Author and relationship guru Tracy McMillian learned the resilience of the human heart through her own life experiences. Before McMillian would become famous for her work as a novelist and television writer, she was the child of both a drug-addicted prostitute and a pimp. She was orphaned at three years old and spent her early childhood bouncing between foster homes. Her hunger for more, outside of the confines of her circumstances, led her to consume a myriad of books, sparking her passion for the written word and storytelling. She read “every book in the school library,” and found female role models in 70s television figures like Mary Tyler Moore’s Mary Richards character and Angie Dickinson’s Sgt. Pepper Anderson role. With her life purpose defined, McMillian forged ahead. She put herself through college on a Pell Grant and landed her first job in television writing news content.
McMillian’s personal experiences inspired a rich well of writing material that would later transform her career. She was divorced three times and raised a son alone as a single mother. Through these relational pitfalls, McMillian mastered the art of the comeback and used the lessons from her life to grab the attention of readers. While McMillian laid the groundwork of her career for years, her name suddenly catapulted into the national spotlight with her viral Huffington post article, Why You’re Not Married. The piece held the record as the most viewed post on the site years after it was first published. She penned a book based on the article, called Why You’re Not Married Yet and went on to write for some of the most celebrated television shows in entertainment, including Mad Men.
McMillian made the transition from behind the scenes to in front of the camera as a matchmaker on the NBC dating reality show Ready For Love. Her latest TV role is as the host, relationship expert and voice of reason for OWN’s “Family Or Fiance” reality TV show.
Tracy McMillian is answering all the tough internet questions about choosing your family, fiancé, and relationships.
My mother-in-law loves me but hates my side of the family.
TM: Well, if you’re in a situation where your mother-in-law loves you but hates your family, what I would say is that you need to get more understanding. So one of the things that happen on Family or Fiance is that we get these families, some of whom are brawling in the beginning. But once they get an opportunity to really get to know each other, they actually turn out to have a lot in common and enjoy each other’s company.
My ex-fiance is best friends with my sister.
TM: When you’re in one of those situations where your ex is in close proximity to you, that is no fun at all. But you really just have to say “no contact.” If he’s going to be there, you have to find out in advance and not go. Now, I know that’s hard. When there are kids involved, it can be different, but that’s a separate story. Let’s just talk about a situation where your ex is in very close proximity to you and you want to go no contact. Here’s why that’s so important: Every time you see your ex, it’s like you get a mosquito bite. You get infected with it all over again and then you itch for three days. So what you need to do is go no contact until it’s completely over and you just don’t know how long that’s going to take. Sometimes it’s three to six months, sometimes it’s a year. You’ll know when you think about the person and nothing happens inside. Now, if your sister is part of this, she needs to step off. Your sister needs to be on your side. And if she’s friends with them, she needs to handle that friendship across the street or somewhere else away from you. So, no contact. It’s the best way to get over somebody
We are newlyweds living together and now we are always arguing.
TM: If you just got married and now you’re constantly bickering, you can imagine that part of that is just the adjustment to being married. All of a sudden you’re like in closer proximity. Really what’s happening is intimacy issues start to surface. It’s not so much about the towels on the floor, even if it seems like that’s what it’s about. I would say that it’s about really being close to another person. And if you’ve never lived together with each other, that’s going to surface once you’re in a married relationship.
I just broke up with my fiancée and now she is dating my father.
TM: The very first thing I’m going to say is that if your ex-fiancée is now dating your father, you dodged a bullet. And I’m also worried about your dad because he has no boundaries. So if I’m you, I’m going to therapy and you’re like, why do I need to go to therapy when these people are a mess? Because nobody ever changed another person. They want to be messy. That’s kind of their thing. You have to figure out how to relate to this person, your dad, who is your dad, so you can’t really just discard him. And your ex-fiancee, that’s a straight betrayal. So there’s a lot of work to do there. And it’s your work to do.