Dr. Tracy's Advice Column

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In Love With A Commitment Phobe
Prenuptial Agreement
Men Who Tease

In Love With A Commitment Phobe

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I am a 39 year old recently divorced woman. My husband was impotent and irresponsible with money and I saw my life getting too complicated and getting nothing in change for my effort.

After 5 months of being single a 47 year old male friend of mine found out about my divorce and started calling. I dodged his calls because he has a reputation of dating women for 3-6 months and then finding fault in them or breaking up because he gets tired of the ultimatums.

I finally let him into my life and was immediatelly smitten. He lavished me with gifts and took me to expensive places. We are extremely compatible sexually and in our interests in life. He gives me exactly all that I was missing in my marriage.

After a month of living this fantasy I finally had the courage to read about commitment phobes. To my dismay, they start all relationships treating the woman in this incredibly overwhelming way. After 3 months is when they start to push and pull. All the symptoms are there. However, those symptoms are the same as those of a person who is crazy about me.

How can I tell the difference? Also, Is there anything I can do besides RUN?

Thank you, In love with a commitment-phobe

Thank you.

Dear Dismayed,

Sometimes, when a relationship is too good to be true, it is. However, you canít really know if heís a commitment phobe for sure until you ask for a commitment and he starts to pull away.

If your man has a reputation for dating 3-6 months then pulling away, heís more than likely in love with love. Then, when the first blush of a relationship wears off, when real life problems start to appear, he runs for the hills. There are lots of men like him.

So what can you do? You can enjoy what you have. You can remind yourself that you shouldnít fall head over heels in love with him. Hold back a little. Keep him off balance by not always being available so that he doesnít get bored. Make him wonder about whether he really has you or not, instead of you wondering all the time if you really have him.

Discourage runaway fantasy. Remember you are just out of an unhappy marriage. Itís possible that he is your "interim man" whom you won't spend the rest of your life with, but who helps you recover from your marriage. In which case, heís the one who is going to get dumped by you, not vice-versa.

Consider that at least heís showing you that you can be happy with a man, even if itís only temporary. Since youíre so recently divorced, you shouldnít really be rushing into a lifelong commitment right away anyway, so maybe this guy is perfect for what you need right now.

As for the difference between a commitment phobe and a man who adores you, itís pretty obvious. A man who adores you, adores you in spite of your faults, not because he thinks you donít have any. A man who is a commitment phobe canít really adore anybody. He canít nurture others and heíll be gone in six months. But this takes time to see. Meanwhile, you can get a pretty good idea about whether a man could be a commitment phobe if he's never made a real commitment before and has no pets, no plants, no longterm relationships.

Since you shouldnít make a commitment before youíve known someone for six months anyway, you might as well wait around and see what will happen. If he does start to pull away, resist the temptation to grab on to him. If he says he doesnít want to see you as much or anything like that, say ďOh, thatís fine, no problem.Ē Donít act unhappy and donít let him see you sweat. Heíll be expecting you to say, ďOh, no, donít leave me.Ē But donít do it. Act as if you have lots more men just waiting for you, and who knows, maybe you do.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

Prenuptial Agreement

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I really hope you can answer my question because I desperately need an answer. I am a young woman in my mid-twenties and I met a wonderful man about 6 months ago. He is really my ideal man, he is sweet, romantic, extremely attentive and communicative. We have talked about the future together and for the first time I don't feel afraid of thinking about future, marriage and kids. I feel I have found my other half, my best friend and my soul mate, now that I believe in those terms.

However, he has mentionned prenuptial agreement and that discussion made me upset. He is in his thirties, has bought properties and is pretty well off without being excessivelly rich. But I am not a gold digger and intend to become a doctor myself.I understand that he wants to protect himself and his assets. I think of love and marriage as a total sharing and want to share everything I have with him. In the family I was brought up in, whatever belonged to my father also belonged to my dad and vice versa and that's how i understand living together. I think that when it's going to be time to seriously talk about getting married (and i know it will), this subject is going to come back and I don't see myself signing such a paper because it would be like saying that I believe that we are doomed to failure. He told me that he definitely see himself with me for the rest of his life but he has been burned so many times that he is afraid that could happen with me and he would lose all the things he worked for all his life.

