"Ask Dr. Tracy"

11/30/97 Advice Column


Dear Dr. Tracy,

I am dating a wonderful man who I've been seeing for almost a year now. We have a lot in common and get along great. My question is: he talks about getting married "someday". How long do I give a relationship before I should expect a proposal? I am 28 and he's 33, so I feel that I should give it a year and a half and if he hasn't proposed I should tell him I'm moving on.

What do you think? Is this unreasonable? In my early twenties I dated a man for five years and I don't want to put myself in that situation again. I'm not getting any younger and I'd like to start a family in the next few years. Right now I don't pressure my boyfriend at all. I never even mention marriage....anytime it's been discussed he's brought it up. But I did tell him once in a joking way that he only had a year and a half to engage me or I'd have to move on. I figure that by that time you either know you want to be with someone or you don't. So do you think I'm being unrealistic by thinking this way? By the way, neither of us have ever been married or had children.

Sincerely, "confused"

Dear Confused,

Good for you, for setting a time table with this guy! Too many women let men drag on relationships indefinitely without insisting on a commitment. Then, the man gets used to the idea that he can keep seeing her forever without getting married and he wants to keep the status quo. The only question I have is, does he really understand when the year and a half started?

I usually recommend no longer than 2 years without a commitment(see "The Steps to Commitment" in my Library ). So, let him know that there is a time table and that you're serious. Then when you get there, if he hasn't made a commitment, say goodbye and find someone else.

Good Luck,

Dr. Tracy

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I truly hope you see this. I am a young looking 49. Was married for 19 years, separated 10/94, final decree 9/97. I have had one relationship (one-sided) since moving out. It lasted 2 years, (she had to move because of her job). I recently met the most beautiful woman in the world. She is everything I've ever dreamed of. She is 26 years old. Although we only met a month ago, she was immediately attracted to me, and I to her. We made love on the third date, and it was great. We both have expressed how great the sex has been. Right up front though, after the first date, she said she is not ready for a commited relationship. I also have my suspicions that she is seeing another man, or maybe two or three others. We have discussed her position regarding a "Relationship", and I have agreed with her, telling her that I will be content for now, just to see her whenever she can. I already know I need to back off. I have written original poetry to her, which is the first time for me. I have given her Roses, and a few gifts, and I know that I must stop giving for now. My question is this:

I know she likes me, otherwise why go to bed with me. She has told me she really enjoys me. How can a woman be intimate with a man, and not feel some kind of feelings, (like I feel)? I am a hopeless romantic. What can I do to help her gain trust as a friend (I want to be the best friend she ever will have), and what can I do to make her fall in love with me? I feel as if this woman is the only woman that I could ever love. She is sooo beautiful, sooo sweet. Oh well, please let me know what to do.


Dear Young Looking,

A 26 year old young woman needs a man more her age, not one 23 years older than she is. You could be her father, you know.

So you went to bed and so you had great sex. That doesn't mean you can be her number one, primo relationship. And yes, she could be having sex with you and have not the least idea of longterm commitment. For now, I suspect, you're an interesting diversion from men her age. Very few of them send roses, write poems or give presents. And perhaps you're a more patient and experienced lover.

Some women believe it's better to be an old man's sweetheart than a young man's fool, and naturally gravitate toward older men. Other young women feel that getting an older man is a way to get even with their fathers for some imagined or real wrong. Who knows why she's seeing you? Rarely though, do these kinds of affairs last.

Young women fall in love with older men because of their money and power, which can be very sexy. They fall out of love with them because they're bored and yearn for a younger body in bed.

So enjoy it while you can, and remember, when she's 43, enjoying her full bloom of womanly sexuality, you'll be 69 and on the far side of yours.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I'm been in love with a friend for 3 years now. The reason why I haven't asked her out is that my family, my entire family, will not accept her. What's outrageous is that we're both Asians! I'm Chinese and she Vietnamese! It seems like every week that I have to delay in letting this dear friend know how I've felt about her--for so long--my chances of ever having her as my girlfriend is withering away.

Please, this is a very decent, sweet, girl. I care about her so much, and I so desperately want this relationship with her. It's just because of my parent's biased views against her family. I'm a Christian and I'm a decent, respectable guy within my circle of friends. I've never been in a relationship or been interested in many girls since I hold a rather high standard. But for as long as I continue to know this beautiful person--beautiful in body and in soul--I know I'll always want her. Please, what should I do? Should I finally ask this precious friend out, causing conflicts among my family and immediate Asian community? (my father ministers to them) Or should I wait longer, maybe someday proving to them how wrong their preconceptions of her family may be? But wouldn't I be risking my chances of having her by delaying? I mean, after being friends with this girl for so long, and not telling her how much I've admired her, wouldn't she just consider me a "big brother" now? Please help! I really want her companionship. Please.

Dear Conflicted,

No wonder you can't decide what to do. You're so busy wondering how to please everyone, you'll wind up pleasing no one, including yourself.

If you like this girl, find out if she likes you. Ask her out. You don't have to tell your parents you're asking a girl out. Just do it. Then if she likes you as much as you like her, tell her the problem and work it out between the two of you before trying to deal with your parents.

There is always the possibility that her interest in you does not go beyond friendship. If you and she don't hit it off, that would be an unhappy outcome for you, but at least your problem would go away, and you won't have to spend the rest of your life wondering.

The kind of prejudice your family feels won't change by itself. If you wait for that to happen, you'll both be old and never know if you belong together. If you and this girl do find love, then your father, as a minister and a Christian, will have to get over it.

Many many people marry for the wrong reasons. Don't marry to please your parents. Marry to please yourself. The world is full of interracial marriages, interreligious marriages and all other kinds of marriages that parents would rather not deal with. Eventually though, most parents come around, especially when there are grandchildren to love.

So if your parents have an unreasonable bias, don't perpetuate it by letting it rule your life. Break free. Stand up for what you believe in and the woman you say you love. You'll be happier if you do.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

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