"Ask Dr. Tracy"

7/30/2000 Advice Column


Dirty Dancing
Reading His Signals
Gay Husband




Dear Dr. Tracy,

Maybe you could shed some light for me. I've been dating a guy, 26 (I'm 33) for the past 4months. He is a "male dancer/stripper". He was not doing this when I met him, although I knew that he had done it for many years in the past. I had basically agreed for him to start it up again, feeling a little insecure, but coping. My only concern is that his tounge stay in HIS mouth only. Which he repeatedly assured me of how "professional" he was.

His second week, I unexpectedly showed up and caught him making out with a "customer". Although he had had a few drinks and it didn't mean anything (to him), I can't seem to get past it. Every Friday when he goes to "work", I cop the most unappealing, insecure attitude. And every little flirtatious gesture he makes to me, I think of him being that way to a zillion other women. Is it right for me to ask him to give it up (as he said he would, resentfully)? And is it wrong for me to want to feel as if I'm the only one who should be allowed to touch his half naked body (as I know that it is a turn on to him, having the attention from all these women)?

He said nothing like that would ever happen again. But being in that industry, how do I know that. I am sure that he would NEVER tell me of a slip up like that again, in fear of my reaction.

I really can't take feeling this way anymore. Am I normal or just a jealous girlfriend??

Sincerely, Emotionally Drained

Dear Emotionally Drained,

So you've got a cute young stud and he loves to flaunt it by stripping and dancing for screaming women who want to stick money in the crack of his butt. And you're naïve enough to think that he's going to be faithful, professional and keep his tongue in his mouth?

You'll be lucky if he keeps any of his body parts to himself. He loves dancing and stripping because he enjoys flirting with women and being a sex object. He loves being adored and not by just you. He's been a stripper in the past and shows no signs of wanting to give it up. Actually, since you gave him permission to go back to stripping/dancing, you really don't have a leg to stand on if you're upset about what goes on there. What on earth did you think they do? Just dance?

You could ask him to give it up, but you're right, he'd be resentful. And quite possibly he loves the attention of all those women even more than he loves you. So even if he did give it up for you, you'd probably wind up with an unhappy guy who feels unfulfilled.

On the other hand, you can't stand to think about what he does. And your feelings are normal. Most women aren't cut out to be with a male stripper. Women who are involved with men who strip for a living have to accept the fact that other women are going to be lusting after and touching their guy, and more. I don't blame you for feeling jealous and worried. Many male strippers do more than just strip for money - they are part-time male hookers too.

So you're taking chances with this guy. You'll never really be able to feel comfortable with him in his chosen profession. If you want a guy who is all yours and not up for grabs in some club full of women, then find a nice accountant or computer programmer and stop worrying. But if you want Mr. Studly Dancer, then you'll have to learn to live with your jealousy and keep it to yourself, or you'll be miserable all the time and wind up making him miserable too.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy




Dear Dr. Tracy,

Your website is such a wonderful service that you provide to me (and others), I just wanted to thank you. I've purchased your book for myself and friends, but use your website more. The only thing I've ever wanted in life was to share it with someone. I'm 35 and have never been married - and maybe never will be - but at least now I have a reference guide for getting what I want. For example, not being afraid to speak up when someone makes you feel badly: one guy changed the day of our date several times and contradicted himself regarding the reason. I called him on treating me like a fill-in date and did feel much better about myself afterwards.

I'm dating a different man now (for 1.5 months). We have the right chemistry, in personality, humor, and sex. We talk on the phone almost every day; he initiates calls at least as often as I do. We spend weekends together (moving down your "steps to committment" article). I told him that I really liked him (he's previously said that to me, too) but he told me to be careful, because he didn't want to hurt me. He said he's not in the frame of mind to put "all his eggs in one basket." He also tells me he can't believe some of my other boyfriends have left me, because I am so wonderful. He dated a "crazy lady" for a year (it ended one year ago) and still seems hung up on her.

So, although this is a silly question that will answer itself eventually, I cannot see exactly what he means by the "one basket" analogy. Is he just afraid of being hurt again? Does he plan on dumping me for a variety of women when he loses the weight that he wants? Or, simply, does he just not know me well enough (and vise-versa) to know if he will still like me in 3 months?

