"Ask Dr. Tracy"

11/10/96 Advice Column

Long Distance Love Fades,
Too Much Criticism Kills Love,
Attracted to Men Who Are Taken

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I have been involved in a bi-coastal relationship with a man I met online 9 months ago. We are very much in love, but due to time, distance and financial constraints, a toll is being taken on this relationship. We have made a commitment to each other, but lately things seem to be disintegrating. To complicate matters, I am disabled and house-bound, so any relocation must be made by him. As I've said, we have been together for 9 months now, although we have only spent 5 days together in person.

Is this nuts??? Starting to feel like it...

I have heard so many stories from others involved in long-distance relationships that began online - both horror stories and happily ever after's. How can I make mine turn out to be the latter? Thanks...

Dear Hopeful,

All romantic relationships are filled with pitfalls. Online, when people encounter the same problems, they may attribute them to long distance instead.

For example, many couples start on too high a romantic note before they get to know each other. They say "I love you" too soon, before they know if they really do. Read "Why People Love" in my Library.

Slow down. Become real friends first. Find out about each other. There should always be a testing phase. Can you depend on this person? Do they answer you promptly? Can you count on him or her doing what they say they're going to do when they say they're going to do it? Try to find out what his future plans are -- not just with you, but with the rest of his life.

You're right to be concerned about the future, but not so much that it changes your whole personality. The trick is, when a relationship starts to feel not as good as it once did -- don't panic. Act as if everything is fine, at least until you find out for sure that it isn't. So often, one person starts to panic and throws the other one into a panic too. Soon you're anxious and depressed and not the wonderful person he first fell in love with.

Take it easy. Don't get upset. Most relationships don't work. If yours does, you're especially blessed. In the meantime, be happy; try to enjoy what you have instead of worrying about what you don't have.

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I'm a 25 year old male who has been dating a particular girl steadily for the past 4 years. It started as something casual and then got serious. Of late I have been finding fault with evrything about her - especially the way she looks. It's not that she's not good looking - I just find fault with small things. I am also not sure that I love her as much anymore. But I am not sure that I don't love her -- and I do not want to hurt her! Sometimes I feel overwhelmed with love but then I also find myself thinking about how it would be nice to be with other girls.

What should I do?

Dear Unsure,

A good loving relationship contains lots of "A" words like acceptance and appreciation, not "C" words like criticism, complaints and carping. If you really want to make your relationship last, you have to begin accepting the woman you love for who she is inside, and forgetting about your picky complaints and criticiscms.

As I mentioned in this column many months ago, Buckminster Fuller said, "What you see of a person is only 1% of that person." He meant that the rest, the important 99% is inside.

I suspect the small things you're finding fault with are just "red herrings" to hide what's really bothering you. Why don't you do some soul searching and decide if you really want to stay in this relationship or not. Then, if you do, stop destroying it with constant criticism. When you feel the urge to criticize, replace that critical thought with one of appreciation.

Four years is definitely enough time to decide if you really love someone or not.

Dear Dr. Tracy,

First I'd like to thank you for taking the time to answer all our ?'s & spread some light on our problems.

I'm a 27yo SWF. Most of my freinds tell me that I am an intellegent attractive woman that should not have trouble getting a date. They say my problem is that I am attracted to men who are taken (married or committed in someway). This is somewhat true. Only because I have not been able to find any single men within my age group 25-35 that I seem to "click" with.

The last guy I dated was 39yo and very nice. We seemed to get along just great until I found out he had been living with a woman for the past 10 months and she was just about to move out. He then decided he wanted me to make a serious committment & practically move in with him. It soon became clear he basically wanted me to take care of his housework! Needless to say, I felt that this was not a relationship I wanted to pursue.

So if you can offer any suggestions on where or how to find an interesting, funny, sincere single male between the ages of 25 and 35, I'm all ears.


Dear Poor Picker,

Some women pick unavailable men so that they can stay free themselves. Single men can be more threatening because they could portend a change in lifestyle you're not ready for.

If you're truly ready to settle down, be sure to qualify men you meet immediately (you can do it if you try -- use your experience and common sense). If they're not available, or not able to commit for one reason or another (won't give a home number, devoted to an ailing mother, , in school, trying to make it big in show biz or on their way to Australia), pass on them right away.

Keep moving and looking -- there really are lots of available men out there. Try advertising online and in newspapers. Ask your friends, who say you're attracted to the wrong men, to introduce you the right men. Network. Join a dating service -- video dating can be lots of fun.

You need a quantity of eligible men to choose from so you will be able to see that there are many choices. Take control of your life. The good men are like good jobs, they go to the women who really make an effort. Read " Are You Looking or Waiting" in my Library, and go for it. Make your own luck in love.

Submitting a Question to this column

We regret that it isn't possible for Dr. Tracy to answer all of the hundreds of questions submitted to this column each week. Dr. Tracy selects the three questions which are of the most general interest to the visitors here.

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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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