Dr. Tracy's Advice Column

Cartoon Kiss


Her Male Friend
The Baby Problem
Sparks are Dying

Her Male Friend

Dear Dr. Tracy,

About a month ago, my girlfriend of 5 months informed me that she and best guy friend dated briefly about 3 years ago. She also informed me that on at least 2 occasions they have had sexual relations. One of them being approximately 1 year ago. Both times they were intoxicated. He is quite a bit older, and she said that she broke off dating largely due to this age difference. However, since then pretty much every other Sunday they have gone out and done something together.

I have met him one time, and at the time had no knowledge of any prior relationship beyond just friends. I took what she said about him being one of her best friends as just that. Never reading anything beyond. Now, with the knowledge, I have been feeling odd about the situation. Up until the last 2 weeks, they have not really seen much of each other, as she told me he feels he needs to back off. However, it seems now that she is trying to make more of an effort to do things with him. I'm sure they talk, and I know she has been at his house while we have been dating.

A while back he also bought her a gift while they were at a charity auction together. She could not afford it, and he bought it for her. He was very intoxicated, and bought many things that day. When I first met him, I felt a vibe that perhaps he was not interested in women. Apparently, he is not exactly the best in bed either according to my girlfriend.

Is it bad of me to feel a little threatened by this situation? She wants me to get to know him to see why she considers him such a good friend, and I want to get to know him. However, I feel a little uncomfortable doing things with them. I have yet to do so, and have yet to be invited. Is that something I should leave up to her to suggest, or should I suggest doing something with all 3 of us present? If all 3 of us do something, should I question why he hangs out with her? Should I tell him to make sure he keeps it at a friendship? It's not a major issue, and it would not have been one at all had I not known about the past between them. Now it just seems to bug me a little. I have girls who are friends, but nothing has ever happened romantically between us, and she has had some issues with it in the past. To me I think her relationship with this guy is a little more concerning than the ones I have with other women. What should I do? Do you think there's anything to worry about? Please let me know. Thanks in advance.

Sincerely, Confused

Dear Confused,

Your girlfriend has an old boyfriend that sheís still close to? So? Sheís not having sex with him now and hasnít for a year, and thatís 6 months before she even knew you. So what business is it of yours if sheís still friends with him?

Actually, you should be happy. It shows that she can remain friends after the sexual attraction has worn off. Also, she certainly had a chance to have him. She had him, she knows what heís like, and sheís decided sheíd rather have you. You should be happy, not feeling odd or confused.

Donít behave any different than you did before she told you. After all, you have a vibe that heís not that interested in women, and she told you heís not all that great in bed, so why worry?

Sure, you should get to know him. ďKeep your friends close and your enemies closerĒ was sage advice from 5th century BC military stategist general Sun Tzu in his book on military strategy, "The Art of War.Ē And also repeated by Michael Corleone in ďThe Godfather II.Ē You're in more danger if you donít know your enemy than if you do.

If youíre concerned about getting together with this man, do it in a situation you control. You set it up, you make it on your turf, and you control the environment. For example, have a barbeque at your house or a pizza and beer football get-together. Play to your strong points and let him adjust to you.

Do not question why he hangs out with her. Do not tell him heíd better keep it ďjust friends.Ē Instead, make a point of being affectionate with her and tell him that you are serious about your relationship with her.

Donít compare your relationships with women to hers with men. Sex or no sex isnít the issue here. The real issue is whether she can be open with you about her past and also integrate you into her life and with her friends. Take this opportunity to show her that the answer is positive to both of those issues and that youíre a good guy, not a jealous, insecure, controlling crazy.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

The Baby Problem

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I am 34, my wife is 35. my wife wants to have a baby - I am opposed to the idea. I don't hate babies or kids it's just that I don't like them very much.

I also feel I am too selfish to have a baby, I don't want to give up all my time and energy to look after something I will not love.

Many of my friends have babies and are happy, but I don't think I will be. Am I weird?

My wife and I have recently had a big argument about this and I feel that unless I give in and decide to have a baby we will separate.

Any advice you can give would be appreciated.

Dear Reluctant Dad,

Your wife is at an age where her biological clock is ticking like a timebomb. If you donít agree to have a baby with her, she will feel as if youíve stolen her right to have a child by your selfishness. Even if you manage to stay together and talk her out of having children, she will resent you and youíll have ongoing problems. Every time she sees a baby sheíll look at you accusingly.

Most men arenít as eager to have babies as women are, but that doesnít mean that they donít have them. A 35 year old woman isnít going to let go of the idea of having a child, nor should she.

She wants to fulfill her destiny as a woman, and in her eyes, part of that destiny is to be a mother. She also wants to experience the kind of love that only a parent can have for their child. Itís in her genetic makeup to want to have a child.

If you really wonít agree to have a child with your wife, you are probably going to have a divorce. Iíve seen it happen time and time again. Men who refuse to participate in child-producing and rearing are dumped by their women who then go on to find someone more agreeable to parenthood. There's a biological imperative going on here that you can't fight.

This is an argument you canít win because even if you win, you lose because you create an unhappy wife.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

Sparks are Dying

Dear Dr. Tracy,

Hello, I am a 25 year old female, and have been married for only 3 months. I am happy, and i do love my husband, but i just think somethings should be different, and that's what i need some advice on. I know he loves me, but i sometimes feel taken for granted, i feel like he is already too used to me. When i say that i mean i realize some of the spark fades after people are married for a while, but we have only been married for 3 months, and I already feel as though that is happening. I feel as though there is not as much affection shared, more so from him than me.

I am a very affectionate person, and he knows that and lately he has stopping showing as much, yet he still expects me to show him the same amount if not more. We did not have a whole lot of romancing before we were married, and I do know that it's just his personality, and he does not find it to be as important as I do. At the same time I feel that it is a real problem that i am feeling this way at only three months of being married, and i do not know how to approach him with this feeling. I don't want to give him the impression that it's all his fault, or make him feel as though i am saying he is not a good lover. I just don't want to see our marriage get boring and predictable! Please help!

Thank you for your time.

Dear Newlywed,

Yes, the burning flames of first love do fade to warm embers, but not in three months. You should still be in the honeymoon phase. You and your new hubby shouldnít be able to keep your hands off each other.

Your husband isnít solely responsible for keeping your relationship romantic and sexy. Youíre responsible too. You say he wasnít very romantic before you were married, and you know itís his personality. So why would you expect him to be different after you got married? It's just him being himself. But if you don't do something -- if you let him continue taking you for granted and being unromantic, youíre writing off your future possibilities for exciting romance.

If you want him to change, youíre going to have to lead him. Make a list of the romantic things you want him to do. Sit down with your daybooks and make appointments to go out. Write in dinner dates and romantic evenings at home. Schedule your life to get what you want. Take charge.

Let him know that spending quality time with him is important to you. Communication is the key. Stay positive. Donít blame him or make him feel guilty. Donít complain about what he doesnít do. Instead, ask for what you want him to do. The way to approach him is to first assure him that you think heís wonderful. Say three nice things, ones he will agree with, then say what you want.

Donít expect him to do this on his own. Youíre going to have to create romance and search out erotica that appeals to him. If you donít know what that is, finding out would be a good place to start.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

Submitting a Question to this column

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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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