Dear Michelle Valentine,

I’m 29 years old and for the past year I have been dating a 35 year old man who has been divorced for over 2 years now.

He’s a very nice guy and we have fun together when we go out (WHEN we go out; he’s very financially strapped now).

Although I’m doing all the “right” things like not calling him too often, being very supportive of helping him get over his divorce, and spending weekend time doing things with him and his children, I’m really confused because our conversation revolve only around him and his problems, his ex-wife, his kids, and he avoids discussions about our future together:

Where do I go from here?



Dear Elizabeth,

You may be involved with a nice guy that just isn’t really “available” because he’s still caught up in the trauma of his divorce and former life.

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Although two years should be enough time for him to have sorted his feelings, all people are different and perhaps he needs more time to get emotionally balanced again.

Tracy Cabot describes this type as “The Cripple” in her book, “How to Make a Man Fall in Love with You”. Here’s what she has to say about him:

“Just divorced, he’s an emotional basket case. It’s certain that you don’t want to be the first woman he gets involved with after his divorce. He’s still bleeding and too involved with his own pain and losses to make a good mate. He’s worried about his ex-wife, the guy she’s sleeping with, what her lawyer’s taking away from him, the house  he already lost, the kids he doesn’t know if he’ll be able to keep seeing and how he’s going to make those alimony and child support payments..”

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Sound like your guy?

Other signs you may be dating “The Cripple” indicate that he is not rebuilding a life ready for a lasting relationship:

“He lives in a large singles complex with a “ready renters” package of plastic plates, tin silverware, and Army surplus cups… and his finished studio apartment doesn’t have a book or family/friends picture in sight.”

His home is devoid of healthy emotions, personality, or emotional commitment – just like him.

Two years is a long time for your man to still be focused on problems and the past.

It’s time for you to consider moving on from this unhealthy dating situation. This man is not ready for a relationship.

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Here are some ways to extricate yourself from “The Cripple’s” grasp:

  1. Refuse to listen to any more negative stories about his ex-wife, his divorce, and his children.
  2. Refuse to sympathize, or otherwise reward his self-absorbed behavior.
  3. Let him know you will not stay in a relationship that is not focused on the two of you and your future.
  4. If he persists in his obsession with his previous partner, follow Tracy Cabot’s advice and “tell him you think his ex-wife was a very lovely person.”

Dear Reader:

Have you been in this situation before? Please post you comment below…


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