Dr. Tracy's Advice Column

Cartoon Kiss

11/10/2002

The Wedding Ring
Where There's Smoke…
Crazy Ladies And The Men Who Love Them



The Wedding Ring

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I'm a 42 - year old male who is engaged to a previously married 35 - year old woman. However, she's been divorced several years, and we share a lovely 4 - year old daughter together. She has kept in her posession her marriage ring from her previous marriage. She continues to wear it, sometimes on her left ring finger. She also wears the engagement ring that I have given her.

I stated to her several times, that It bothers me to see her continue to wear her previous wedding ring. She stated, that it is only a ring and the only reason she wears it is because her hand is not attractive enough without it. She states that it is her ring, and she will continue to wear it. I told her by wearing it, I don't think that she is showing me a total commitment. I think it will always remind her of her last marriage, and she couldn't solely focus on our relationship and future. Is it normal for a woman to continue to wear a wedding ring, even if she's divorced? Is it fair to the other half, and should I accept her decision on wearing it? This is an on-going delemma, and I can't seem to look beyond this and go forward. Please let me know what your thoughts or suggestion are.

Dear Bothered,

There's nothing abnormal about wearing a wedding ring after you're divorced. It's still your ring and you can wear it if you want. However, when you're engaged and have a new ring from your new fiance, it's time to make some changes.

You're engaged and she should respect and care about your feelings. If it bothers you that she wears the ring from her former marriage, she shouldn't wear it, at least not as a ring. There are lots of things she could do. She could take the ring to a jeweler and have him make her a charm out of it to wear on a bracelet. She could have it made into a ring that she could wear on her other hand, other than her wedding ring hand - a ring that doesn't scream "wedding ring." She could make it into a necklace.

You and she should talk about what would make you feel better. There are lots of options. She could even find a friendly jeweler who would take it in trade for a piece of jewelry you both pick out for her. Or if she feels sentimentally attached to the ring and absolutely wants to keep it intact, she can put it away and give it to her daughter some day.

Tell your fiance how much this bothers you and how it's keeping you from moving forward with your relationship. Tell her some of the options that would make you feel better about being together. Offer to buy her a ring that would look equally attractive on her hand.

Unfortunately, this isn't just about a ring. It's about whether the two of you can work out problems, learn to negotiate, compromise and work together to make each other feel good. She has to begin thinking about what's really important: spending her life with you or wearing her old ring.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy



Where There's Smoke…

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I'm a single woman, 32 dating a 31 year-old child for the past 3 months. Truthfully, I've been attracted to this guy physically and because of his sense of humor, but he's been giving me more grief lately than anything.

Here'a little background: The first month we were dating, things started off OK, but I sense he was holding back. Things started happening that indicated I needed to know where I stood, eventhough we'd only been dating one month. Turns out he didn't intend for us to grow into a real 'relationship', and that he's been used to dating girls for "other reasons". He also said, rather snottily, that maybe I was different that these other girls. This really hurt me, so right away I broke it off with him.

A week after breaking up with him, he begged me to talk to him in person to discuss things, and curiosity and wanting to put a final conclusion on things made me see what was up. He went into his his song and dance, and eventually apologized for his behavior, using the excuse that he was tired when he said those things to me, and that he didn't mean them, that he only said them because he was afraid of having been hurt in the past. I told him that I felt bad for him, but that everyone gets hurt at one time or another, and that it was no reason to expect the same will happen again. I also spelled it out for him how I needed to be treated -- that I didn't want to be asked out always at the last minute, and that I was not going to waste my time with someone who wasn't serious about working towards a possible committment. He convinced me that he wanted this, so I forgave him and took him back.

The first few weeks were good, and he behaved well. Then later, he starts going on trips back to his parents' home and never phones me. When he's in town, he calls me and asks me out at the last minute still, and when he does make plans with me, he often doesn't keep to them. He's away again, and I haven't heard from him all weekend, and I am growing suspicious, as he isn't even returning my calls or answering his cell phone (which is on). He's always said that he's only seen me this whole time, but my gut has always said that he never shows all his cards. Am I wrong for being/feeling suspicious?

Dear Suspicious,

When you're dating or in a relationship, you have to learn to consider the "pain vs. pleasure" balance. When you're having more pain than pleasure, it's time to re-evaluate the relationship. You should consider getting out of this one and finding someone else.

You broke up with him because of his bad behavior, then you took him back. That was your second mistake. Your first was to think you should be serious about a man you've only dated for a month. If he can't behave for the first month, then chances of his behaving like a responsible adult for the rest of your life are pretty slim.

