Single man's problems not attractive to women

The original subject of today's column was: Is there a stigma attached to people who have been divorced more than once? That question was asked by Jack, 53, a man who divorced four months ago after an eight-year marriage.

He said even divorced women he meets are "raising their eyebrows" at his being married twice.

He said he's real torn up and in therapy and a support group: "The pain still comes and goes. I go for a week or two and think I'm over it, but she calls or I see her on-line and it starts again. It's an emotional rollercoaster."

I was sympathetic to Jack's pain. I suggested it wasn't a stigma he was encountering, but that he hadn't healed and was dating too soon, likely coming off as desperate to the women he meets. However, he hadn't provided enough information so I asked him for more details.

The true issue came to light in his second email.

He wrote, "I was in love and never wavered, even when she was nasty and abusive the last couple of years, according to her, hoping I would leave. Imagine my feeling when I heard that.

"I was too clingy from the start and didn't give her space.

"I was irresponsible with money. She was supporting the household, paying all the bills, keeping her step children and myself on her health insurance policy. I contributed very little financially and she felt a huge inequity. She resented me for it.

"I became dependent on her. The larger problem came when she said I had to get my son out of the house; she couldn't deal with his negative attitude and rambling all the time.

"In June, I had to take custody of my 17-year-old for the first time in nine years. He has Pervasive Developmental Delays; my wife has always called him psychotic.

After he came, she wanted us all out. I had no money and got the first apt I could. Now, our house is selling at a loss, she moved to a nice new apartment and has socially moved on.

"Even when we talk now, it's as if we were never in love, but just buddies. It hurts that she feels nothing for me. I was out of the house one week and she was already online dating and talking to other guys despite our agreement to give it a hiatus and try to work things out. She never intended to.

"She is happy now and a cloud has been lifted from her so she is free to 'live, laugh and love' as she wrote on Facebook.

"Complicating matters, I have sons 21 and 18 living with me in a one-bedroom apartment.

"I am trying to move on. It's a very lonely world. I have to focus on getting my kids moving and increasing my income, etc. The grieving has gotten in the way along with what has become an obsession with finding someone new. I don't want to say I'm a mess at this point, but it's very difficult."

After he shared this information, I responded: "Jack, stop trying to find someone new. Women aren't rejecting you because you've been divorced twice, but because of your problems. You are correct; you need to focus on you, your sons, and your income. When you have your life together, you will feel better about yourself, and perhaps then you will be able to find a new relationship.

© 2010, Tom Blake

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Tom Blake is an expert on dating after 50. He has appeared twice on the "Today Show" and has written more than 500 columns on dating and relationships. His "Single Again" column appears in The Orange County Register in southern California, is read worldwide and is often featured on msn.com. He is a professional speaker. He spoke at the national AARP convention in San Diego in 2002, and in Chicago. His book, Middle Aged and Dating Again, is a humorous account of his first year of dating after his third divorce. His second book is Finding Love After 50: How to begin, where to go, what to do. His latest book is titled How 50 Couples Found Love after 50. To ask a question or receive Tom's free weekly column on middle-age dating and relationships by e-mail, click on www.findingloveafter50.com or E-Mail.

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