The thing that bothers me is not the money, I would love him if he didn't have all his properties but I am bothered that it means that his money is more important than me and our live together.I don't want to sound like an hopeless romantic but I think that marriage is forever and if we don't see it that way, we shouldn't get married in the first place. I also think that life is pratical enough and I don't want to think of my marriage as I would think of a business.

What do you think of that? Does this mean that we see things too differently to get married? How significant is this? does this mean that he loves his money more than me? i really love him and wouldn't want to lose him can you give me a helpful perspective?

Thank you, Turned off by the prenup.

Dear Desperate,

If you really absolutely, positively, will not sign a prenuptial agreement of any kind under any circumstances, you have a couple of choices. The upfront thing to do would be to tell him now how you feel so that you don't waste your time and his. That would also give him a chance to rethink what he wants.

You risk him telling you that he wants to break up, but if thatís the case, youíll have a chance to start over with someone new.

Your other choice would be to just enjoy the relationship and see where it goes, then deal with the prenuptial when and if it comes up. Itís possible that in the next year or so, youíll find that heís not the man for you after all. Or that heíll decide heís so much in love with you that he doesnít want a prenuptial after all.

However, any man who has lots of assets is going to be worried about losing them in a divorce. The divorce rate is very high, and in community property states, a man can lose half of everything he has in a divorce. The way to find a man whoís not concerned about losing his assets in a marriage is to find a man who has no assets to worry about.

Marriage is a contract. Both parties agree to love and care for each other in exchange for lifelong fidelity. It's unromantic but not totally unreasonable for that contract to include an agreement about whether or not they will share all or part of their assets and what will happen to those assets if the worst case - a divorce - occurs. Even with total love and commitment and the best of intentions, no one can predict what life has in store for each of us.

There are of course, all kinds of prenuptial agreements. Some of them say that there will never be any sharing of assets. Other prenuptials say that after a certain number of years of marriage, the assets or a portion of them, become shared.

If you really love this man and youíre really not interested in his property, having a prenuptial agreement shouldnít worry you at all. If it does come to that, you should of course, have your own lawyer to look after you in the negotiations. His saying he wants a prenuptial agreement is significant in that it shows he is seriously considering a commitment. It doesnít mean he loves his money more than he loves you. It means he wants to protect himself, and maybe you too.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

Men Who Tease

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I am involved with a guy, he is nice, considerate, loving etc. He is eight years younger than I.

I am 45 next Wednesday and he is 37. The problems are two fold: he has considerable financial problems even though he makes more money than I do; and I have three children.

He never has money, his home telephone has been disconnected twice since we have been dating and his cellphone is always off and we have only been dating three months.

Another thing is the sex -- when we first me he did everything, now he won't do the oral thing that he knows I like and he teases me with sex -- he will start and stop and not finish.

Dear Involved,

If you care for yourself and your sanity, youíll get this man out of your life as soon as possible. He's not nice, considerate or loving. Why do you think he is, when he deliberately witholds sexual pleasure from you and intentionally leaves you frustrated? Heís a jerk, not a nice guy.

I donít care if heís older or younger than you. His financial problems show that he is immature. You have three children, and this is not the kind of role model they should have. His lack of responsibility with money is probably just a symptom of a generally irresponsible lifestyle.

If you did let him into your life on a permanent basis, say by marrying him, his debts would become yours. His financial problems would become yours. And you will soon find yourself with as many financial problems as he has.

Youíve only been dating three months, and I'd guess that what you are seeing is only the tip of the iceberg. I suspect thereís a lot more that you donít even know about. I wouldnít be surprised if heís been involved in lawsuits and even bankruptcy. He might have been good for sex in the beginning - thatís what younger men are supposed to be good for. But now heís not even good for that.

His leading you down the garden path sexually and refusing to finish or let you finish shows a lot of hostility toward women. He doesnít want you to be satisfied and is playing a power trip to keep you wanting more but never getting enough.

Whatever you do, donít lend him money to help with his financial problems, or instead of repayment, all you'll get is a different kind of tease.

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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