Dear Anxious,

Thanks for the kind words about my books and website. You are doing a lot of things right, like not being afraid to speak up when someone makes you feel badly. But you are also still making some self-defeating mistakes that could keep you from getting to the altar.

You've only been dating this man for 1½ months and you're already letting yourself fall for him in a big way - despite him warning you not to. When a man tells you to be careful because he doesn't want to hurt you, that means you've let him know that you're giving him your heart and soul on a platter. It's way too soon for that much giving. You've got to slow down.

You say you've got the right chemistry, are in tune in personality, humor and sex, and talk every day. Well, all of that is great, but apparently he feels that it's too much too soon. You think you're moving down the steps to commitment, but he's telling you he's not ready for commitment (that's obviously what he means by "one basket"). If you want this relationship to last, you'll have to learn to take it slower. A man shouldn't feel like you're so in love with him after only 1 ½ months that he has to worry about hurting you or feels obligated to tell you he's not ready for commitment.

Sure, you only used the "like" word instead of the "love" word, but you must be giving lots of other signals for him to feel so rushed. Those signals are jeopardizing your chance to have him fall in love with you. As I've said many times, "In order to have the 'in love' feeling, a man (or woman) has to have their love returned somewhat, but not altogether, and yet have hope of having it returned altogether at some time in the future."

By giving so much so soon, by being constantly available, you are taking away that uncertainty that makes someone fall in love. When a person falls in love, they are usually worried about losing the other person. Is he worried about losing you? I doubt it.

Have you already forsaken all others and let him know it? If so, it's too soon. So what can you do now? Well, back off a little. Date someone else. Be unavailable one weekend. Say, "I have an old friend coming to town, so I won't be able to see you this weekend." And don't call so much. Let him call you more. Think of reeling a man in like a fish. You have to reel in a little and then back off a little. You can't keep reeling in steadily or the line will break.

In the meantime, recognize that what he's telling is that he's not really in love yet. It usually takes six months to a year for love to fully develop. If you push it to happen too quickly, you not only hurt your chances, you also miss the best part of courtship. I'd say neither of you knows the other well enough, and if you keep rushing this relationship, it'll be over before you even got close to true love.

Uncertainty makes love bloom, so back off and give him a chance to really want to put all his eggs in your basket - if only you would let him.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy




Dear Dr. Tracy,

Hello, I am having a problem with my current husband, he left me in 94' because he was gay! We were married for three yrs prior and just left me out. We have a daughter she's 8.

We have always remained friends and we remarried in march of this year. The problem I am having is he is so hard to live with. Now we only married out of convience not a normal marriage but I have a problem with him leaving his gay things out like porn movies which so found and looked at the cover! I have a hard time with him going out every night and not spending any time with his daughter. You know I could go on for days on how i think I have made the biggest mistake of my life by remarrying him! Can you please tell me how I can live with this better. I am 28 he's 30 and I don't go clubbing or anything like that, I go to work and then I go home to my daughter. He cannot grasp the idea of this. Please help me.

Dear Convenience,

Marriages of convenience rarely work, especially if one of the partners is gay and the other isn't. No wonder you're miserable. You are trying to pretend that you are in a real marriage, and there you are with no sex, no love, no companionship, and nothing in common except a child.

You're right. You've made the biggest mistake of your life, twice. Of course you'll wind up divorced again, because the circumstances you're living in now are the pits. It's amazing how when people make a mistake, they'll do exactly the same thing again to make sure it was a mistake. Dieters gain two pounds eating pizza and go out and eat pizza again just to see if it really was the pizza that made them gain the two pounds. Of course it was. You've done the same thing with your life. You've married him again, just to confirm that it was really a mistake.

There's nothing you can do that will make him take his gay things away or give up his gay lifestyle. You may get him to spend more time with your daughter, but he's going to continue to go out at night and ignore you. After all, you married him knowing he was gay and knowing what you would get when you married him. He's feels, rightly so, under no obligation to change, and he won't.

You are too young to be trapped in this kind of dead-end relationship. You'll be lucky if he survives his lifestyle and stays healthy. Right now, he has everything. He has a wife and child and his gay lifestyle. What do you have? Not much.

Stop trying to make him into Mr. Perfect Husband and accept him the way he is or get out. It would be much better to bite the bullet and admit you made a mistake and get divorced again than to stay in this miserable sham of a marriage.

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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