Dr. Tracy's Advice Column

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In Love With A Married Woman
Uphill Battle With His Family
Swinging Isn’t Easy

In Love With A Married Woman

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I am involved with a woman who is married. We are both 24 years old and we actually first met about 8 months ago. I can't believe I allowed this to happen, but we are both in love and she has said she is leaving her husband...but that was about 6 months ago when she said this. I am concerned because he is emotionally abusive to her and her 2 kids, and at times even physically abusive. She was a bikini dancer when I first met her (can't say I liked that too much), although I actually met her at a normal club and we began to spend long hours chatting until about 2 months after we met we began to get intimate. She has since quit dancing. I must add that she truly has a good heart and does her best. This is a fact from what I've observed.

I have no doubt she wants out of her current marriage, but she says she is staying for the kids benefit for now. I am trying to understand that (food, roof over head, clothes, etc), but her husband has almost raped her because she does not have anything to do with him. I am very concerned about this but feel my hands are tied. If she did pick up and leave she has said she "can't" stay with me, that she would get a place of her own...but in order to afford two kids she said the only thing she can do is dance again, but not in a bikini...lap dances. It makes more money. She was very offended once when I asked her how far she would go for her kids..as in would she sleep with another man for money to pay bills, etc. She looked at me very hurt and told me no and how could I ask something like that. I find it odd she is willing to chance being raped by her husband (she knows it can/probably will happen), emotionally abused, and unhappy for the kids benefit but finds it disturbing I would even think about her having sex for money to help her children. To me her current situation is as bad or worse.

I feel torn and trapped. I do not doubt our love for each other, and I accept that this is a situation I allowed myself to get into so I must be man enough to handle what comes with it. But I don't know how much longer she will stay and I don't want her to just up and leave because I would find it very difficult to deal with her being a lap dancer. Any advice would be very helpful!

Thank you

Dear In Love,

You’ve fallen for a a married woman with two children who is cheating on her husband with you, who wants to be a lap dancer, and who claims that the only sex she has with her husband is when he "almost rapes" her. It's hard to believe that this is the girl of your dreams. More likely, you've been drawn in by her soap opera life.

She's playing the victim, and if you're thinking about being the rescuer, I feel sorry for both of you. Are you really ready to take on her and her two kids and be responsible for their lives? I doubt it (and apparently she does too). So long as she's under the thumb of her abusive husband, you can avoid that responsibility. I suspect that your current level of involvement is just what you want. This way, you can fantasize about having a real relationship with her without having to face the realities of it.

But her husband is likely to find out about you sooner or later, and that could be real trouble. Is your own life so boring that you need this kind of sordid, dangerous relationship? If so, you should find something that gives you excitement without having to get it from someone else’s sad life.

You've had the experience of her soap opera. Now it's time to wise up and move on. Find yourself a woman who is available and isn't talking about becoming a lap dancer.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

Uphill Battle With His Family

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I am a 31 year old African-American woman who was once engaged but never married. I have been seeing Jake, who is Italian American, for almost three years. During our three years, it has had many good times but there is one factor that repeatedly leads to arguments beyond epic proportions between us -- his family and his ex girlfriend.

When we first started dating, Jake and I were head over heels and when he first mentioned to me that he was friends with his ex-girlfriend of 12 years, I admit that I felt intimidated by that fact since I have been burned in the past by ex-boyfriends who had ex-girlfriends as "just friends". What Jake decided to keep back from me was the fact that his ex-girlfriend lives with him and his family. Needless to say this is not a normal situation, although he felt absolutely secure that it was since she was more of a "sister" to him than anything else. We stayed together almost two years until one Christmas where things came to a head when it became revealed that she was going to be there and I was not because it was more of a "family thing" and it "might make other uncomfortable" with me being there.

Things ended and I dated and tried to move past my feelings for him which I did until he reappeared 10 months later. He said he was moving out of his house and wanted to start things over again and wanted to take responsibility for all the times he put the feelings of his ex and his family ahead of mine. Despite my urge to just say no and walk away, I decided to give him yet another chance. Since then, it has taken him 5 months (in what was supposed to be only 4 weeks) to move out of his house, his family has revealed that they don't like me because I shouldn't have anything to say about the fact that his ex lives in their house and also have issues with us being in an interracial relationship. It was said that although I am a nice girl, his father didn't believe in the races mixing and his mother basically feels that I have no right to tell her who she should and shouldn't have in her house and if I have a problem with it, big friggin' deal, it's all on me.

