"Ask Dr. Tracy"

8/13/2000 Advice Column

A Confirmed Bachelor?
He's Never Satisfied
Chat Room Lies

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I'm a 37 year old divorced woman. I have three kids and just recently bought my own home. After 16 years in a very bad marriage (4 of which we were separated), I've been single for almost a year.

I've been dating a 41 year old bachelor with no children for almost two years. He loves my kids and they love him.

Since I've moved into my new home, he's here constantly. He comes over for dinner, helps me with the kids and does little repair projects on the house. He's there for me emotionally and physically. I don't ask for monetary help, because none is needed.

Here's the problem. Our relationship isn't progressing the way I would like. If the word "marriage" is even mentioned, I swear he turns chalk white!! He tells me that he is perfectly happy the way the relationship is and doesn't want marriage to ruin what we have. I, on the other hand, would love to be married again. (This time to the right man.) We have talked about it until we're both blue in the face. I love him very much and he loves me, but he just won't commit "legally". I've told him that I won't be someone's "girlfriend" for the next 40 - 50 years. I want to be his wife, not just his friend and lover forever. He gets mad and tells me that all he has to offer is what he is giving me now. He says he loves me but doesn't love marriage.

Should I just let go and get on with my life without him? I don't believe in giving ultimatums, because then it seems that you're forcing someone to do what they really don't want to do.

Dear Bachelor Lover,

You're at a great time in life to find a new man - you're mature and at your peak, both physically and emotionally. You've gotten out of a bad relationship, and it's time for you to have a good one. There's no reason why you shouldn't be married again - to the right man.

Your 41-year-old bachelor may not be the right man. You've made two mistakes with him so far. When you meet someone who's that age and never married, natural curiosity should lead you to discuss, in general terms, his feelings about commitment and marriage. You'd have been better off seeing his face turn chalk white on the first date. The second mistake was doing nothing when the relationship stopped progressing. Your relationship sounds ideal as the next step beyond dating - perhaps at the six-month or one-year stage. But that step should have been followed by further steps toward commitment.

Instead, for over a year now, he's been enjoying all the benefits of being married, both physical and emotional, without having to make the commitment of marriage. So why should he offer to marry you? After all, he already has you, a little family, and as much love as he wants and is willing to give - while comfortably remaining a bachelor.

But just because you made some mistakes doesn't mean you have to live with an unacceptable situation. For starters, don't stop bringing up marriage just because he doesn't like it when you do. Better late than never, find out exactly what his objections are and why he won't commit legally. After all, you can't overcome his objections if you don't know what they are. However, his objections may just be a knee-jerk "no" to marriage, period. He could be a stuck, marriage-phobic bachelor. In that case, an ultimatum may be your only choice.

You're thinking wrong about this kind of ultimatum. It's not to "force him to do what he really doesn't want to do", it's to free yourself. You have a life to live and you need to make decisions. Think of it as giving yourself the ultimatum - that by, say, your birthday, or next Christmas, or whenever, you'll be engaged or you'll move on.

Then when that time comes, tell him that you love him and will miss him, and send him on his way. Let him be by himself, without you or your family to keep him company and give him love. The loneliness alone may shock him into thinking seriously about commitment and marriage. If it doesn't, then you'll be free to find someone - perhaps even better - who's not a marriage-phobic.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I'm a 33 year divorced man of 2 years. I've known this 27 year woman for a year whom is also divorced of over a year. Well I've been dating her for 2 months now. She is wonderful, affectionate, beautiful, sexy, very loving, funny, smart, independent, would be a great mother ... everything a man would want, I mean Dr. Tracy she is fantastic . we like the same things, her parents are great. We see each other, talk to each other just about everyday. I've had my problems since my divorce ... got a DUI, battled depression .... but I've gotten help and things in my life are great now .... just bought a place.. other than I can't drive due to the DUI. She has supported me through this in every way ... not that I've asked her ... she offers. She loves me and I "think" I love her.

My delima is why is it that everytime a woman falls for me I tend not to be as axcited about her ... I catch myself thinking about persuing other women. Even to a point of maybe asking other woman out! I catch myself wanting to have sex with other women. I don't want to have these thoughts. Why is it that it seems I always want what I can't have ..... that's what it seems like .... I know I have this woman. I see no reason why I would want to be with anyone else other than the woman I'm seeing now but now that I know I have her I want something mmmmm different sexually I guess. Is there anything I can do to get rid of these thoughts I'm having? Maybe I'm scared of "commitment"? Why do I feel I could get someone more attractive. Why do I have a desire to chase after someone else? My heart got broken last fall and I was miserable ... was that because I couldn't have her? I had so much desire for her because I couldn't have her. I want that with the woman that I'm seeing now.

