"Ask Dr. Tracy"

8/23/98 Advice Column


Dear Dr. Tracy,

I work in a large company for the summer and I met a young handsome man to whom i am very attracted to, he works on the same floor as me however in a different department. However, he is married and has two kids, and despite this fact i am extremely attracted to him and willing to go out with him. I am not sure if he is just being friendly to me or he is flirting with me. All I do is act friendly with him, however i try not to show my true emotions towards him.

Please give me a good solution to this problem. I look forward to hearing from you

Dear Looking for Trouble,

What do you think Monica Lewinsky would say if you asked her about having an affair with a married man? Do you think she'd say it was worth it? I doubt it. She's lost her job and ruined her life and reputation, and for what? Some brief sexual encounters with somebody else's man. And in the end she will have nothing, except a disaster. That's what happens when you fool around with married men, even if they're not the President. They hardly ever leave their wives, they almost always leave the single woman lonely and feeling used. Then the married man starts feeling contrite and gets taken back by his ever-lovin' wifey...

Get a grip. Find a single guy to flirt with. There is no happy ending to a flirtation with a married man. You can only get hurt. Believe me, you're going down a well-trodden path that leads to pain for everyone involved. Don't be stupid. Be smart and learn from the mistakes of thousands of women who've already tried this kind of destructive flirting.

The next time he's overly friendly, tell him he's barking up the wrong tree and mean it.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I have been dating the most wonderful man for about 10 months now. He loves me very much and treats me like I am the most beautiful woman in the world. However, he has children (2) who live a long distance away and he only gets to see them twice a year.

I want most of all his happiness and I see the way he lights up when he gets to spend time with them. There is a problem - the older child doesn't really like me (he's 4) but the younger one does. I want to be able to fit in with them both but I'm not really good around kids.

I was an only child and had problems with self-esteem which hugely manifested as I grew older. I am very insecure and constantly feel the threat of not "fitting in"-or-"being liked". My feelings get hurt by the child and my boyfriend says "he's just a kid" but I can't help the way I feel and that am I crushed when his child says he "doesn't like me" or "doesn't want to be my friend" and it just makes me need more attention from my boyfriend. I can't help but think that this relationship might be too much for me to handle but I just don't think I'll ever find someone as wonderful, warm,gentle, and kind as my boyfriend. I am so hurt I just don't know what to do with myself. So, for the time being I tend to distance myself while they are visiting. I am trying to do things with them everyday but I get to a couple of hours and just can't find the strength or will to make it for the whole day and I have to leave to go home. I just miss him so much and I want things to work out for us. All of our friends think we are truly the perfect couple and they believe we belong together. I can't understand the difference between the two loves because I don't have avy children. All I know is I always want him around me and to have his hand touch mine or just have him smiling at me. Can you please offer some advice to ease my mind?

Dear Overwhelmed,

Don't let a four year old throw you. Come on now, you're older, you're smarter. Surely you can win over a little kid. Of course it'll take time. Who knows what mom has to say about you? Probably nothing helpful. But just be patient. You have the upper hand here. After all, the kids will go back to where they came from and you'll have your man just the way you did before. A loving relationship with a good man is too hard to come by to blow it off over a couple of pre-schoolers. Don't complain about the kids. Instead just laugh it off.

If you're suffering from low self-esteem, get a therapist to work with you, but don't expect your self-esteem to get fixed by nice words from a child. Kids can be mean. So learn to ignore them. If you let them think they can bother you, they'll do it more.

In time, the kids will get used to you, if you hang around. Don't push yourself on them. But don't hide from them either. If you're worried about how to relate to small children, get some help from a local friendly pre-school teacher. Ask if you can come watch her with the kids, or pay her for a couple of hours of tutoring to help you with them.

And if you need to go home after a few hours with the little ones, go and don't feel guilty.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I am a professional 41 year old woman, married for 18 years,and have two children. One year ago my husband left us, he was unhappy in our marriage and wanted a divorce. I was totally opposed to getting a divorce and was quit devastated. In the past year I began to volunteer and through this I met a man who is nine years younger than me. He was interested in dating , but I felt that he was too young for me. My children know and like him very much. After knowing him for nine months I consented to go out with him. We had a great time. The problem? Now my husband wants to get back together, he's been spending alot of time with the kids and trying to work his way back into my heart. My feelings for the new guy are so strong, he's all I think about. But I have this picture of the " Happy family" and worry if I should try to keep this family together. I have been to counseling , my husband says he will go, but hasn't yet. Should I go with my heart or with what I see as my obligation to the family?

Dear Worried,

Never take a man back who hasn't been to counseling or who is reluctant to go. That's a very, very bad sign. Besides, you don't love him anymore, you love someone else. It would be dishonest to take him back and pretend you love him for the sake of the kids and your picture of the "happy family." You'll never be happy that way, and it'll rub off on your kids.

Getting back together with someone after a breakup is very difficult to do unless both people make big changes in themselves. Otherwise you have the same two people coming together with the same problems which will repeat themselves over and over again. That's why some couples seem to keep breaking up and getting back together again only to break up again. Unfortunately, changing takes work, commitment and usually a therapist's help. If your husband sincerely commits to counseling, you might consider exploring it with him. In the meantime, go with your heart, or you'll be condemning yourself to a life of regret. But don't rush. Give yourself time to explore the relationship with the new guy, and let your ex hang. After all, he did the leaving.


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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