"Ask Dr. Tracy"

10/13/96 Advice Column

The "Other Woman" Blues,
Broken Engagements,
Pre-Marital Hornies

Dear Dr. Tracy,

Do you have a suggestion for any reading material on being the "other woman"? I'm feeling pretty rejected.

Dear Other Woman,

There are some rules for being the other woman.

The first is to accept that he's married and you're not. If you make every problem of his (and his wife's) yours, you're doomed to unhappiness. Happy mistresses accept the situation. They know what they can and can't expect. They're okay spending most weekends and all holidays alone. They take the best of the guy and happily leave the worst for his wife. If you can't do all of the above without getting upset, then you should find someone single. You might find Carole Botwin's "Men Who Can't Be Faithful" interesting reading.

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I have been in and out of a relationship for almost three years. We have been engaged twice, actually planned the wedding the second time. She has called off both weddings. Each time something from her past has come up for her to deal with. She fells she must do this on her own. I have always felt that she cared for me very much.

We started dating during my divorce. I know I was not ready for a relationship but I have grown very close to her in the last three years. I see many good qualities in her, these have pulled the same qualities out in me.

I see that what she says about me is based on her past experiance and feel that most of her anger is not deserved by me. I trust that she will work through these issues on her own. I would like to be there to support her but she is not willing to let me.

Right now she has asked for no contact but has sent me an email and paged me once to see if I was at her house one day. I do not intend to contact her but feel she will soon contact me to rekindle the relationship.

Should I? What should I look for from her to be sure she will stay committed?

Thank you for a wonderful web site,

Dear Perpetual Fiance,

You're welcome, but I'm concerned about you. How many times are you going to play "ring around the wedding pole" with this woman? In my book, if someone calls off just one engagement or cancels just one wedding, that's enough to get them out of your life for good.

The trouble with people like her is that in order to get close enough to them to get their good qualities, you must endure their awful ones. Consider yourself lucky that she doesn't want you right now. Take the time to get involved with someone with good qualities who is also reliable. You can't really plan a life with someone who can't count on.

No, don't take her back. You'd just be setting yourself up for another fall. Don't answer her e-mail, don't return her phone calls and pages. Short of performing a frontal lobotomy that will erase whatever it is from her past that keeps her from making and keeping commitments, there's nothing that you can get from her that will make you sure she'll stay committed. She's already made promises and broken them. So her promises are meaningless.

If you read "When to Get Out" in my Library, you'll see that you should let this one go. Otherwise you'll find yourself in a "now she's here, now she's not" relationship for life. And then read "The Broken Popcorn Machine" to feel better about making a hard decision.

Dear Dr. Tracy,

First and foremost, please keep this email address completely confidential. I'm 24 and about to be married to a wonderful man...we're great together and the sex is fine. However, I'm unbelievably attracted physically to another man. I know in my heart I want to be with my fiance forever, so would it be so wrong to have sex (protected, of course), with my object of lust just once? For a while now we've been holding back from going all the way (we've fooled around a bit), but now that my wedding is around the corner, it's my last chance to have sex with someone else. I know you'll say to buy a bottle of wine and some candles to spice up my relationship, but that won't get rid of my ongoing lust for the other person. How many women have a quickie affair before their weddings?

He'll never know, so he won't get hurt...and I could probably deal with any guilt I will surely feel. I want this man so badly - what should I do?

P.S. I don't want to break up with my fiance or hold off on the wedding, either - I know who I want...but I want someone else in a totally different way. Help!!!!!!

Dear Hot Pants,

You have nothing to gain by having sex with another man before you're married. It's wrong and stupid. Not just for moral reasons, but also for practical ones.

There's no way to win. If the sex is great, you'll want more, which will pose a real dilemma. If it's lousy, you'll feel like a fool, because you will have taken the risk of your fiance finding out. (What on earth makes you so sure "he'll never know"?)

Either way, you're better off with your ongoing lust and fantasy than the reality. Then you'll always be able to look at him, get turned on, and tell yourself you could have had a fabulous sexual interlude, but didn't because you were a good fiancee.

A good fantasy is better than a quickie affair, because quickies almost always turn out to be a lot more sleazy and less satisfying than you think they will be.

Are you sure you're ready to get married?

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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