"Ask Dr. Tracy"

12/12/99 Advice Column

He Doesn't Want Children
Mixing Business With A Relationship
Undemonstrative Men

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I am currently in a wonderful relationship and, although we have no plans on getting married in the near future, it is a possibility. I think he's perfect for me in every way except for the fact that he doesn't like children. I definitely want to have some someday. Should I bail before we get more serious and I realize that I won't have a family with him?

Dear Getting Serious,

Don't get serious with this man. His not liking children is a very troublesome sign.

The problem wouldn't be so bad if you didn't want to have children. But obviously you like children and want to have some someday. So why waste your time and his? Unless, of course, you mutually agree that this is a go-nowhere relationship -- just for sex or whatever. Otherwise, there's no reason for you to hang around with him. The future for the two of you is filled with heartache and problems if you try to force him to like children or if he tries to get you to give up on having any.

You will never be happy if you want children and don't have them because he doesn't like them. You will resent him for the sacrifice you've made. Even women who don't especially love children feel the urge to have some, so don't expect the urge to propagate to go away. Also, men who don't like children are difficult to take to family gatherings because they hate being around all the kids.

This man may be perfect for you to have a love affair with, but not to marry or get serious with. However, very few women are capable of having a long term love affair with a man without thinking of making it a permanent lifelong arrangement. The longer you stay with him, the more torn you will feel. Part of you will want him, but a larger part of you will yearn for children and family.

If you aren't in a big hurry to get married and have kids, and if you can keep this relationship from getting serious, then you can enjoy it and have fun. However, if you are in a rush or find yourself wanting to spend your life with him, get out before you have real problems.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

Dear Dr. Tracy,

My girlfriend is 25, I'm 35, we're a lesbian couple who's been together for 2.5 years. Lately we've talked about starting a business together, but then she said she couldn't do it without her ex-boyfriend (who she admits is not very bright). That is, she's doing it anyway and I can like it or lump it, so I chose to end the relationship last week. Unacceptable- being friends is one thing- he's an OK guy- but further connection, especially financial, is just wrong. Plus, I've worked for friends in a similar situation and it ended in breakups and an attempted suicide. I wouldn't do that, but neither do I want to be part of it again because I know how ugly it can get.

She sees my reluctance as immature and says I should just get over it, but I do not want him in my "family's" business in any way, shape or form. He could be useful, but you hire the scut help, not make them partners. Tonight we finally talked & all went well except for her firm stand on the matter. Her little twentysomething buddies have been feeding into her sense of rightness and I cannot make her see that this is just not a good thing. She said it's a control issue but I am not trying to "control" her, I just do not want to sink the ship over some stupid guy. I think the relationship comes first, and if he's a problem for one of us (me) then out he goes. Am I being a baby or is this the potential debacle that I think it is? Thanks!!

Dear Entrepreneur-To-Be,

This enterprise is fraught with danger. Nothing can break up a relationship faster than going into business together. Obviously you and your partner haven't worked out the rough spots in working together. You need to know who's in charge of what, and how you're going to work out problems that come up.

In the case of the ex-boyfriend as a partner, of course you're right. It's a very bad idea. But that's the least of your problems. If you want to save your relationship at all, you'll back out of this business deal as quickly as possible.

First of all, you don't respect each other's business ability enough. You don't trust her decisions and she doesn't trust yours. Also, neither of you is willing to compromise. Not to mention the disdain you show for her age and her friends. Those are problems enough to deal with in a love relationship; they would almost surely be fatal in your dealings as business partners.

Get a job. Let your partner get her own job. Love her, but don't start a business together. Very, very few couples can successfully work together, and from your letter I don't think you and your girlfriend are one of them.

Don't risk your life savings to go into business together. You'll wind up broke and alone. Partners need to feel equal. They need to respect each other. This is every bit the debacle you suspect it is.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I have been dating a guy (he's 29, I'm 27) for the past three weeks and we've gone out on about 5 dates. I am starting to really like him, and we seem to get along really well - we laugh a lot, have good conversations, and have similar interests. The problem is that he has not made any sort of physical move; he has not tried to kiss me, hold my hand, etc. The only thing he does is very tentative, casual moves like touching shoulders at a movie, leaning into me while looking at something in a store, etc. I have thought about making the first move myself, but he always seems rushed at the ends of dates. I've thought about getting him into my apartment where it would be easier to kiss him, but he never wants to come in (always says he has to get going). At first I thought the slow pace was good, but now I'm wondering if he is just not interested in being anything more than friends. What do you think about his behavior? How should I handle this?

Kissless and Confused

Dear Kissless and Confused,

There is something fishy here, and you have good reasons to be suspicious. He rushes at the end of a date when most guys slow down. He doesn't want to come in, when most men can't wait to get in your apartment. A normal red-blooded guy of 29 would have at least shown some interest in getting more intimate. If you're wondering what's wrong, I don't blame you.

I remember dating a guy just like the one you're talking about. He was very handsome, very sweet, and fun to be with. He just never made a move. Finally, I did. He was totally unresponsive, and wanted to keep dating with no emotion, or sex. For me, that wasn't acceptable, and probably it isn't for you either.

Now, there are some guys who are so shy they just don't or can't take the aggressive role in a relationship. If he's one of those types, you'll have to make the first moves to see if he'll come around. You really have nothing to lose.

Either he'll reciprocate your kiss or he won't. If he doesn't, then it's time to ask him what's wrong. If he says nothing's wrong, then tell him you'd like a kiss. If he still refuses, then you'll know that he's not going to be Mr. Right and you should move on immediately. Just because he's good company doesn't mean he'll make a good lover.

Too many people try to make Mr. Right out of Mr. Wrong. If you've gone out on five dates, it's time for a good night kiss, at least. If he can't give you a good night kiss or even hold your hand, believe me, he won't give you the rest of the things you want either - like affection, sex or a hug when you need it.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

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