Dr. Tracy's Advice Column

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Good Enough To Play House, But…
His Ex Is Hovering

Good Enough To Play House, But…

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I am writing to you tonight in hopes that you are able to give me some insight on my current situation.

I have been with my boyfriend for 12 years. We met when I was 16 and he was 21. We now have 2 children a 10 year old and a 2 month old. We are currently living in separate households and have been for the last 3 years. Three years ago I found him cheating and I decided to move out. We have plans on moving back together in January if all goes well.

I have told him many times that I want to get married, every year I give him a deadline and every year nothing happens. He says he wants to marry me but he wants me to straighten out my attitude and financial situation before he will marry me, then he tells me maybe we should try living together again first just to see how things go.

I am tired of waiting I feel as though I am good enough to play house with but not good enough to marry, everyone tells me "he will never marry you" and I am beginning to believe that I am just wasting my time.

Please give me any advice you may have, I need some kind of guidance.

Thank you so much for your time!

Dear Tired of Waiting,

The key to your problem is that you think you've been "just playing house," but you've gone way beyond just playing. You have two children, a ten year old and a two month old. They don't think you were playing house, they think you're their parents.

It's worrisome that you caught him cheating three years ago and moved out, and yet one of your children is only two months old. That means that you moved out but you were still having sex with him. You have given him everything he wants and never really gotten what you wanted, marriage.

The way to get him to marry you is to stop giving him everything he wants without having to marry you. Twelve years is way too long to fool around with someone without knowing whether you want to marry or not. Either he does or he doesn't. It has nothing to do with your finances or your attitude. He knows who you are and he also knows what it's like to live with you.

Stop giving him free trials. He's gotten way too many already. Forget about "moving in together" -- again. Tell him that the only way you two can move back in together is if you're married. Make him marry you first. No more sex, no more anything until he marries you.

If he won't agree to marrying you now, then he won't in a few more months, so you might as well save yourself from wasting any more of your life on him. Sometimes you have to leave a man for him to realize what he had. Sometimes you have to find someone else before he really comes around.

You deserve more than you're getting, but because you're willing to settle for so little, that's all you get.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

His Ex Is Hovering

Dear Dr. Tracy,

First of all, I'm a latinoamerican woman who is eternally grateful to your books and advice: I have read two of your books: Ive followed your love plan and I'm so happy to announce you that it worked for me!! Its was as hard as doing a diet, but as you said it was worth it. I got the man of my dreams, and he is soon to propose after 6 months of seeing each other...

The problem is: My relationship is perfect, and he is not the problem but his ex; she's a problematic woman with psycological problems (he's not saying it but most people that know her says she's one in a million aggresive type) and she keeps calling and sending sms to my ex although he made it clear he doesnt want to do nothing with her; not even for friendship; Im not upset with him; Im upset with the situation, and I know she's gonna call for his birthday due december 20th. He has given me the opportunity to answet her call, but I dont want to be rude or unpolite; so thats why im asking for your advice. I trust your wisdom, so whatever you say I should do Ill do it.

Love and thank you your advice is for latinoamerican and female gender in general all over the world!

Dear Upset,

First of all, keep in mind that she doesn't see him as totally taken yet, and may not until you walk down the aisle. So since he's not married, or even engaged, in her eyes he's fair game. And she has a point.

Secondly, in a short time, when you're engaged, she may decide to give up.

In the meantime, the way to handle this situation is for your boyfriend to tell her that he's in love with you and that he doesn't want her to call him or write him again. He can go beyond what he's already told her, to inform her specifically that the two of you are planning to marry. He should tell her that if anything changes, he'll call her, but that she shouldn't contact him in the meantime. After that one final conversation, he should ignore her calls and letters and let you handle them.

If she continues to call or write after that, then you must step in and take over. Start answering the phone and any letters or emails. Tell her that you understand how she might want to be with your guy, but that she had her chance and it's time to move on. Be kind and considerate. You can afford to be generous, since you've got him and she doesn't.

Instead of being upset with the situation, be happy that you're the one who's got him and not the one who used to have him. Use the situation to show your boyfriend how compassionate and understanding you can be. He'll be sure to notice the difference between her behavior and yours.

