up to him.

As his relationship with Diane grew my heart seemed to die in huge chunks and it showed in how I looked and everything I did. I was so jealous of Diane, whom he introduced me to, I dreamed about killing her every night and I had to restrict myself from strangling her in the restaurant. My heartbeat increases five-fold everytime I see him and his smiles nearly buckle my knees everytime. And despite the torture of being so close to him and not being able to have him, made even more painful because he was mine once, I look for any reason I can to be close to him, the kids, my job, anything.

Anyway, just when I thought he was about to propose to Diane and I cried myself to sleep everynight as my heart went completely to dust, they broke it off. He came to my place so we could talk about it. Somehow, something happened and I couldn't resist, I leaned forward and kissed him. He kissed me back and in seconds he was nuzzling my breasts and I was sobbing with joy. It was just so wonderful. Just as I was about to shout out my love for him to the entire world, he stopped and looked at me with that same blank expression that I first saw a lifetime ago that night in that motel. Mumbling something about this all being a mistake he left, leaving me broken, in more ways than one.

I met him the next day in his office during my lunch break and he carried on as if nothing had happened. This was all six days ago. I honestly don't know how I am going continue stopping myself from ripping his clothes off and making love to him, all the while begging him to forgive me and take me back.

Can I win him back? I'll spend the rest of my life making myself worthy of his trust if only he would bring me back into his life again. Have I blown it completely?

Lovesick and Sorry

Dear Lovesick,

Your sad story about the husband who you wish you had back is a typical one. I hear it over and over again from women who've dumped a perfectly nice but slightly boring guy for a sexy hunk. Once the hunk is gone, the woman realizes her husband wasn't so bad after all and she wants him back.

The man meanwhile isn't so sure he wants the old wife back now that he's seen what's out there and has had some experience with a woman who really wants and appreciates him.

The good news is that you can get a man back, if he still is willing to spend time with you. The bad news is that it can take years of patient work to undo the damage that's been done. Now that he thinks you're an untrustworthy woman, you'll have to spend lots of time convincing him that you've changed and winning back the trust you've lost. Of course there's no guarantee that you'll ever get him to trust you the way he did before -- that's the risk you take.

Before you enter into this years-long campaign to convince him that you're trustworthy, be sure you really want him and that you're not simply reacting to the other woman. Sometimes a woman just doesn't want anybody else to have her man, even if down deep she really doesn't want him herself.

If the sex was great, and I assume you and your husband have some great sexual memories, he'll probably be willing to give you another chance, at least for sex. The rest will take a lot longer. Of course, the fact that you two share parenthood is in your favor: you'll have to see each other about the kids. Being an exceptionally good parent will be a start in getting back in his good graces. You say you'll spend the rest of your life making yourself worthy if he'll take you back. You'll have to prove yourself worthy first before he takes you back permanently.

Maybe you need some kind of spiritual makeover. Some real way to show him how you've grown. Join a church. Go to a growth group. See a therapist. Do good works and help others. Show him by the way you make changes in your life that you are a different person and then you'll have a better chance of him being willing to start over.

Trust is earned, not given. But you can get it back with time.

Wishing you faithful days and trusting love,

Dr. Tracy

Dear Dr. Tracy,

Dear Tracy, I am 17. I have developed a crush on one of my teachers two years ago. But now it's become more than a crush. I have this feeling that he may like me too. We give each other things, and he looks at me the most in class all the time. But one thing.... he's married. And he is 31. My senior year I was going to give him a letter I wrote him explaining how I feel. My question is, how do I find out how he feels, and is it a good idea to give him the letter?


Waiting in Wisconsin

Dear Waiting,

Don't pursue your teacher. He's married and that means he's off limits for you. He's also your teacher, and that means you're off limits for him. If you confess your crush, all you'll do is make yourself feel foolish later.

Besides, chances are he already knows you have a crush on him. In any case, don't send him a letter. Never put anything in writing, especially to a married man, that could become embarrassing if others were to see it.

If you love this man, the best thing you can do for him is stay away from him. If you hang around him, and people start to think he's involved with one of his students, he could get into a lot of trouble. His job could be threatened and his marriage strained -- all unfairly.

Some crushes are meant to stay just that, crushes. They're not meant to be consummated!

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

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