"Ask Dr. Tracy"

8/9/98 Advice Column


LETTER BURNING A HOLE IN HER POCKET,
CHOOSING BETWEEN WIFE AND MASTURBATION,
LETTER TO A VIRGIN




Dear Dr. Tracy,

I have recently broken up with the love of my life whom I had a relationship with for 8 years. I have had a terrible time trying to get over him, and eventhough he walked out on me without much warning (we lived together)I can't find it in my heart to hate this man. Actually I still love him. Friends who run into him, tell me that he doesn't seem very happy, however he has moved on with his life and has moved very fast at that. As a matter of fact he has a girlfriend already, and rumor has it that they are moving in together. I can't stand the thought of it.

Anyhow, I read one of your articles that suggested that after a break-up one may choose to write a letter to his/her ex for a sence of therapy, explaining their thoughts, but to never mail the letter. Well, just recently I sat down, composed a 10 page letter, and spilled my thoughts out onto the paper. The letter mostly identified my thoughts as to what happened to us over the 8 year period, and I listed the things he did through the years that hurt me (broke my heart). Basically I got everything off of my chest and onto the paper. One thing I must tell you is that we had the worst problem with communicating with one another, and I think that was one of our biggest problems. Therefore much of the information that was on the paper would be news to him.

Finally to my question - You stated in your article "Do not mail the letter", but I can't help it, I want to seal the envelope, add postage and get it on it's way to him sooo bad. Oh ya! I also made some confessions in the letter, of times that I strayed and he never knew of. I know these should probably remain a secret, but I have to get it out in the open and off of my chest. I can't deal with the horrible thoughts any longer. So in my situation, would you consider sending the letter, or keep it tucked away for a rainy day?

Dear Letter Writer,

I'm glad you took my advice about writing a last love letter when you break up with someone. It really doesn't matter who does the breaking up, it still hurts and you can carry the pain around with you for a long time. That's why writing it down helps. You get it off your mind and you're not walking around trying to remember it all and rehashing it over and over again.

I hope you will also take my advice about not mailing the letter. Do not send it. Do not give it. There's a reason. If you give him such a letter, you have no idea what he'll do with it. What if he shows it around, or reads it to his new love? What if he uses it against you? What if he shows it to your mother one day. Or the man you love? Or what if he publishes it on his website?

I understand your urge to tell him, and I applaud that. But tell him in person. Look him in the eye and tell him exactly how you feel and everything you have to say. Express your anger over the things he did. Take a list if you're afraid you'll forget something. Get it off your chest verbally, so it doesn't live on to haunt you like words on paper can.

Don't put the postage on that letter. Don't drop it in the box. Don't send it. It's just too dangerous. Put it away and stop thinking about him and who he's moving in with. Eight years is a long time to be with someone and a part of you may always love him, so at least think about it for a while before you send a hurtful letter.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy




Dear Dr. Tracy,

A week and a half ago I caught my wife secretly seeing the guy in the apartment next door (although she claims they had not had sex - yet).

My wife and I have been ABSOLUTE SOULMATES for 6 years. This hurt me a lot and I sent her packing, and am now about to initiate a divorce.

Her reasons were that I did not care/comfort her enough through a difficult period, and the guy next door did. Trust me, no-one (family, friends, lawyer) really believes that story, as I have always been a very kind and affectionate husband (my wife suffers from M.E. and I have literally nursed her at times).

Her other reason is that I privately view pornography and masturbate, and she feels she "cannot compete". Yet our sexual activity has never suffered (she will admit to that), and I confessed my handicap to her early on in our marriage, once I realised that being married was not going to put a stop to it either. I have always kept it to myself, and she has been happy not to discuss it - yet suddenly it's a reason to see another guy (?).

Dr Tracy, I have to repeat, we were INSEPARABLE SOULMATES. What hurts me the most is that of 101 different things she could have done to help her cope through a difficult period, she did the one thing that killed our precious friendship.

I long to take her back, yet I doubt she will ever accept my problem. Also, I surely will never be able to trust her again. Do you think it's worth trying for a reconciliation?

Thanks. Heartbroken

Dear Heartbroken,

I'd be very surprised if you were able to reconcile without a lot of help from a couple's therapist. The reason is that you thought everything was absolutely wonderful with your soulmate for six years, and obviously she didn't.

Although you believed you gave her enough comfort, she didn't. So there's a real communication problem between the two of you.

Standing in the way of a reconciliation is your lack of communication, your inability to forgive and trust again, your belief that maybe they did have sex, and your devotion to porn and masturbation. So, if you're unwilling to compromise, to give up the porn and masturbation too if need be, then I'd say you don't want her back badly enough.

In order to have a good relationship, two people have to be good forgivers. They also have to be willing to sacrifice and compromise and to communicate even when it's painful.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy




Dear Dr. Tracy,

Some comments about the letter from the virgin:

I would say that masturbation IS better than bad sex.... but it is so far removed from good sex, there is no comparison.

What about passion? What about desire? What about touch, intimacy, the joy (and power) of giving pleasure? What about getting each other excited, and knowing it? What about the seduction, the teasing, the heat, the rapture. the discovering of your partner, and of the sexual person you are? I feel sorry for this woman, for it seems like she thinks sex is just masturbating with another persons body. There is no substitute for the real thing.

She thinks she is not missing much... but she has no idea. She says sex is not important... but she can't possibly judge it, until she has experienced some GREAT sex!!!

A regular reader, who misses having good sex,

Dear Regular Reader,

Thanks for your feedback to the virgin letter. You have expressed a lot of the sensuous pleasures that one gets from sex and I'm sure that a lot of virgins out there will be glad to hear from you. It's hard to imagine something you've never had, so how's a virgin to ever know unless the more experienced share their thoughts?

It's tough to be the last virgin among your friends and associates, so virgins tend to have to defend themselves all the time, especially in my mailbox.

I'm not against virginity, but I do agree with you. Once you've had great sex, it's hard to go without.

Regards,

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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