"Ask Dr. Tracy"

9/15/96 Advice Column


The Neanderthal Male,
He Just Wants To Be Friends,
Wants A More Perfect Man




Dear Dr. Tracy,

I just read your advice about the perils women face when becoming involved with married men. Your advice is typical female-centric rhetoric.

Lets see, a "good" man stays at home and is totally and unconditionally dedicated to one woman, right? Women have been controlling men like that for too long. It's not natural to me, nor I suppose many men to be totally focused on one person. Maybe it is for a woman. The physical side of the relationship quickly becomes routine and tiresome and you start looking around for someone to help fill that void.

My guess is that women for whatever reason are more content to hang around and be focused on one person - maybe they don't have that strong aggressive urge to seek out a person of the opposite sex to become physically involved with. They value intimacy and "pillow talk" and all that stuff which is totally meaningless to me. Had you ever considered that your advice benefits the woman and maybe keeps the man from fulfilling some instinctual urge that is intrinsically part of being a male?

Please, no need to lay out the guilt response. We've grown immune to the criticism long ago.

Dear Immune from Criticism,

You're absolutely right: males have more of a generalized urge to procreate. It's an ancient male instinct, like the instinct to bash in someone's head with your cave man's club if they confront you. You can't help having these urges, but you can help what you do about them. Children have a natural urge to grab all the blocks, but they learn to overcome that urge, to interact socially and gain friends by sharing.

Concerned about possibly being too "female-centric," I asked my friend The Old Seducer if he had any advice for you, and he said, "Nope. He sounds just like me when I was 19 -- promiscuous, insensitive, and arrogantly righteous about it. He'll either grow up and wise up or grow old very lonely."

That sounded pretty harsh to me, so I thought I'd explain what you get if you can overcome your urges. It's not simply a "good" man who stays home and is faithful, it's a smart man. He doesn't have to worry about catching a sexually transmitted disease. He doesn't have to keep track of what lies he's told and to whom. He doesn't have to sneak around.

Men who value their relationship realize that to have the benefits of commitment, love, security and caretaking that comes with a marriage, they must remain faithful. My advice benefits both the man and the woman. A smart man values trust, fidelity and loyalty. None of which you can get as long as you're playing around. Of course, you have to have a relationship you truly value. Perhaps you just haven't found that yet.




Dear Dr. Tracy,

I'm 32 years old, was married for 5 years divorced, lived with a man for 3 and then met the "right one"... He's 29, was married for 3 years, involved with a 19 year old right after being separated and then met me. He treated me like a queen, flowers, movies, dinner, dancing, etc; the way I had never been treated before. Then after 2 months in our dating, I found out his ex-girlfried (19 yr old) was pregnant with his child. Since then we continued to see each other and I feel deeply in love with him, but he began to pull away. The baby was born and he believes she is his child, so I accepted this and my feelings were still very strong. We stopped being together so much as he said he just wasn't ready for a commitment (relationship) but when he was ready for one he wanted it to be with me or someone like me. Now 10 months since we met, he took the 19 year old away for a weekend with his son from his marriage (said she asked to go so they could talk about the baby). He said he didn't want to hurt me anymore because he couldn't give me the commitment that I deserved and wants to be friends.... Ok, so he continues to call me at least once a week (just talk about weather and stuff), it hurt too much to talk lightly to him so I told him I just couldn't be his friend at this time because my feelings for him are too strong...... I really believe he loves me but he is afraid of the financial situation this young woman can put him in since his divorce pretty much wiped him out. He does live at his parents home because he can't afford his own place. Do guy friends just want you as a friend and still call weekly? Or, are my gut feelings that he does love me and want me to hang around true.???

Thanks for listening............. Feel as though I lost my one chance..

Dear Feeling Like You've Lost,

In general, when a man says he just wants to be friends, it's the kiss of death for a romantic relationship. What would you mean if you told a guy you just want to be friends? You should be aware that a lot of guys will try to keep several women in their "active file" without committing to any of them.

You have two choices. One is to break up with him totally and go on with your life. That would probably be the smart thing to do. After all, he's made a mess of his life so far. Why give him a chance to make a mess of yours as well?

Your second choice is to let him have his 19-year-old and wait in the wings for that relationship to break up, because it probably will. Maybe he'll get you pregnant too and you can have family gatherings with the children from all the previous marriages, relationships, etc. I wonder if you've really thought through and faced the reality of what you'll get if you do win his love in the end.

Instead of feeling like you've lost your one chance, get on the stick and meet some new guys. If you had a whole bunch of men, do you really think you'd be so stuck on this one? I'd suggest you read through the Section on Finding Someone to help yourself get unstuck.




Dear Dr. Tracy,

I am 21 years old, and just graduated from an elite private college with highest honor. People say I am attractive and charming. But I've never had a serious boyfriend. My mother is saying that I am too picky. I want to explain my reasoning and listen to what your opinion is on this matter.

I have a lot of male friends. From an early age, my best friends have always been boys. Over the years, quite a few guys have asked me out. Some of them are actually quite nice. But I have yet to find someone who interests and fascinates me (well, technically that is not true. I fell head over heel in love with a guy three years ago. But he wanted to have nothing to do with me for reasons I still do not quite understand). Anway, I watch my friends settle for people that they do not really care for or are not their first choices. But they are afraid to be alone and need someone to be there for them. The way I look at it - nowdays one out of every two marraiges end in divorce. It is hard enough as it is to make a relationship work, it is even harder when at least one party isn't quite convinced that his or her spouse is the person h/she really wants to be with in the first place. I really don't mind being single. I have an interesting and fullfiling life. But I have to admit that as years go by, sometimes I am afraid i will end up alone. I realy think I will be a good mother and really want to have children someday. Do you think I should stick to my original beliefs or try to start a relationship with a guy that I find less than perfect?

Dear perfectionist,

There are no perfect men or women, but there is one who is perfect for you. If you fell head over heels in love once, it can happen again. I'd suggest you give yourself time. Twenty one isn't exactly an old maid. Many women today don't marry until their thirties or even forties.

You 're doing fine. Being alone at 21 is absolutely no indication you'll be alone at 31. So enjoy your male friends and enjoy life. If you want to see if your mother's right about being "too picky," test those "original beliefs" of yours by reading "Developing Realistic Criteria" in my Library.





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