Dr. Tracy's Advice Column

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A Silent Agreement
Moving for Love
How To Be Great In Bed

A Silent Agreement

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I am in a relationship with a wonderful guy. But there is something which makes me so upset when I think about it.

His ex and him is still in contact and she is in a different country. We have been together for 6 months already and we commited to each other and my parents and my friends knew about him and I always bring him to all my family outings. I asked him why he does not want to tell his ex gf that he already had a gf, because his ex kept asking him if he found someone new, he said no. The reason because he doesn't want to hurt her. He also didn't introduce me to his parents or good friends because he doesn't want any of these people tell his ex about me.

Everytime his friends or parents call his house, I have to dissapear or keep myself real quiet so that that person on the phone can't hear me. And on few occasions, I can't go to shopping malls because he is scared we might run into his friends. I am really frustrated and often felt really sad about this. I have told him about my feelings and how upset it makes me but I don't see any progress at all.

Sometimes I felt so low that I want to end everything. He told me he loves me very much and that I am very important to him and he also says he is just dying to introduce me to his parents but he just don't want to hurt his ex gf feelings. He and his ex still shares a bank account together.

Please help me. I don't know what to do. I want to be with him but everytime i have to be quiet or can't be with him because he is with his close friends..it just hurts me so much till I feel like giving it all up. I don't think I am being treated fairly here....

Help me please. Thank you so much Dr. Tracy. I am 25 yrs old and he is 30 and I am single.

Dear Upset,

No wonder you are upset. You are putting up with being treated like a second-class citizen in this relationship. Your guy acts like he's still involved with his ex girlfriend and I really wonder if she's as much of an "ex" as he would have you believe.

Almost every relationship has unspoken agreements -- things that are just understood. You have unfortunately made a silent agreement to go along with the program the way your boyfriend has outlined.

By not saying, "No, I won't put up with that," when he won't tell his ex girlfriend he has a new woman, you, in his life, you are actually agreeing that he can do that. Your silence gives consent. The unspoken agreement here is that he will be your boyfriend as long as you go along with the charade he plays to his friends and family that he is still not involved with anyone.

Every time you don't go to the mall because he's afraid someone will see you, you agree to being hidden. When his friends or parents call and you disappear or keep real quiet and pretend not to be there, you agree to continue the unspoken agreement.

Of course you aren't being treated fairly, but you have given your consent. Now it's time to take it back. When a man treats you badly and you don't do anything about it, when you accept his rules when you know they are wrong and they make you feel bad, you are really saying, it's okay to treat me with disrespect.

Why does he do this? Because he can. Because you let him get away with it and there are no repercussions. You complain, but you're still there.

If you want respect, you have to demand it. And if you don't demand respect and you keep sneaking around because he wants to hide you, you are going to begin to feel unworthy of respect and will lose your self-esteem and feel worse and worse about yourself.

If you want things to be different, you must take action, because explaining your feelings to him obviously doesn't do any good. Take action by telling him the commitment he made to you was false, because he isn't willing to let his family and friends know about it. Tell him he acts like he's married to his ex, not like a man who is free to have a relationship with you. Tell him you'll be his girlfriend when he's ready to tell his friends and parents and ex that you are in his life, and not until then. Also, he'll have to stop sharing a bank account with his ex if he wants you believe he's not actually married to her.

Don't be a doormat. Walk away with your head high and never agree to being hidden again, with him or anyone else.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

Moving for Love

Dear Dr. Tracy,

im a male37 years old in a relationship with a divorced woman whos also 37 years old..she has 2 kids aged 12 and 15..as far as the divorce and the ex as well as her kids..everything is very good...no problems with any of that..my problem is this..my girlfriends family...(mother and dad and 2 sisters ) are relocating to vermont and buying a huge parcel of land to raise horses on. my relationship with my girlfriend is great we comminucate about everything and enjoy each others company immensely..weve talked about growing old together and saying " i love you" comes easy..but its her dream to move to vermont from mass..and ive never really consisdered moving from here..i have a wonderful job thats 10 minutes from my own house and i am very happy where i am and my quality of life is good.

just for the record im a letter carrier for the post office and ive actually looked into a transfer to that area and one could be possible..and with the sale of my house, we could actually build a dream home together....my question is ...how do i know if it will work?..will i be happy at a new job/...and what happens if it doesnt work out some years down the road?...please help me..am i being a coward afraid of love? or is it too much to ask to be happy?....confused and in love in mass...:-)

Dear Confused,

Life has no guarantees. You want me to tell you that if you move with your girlfriend and her family and build a new life together, that you will succeed and live happily ever after. Well, life isn't like that.