Dear Unsatisfied,

You have this wonderful woman, and yet you think about sex with other women. Most men do, in a fleeting way, but with maturity, they learn to appreciate what they have instead of wanting what they don't have.

You want what you can't have, and then when you get a wonderful woman, you don't want her. In addition to immaturity, I'd say you're also suffering from low self-esteem. You can't believe a great woman who wants you is really worthy because you don't think you're any good to begin with.

Wise up and grow up. Most of the letters I get from men are from guys just like you who had a wonderful woman who loved them, and they let her get away. Then they write to me wanting to know how to get her back.

Some men only want women who treat them like scum and reject them. That's because they think that's what they deserve. Try not to be one of those guys. They just wind up unhappy, making everyone else unhappy too. Get "How to Raise Your Self-Esteem" by Nathaniel Branden. It will help.

You've only been in this relationship for two months. Take a deep breath, read Branden's book, steady yourself, and try to hang in there for awhile. You don't have to make a lifetime commitment, but it would be good for you to stay in a relationship with a nice woman who loves you. Most guys eventually grow up. You can, too. This would be a very good time to do so.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I need your advice on a very important matter. I met a guy in a chat room on the internet over a year ago. We have been talking on the internet and on the phone. This is the problem. First, I lied to him. He is 37 years old and I am 43 but told him I was 20. I didn't tell him that I was married with two sons.

He came into my life at a time when me and my husband were having martial problems and this guy made me feel really good about myself as I did him. He didn't go out except to visit his parents and go golfing on a Sat. He sent me his picture via e-mail. He is not very handsome but from what I can tell has a big heart. I didn't have a picture so I e- mailed him a fake one. I am not saying that I am ugly because I am not. But I am heavier than the girl in the picture and older. One lie turned into more lies, then even more lies came the more I talk to him. I was afraid that if he knew the truth that he wouldn't want anything to do with me and I really needed him there for me. I love the way he made me feel, he could always make me laugh when I was down, and I could do the same for him. We have grown to know each other very well. We can even predict what the other person is going ot say or write. I feel in love with him, I didn't mean for it to happen but it did. He feel in love with me also. LIke I said, he came into my life at a time that my husband and me were having problems. My husband was drinking, not home, didn't spend time with me or my sons and just was never there for me. On the good note, my husband did finally see what was going on in our marriage and did give up drinking and is spending time with me and my sons. I might add to that my husband did know and didn't like it that I turned to this guy on the internet for comfort and for love. Maybe that helped him to understand what was happening in our marriage, I am not sure.

But lets get back to the problem. I recently decided to tell the guy who I have been seeking companionship from on the internet (because my guilt was getting to me) the truth about everything. I spilled my guts so to speak to him the other night and told him everthing, but he now says that I am just saying this because I want him out of my life and I made all that stuff up about me being married, having 2 sons, and being 43 because I want him to go away. His response to that was, that he will not go away ever, because he loves me and he knows I love him. What am I to do, I tried telling him the truth but he won't except it. He says we are going to be together no matter what because we are soul mates. I wish I could take back all the lies that I told him now, but I can't because he doesn't believe me. All I can do is hope that if anyone reads my letter that they will not make the same mistake I have. Be up front with the person you talk to on the internet don't lie about anything because in the end you will destroy another persons life and that is not fair. I know this now, and wish I could change things but I can't. Maybe this will help other females or even guys to realize that you can only be what you are and you shouldn't be someone your not.

Dear Story Teller,

Shame, shame on you. You let your loneliness and unhappiness lead you down the dark road of lies and deception. You sent a photo that wasn't you and made up a life that wasn't yours. Now you're stuck with the results -- a desperate man who's in love with a fantasy.

I think there's a part of you that still wants this poor guy to be in love with you and that you enjoy his attentions even though you say you don't. Perhaps it's a way of getting back at your husband.

Now it's not enough to tell him you're married. Now it's time to prove it to him. Send him a real photo of you and your family. Give him a final apology, and tell him that if he doesn't stop writing and calling, your husband will have to take over the conversations and emails. Then stop calling him. Stop writing him emails.

You're right with your warning to others. You'll be lucky if he doesn't become some crazed stalker following you everywhere and spying on you. It's not nice to fool with someone's emotions.

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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