Dr. Tracy's Advice Column

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When An Old Lover Appears
Cross-Dressing Fiancé
Can This Relationship Be Saved?

When An Old Lover Appears

Dear Dr. Tracy,

My story started year 1990. I was 22 yrs old then and my boyfriend was 20 years old. although our age gap made me uncomfortable at times, we had a very happy relationship. it went on for 2 years. I broke up with him when I learned that he was seeing someone from his work. this girl is younger, sweet and fragile-looking. I thought he deserved someone better than me. He cried and asked me to forgive him and give him another chance. He told me he still loved me. but our age gap made me weak to fight for our relationship. I tried to forget him and move on with my life.

Since year 1992 until this year, we didn't see each other. I heard news from our old friends that he and the girl got married a year after we broke up. later I've learned that it was a shotgun wedding manipulated by the girl's family, and he felt betrayed. after being married for a year, he left her for another girl whom he fell in love deeply. they lived together and got married 1995. When he thought he had found the perfect girl, whom he would spend the rest of his life with, his dreams were broken by karma. it turned out that the "perfect girl" used him for her financial needs and she left him when someone better came along. it was a year ago, and now they undergoing divorce proceedings.

He is depressed and brokenhearted. Afer nine years of non-communication, a friend told him my whereabouts. I know he was in a lot of grief and his life was in a mess, but he needed a friend. he started calling me and we started going out.

At first I was hesitant and I'm not sure how to react but 9 years ago seems like only yesterday. we found out that we still care for each other and the feelings seemed to came out to where it was hidden for all those years. now I'm confused. before, everything is so simple. but now, everything is complicated. I know his heart is still vulnerable, and he is still recovering for the past. but he wants me back in his life. It's not that simple because I have a steady boyfriend for 9 years and we are planning to get married next year. on top of that, I can clearly see pain in his eyes everytime we talk about his second wife.

What is his motive? I asked him why wasted 9 years before he came to me. he said he thought I was angry with him and he can't face me after he got married. but now that he was free, he wants to take the chance. Is this some kind of fate? Dr. Tracy, what should I do?

Ms. Confused

Dear Ms. Confused,

You are certainly confused if you are thinking of dumping your boyfriend of nine years for your really confused and depressed ex-boyfriend.

Your ex is a two-time loser, and although he portrays himself as the victim in his marriages, I don't believe it for a minute and neither should you. Let's see, the first woman he married, he was forced to marry, manipulated by the girl's family. Right. And then there was marriage number two, where he was used by a fortune hunter and dumped when something better came along.

He's acting like a victim, but nobody is the victim all the time without having a hand in creating the situation. I'll bet, if you got his ex's phone number and gave her a call, you'd get an earful. There are always two sides to these stories. Remember, the last time you got involved with him, he wasn't exactly faithful. Perhaps he was unfaithful in his marriages as well.

In any case, you have a boyfriend you've been with for nine years. You're getting married next year to someone you know loves you and wants to be with you and make a life with you. You should definitely not give up your fiancé for your ex with all the baggage he brings. It's time for you to get married and have a family with someone you know and can trust. You don't know your ex, really. You only know what he was like when he was 20.

It sounds to me like he's a problem looking for a new life to mess up. He has an excuse for everything and nothing is ever his fault. It's even your fault that he didn't come to you sooner - he thought you were angry. Right! So why did he show up now? Suddenly you're not still angry? Can you imagine spending your life with a man who is never at fault? Your ex is just looking for a soft place to land and you look like softie to him. Don't be a fool.

This is not fate, it's just plain stupid, and that's what you'd be if you take him seriously and let him mess up your life. Just because you once loved someone doesn't mean you should change your whole life plan when he shows up again.

Be smart. Let him go run his number on someone else. You'll be glad you did.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

Cross-Dressing Fiancé

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I'm not sure where to start. I met a wonderful man about 11 months ago, and we are planning on getting married in about 6 months. He is 11 years older than I, and is loving and treats me like a queen. Our families get along fine with one another. Everything in our relationship is going well, except for one issue: he cross-dresses privately. He revealed this to me about 3 months into our relationship, and I tried to be open-minded, so I went along with it and even sometimes dressed him up! But secretly I am not happy about this at all. It makes me feel insecure about myself as a woman, and I've tried to feel 'okay' with it but can't. About a month ago, he dressed up for 4 nights straight, and I didn't feel comfortable at all. He said it's because he is stressed, and cross-dressing calms him down. I finally told him what I really thought. I told him how it made me feel and why I had problems with it. He told me that he will put all the things in storage, and only take them out when I feel comfortable with it. I am afraid that I have hurt his feelings, and am also afraid that he will resent me for this.

Personally, I don't think that he will ever stop fantasizing about this, and can't ask him to stop. I can't talk to anyone about this, it is so embarassing. My background is of Asian descent, and this type of issue is frowned upon.

Help! Where do I go from here?

Dear Afraid,

You're right to be wondering where you go from here. I'm afraid that your fiancé is not about to give up cross-dressing for life. He may put "all the things in storage," but they won't remain there for long once you're married.

The problem, however, is not that he's a cross-dresser. There are lots of closet cross-dressers out there who are leading normal-appearing lives and staying happily married. The problem is that you tried to go along with it and found you couldn't. You were brave to be open-minded and try, even helping him cross-dress, but you were also entitled to decide that you didn't like it, and it was important for you to tell him how you feel.