Nobody is totally happy, and life always has problems and challenges that you have to overcome. Right now, your challenge is whether you're willing to take the risk to move from a job you like and a quality of life that you find makes you happy.

Since there is no way to know if you and your girlfriend would be happy in the new location, the only thing you can do is try. Instead of selling your house, why not rent it out. Then move to the new location and use the rent money to rent a house there for you and your girlfriend and see how you like life there.

Massachusetts to Vermont is not like moving to California or Alaska. Really, you're not going that far. Will you be happy at your new job? Probably not as happy as you are in the one that's familiar, but it can grow on you, and given a chance, you could be just as happy there.

Don't jump into building a dream house. Nothing strains a relationship more. Divorces over building dream houses are not uncommon. And if you do decide to build a dream house eventually on her family's parcel of land, be sure you have clear title to the part of the land you build your house on. I know of couples who have tried this and wound up in horrible family battles over who owns what.

What happens if it doesn't work years down the road? You'll have had an experience you wouldn't have had if you didn't try. You'll be older, wiser and you'll have taken a chance.

In order to succeed, you have to be willing to take a risk. Ask yourself what happens if you don't try. Nothing.

Don't expect to be instantly happy. Moving is traumatic and Vermonters are known for being stand-offish and skeptical of newcomers. Happiness doesn't come from outside sources, it comes from within.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

How To Be Great In Bed

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I recently started dating someone that I have been very good friends with for about nine years. We have always cared about each other very much, but for different reasons decided not to pursue a relationship (we were both in medical school and then building our separate practices).

He has always been very forthright about his feelings for me - I know that he loves me and I love him. This may sound nuts, but throughout our entire friendship we always had this mutual understanding that when the "timing" was right would we get together. But while we were waiting for the timing to be "right" he dated extensively, slept with hundreds of women. I, on the other hand, have slept with one person. He was always very candid with me about his "relationships", and more often than not he would say that he and the other person were "sexually incompatible" (rythmn was off, not wild enough etc.). And it never bothered me because I knew that it was "meaningless".

He began to "pursue me" agressively and we decided to date. We are both ready to settle down, love each other, are compatible in every way - except for the one way that we haven't tried yet - which is sexually. We have fooled around a little - when we first started dating we went to France for a couple of days and we fooled around a bit - mainly kissing. It was very passionate and wild - he said it was amazing and I felt the same. On the flight home I dragged him into the bathroom on the plane for 20 minutes. The problem is that I am really afraid to go "all the way" because , even though he has very deep feeling for me and has told me (repeatedly) that this is "it" for him - if the sex is not good - it will be over.

He knows of my history, he knows that I "lost" my virginity late (I was 30) and he knows that I have only had 1 partner. I am not sexually inhibited (in that I will try just about anything), I am in great aerobic shape, but I am concerned that it still won't be good - particularly since he has convinced himself that it will be "amazing" and "great" and after waiting 6 years he is really "hungry" and expecting fireworks - soon. While I dated and slept with someone for 2 years, he was extremely conservative - (always missionary position, lights off - under the covers) didn't even like fellatio (he is British - thought it was "improper") - so I am not even sure how to do that.

I haven't spoken to him (or anyone else) about my lack of sexual experience - I am completely mortified. I am frantic over the the possiblity of us being "sexually incompatible" - I don't even know what that means - and I am not even sure what he was talking about when he said the rythmn was off! How can I address this with him? And can you recommend anything to help me improve my "skills" - I purchased the "Better sex video series" and have read a couple of books - but is there anything else?

Dear Inexperienced,

There is no book in the world that can make you sexually experienced or give you sexual chemistry. Sexual chemistry comes when two people are in love and trust and respect one another.

You're creating problems that don't need to be there. There's a fine line between fear and excitement, and you're blurring it. Relax and go with your feelings. Good grief, you've made out in the airplane bathroom for 20 minutes, you've been passionate and wild, and he said it was amazing. Don't put up barriers to intimacy by worrying about who's had more sexual partners, you or him.

Quantity has nothing to do with quality when it comes to sex. Remember, the mind is the biggest and most important sexual organ. If you and he care about each other, sexual compatibility will probably be there, if you don't get all nervous and clutch up.

Relax, and don't talk to him about your fears of sexual incompatibility or his experience vs yours. Instead, go with the flow. Enjoy him and concentrate on feelings instead of analyzing the experience. Good sex is the experience of giving yourself to one another without intellectual barriers.

Instead of worrying about what book to read or what video to watch, concentrate on making him feel loved and enjoying the pleasure he's giving you. That will make you the best sex partner ever.

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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