"Ask Dr. Tracy"

10/15/2000 Advice Column

House + Dog + Joint Checking=Marriage
In Search of Three-Way Sex
Internet Cheat

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I am a 24 year old never married woman. I have a situation that I suspect is not all that unique. I am so emotionally torn and really don't know what to do about it.

My boyfriend and I have been dating for 3 years; we have known each other for 4 years (we met at work but did not start dating until he took a job at another company). My boyfriend is 27 going on 28 very shortly. We are both college educated, from the same state, and have a general group of mutual friends plus a few of our own friends. We have been living together for 1 year and recently bought a house together. We also own a dog. There have been no serious problems with our relationship and we are generally able to work any minor problems out. It was my boyfriend's idea to buy the house; he said he was sick of renting and that it was time for us to buy a house. I questioned him on his motives and stated that of course I wanted a house too but did not want to buy one with him unless we thought we were ready to make that kind of big decision. I brought up the subject of marriage with him (he has always been reluctant to bring the subject up other than very vaguely) and said that I did not want to buy a house together if we had no plans to marry. My boyfriend then said that he thought we were ready to talk about marriage and that he thought we would get married in the near future -- within the next year.

His view is that he doesn't want buying a house to mean that we need to get married right this second but that we will get married. However, he now says this very vaguely and I no longer feel that we will be married in a year; every time I even bring up the subject he shuts down and won't discuss it. I know that his parents are very concerned about us buying a house not being married (they have a very happy marriage), although they are very supportive and treat me like their daughter. My mother is also very concerned only she has not been as supportive and has stopped talking to me except only briefly when necessary.

While I know that I shouldn't let my mother's feelings become my feelings, I feel very hurt by her reaction and am starting to feel resentful to my boyfriend. I am really confused. I know that love should matter more than marriage should, but I also feel that if he really loved me he would marry me; that is, make definite plans to marry me. Why hasn't he proposed? I don't need a big diamond ring on my finger, but he could propose without a ring or use an inexpensive one as a symbol. Does this sound silly?

I feel like I have been pressured into buying a house with him. I know that he couldn't have bought the house without me or afford the payments (he makes more money than I do, but I paid the downpayment, closing costs, and appliances as I have more money saved). Of course, I know that this is my fault for allowing myself to be talked into this. He now wants us to set up a joint checking account for our household payments and expenses, but I am reluctant to do this. I somehow feel that if I set up a joint account with him that will give him all the more reason not to marry me, because why should he? He really has no practical reason to marry me other than for love. I hate thinking this way about him, but I can't help it. I love the house and I love my boyfriend. I just don't feel right about not being married. Am I just being irrational about this? What should I do? Please help!

Dear Almost Married,

You've got the house, the dog, the man and may soon have the joint checking account. You've got everything but a marriage license. So far though, everything seems to be happening when "he" says it happens. He's calling all the shots.

He wanted to buy a house, so you did. He probably bought the dog. He wants a joint checking account, and he doesn't want to talk about marriage. Well that's just too bad. It's time to stop doing everything just the way he wants. After all, you can't spend your life being an accessory to his desires. He's not your boss, he's supposed to be your partner. That means your desires count too.

Stop being such a wimp. Speak up. Tell him in no uncertain terms what you want. Don't be put off because he shuts down and won't discuss it. He certainly gets you to discuss what he wants. Tell him, "Sure, we'll get a joint checking account, but I also want a wedding date." Stop waiting around like the ingenue in some Hollywood movie for him to drop to his knees and propose with a little black box in his hand. You don't need a proposal, you don't need a ring. What you do need is a wedding date.

So, you propose. It's that simple. Who says you always have to let him be the one to take the lead? You'd be surprised how many women propose.

You love the house. You love the boyfriend. Tell him that. And tell him you want to be married before (you insert a date), your next birthday, his birthday, or whenever. Then give him some suggested dates. After all, he did lead you to believe you'd be married within a year after you bought the house. Don't let him get away with putting you off. The longer he does, the worse it'll get. The more unhappy your mother will be and the more uncomfortable you'll be. Let him know you don't need a big diamond. Let him know you'll be glad to open a joint account, but you need a date.

Don't take no for an answer. Use your feminine persuasive abilities. Be prepared to argue your case. If necessary, make a scene. Cry, shout, insist, and be persistent. Make him really uncomfortable. He'll get over it.

