"Ask Dr. Tracy"

10/19/97 Advice Column


Dear Dr. Tracy,

Hi, I am in the middle of trying to decide if my boyfriend and I should move in together or not. Right now we live with our parents. We've know each other for ten years, and have been going out for four of them. We only live five minutes apart. He is going to be 27 in November and I am 24 years old. I want to get married and I know he does too, but he is says he's not ready. I told him I won't move in with him without a ring. Is this a good idea? I really want to live with him and start a life together. Everyone is telling me something different. I am confused with the pros and cons of living together before marriage.

Please give me your advice and opinion. Thank you.

Dear Undecided,

After going out together for four years you two should know whether you want to marry or not. If you don't (or he doesn't), living together could be the deciding factor. You seem to be confusing having a ring with having a commitment. You need a commitment to be engaged, not a ring. A ring is a symbol of your commitment but otherwise is a meaningless trinket. Waiting for a ring is silly. Insisting on setting a date is not.

Tell your boyfriend you want to set two dates -- one when you'll be officially engaged, and the other when you'll get married.

He may be upset at the prospect of buying a ring. Lots of guys are. If he is, then no big deal. You can always get a ring. As a matter of fact, many couples get engaged and married without a big wedding ring. Then they get a ring years later when they can afford it. A ring is not what this is about. Loving each other and making a commitment is what it's about. Read The Steps To Commitment in my library.

If you really want to live with him, don't let a ring stand in the way. There's nothing wrong with living together before you get married. Many couples have lived together and later married. I for one lived with my husband for a year and a half before we got married. It was a good way to see how compatible we really were and after living together for that long we couldn't see ourselves living with anyone else.

This is not an issue to ask other people about. They will all tell you what they want you to do, and you must follow your heart. If you feel that after living together you will become even more bonded and he will feel ready, then go for it. What have you got to lose? You are both old enough to live on your own and it's about time you both moved out of your parent's homes.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I am 16 and I am in a tight spot. I currently have two girlfriends, and none of them know about each other. Let us start from the beginning, Shall we?

Okay, in August of 97 I was a young single careless man. I was enjoying being single for a while until this girl I really don't like started obsessing over me. So I told one of my friends that I didn't want to be single anymore. So she contacted one of my ex-girlfriends, which still had very strong feelings for me, but I never felt the same "feelings" for her. So she ended asking me out for the second time, and I said yes. She had a job working at Azteca, and I had football practice twice a day, 7 hours a day. That did not leave much time for her and me. And I still don't have feelings for her.

Now, I have much respect for women, and too mature for my age, because I am constantly looking for a long term relationships. I treat women like queens and not like one of the "guys."

I have never had an affair with another woman before, until now. This other Woman, I met at school, and she invited me to a party. So, I went (because I am a teen). We hit it off to a good start, we talked and walked, then not realizing at the moment I had another girlfriend, I asked her out and she said yes.

I have been trying to break off my other relationship. But I cannot think of anything to say to her without hurting her and losing a couple of friends at the same time. She a very very tempermental type of person.

This other women, we both have strong mutual feelings about eachother. She treats me like a person and not a object. I am so open to her, more than any of my other ex-s.

So, I was wondering how to let this woman I don't feel strongly for, down. And anything else I should do.

Sincerely, Two for One

Dear Two for One,

There is no easy way to let a woman down easy. She's going to be hurt by it and so are you. Even if you're the one who does the breaking up, it's at least uncomfortable.

Do the right thing, though, and don't string her along. Tell her right away that you have met someone else and that you have strong feelings for this other woman. You will then have to take responsibility for your acts -- even if you are a teenager. That means that you may lose a friend or two and some people may say you are a jerk. Whatever you do has consequences in life, and those are the consequences of what you've done.

Be sure to let her know that it's not that there's anything wrong with her, that she's a really nice person and you'll always remember the good times you had together. Tell her it's not that she did anything wrong. Actually you're the one at fault.

Let this be a lesson: Don't get involved with someone unless you're sure you mean it. So take it like a man. Let her rant and rave. let her call you names. Agree with her. Tell her she's right and you're a dog -- which you are for letting her think you liked her when you really didn't care that much.

A woman scorned is a dangerous thing. She'll probably go through the roof and tell everyone what an awful person you are. Who knows what else she'll do. You knew she was tempermental when you got involved with her, now you have to suffer the consequences of her temperament.

Good luck (you'll need it),

Dr. Tracy

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I'm 21years old, I'm a student at a women's univ. and never had a serious boyfriend in my life. I really want one, I'm very lonely, and it seems like Everyone's got their own men. I have nice looks, OK body and I'm smart, and a lot of guys fall in love with me. The problem is I NEVER like anyone who likes me back. I always get a crush on someone and if he likes me back, I start to hate him. I don't want to be this way but I can't help it ! I am so desperate for a serious relationship but I only like a guy who is not interested in me and the moment he likes me back, my heart turns so cold I never want to see him again.

I am so desperate for true love and it seems so hopeless. And the problem is in ME.

PLease HELP !

Sincerely, Boyfriendless

Dear Desperate,

You're right about one thing: your problem is not the guys you meet, it's you.

You're one of those people with such low self-esteem that they think anybody who wants them must be nuts. If you don't love yourself you'll never believe anybody really loves you, and you'll always wonder what's wrong with them if they say they do.

Perhaps you just want to see if you can get a guy, but when you do the game is over because you really don't want anyone to get close to you.

You must deal with your own problems first before you can have a serious relationship. Visit the psychology department at your university and talk to someone there about working on your self-esteem problems. See if there is something in your past (such as watching your parents have a terrible marriage) that keeps you in a state of not wanting to get close.

You need a therapist, not a guy. The fact that you're so lonely makes me wonder if you have any friends. Perhaps you should start by developing friendships first, then move on to a relationship.

A relationship is not going to cure your life or make you happy. Get a life and be happy first, then get a relationship as the icing on the cake, not the whole enchalada.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

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