Anyway, after taking him back, you should have explained to him that if he didn't act like a grown up, make dates ahead, return calls, etc., that you would not continue to see him. But then you did. You say he started not calling ahead to make plans, not returning your calls, and in general making you suspicious.

How much proof do you need that he is not ready for prime time relating? He's a flake, a child, and a player. If you think he's cheating, if you think he's hiding something, listen to your gut. He probably is. Most women know in their hearts when the man they're dating is playing around, and so do you. Give him his walking papers and find a responsible partner who will be there for you.

Go online and choose some men at Match.com or some other online dating service. Since you know you have an attraction to immature men, make sure to choose one who has shown actual evidence of maturity and commitment. Men who are mature answer emails or phone calls, they own and nurture pets and plants, and they have longterm friendships. They also make plans ahead and keep the plans they make.

You need to learn to stop a man's bad behavior the first time it happens. Never let it go on. That just gives him the message that he can get away with things with you and makes him want to see what else he can get away with.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy



Crazy Ladies And The Men Who Love Them

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I have a beautiful lady that I like....at least in our personalities. I feel that we are a great match....also at least in our personalities. She is "stable" with a job for a major Airline for several years. She is also trying to finish a Masters Degree Program in Christian counseling. She seems to be financially stable with a house, etc. She also seems to be connected with her family albeit a little "rough around the edges" relationship with them. Nevertheless she does maintain relationships with them and with -some- ex-boyfriends.

The problem for me is that she is a "Waffler" by her own admission. She has always been very picky about her boyfriends and thus has been picky with me already. I.E...it was an act of Congress to persuade her to meet me for a 30 minute coffee date right at first. But we finally did....but there's more to this. It's a longer story though. And...I want to get to the gist of things....

As I've gotten to know her...she has related to me about these "God Experiences" that are spooky to me at best. Don't get me wrong...I am a Christian person and my faith is very important to me. But "visions" and stuff like that begins to make me uncomfortable.

But she relates to me things like she hears God speaking to her.....albeit not audibly...yet. (much like hearing voices I think...) She has been having terrible troubles sleeping and now says "it's not really that important". (sleep that is...) She also has told me about an experience she had at 3am when she could not sleep and was looking out her bathroom window. She thought she saw the 'face of God' in her back yard and then was scared half to death that she was going to experience the "fullness of His power". (as she puts it) She says it was kinda like Moses seeing the 'robe' of God on Mt Sinai. (a story in the Old Testament) It scared Moses to death...

She also says that God has personally changed her name to "My Chosen one". Finally, she got weird the other night when were kissing. She actually got quite aggressive and demanded that I do things with her that I did not feel comfortable with doing. The problem was not particularly what she asked me to do.....but that she was quite aggressive with me in demanding it. It almost seemed she wanted to demean me or something. (humiliate) When I expressed hesitation....she then moved away from me angrily and told me it was over. It was not enough for her. She needed more. And....it was only our 3rd date. Plus...she is on psyche medication.

In my humble opinion....she's a nut case. And....she fits the perfect "model" for a "waffler" and a "crazy lady" as outlined in your book. The only problem is that as far as our personalities....we seem to be a good fit. Seriously. She & I share many of the same interests and values, etc. But her crazy, outrageous behavior wears thin with me.

I'm maintaining healthy boundaries....but I need some help here. What do you think? Is she a crazy lady....or am I judging her too harshly too soon? We continue to email...and have not been out again.

Dear Uncomfortable,

If the woman you're dating says she hears voices from God, or if she fits all the signs of a "crazy lady" as outlined in my book, "Manpower: How To Win The Woman You Want," then you shouldn't pursue the relationship.

She's on medication, she became aggressive with you, wanted to demean and humiliate you, and told you it was over on your third date, right? And you want to know if you should pursue this relationship? I'm wondering what's wrong with you that you are so attracted to a woman who has so many problems.

Men who are attracted to women who are unbalanced or difficult or seriously flawed have problems of their own. If you find yourself attracting crazy ladies who are nut cases in your opinion, then you should look at what you get out of these relationships.

Do you get to avoid commitment because obviously you can't be committed to someone who's crazy? Do you get to feel superior because you're sane in comparison? Does having a crazy lady in your life bring some excitement to your otherwise boring existence? What's the pay-off? Only you know.

If there is no worthwhile pay-off for you, then you need to make better choices. Next time, pick someone who has no emotional problems at all. See if you can have a relationship with a totally normal woman.

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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