Most men need a little nudge to get to the altar. Some need a real push.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

Dear Dr. Tracy,

Ok, here it is: I'm 37, married, 3 kids, wonderful husband, active fantasy sex life. My husband wants to see me have sex with another guy and/or have a threesome with another guy, no gay stuff, just for me. I'm all for this. I have a guy in mind at work. Here's the part I need help with: This guy is 27, single, and I WORK WITH HIM. I think about having sex with him now all the time, which hasn't hurt my sex life with my spouse at all, in fact it's better. How do I ask this guy about this situation? Especially without having a sexual harassment lawsuit slapped on me? I guess I'm just wierd...not your usual girl...I just want a "friend" to have sex with occasionally. Not to fall in love with. Just to have fun with, with my husband. What do you think?

Dear Searcher,

Your husband wants to see you have sex with another guy and you want to do it, but you are going about it the wrong way. First of all, what on earth makes you think this guy at work wants to have sex with you, with or without your husband involved?

He'd be really stupid to get involved in your fantasy. Even if nobody at work ever found out about it, which is doubtful, he'd wind up in an uncomfortable situation. If he turns you down flat, you'll feel rejected and things will never seem the same between the two of you. And, yes, you could be accused of sexual harassment.

If he accepts your offer and you and he and your husband have a sexual encounter, then what? Let's say it's wonderful, for you and him, but your husband hates it. Then what do you do? Or let's say you and your husband love it and the young man from work hates it, then you have a really difficult situation. All in all, there's too much downside potential here.

If you and your husband want to fool around with another guy, find one who already swings. Go to a swing party, or put an ad in a swinging section of the personals. Swinging or having a menage a trois is complicated. You don't want three threesome virgins fumbling around. Find someone with experience for your first time, so at least one of you knows what you're doing and what to expect.

Read up on "open marriage." Learn the rules. Check out websites like Americanswingers.com for information and a look at some other people who are already interested in meeting you and your husband.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I am 44 years old, married with a 9 year old daughter and 17 year old step son. My wife and I have been together 15+ years and married for 10. Recently I met through the phone and on line a 24 year old mother of one. We have been conversing via I M and e-mail. Some of our conversations are racy to say the least. This all happens at a time when my wife has been withdrawing in to herself because of arthritis and chronic migraines,

This woman and I talk and share perversions over the Internet, which my wife feels is very inappropriate. I asked her what is the difference of doing this or sitting in a gentleman's club oogling dancers.

We will never met and nothing serious will happen. Although with my wife's' illness and her attitude being poor she does make the ideas that float around seam good. I love my wife very much and am as helpful and supportive as can be.

She has a defeatist attitude and gives up easily. I think she uses her illness to an exaggerated extent at times. Because of all this our relationship is spotty, depending on the mood of each day. She is seeking help, physical and psychological, but I don't think she believes in it. Her only answer is a constant flow of narcotics.

I am not sure if her ailments are as serious as she says, or if my new friendship is as bad as she says. This relationship is filling a void which I cannot seem to close.

Dear Internet Flirt,

The relationship you're developing online with a 24-year-old is totally inappropriate. You're married, you're 20 years older than she is, and you're using her to escape the problems in your marriage you don't want to deal with. Married men have no business IM-ing and chatting with women on the internet, especially when those conversations are romantic or sexy in nature which yours is.

Talking and sharing perversions over the internet is just as bad as doing it over the phone or even at a bar. Just because you can't reach out and actually touch the woman doesn't make it okay. I don't blame your wife for being upset. What you're doing is even worse than sitting in a gentlemen's club because you're being intimate in a private one-on-one basis with another woman, giving her the attention that your wife should get.

Migraines are definitely caused and made worse by emotional stress, which you are causing your wife. Arthritis isn't caused by emotional stress, but the pain feels worse when your husband is cheating with a younger woman on the Internet.

If you really love your wife very much, start searching the Internet for arthritis and migraine information and help her feel better. Stop spending time in sexual fantasies with your IM buddy. If you have a void in your life, you are part of the problem. You are abandoning your wife in her misery and withdrawing from her in much the same way you accuse her of withdrawing from you.

You and your wife need to go to a counselor.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

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