During our fourth month back together, Jake proposed to me and although I was elated at first, I am still wondering if any of the problems that have plagued us in the past will ever be resolved. His parents now say they would like to talk to me although I don't have anything to say to them since the whole race issue was brought to light and truly hurt me beyond all belief and the fact that his ex continues to live with them. Jake has more or less informed me that he loves me and wants to marry me and that he has opened up to me and learned from me in way that I can't imagine, but that I will simply have to deal in "being secure" in my love for him and the fact that his ex is always going to be a part of his life because they have a "bond" together and she is a close friend to him now. And I also discovered this morning that under his credit card account she still holds a card even though he swears she still pays for her own portion of the bill. To me, after three years, something like this should not even exist anymore.

Jake has many good qualities and there has never been a question of love between us but lately I've been wondering if I am just wasting my time on a momma's boy who can't get past his codependent relationship with his ex who he admits he feels guilty over breaking up with because he "grew up with her". I don't doubt his love for me but I doubt if he will ever understand and accept the fact that this kind of situation is not healthy and is just a constant slap in the face to me. And I have to ask -- is this all worth is?

Dear Doubter,

You’ve known Jake for three years now, and you can assume that what you see is what you’ll get with him.

That means that if you marry him, you are marrying his family and his ex who may never go away. With a strong love and commitment, even the bigotry of his family can be overcome, but it will be a battle.

His mother and father may never embrace you the way you’d like (although grandchildren will help). In any case, you should take them up on their offer to talk to you. Listen to them and be aware that knowledge is power, so knowing what they’re thinking, although it may be hurtful, is better than not knowing what you’re up against.

If Jake really wants to marry you, then he must be willing to make some adjustments in order to accomplish that goal. For instance, it’s really time for his ex to get a credit card of her own. That’s a perfectly reasonable thing for you to ask, since marrying Jake means you’re responsible for his debts (and hers too if she’s on the card). You have every right to protect your financial future.

This is also a good time to negotiate for holidays and how they’ll be spent. Let him know that you aren’t going to disappear and that you have to be included in holiday family gatherings, whether or not the ex is there. Make sure that Jake lets his family know that if they want to see him, they’ll have to accept you too.

You might as well try to make friends with his ex. Let her know that if she’s going to be a part of his life, she’ll have to be a part of yours too, because you come with.

Only you can answer the eternal question, “Is it worth it?” One good way to decide is to think about whether you’re getting enough pleasure to offset the pain involved.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

Swinging Isn’t Easy

Dear Dr. Tracy,

My husband and I have been married for 10 years and we are secure in our marriage. We have been a member of the swinger lifestyle for about 3 years now. I have no problem seeing him with other women and he is the same with me about men... but he always makes me feel like I'm in his way, like when I'm not compatible with the male he says "don't knock me out of the saddle" and I feel like I should just keep my thoughts to myself and not tell him when I don't feel compatible because he won't be happy. When he meets new women and I say let me stay home he always talks me into it and I aways end up feeling like shit.....

Dear Swinger,

You and your husband have chosen a very difficult lifestyle. Very few couples are able to incorporate swinging into their lives without totally destroying their relationship. The problems you’re having are typical.

It’s one thing to have an open marriage where you each go out with other people on your own, but it’s something else entirely when you decide to swing with another couple. That means that instead of finding two people who are compatible, you have to find four, which is really hard to do.

You have to find another couple where he thinks the woman is hot and you’re attracted equally to the man. Your husband is way out of line if he’s pressuring you to be with some guy so that he can have the guy’s wife to swing with.

There’s no way you should keep your thoughts to yourself, but it is rude to hurt people’s feelings. That’s why most couples who swing have secret signals they give each other, such as talking about a particular vacation they went on, which means, “No, I’m not up for this.” If you and your husband don’t have such a prearranged signal, you should get one.

Communication is the key to surviving as a swinging couple. You must feel free to tell your husband how you feel and he must respect your feelings at all times. If either of you feel uncomfortable in a particular situation, you should both leave.

Often in swinging, one partner wants to pursue the lifestyle more than the other. Partly because of this, many swinging clubs and couples have strict rules, such as both partners of a couple have to be present and agree for any swinging to take place, and no one should be coerced into having sex.

Stop letting your husband pressure you into doing things you really don’t want to do. That’s not the swinging way.

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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