Dr. Tracy's Advice Column

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Why Someone Isn't Attracted To You
When You Don't Get The Response You Want
Emotional Co-dependence

Why Someone Isn't Attracted To You

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I am a 24 year old, single, never married man. I recently got out of a bad relationship of 4 years. Shortly before I terminated the relationship I met a really sweet girl and we became very close friends. At this time i had no feeling towards her, but after I ended my long term relationship. I started spending alot of time with my new friend and we get along great.

We were hanging out and doing lots of stuff together. Stuff that you would think couples would do ( we never engaged in sex, never held hands, or kissed) like shopping, running through the street chasing each other, water battles in the kitchen, and pulling little pranks on each other, but it has just been strictly friends. About two months had passed and we had spent a lot of time together doing different things from going to fairs to watching movies untill 3 or 4 in the morning to just plain talking for hours.

She had also just gotten out of a one year relationship a few months before we met. At the time we both just needed a friend. In that time frame we have become extremely close. A few months ago I realized that I had fallen in love with her. I mean the relationship would be so perfect. We love the same kind of movies, our dream car is the same make, body style, and color, we both have a strong love for children, our moral values are similar, we have a lot of fun when we are together, we flirt like crazy with each other, our dream vacations are the same two places. We both cherish the little things in a relationship. We are both responsible people. We even like the same music and doing alot of the same things. We both grew up in two different states miles apart, we both were very shy growing up, and neither one of us partied until recently. We both believe family always comes first. We are like the perfect couple I think, along with everyone that knows us and sees us together,

I told her how I feel about her and I promised her that she would never be cheated on and I would never intentionally hurt her , I will never leave her for another girl, and we do not have to move fast because I want the relationship to develop and become strong. I am very sincere when I make a promise and I always keep my promises. Her reply was that I am like the perfect guy. I am everything she has ever dreamed of, but she just isn't attracted to me, and at the same time she says it is whats on the inside that really counts. I am not your typical sex crazed male I am more into romance. I love our friendship more than anything else, but I would love to know why she is not attracted to me. I love her more than life itself and I am always there for her. I just do not understand. Your help will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks, One Really Confused Guy

Dear Really Confused Guy,

There's nothing that confusing about this. You're a nice guy. She enjoys your friendship. She likes the time you spend together and everything is great, except that you just don't turn her on.

Why? There are lots of reasons. But let's start with the basics. You're just not exciting. Have you heard the country song, "Ladies love outlaws"? Most women are attracted to a little danger. Plus, in order to have the "in love" feeling, a woman has to have her love returned somewhat, but not altogether, and yet she has to have hope of having it returned altogether in the future.

Since you've already pledged your undying love, you've taken that uncertainty away - the excitement that makes a woman wonder, "Will he call or won't he?" You've become too predictable. Yes, nice guys often finish last. Maybe it's because there's no challenge. Maybe it's because too nice is too boring.

Read my book, "Manpower, How To Win The Woman You Want." You'll learn some techniques to become more exciting to women. For example, you're giving too much too soon. You need to learn to give a little bit, and not consistently. Giving consistently doesn't make a woman want more. Giving intermittently makes her want more.

The kiss of death for a relationship (in the courting stage) is when you are always there for her and she knows you love her more than life. That's a lot more pressure than a woman wants in the beginning of a relationship. She wants a little equality, in terms of you both deciding at a similar speed if you want to be in a romantic relationship -- not you've decided and now she has to get on board.

Just because you love her doesn't mean she will love you back. Or will want to have an intimate relationship with you.

You need to find someone else to have a relationship with, someone who wants you sexually, not just as a friend. If you're in a relationship for more than a couple of months and you haven't held hands, kissed, touched intimately and either had sex or came close, it's time to move on. There's a big difference between being a friend and being a lover.

Remember, never make a commitment until you know if you're sexually compatible and that the woman is attracted to you. That means you don't forsake all others until you have a lot more than a friendship.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

When You Don't Get The Response You Want

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I am a 36-year old never-married woman (I was engaged once, and have had long-term relationships) who has been dating a great (and Qualified!) guy for a little over two months. About two months into our relationship, we are monogamous, talking on the phone at least twice a week, and seeing each other once during the week and generally every Saturday night. We are having sex, but not every time we're together. We have not said, "I love you", but are affectionate with each other (hand-holding, caresses, etc) in public and private. He has not met my parents nor my friends yet. Things were progressing well until I left on a long-awaited 2-week vacation to another country without him.

