11/21/99 Advice Column
Men don't get better after you marry them. Marriage isn't some magical wand that cures a man's faults. To the contrary, marriage often unleashes a man's worst faults. If he's a controller before you're married, he'll think the marriage license gives him absolute control over you. He'll try to totally rule your life. And remember, whatever annoys you before you're married will only annoy you more after you're married and feel stuck.
Do I think he's controlling? Of course he's controlling. What really gets me is this outrageous theory he's laying on you - that because he's spiritual, you've got to be submissive. While some religions may require wives to be submissive, you're still a free, modern woman and you don't have to let yourself get entrapped in that life. In any case, a truly spiritual person is respectful and accepting of others, not a relationship nazi.
He may feel that because you're 20 years younger, you'll accept all this and take his advice without question, but it sounds like you're not willing to do so, and I applaud you for that. I doubt if you'll be able to make him happy and still have a mind of your own.
However, men can change. And there's nothing wrong with pleasing a man and being a helpmate, as long as you don't have to give up your self-respect and ability to make decisions in your life to do it. So if you want to try to work this out, stop letting him think that he's in charge. Immediately. Tell him the only way the relationship can continue is as a partnership, not a dictatorship. And then make sure it's working that way for at least a year before even considering marriage.
I have asked him what he wants from me in terms of our relationship and all he says is that he wants us to be a couple but he doesn't see it possible. Why does he spend time and money on me, Why does he go through all the arguements with me? I know that it is not the sex that is keeping us together because it isn't about that. And he doesn't go to anyone else for it. So why is he being the way he is?
So why does he treat you this way? Why does he introduce you as a "friend" when you're really much more? Because you let him, because he can get away with it, and because he's trying to keep his options open in case he sees someone else he wants.
If you really want him to appreciate you, you'll have to leave. You really have nothing to lose. If you stay, he knows you'll argue and ask but that in the end, he can keep doing what he's doing. Only by leaving will you convince him that his behavior is unacceptable. The sad part is that the longer you stay around and let him introduce you as a friend and still give him all the advantages of having a girlfriend with none of the responsibilities, the more entitled he'll feel. It's as if you give him permission to treat you badly by standing around and taking it.
If you've already told him you don't want to be introduced as his friend, but rather as his lady or girlfriend, then you have to take action to change his behavior. Always have cab fare with you when you go out. Then, the next time he introduces you as his "friend," give him your dirtiest look and leave. If he asks what's going on, tell him you just don't like the way he's treating you so you're leaving. You have to reclaim your self-respect and put a little teeth into your argument for more status and couplehood.
If he's ever going to see the possibilities of the two of you becoming a couple, it will be after you leave him, not while you're standing around being his "friend." So leave and start dating someone else. Let him see what it's like to be without his "friend" for a while and he may decide he's made a mistake. The worst that will happen is that you will regain your self-esteem and find someone who will claim you as their own true love.
About a year ago I met a 37 year old woman that caused me to want to open up to dating again. Once I made my feeling known to her she seemed to open up to me and it appeared that all would go well. She has stood me up several times for dates, if while talking on the phone she has to excuse herself she says that she will call right back and never does. She constantly complains about something or someone and always has an answer or excuse for every situation.
She works out of her home and the company she works for has set up a separate line for her use there. I recently found this out and that I have not been given her personal number. She has an excuse for that too.
Soon after we began talking and my first "Date Standup" I decided that I would simply terminate the personal part of the relationship (we also have a business relationship) and fax a termination notice to her home office. I thought this would be best in order to avoid getting sidetracked in a conversation.
An hour later she called appearing to be upset and couldn't understand why I would want to terminate the "none" relationship. We didn't end it but she indicated that I should give her more time since she was recently out of another long-term relationship. I agreed to do it but decided that I would be involved at a distance and not talk to her until she called me which worked for a while.
This has been the most curious relationship I have ever been involved in. She has suggested a need for money but has not pursued any from me. I have not volunteered any and will not.
My problem is that she is irresistible to me and I can't figure out why! When we're together its like we are made for each other. She does all the things that I adore. She slides up next to me even in public like I am and have been her man for a long time. Its not sexual, just tender. What do I do? I just can't understand and don't know why. Please help!
The problem with being a man who needs to be needed is that you'll find a woman who has lots of problems. She'll only keep you until you manage to solve her problems, and then she won't need you any more. It's a sure prescription for getting your heart broken.
You're a giver who's met a skillful taker. You haven't given her money - yet - but you've given her too many chances. The reason you want her so badly is because she knows exactly how to pull your strings. She gives you what you want - affection in public - and then gives you little else. So you try hard to get close enough to her to get the good part, the part that draws you, and you wind up getting the bad part too.
You can learn an important lesson here. When a woman says she needs more time, it's a way to keep you around in case she changes her mind, but basically she doesn't want you, not now, maybe not ever. In the meantime, you're on standby, waiting to see if she'll change her mind -- and she's free to date others, knowing she can always snap her fingers and you'll come running. You'd be a real fool to get involved in this kind of relationship.
Find a woman who really wants you, now, not maybe at some time in the future. Life is today, and if you're 44, you're a very desirable age. There are some wonderful women out there who would adore you instead of standing you up or being ambivalent about whether they want you or not.
Dr. Tracy says, "Is your question urgent? Many of the most beseeching, desperate messages I get are not answered in this column because the answer is just a couple of clicks away in my Love Library. Have you tried my Love Library? I know that nobody goes to libraries anymore, but check this one out -- it's so easily searchable that it's fun and easy to use!"
If you can't find your answer in the Library and you feel you MUST have an answer, you can get a personal answer from Dr. Tracy within 48 hours by availing yourself of her inexpensive private counseling.