Dr. Tracy's Advice Column

Cartoon Kiss


Fantasy Sex
The One That Got Away
Relationship Compromises

Fantasy Sex

Dear Dr. Tracy,

This is difficult to write. My girlfriend of 2 years has just casually informed me that often times when she sees an attractive man, she fantasizes what it would be like to have sex with him. When i expressed shock at this news, she couldn't believe that I don't do the same when i see an attractive woman.

Although I consider myself a helathy, active man, and we have a good sex life (we are both divorced and in our late 40's), I truly do not have this regular fantasy. Though i certainly admit that a very attractive woman can catch my eye as well as my imagination, it doesn't progress to the fantasy stage of imagined sex! Then, to make matters worse, my lady friend advises me that I am in the "small minority" of people, and that most men and women think the way she does.

Can this possibly be true? Is that "normal" for most adults in a happy, committed marriage or relationship? I REALLY need to hear your opinion -- am I a naive prude in denial, or do i have a relationship with a problem? I'm not sure how I feel about the fact that I may always have to wonder if the good looking guy we just met at a party is now the next fantasy of my partner. I really need to hear your opinion, whatever it may be! Thanks!

Sincerely, Perplexed

Dear Perplexed,

You and your girlfriend have a good sex life. What on earth are you worried about? Do you think that your relationship is any less valuable because she fantasizes about having sex with another man?

Thatís ridiculous. Her fantasizing about sex with other men shows that she has a healthy, active imagination and is sexually alive and interested. Rather than take away from your relationship or sex life, you should realize that your girlfriendís fantasies probably add to your sexual enjoyment.

Fantasizing makes her more turned on and probably a better lover. Yes, you are a naÔve prude whoís in denial. Many, many women and men fantasize about having sex with some good looking stranger they see. People fantasize about making love to movie stars or rock stars. That doesnít mean that theyíre going to actually do it, just that itís fun to think about.

Whatís so great about fantasy sex? Well, with fantasy sex you donít have to get sweaty or mess up the sheets. You donít have to worry about STD. You don't even have to get to know someone, or whether they're suitable for a lifetime or whether youíll see them again.

A fantasy lover never rejects you, isnít sensitive, and always thinks having sex with you is great. You never have to worry about whether theyíre having an orgasm or not and youíre never rejected because theyíre tired or not in the mood.

Reality is that she doesnít want to actually have sex with these guys, just that she enjoys the fantasy. Think of it as a way she turns herself on. And imagine yourself the recipient of more pleasure because of her fantasies.

Consider yourself lucky to have a girlfriend who feels comfortable enough with you and who trusts you enough to tell you about her fantasies. Instead of wondering if the next good looking guy you meet at a party is her fantasy, talk to her about it. Encourage her to share her fantasies with you; she might have other fantasies that are even more intriguing.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

The One That Got Away

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I left my family and country at the age of 18 (I'm now 28) due to lack of economic prospects to do a degree in Canada. While at university, I had one difficult and painful relationship which was my first one. Looking back I can see that I was very young, and inexperienced and also had to cope with many other factors (lack of family around, becoming independent etc.)

I then a break of 4 years where I didn't date at all as I was quite traumatised from this experience and at the age of 25, I emigrated to the UK and enrolled to do a graduate degree. While there, a foreign student in my class from Mexico wanted to date and I decided to be open minded and went on a few dates with several different people. He kept on asking me out, bringing me flowers, calling me for quite a while although I felt quite indifferent and also told him that I felt with all my travelling I needed stability and didn't see how things could work out when he went home. At this time I was also close to graduating and needed to begin applying for jobs and he was really supportive and optimistic.

I should mention that we had quite a similar background in terms of religion, values etc. I couldn't put my finger on anything specific but unlike my last relationship where I felt strongly attracted even though he was nice and kind, it felt like something was missing. We had a long distance relationship for over a year with phone and e-mails being the mainstay of communication. He came to visit me once in the UK and proposed, which came as a surprise to me and I really didn't feel I could accept with all these doubts. I saved up to visit him and his family in Mexico and also started learning Spanish.

Through it all I would have recurring doubts about whether this relationship was the one, and felt quite trapped. I didn't feel excited and didn't know why. I always felt reluctant to uproot myself again to a completely new country, unsure of whether I would be able to learn a living there, work in a different language and scared on what I would do if things didn't work out. Whenever I brought this up, he seemed completely unpractical to me saying, 'don't worry just leave everything and come here.' He kept on saying this even though now he is doing a graduate degree and I know he would not have enough money to support us both, pay for language tuition, and I would be alone while he went to class. Things came to a head when I continued to repeat that I was unsure about moving to Mexico and now we've split up although he still wants to keep trying with no resolution in sight.