I will admit that I have trouble saying what I feel sometimes, (TRUST issues, from way back, but that's another story) but did get the courage to tell him that I would miss him while I was away. He reciprocated the sentiment, and I left for my vacation. While there, I was unable to call, but did send e-mails when I could. About 4 days into my vacation, I sent my first e-mail, and signed off with "I miss you" and my name. I received a friendly response the next day, but no "I miss you, too." from him. Instead, he wrote "I look forward to seeing you again in a couple of days." This seems a little formal; I mean, you can "look forward" to working with someone in the future, or "look forward" to a business acquaintance's response, etc.... I wrote him one last e-mail two days before I returned to let him know when I'd be back and that I would call him when I got in. I did not sign it "I miss you." I didn't expect a response, and didn't get one.

First question: is his response a difference in our internal languages-is he more "visual", and did it mean, "I miss you, too.", or could it mean that he didn't miss me while I was gone?

I have just recently returned (last Thursday), and things between us are just a little out-of-sync, although we did see each other Friday night, then Saturday night, and part of Sunday as well, all at his request. On Friday night (the first time I saw him since my return), I said things like, "it's so good to see you", but I didn't say, "I missed you." I don't know why, because towards the end of my trip I really began to miss him! (perhaps just a little hurt, I decided not to say it in person?) We went out to dinner, then back to my place, where we watched TV for a while. Suddenly, I heard snoring, and realized he had fallen fast asleep behind me! Now, even before I left, he was fighting the effects of allergies and wasn't feeling particularly well, but this was certainly NOT what I had envisioned as our first night together. Also, we generally do not get together Friday night, because we are both tired from work.

To wake him, I kissed him on his forehead after my show was over, told him I was going to sleep, and said he could stay if he wanted, but if he wanted to leave, that was OK too. (Be careful what you say...) Before vacation, we stayed over at each other's house on Saturday nights, so this would not have been a first. He opted to go home, and asked me for a date at his place for Saturday night.

Second question: should I be happy that he wanted to see me on Friday night at all, or upset that he fell asleep on me our first night back together?

I did see him Saturday night, where he cooked a surprise dinner-a first!. It was definitely more comfortable between us, and we ended up having sex and I stayed over. The next day, he asked me to stay for a good part of Sunday as well, so I truly believe he likes spending time with me. He called me early the next week, and I saw him again this past Saturday night, where we went out to dinner, then a movie, then back to my place where we carved pumpkins. But, instead of staying over Saturday night, he again opted to go home!

Third question: am I making something out of nothing? Or, is is possible that during my vacation his feelings for me cooled a little, and we need a little time to get back to where we were? I mean, it has only been two months....

He knows nothing of my concerns; my feeling is that it's much too early in the relationship to be questioning our "status", or his feelings for me. When he calls, I am excited and upbeat to hear from him, and when we are together, I am affectionate and playful. I have a good group of friends, and when not with him, I am doing something with them, or my family, so I've always got somewhere to go.

One last thing, which might explain in part my neurotic tendencies: I have had at least two relationships which either 1)cooled after a vacation, or 2) ended shortly after I returned.

I really like him, and could see myself in a more serious relationship, but I'm not quite sure how to "be". For now, I'm giving him a little space, and letting him "reset" the pace of the relationship. Is this a good idea, or are these signs that something is wrong that I'm ignoring?

I "look forward" to hearing your thoughts.

Thank you for your time, Slightly jetlagged and confused

Dear Woman With Neurotic Tendencies,

Falling in love, or even starting to, is sure to bring all your neurotic tendencies to the surface. Your insecurities will bloom like spring flowers in the rain, and you'll question his every move. The reason is that he has become the source of your pleasure and you're worried about losing him.

You have to understand though, that you can't write the script of your life. Other people just don't know the lines, so just because they don't say what you want them to say doesn't mean that your relationship is deeply troubled.