Couples always have situations that are stressful; it's how you handle those situations that's important.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy


Dear Dr. Tracy,

I am in desperate need of your help. I have been in three serious relationships in the past. All of which ended when my boyfriend at the time cheated on me. Every time I KNEW who I was going to be cheated on with. When I met the girl or heard my boyfriend talk about her, I got this feeling in the pit of my stomach and I have been right every time I've gotten this feeling.

My current boyfriend is amazing. We have been together for 20 months. We have been living together for 17 months. We have talked marriage and kids and have our life path set. He has already decided when he is proposing (and talked to his parents about it for their approval). All I know is that it will be next year. Our relationship is perfect. He treats me like a queen and does everything to make me happy. My happiness is more important to him than his own. I feel the same way. I would do anything for this man. I don't live with him anymore, I now live for him!

Here is my problem. Due to all the cheating in my past, I have a lot of trust issues. He has known this from the beginning and has been great with it. He is understanding and supportive. There is a 9 year age difference between us - he is 21 and I am 30. He has currently gone back to college, and there is this girl in his class. I don't know her, I've never met her - but I get the feeling in the pit of my stomach that I got with the others in the past. I truly believe my boyfriend would never cheat on me - but I can't control my insecurity and fear of being cheated on again. I express my feelings openly with him and we discuss the issue every time it comes up. He is getting to the point where he is getting annoyed. He has done nothing to make me think he is or would cheat on me. It has been almost two years and I can't seem to get over it. He says he knows it is part of me and it is something I can't help and he will live with it because he loves me and that is part of me, but it is starting to cause a lot of arguments and pain.

How do I get rid of this feeling in my stomach about this girl? I don't have it about anyone else he goes to school with, it is just her. How do I get past the trust issue? I truly believe with all my heart that he is a genuine sweetheart and cheating is something he would never do. I also worry that he is going to decide she is closer to his age, has more in common with him, and that he won't cheat but will leave me for her. He has done nothing to cause these feelings. In fact, he has done everything to comfort me and show me that he doesn't want anyone but me. I don't want to lose this amazing man because of my past. How can I get over this? Please help!!

Untrusting for No Reason

Dear Untrusting,

Given your relationship history, and given your insecure and untrusting frame of mind, I'm perplexed that you would get involved with a much younger man. It's the most challenging of situations for a woman.

It takes a very secure woman with high self-esteem to be in a relationship with a much younger man and not worry that he's going to wander off or be attracted to someone more his age. Ask yourself if you've been setting yourself up by choosing men who are inherently difficult to trust. After all, it takes a very unusual 21-year-old man to commit himself for the rest of his life and never wonder what he's missed.

The feeling in the pit of your stomach may be wrong about this girl at this time, but it's right in giving you a warning that you're facing difficult odds with this young man, no matter how loving and faithful he is at the moment.

Trust is one of the most important issues in a relationship. If you can't trust the other person, you really can't have a successful relationship. You must trust someone -- and be sure you can continue to trust them -- before you even think about spending your life with them. After all, you're going to be leaving your precious children in this person's care. You're also going to give them access to your checkbook and your credit card.

If you're bound and determined to go further into this relationship, you're going to have to swallow your lack of trust and give him a chance. It's a gamble. You may get hurt yet again. A much better match for someone like you, who's been burned so badly, would be a mature 35-year-old man who's sown his wild oats and is truly ready to settle down.

But if you want to go forward with your young man, you've got to stop giving him second thoughts by harping on your doubts and insecurities. Maybe you can't stop listening to the message you're getting from the pit of your stomach, but you sure can stop talking about it incessantly. You'll drive him away if you don't shut up about it.

One big problem you're dealing with is that your self-esteem has been kicked around and has you acting like a wounded animal. Acting like a victim makes people treat you like one. So stop acting like you're insecure and think some other girl is going to take your man, even if you are insecure and think that all the time.

Try "thought stopping" to get over your insecure thoughts. When you start to think, "Oh, that young girl at school is going to …." Immediately change your thoughts to, "(insert name) is with me and he loves me." Repeat affirmations like, "(insert name) loves me and I love (insert name)," and "I am beautiful, I am loveable, I deserve to be loved."

Consider the theory of self-fulfilling prophesy - in other words, you think it and you create it. So change your thoughts, change your future.

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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