I can understand why it embarrasses you, but there's no reason for you to feel insecure about it. The truth is that a man who cross-dresses will be even more appreciative of you as a woman, because you have everything he admires. He'll adore your tiny feet, your female figure, your shoes, your hands, all of you that he tries to emulate. There's no reason you should feel insecure as a woman because he cross-dresses.

Perhaps you need a longer engagement, time to communicate more fully with him about this and to re-examine your own feelings about cross-dressing. In any case, don't rush into marriage unless you are sure you really want to spend your life with this man. You say he is loving and treats you like a queen, but you don't say you love him. Make sure you do before you marry him. Be sure you are willing to accept him fully, and that you won't freak out if he starts cross-dressing again.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

Can This Relationship Be Saved?

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I need to see how I should handle a horrible situation. I am 33, never married. Recently started dating a 32 year man, never married.

When I met him we had an immediate chemistry. After our first date I asked if was seeing anyone else. He said he was. Said he had been seeing this other woman for a couple of months, she wasn't his type, and he had been giving her hints that he didn't want to see her, but she wasn't getting them. He said meeting me would give him a reason to break up with her.

We saw each other a few times a week for a few weeks, then he took me away for a weekend. It was his idea, and he totally planned it all. While we were on the trip he said he had broken it off with her completely. After the weekend away, I came home for thanksgiving. When I got here, I emailed him, told him about my trip etc. I had several questions in the email, one of which was whether or not he wanted to go to some reception on December 1st. I said I needed to know if he wanted to because the hotel needed numbers. So he called me the next day. My cell phone was breaking up so he said he would email me that night and then call me the next day.

Well the next day I went out and got pretty drunk. I got home about 2:30 am. No email. So I emailed him sort of a mean message. Basically it said I think you are giving me a hint by not emailing me and told him we didn't have to see each other anymore.

But I also called his house. This is really bad. He shares a house, and phone line, with two other guys. One guy works nightshift so it wasn't like I was waking him up. But the guy I am dating has to get up at 5 AM every morning for work. His roommate answered (the latenight guy). I was like "wake him up" and he said "NO he is too hard to wake up. Call back and see if it wakes him up."

I probably called back about 10 or 15 times, but it didn't wake him up. If I were sober I would not have even called that late. But then I called his cell phone and left some kind of drunk message. EEEEEKKKK. I don't even remember what I said. But my email said I was disappointed that I didn't have an email from him and that if he was trying to give me some kind of a sign, just to let me know. See he always talks about giving people hints/signs and they don't see them or get them.

Drunk me!! So the next morning I got up and was in total regret mode. I was totally stressing. We have been having so much fun together. I should never have sent the email. I felt horrible. So after thinking about it all day, I sent him an apology email about 1 PM. It said I am sorry for the email, I still wanted to go to the event together. I told him I was drunk when I wrote it and that I wished I could apologize in person.

He called about 2 pm apologized for not emailing me so I know he at least got the email I sent the night before. He said had worked late, when he got home he ate and totally forgot about it. I don't know if he saw the 1 PM email before we talked or not. I don't even know if he heard my drunk message or knew I had called 1000 times!!! The phone conversation lasted about 30 minutes and went very well.

When we were getting off the phone, he was like, ok i will talk to you tomorrow. Well instead of calling me, tonight he emailed me. This is all it said "I hope you had A good Thanksgiving. I went to my parents for dinner. and watched the lions packers game. Ill see you soon."

Do you think that is bad. I mean it is Thursday and I won't be going home until Sunday and I know I won't see him Sunday. This is the first email he ever sent me so I don't know if he is always this short in an email. Also, it bothers me that he didn't say 'talk to you soon' instead it was I'll see you soon.

If I screwed this up I will be livid with myself!!! I need girl advice. What should I do? How should I handle this? I am in a very bad position. Any advice is appreciated.

Dear Screw-up,

You really blew this one big time. Yes, you screwed up. Is there any doubt?

Your first screw-up was the mean message, showing your insecurity, your inability to live without having everything go your way when you want it and exactly the way you want it, and your generally bad temper.

But that wasn't enough. Then you had to follow that up with the demanding phone call insisting that the roommate wake him up. Don't kid yourself, his roommate told him exactly what you did -- probably along with his opinion of you. He's sure to be aware of the endless phone calls too. He probably thinks you're a real problem and he's trying to back away from you before you do something really crazy. You may remind him of the Fatal Attraction movie.

You should be livid with yourself. You're your own worst enemy. First and foremost, you need to sober up. Your drinking has become a problem and no man in his right mind wants a drunken girlfriend. If he's smart, he'll be running from you and trying not to incite you at the same time.

Second, you need to learn to do nothing sometimes. You have to be able to live with the uncertainty that's inherent when you start any relationship. You never know where it's going, whether it's going to work out or not. You can't just demand to know what's going on. If you do that, you'll drive every man away.

My advice: re yourself, get to AA. Re him, do nothing. Let him come back to you if he dares. And if he does, if he's brave or stupid enough to dare come close to you again, never get drunk again. I suspect it will take a lot of time to prove to him that you are sane and sober and really the kind of woman a man wants to spend his life with. If he doesn't come back, use this as a lesson and never, ever get drunk again.

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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