As a feelings woman, you said "I miss you." You got a typical visual response. Your guy is looking forward to seeing you. No big deal, unless you're being neurotic. Maybe he was busy and didn't miss you that much - or maybe he did. Chances are he did.

Then another script you've written in your mind wasn't followed -- about how your first night back should be -- and you're upset again. The answer is to stop writing scripts and just live life as it comes. Yes, be happy that he wanted to see you and that he made more dates. Don't fret about his falling asleep, unless he does it a lot - before sex.

He's showing signs of caring. He cooks for you. He asks you out. He wants you to spend the night at his place. Maybe it's simply that he prefers his place to yours.

It's possible that your being away gave him some feelings he wasn't prepared for. Also, whenever we leave a relationship for a time, even a marriage, there's a period of adjustment when we return.

The good thing is that you are acting the right way, not questioning your status or his feelings, being excited and upbeat, affectionate and playful. Keep doing what you're doing. Relationships don't go from meeting to marriage in a straight, unbroken line. There are always little setbacks, detours and sideways directions in between.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

Emotional Co-dependence

Dear Dr. Tracy,

Iíve been widowed for 6 Ĺ years. I was married very happily for 29 Ĺ years and losing my Husband was very difficult for me. I am 63 years old and have no interest in another relationship, Certainly not a serious one. My kids are grown and leading lives of their own so I really had To do some searching to find a life for myself. I work part time and have a part time business In my home so that part of my life is fine. I also have many friends that I do things with Socially although I must say itís not the same now that Iím alone.

After my husband died, I went through at least 2 years of what I now call depression. I started Gambling just to escape. That didnít work so I tried eating. After gaining 40 lbs., I also stopped Doing that. In the meantime I became very friendly with my mail carrier. Because of having A mail order business in my home, my mail carrier would stop and pick up my packages every Day. Heís 20 years younger than I am and we really just had a friendship type of relationship. After he quit the route and went to another one, we started going out to movies and dinner Every other week or so and would call each other and were able to talk about everything. I believe he was my escape. The problem is that I now donít know how to let go. Because of Our close friendship, I found out that he is borderline paranoid schizophrenic. It didnít come Out for quite a while but Iíve now been around him when he has psychotic episodes and many Times, he takes his anger or frustration out on me. Not physically but emotionally. And I Allow it.

I know my friends are worried about me so I have just stopped talking about him. I donít know If he is now an obsession with me. Part of me thinks Iím in love with him but yet Iím not Interested in him physically and he certainly doesnít look at me that way. I know that Iím his Best friend. He doesnít have many friends, just his family, so Iím kind of it.

He has been there for me many times when I get down or have problems but he has also hurt Me and caused me sleepless nights.

In a way, it is affecting the rest of my life because my thoughts are often about him, worrying About how he is doing and listening to his paranoid thoughts. He was married and has had Relationships with women but they never seem to last. Weíve been friends for 4 years now And Iím in a way trying to find a way to break free but just donít seem to be able to.

I went to counseling for a while and that seemed to help at the time. It at least let me look at Him in a more objective way and not get too emotionally tied to him. But now Iím back to Worrying about him, listening to all his problems, etc.

Any advice you can give me would be appreciated.

Dear Listening to Crazies,

You're not a professional therapist and you shouldn't have to try to become one to your mail carrier. You really have no relationship with him, except that you allow him to fill your life with his problems. You aren't getting sex or affection, just aggravation.

So why do you stay hooked into this relationship? It's your own personal soap opera. You get to indulge in it, like a TV soap opera, only yours is more exciting because it can strike out and hurt you at any time, go crazy, or have a psychotic episode. That's even better than TV!

You're co-dependent, just like someone who supports a drunk or a drug addict. You've let his problem become yours, and now you don't think about anything else but his problems. Read Melanie Beattie's book, "Co-dependent No More."

Go back to your therapist and work on your self-esteem. Find something else exciting in your life. If you really have a need to be scared, ride a roller-coaster -- a real one, not an emotional one. Or take up sky diving.

Think about your health and also about how dangerous this situation is. Get this man out of your life before you lose your friends and your sanity. If you really want to help him, get him to see a therapist and find out about medication that is available for his condition.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

Submitting a Question to this column

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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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