My parents brought me up to believe that I could be successful and I've always wanted to contribute something to the world. I'm in my first job and earning my own money which is a good feeling. Since then I've been dating a bit and find that I'm giving guys who perhaps don't try so hard who I feel attracted to and aren't as deserving as he was more attention. I feel sad when I think about it and really hope he's OK. Was he the one and have I made a big mistake?

I hope you can help as there is no one else I could ask.

Thank you. Confused

Dear Confused,

Nothing is as seductive as a man who says he loves you and wants to marry you, even if heís not quite right for you. So itís normal for you to think about him, especially if the men in your life are not trying as hard or professing as much love for you. Plus youíre in your first job and thatís always stressful. Itís tempting to reach back for a former comfort zone even if it wasnít perfect.

However, your boyfriend from Mexico probably wasnít the one for you, so donít make yourself crazy thinking about the one who got away. Having a relationship with someone is one thing, but when you begin to factor in the problems such as being from another country, speaking another language, and most of all, feeling that something was missing, you couldnít make any decision but the one you made.

Feeling trapped and having recurring doubts about marrying this man is a sure message that this relationship shouldnít go forward. Moving from the UK or Canada to Mexico is not a move to be taken lightly, and his cavalier attitude about your concerns is a big red danger sign.

If he isnít taking your issues seriously now, he wonít in the future either. He comes from a culture where women arenít at the top of the heap. Your desire to be successful and contribute something to the world might clash with his familyís desires for you to be only a mom and wife.

Itís okay to love a man, to think heís wonderful and deserving, and not want to marry him. If your inner voice says that youíre not sure youíd like your life with him, you have to let him go.

Donít make yourself crazy looking back and wondering what might have been. Instead, concentrate on what is and what can be.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

Relationship Compromises

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I am a 36 year old single woman. I was married for eight years (we were together for eleven) and I have been single now for three years. After my divorce, I definitely had unrealistic expectations about finding "Mr. Right" and have dated a variety of men, trying on different types so to speak, to see what appeals. Throughout my dating experiences, I have dumped and been dumped a number of times.

Whenever an adverse situation arises in a dating relationship, or if the man has an annoying attribute, I tend to jump ship. My thinking has been, if he does this now, it will only get worse. I am very afraid of investing too much time with someone and then finding out they are all wrong (like my ex-husband.) I have also been accused of being too picky.

On the other hand, I feel a sense of urgency in wanting to be married again and possibly have children. I feel like if I do not meet someone and fall in love soon, it will be too late for me. This sense of urgency has scared off a fair number of men as well.

Realistically, I know that no man is ever going to be "everything" to me and fit my expectations perfectly. But how do you know what to give-and-take on? I continuously second guess myself. And I'm having a hard time just relaxing and letting relationships take a natural course.

My mantra has been that I want someone who is just as crazy about me as I am about him and isn't afraid to show it! This sounds reasonable but it just isn't happening. Should I find someone that is tolerable and make the best of it? If that's the case, I guess I should have stayed married to my exÖ and that's too depressing to contemplate.

Thank you for your time.

Dear Picky,

Being too picky is a good way to avoid a relationship. So is jumping ship as soon as an adverse situation arises in dating or if a man does something that annoys you.

Being too picky means that you are expecting someone to be perfect, which we all know is unrealistic. You have to be willing to give and take, and only you know what you can make compromises on. The way to tell is to see how if feels in your gut. The other way to decide is to ask yourself, ďIs this a deal-breaker issue?Ē

Nobody is going to be perfect, you just have to find someone whose imperfections you can live with and whose assets far outweigh their liabilities.

In jumping ship, what youíre really doing is avoiding communication. Itís time for you to learn to speak up. If a man does something you donít like, tell him about it. Give him a chance. Some men just need to hear you say "that wonít do" or "here's what I want," and theyíll change. Others wonít. But itís definitely worth trying. Donít just walk away. It's a common problem for men to not show how they feel. A man may need to be told flat out that he either learns to express his feelings toward you or he'll lose you.

Even after you find someone you think is great, theyíre going to do things that annoy you. Here again, communication is the key. People who silently put up with little annoyances are liable to "save them up" and then trade them in for a break-up or a divorce. Communicating openly about what bothers you is necessary for a good relationship. It also helps to negotiate for what you want. Look for ways to create a win-win situation Ė he gives you something you want, you give him something he wants.

Since you have a sense of urgency about starting a family, look for men who put marriage and children at the top of their list of goals. Donít waste your time with men who just want to play around.

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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