"Ask Dr. Tracy"

10/1/2000 Advice Column

Excuses Men Make
Her Husband Wears the Panties
A Woman in Love

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I'm 20 year old, single, female. About a month ago, I started dating a man that I've considered a well-known aquaintance for quite sometime. We gotten very close over the past month and considered ourselves a couple. I developed a bond with him and considered him not only my boyfriend, but one of my best friends as well. He repeatedly gave me praise over my looks, intelligence, and sense of humor. I believe everyword of what he has said to me in such regard, being that our relationship was not yet sexual-as those were not his intentions.

Recently however, we have gone back to school. We live only 20 miles from each other, but still go to different colleges. After being back in school for only a week, he decided that we wouldn't see each other enough to be able to hold together our relationship. He complained that it was a hardship having to make the commutes back and forth to see each other and that he really didn't have the time. He suggested that we be just friends, even though he claimed that it wasn't what he really wanted. He says he sincerely does have strong feelings for me, but that it's not going to work out.

What I don't understand, is that if he indeed does have these "feelings" for me and cares so much about me, then why would a 20 minute commute and a little less time together make him decide to put an end to what we both consider a wonderful relationship? I want to save it in anyway I can, but being that he is a senior in college he doesn't yet know where he will end up in terms of job location. This puts another weight on the issue of our relationship. All these issues are what he claims, "are the only problems in our relationship."

I believe that with the friendship we have established, the bond we have created, and the amount of affection and care we have for each other can carry us through the distance, and indecision over the next year. As for him graduating, we could cross that bridge when we come to it. I would like to give our relationship a chance to flourish.

How can I help him to overcome the worries and doubts of our relationship and get back to what could be a great relationship?

Full of Hope

Dear Full of Hope,

You don't have a case of long distance love here, you have a case of a man who wants out and is making excuses. When a man really really loves you, he'll travel from the ends of the earth to see you. Obviously this man doesn't care for you enough, even though he's said he has strong feelings for you.

You and he haven't been dating that long, only a month. That's really not long enough to be in a serious love relationship. You and he haven't had sex yet. That's another bond you haven't made with him. Who knows what's really going on with him?

He's trying to let you down easy without having to tell you there's no chance. You want to give the relationship a chance to flourish, but he obviously doesn't. Most likely, he's found someone at his school that he's interested in. You really have no choice but to forget about him as a romantic possibility and to move on.

Don't waste another second worrying about his feelings for you and why he won't make a 20-minute commute. It's not about the commute. It's not about less time together. It's not about him not knowing where he'll get a job. It's probably about another relationship possibility.

Stop trying to convince him. You're fighting a losing battle. Instead, find someone else to date and get on with your life.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

Dear Dr. Tracy,

My husband and I are in our early 30's and our one year wedding anniversary was early this month. My husband recently confessed to me that he has this overwhelming desire to wear females underclothing and stockings. He has said he has been doing this since he was 8 years old. He said that he thought he could "get over it", but "couldn't resist the tempatation". I'm trying to be as opened minded as I can,but I can't help thinking that he broke my trust in him because he did not tell me during our dating, engagement or before marrying him. He said he began to wear them about 11/2month ago and felt "guility" about keeping it from me. The problem that I have is not only about my trust in him, but is this a "fetish" or does he have gay tendencies? He tells me that he does not like men and loves women,but I don't know what to believe. He toldme that he never had a gay experience,but he admitted that his fantasy is to dress as a woman and go out to the public but would not do it because he"loves" me and "that is as far as Iwould go". What to do?

Confused wife

Dear Confused,

You've only been married for a year. The first year of marriage is often filled with revelations for both husband and wife. A marriage is a commitment that has to survive lots of surprises. Nobody knows everything about another person when they marry that person.

Sure, in a perfect world, he would have told you before you married that he liked to wear women's underwear. In an even more perfect world, he wouldn't have such a fetish. But he's got it and he's your husband. He's shown a lot of trust in you by telling you and trusting that you would still love him.

If he's a good husband in every other way -- honorable, kind, loving, affectionate etc., his wearing panties won't make him a bad husband. Wearing women's underwear is a very common fetish and usually is not connected to having gay tendencies. It often happens that a very young boy's very first arousal in life is when he accidentally touches the silky underwear belonging to his mother or aunt or even grandmother. He then begins to connect his pleasurable feelings with underwear.

I have heard from many, many long-married couples where the man has this particular fetish. In some cases, the women even help by buying the underwear for their husbands. Some even dress him up to give him the ultimate thrill. Others get together with other couples and share the fetish.

Your participation in his fetish can be a little or a lot or none. That's up to you. However, his having a desire to wear women's underwear is no reason to feel that your marriage is in danger, unless you want it to be. Your husband loves you and will love you even more if you accept him and his irresistable desire to wear women's underwear and stockings.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I am a 39yr old female, and have been in a relationship with another woman for the last 4 years. She is a Surgeon, very attractive and has a wonderful personality to match.

Last year, she moved in with me, and a week later broke up with me. The problem is...she is still here. (fortunately, she is currently house hunting) Because I love her so much, I have not had the strenght to ask her to leave. I have made the silly mistake of "hoping she would change her mind."

Beause I did not have the stregnth to believe her when she said there was no more "chemistry", I have had to deal with trying to get her back, with half of the Lesbian population in my very large city hot on her trail. I had to sit back, and watch everyone ask her out, cater to her, talk to her, etc. It has created an insecurity in myself that I have never had before. I am normally a strong and very stable person, but have been put into the ground by no one's fault but my own. Now, I have to start all over, with absolutely no self-esteem. Any suggestions on how to get it back, so that I don't go into my next relationship with excess baggage?

Wishing things were easier

Dear Wishful,

Four years is a long time to be in a relationship, gay or straight, and it's always a big disappointment when a love relationship breaks up. It's especially painful when a lesbian love relationship breaks up because lesbian love is often so intense and because it's so hard to find another lover. I recommend my book, "Letting Go; A Personal Action Program to Overcome a Broken Heart," which will help you with the specific problems of starting over.

Moving in together puts a new strain on a relationship. Some survive, some don't. I'm sorry yours didn't, especially since you're in even more pain that you would be otherwise by continuing to live with this woman. Of course, you hope that somehow she'll change her mind and love you again, but chances are slim, especially now that you are sad and depressed and lacking self-esteem. You're not as lovable in your present condition as you used to be, so it's in your interest to get yourself back on track -- and not just for her.

Act happy, even if you're not. It'll certainly make you more attractive. And remember, acting happy can actually help you feel happy.

It's definitely time to ask her to move out. You're just rubbing salt into your wounds by watching her being courted by half the lesbian population in your city. Give yourself a break. You need to have some time alone to heal and to rediscover your self-esteem.

As long as you're living with this woman, you're holding yourself back from healing and from finding someone new to love. Don't look for someone to replace the person you've lost, look for someone to enjoy for the moment. You don't have to make an instant lifelong commitment. Take some time to date and look around. It sounds like you're not dating, just watching your ex and suffering.

Self-esteem doesn't come from another person, it comes from within yourself. Start by accepting yourself fully and reassuring yourself that you're still special in spite of the failure of this relationship.

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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