"Ask Dr. Tracy"

12/22/96 Advice Column

"The Rules",
Naked in the Backseat,
The Good Old Days when Love was Free

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I am 35, never married, attractive, independent woman. Recently I've heard about rules for dating, like never kiss until three dates, don't ever call him, don't have sex until you're engaged, don't live with a man, and don't let him stay over.

I've recently met someone I think I could really be with. He's 42, and everything I've always wanted. He's been married before. Should I follow the rules with him?

I've never followed any rules before and maybe that's why I'm stil alone. What do you think? I don't want to be alone forever.

Dear Rule Breaker,

If you've never followed "The Rules" before, I doubt that you're going to start now. Most relationship rules don't work because the rules that might apply to a 16-year-old couple wouldn't apply to a 40 year old couple, and rules that work with some men don't work with others.

I was recently interviewed by a national magazine about "The Rules." I told the truth: I broke them all. I slept with my husband on our first date, we lived together for a year and a half, and we've been happily married for almost fourteen years.

Since every relationship and every two people are different and happen in different places at different times in their lives, rules can be hard to apply in a universal way.

I have only found three rules that seem to be generally, but not universally, applicable: l. Don't give too much too soon (but then, your "too much" could be way different than mine; so perhaps the rule should be "Don't give more if you feel you're not getting enough back.") 2. Don't let people treat you badly; set limits. 3. Don't start on too high a romantic note, or there's no where to go but down.

Check out your local library for "How to Make a Man Fall in Love With You," which has more techniques than rules. If it's not available in your local library, there's an inexpensive paperback edition by Dell that you can get. Also, you'll find some helpful guidelines in "Summary Guide for Relationships" in my Library.

Dear Dr. Tracy,

Last week me and my boyfriend went out with one of his friends. that night i was being a total asshole to him because i was on the rag. so i could say i pretty much ignored him all night. when we all went back to my apartment that night they refused to sleep in the house so i thought nothing of it and went in alone. the next morning I woke up and went to the car and saw my boyfriend and his friend naked in the back seat.


Dear Rotten,

I'm trying to picture this, and I'm having trouble getting beyond frozen bodies (just my Northern Hemisphere December perspective). More seriously, your behaviour was obviously rotten, but for that to cause your boyfriend to sleep with his "friend" in the back seat is simply bizarre.

I'd say drop this guy fast. He's going to be more and more trouble, to say the least. He has no respect for you if he's willing to chance being discovered in front of your house. You may be lucky that you did discover him and got this warning -- whether his friend was a guy or a girl (which you don't say), he's at risk for HIV and you should keep your distance.

Next time you're in a rotten mood, break your date and stay home alone. It's better to be alone if your alternative is a guy like that.

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I have been married for 35 years and while we are not as sexually active as we once were, I can't forget the times in our younger days when my wife would let me have other men over to have sex with her. She really seemed to enjoy it but the two things she would never let me do was to actually come in and watch her and the other man and I absolutely can't divest myself of the thought of what I missed.

I also have fantasized about her being with a well hung, handsome black man but have never shared that with her.

Now just recently she confessed to me that for years as a teenager she was having sex with her uncle. She was the only girl in her family and this man's wife, her aunt, was her most favorite aunt. She loved to go visit her every time she could and would spend the summer. She admitted that when her aunt would get up and go down stairs, her uncle would come in and get in bed with her and at times her aunt would come by the bedroom and admonish him that he should be getting out of the bed but he usually replied that they were just talking. She says she thinks her aunt didn't know what was going on but I suspect she did and that was part of a something her aunt & uncle had going on between them. What do you think? I have been really aroused by this revelation and would like to hear more. Any suggestions as to how I might get her to share more? I don't want her to feel guilty or ashamed and would really be thrilled if I found out she actually had liked and looked forward to it or even has fond memories of it. Do you think that's possible?

Finally, am I unusual for having wanted to share my wife with other men and still fantasizing about it, even hoping to find that she might have some wild desires to be free and sexual with other like I fantasize about. How should I go about sharing what I think about without scaring her and is she likely to ever open up completely with me?

Thanks for any help you can give.

Dear Hoping,

No matter how much you and lots of other people would like to go back to the good old days when love was free and there was no AIDS, this is the Nineties. Those memories of what we did in the sexual revolution are meant to be secretly cherished, fantasized about, and even masturbated to, but not acted on.

Sometimes men who want to watch their wives being made love to by other men are vicariously having sex with him themselves. Other times they're asserting their power over the woman. And sometimes they're fantasizing about being that man.

Those sweet innocent days of having whatever you want, whomever you want, are gone for the foreseeable future. Too bad if you didn't get in everything you wish you had done. It's too late. Give it up. Chances of having your fantasies from the 60's come true in the 90's are slim.

Why don't you try pretending with her that you're a big black stud, and see how she relates to that. Or plan a romantic escape with your wife where you can create some new fantasies to share.

As for your wife's disclosure, she's telling you about being abused as a child. That's what it was, even if she was a half-way willing teenager, and it sounds you're looking for ways to get off on it. Shame on you. Give your wife a break. You're dealing with something very sensitive there, and I'd advise you to just be a concerned listener. You don't have to tell your wife everything you think about, do you?

We all have regrets for not taking advantage of every opportunity in our youth. A missed opportunity usually doesn't come again. The trick is to be happy in the here and now.

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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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