Dr. Tracy's Advice Column

Cartoon Kiss

9/1/2002

Embarrassing Her Boyfriend
Good Vibrations
Divorced and Unsure



Embarrassing Her Boyfriend

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I've been going out with my boyfriend for 4 years. We are definitely happy most of the time. But like most relationships we have problems.

This is our problem: when we go out with friends I have a problem of starting an argument with my boyfriend in front of his friends or mine. He says it seems like I do this for a power trip. I don't notice this until he comfronts me later in private. He tells me it embarrasses him or us, that if I have a problem with him I should confront him in private. I do this a lot and he is getting fed up with it.

I'm not sure why I do this and don't talk to him when I have a problem in private. He is a great guy and I don't want to purposely hurt him, embarass him, or lose him. How can I stop? Why do I do this?

Dear Arguer,

Even if you're "happy most of the time," your behavior in public is going to damage and ultimately destroy your relationship. After four years of being together, you know what upsets him. If you keep criticizing him or arguing with him in public, you are being purposefully hurtful and trying to undermine your relationship.

Why are you doing it? Perhaps you are trying to assert your independence and show how smart you are to your friends. More likely, you feel angry over something you're not getting, like a commitment, or more sex. Instead of asking for what you want, or facing the real problem, you are creating other problems. You must get to the bottom of your dissatisfaction. If you can't resolve it by discussing it privately with your boyfriend, or you can't even figure out what's bugging you, then you must get counseling, either together with your boyfriend or on your own.

Meanwhile, whether you have the cause figured out or not, you have to stop. All couples need to have rules of behavior for when they're out in public. The rules should definitely include not contradicting your partner, no matter what they say. You should also not belittle your partner, put them down in any way, or start public arguments. You need to agree on these rules.

Then you must agree on a secret code word or action that means, "Stop, I'm not happy about what's going on." If he feels you're starting to embarrass him in front of friends, or if you are unhappy about something he says, either of you can say the secret word. At that point, the other will absolutely have to stop what they're saying until you can talk about it in private.

Loving couples are very careful not to air their dirty linen in public, and they don't make each other and their friends uncomfortable by public displays of antagonism.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy



Good Vibrations

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I am 38 and married for 11 years to my husband who is 42. We both work hard and have very stressful jobs. There is never enough time or energy for us to have sex and sometimes we just want to relieve the stress, or one of us does and the other one doesn't. I see nothing wrong with masturbation and don't object if he wants to masturbate. The problem is that he objects when I get my vibrator out at night. He says it's noisy and it keeps him awake, although he doesn't volunteer to do anything to help me out otherwise. What do you suggest? I don't want to upset him, but I don't want to give up my nightly vibrator sessions either.

Dear Vibrating,

There's no need to give up your nightly stress release and you don't have to wake up your sleeping hubby either. There's a new vibrator out that's just for women called an Eroscillator. It's lightweight and so quiet even the lightest sleeper won't wake up. The Eroscillator works great and you can be quiet as a mouse while using it. It comes with a 12 foot cord so it can reach just about anywhere. It's expensive, but not more than the price of a good massage, and you can amortize it, especially if you're using it every night. Check out their website, www.eroscillator.com.

Your husband shouldn't object to your vibrator, especially since he's not taking part in your party. However, you two should try to schedule some intimacy time together. Masturbation should be an extra, not the whole enchilada. Masturbation is a solitary and lonely pursuit and won't take the place of real intimacy between two people. Plan a trip. Go away for the weekend. Or just spend the night at a nice hotel. Plan to be romantic and don't let masturbation become your entire sex life.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy



Divorced and Unsure

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I am 39 divorced female with one child recently dating a 39 yr old divorced man with 3 kids. He has been divorced since Oct. 2001. Our courtship has been great from the beginning he approached me, asked me out, calls me daily, brings me small meaningful gifts almost everytime I see him and we have fun.

I really feel this could be something real. My confusion lies in the waiting, I am not sure what the usual way a relationship proceeds. I have many bad relationships and am not sure how to be patient and let it happen.

Although he calls regularly, we dont see that much of each other, usually a couple times a week. We have very busy schedules, I do not complain or question his time. I am wondering is this progressing normally, we have dated now 5 weeks.

In the beginning we slept together soon and that has completely changed. he said he was uncomfortable with sleeping together so fast and he feels it makes things too serious. But he has continued to come around and call, and recently we slept together again after not sleeping togther for about 4 weeks it was great and his idea.

The question is: Does this mean he is comfortable now with things becoming more serious?

Dear Divorced,

This sounds like a great developing relationship, going along in fine style. He's calling you, he wants to see you, he's enjoying being with you. What's the problem?

You've only been dating for five weeks. It's far too soon to be concerned that you're only seeing him twice a week. That's plenty often enough for a relationship this new. Your relationship is progressing exactly on schedule. The best thing you can do right now is nothing. The biggest mistake women make is not letting the relationship develop naturally and slowly. The urge to "do something" overwhelms them.

You naturally would like to know for sure if this relationship will progress and lead to true love, but only time will tell. (See the article in my library, The Steps To Commitment.) Pressing him or pushing the relationship will only lead to a disaster. In order to succeed in life and in relationships, you have to be able to live with uncertainty. There are no sure things, especially in relationships, but it does look like he's serious if you give him a chance.

Postpone your concerns for six months and simply enjoy the time you have together. This is the best time of a relationship -- the courting phase -- and you should relax and relish 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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