I need your help. I have been picking and dating men who are not available – emotionally or legally. It’s a pattern I can’t seem to break out of. I recognize it but I can’t figure out how to fix it. Recently, a lot of the men I’ve dated are ‘separated.’ It either turns out that they’re not anywhere near to being divorced as they say they are, or are emotionally stunted from the breakup, or emotionally stunted period. My ex of 5 years loved me dearly… but didn’t want/try to have sex with me for more than half that time.

I just broke up with someone who I dated for 5 months. He said he was in the process of divorcing, that we were monogamous and that he wanted a future with me. I started getting a weird feeling about his situation and I snooped. It took a while for me to find out the truth, but it turns out that he and his wife are still reconciling. I broke it off immediately.

I recognize that the problem may be me. I just don’t know what part of me to fix. Am I naive? Lame? Have weak boundaries? Desperate? I’ve been to therapy, read all the books, I meditate, I journal, write gratitude lists, and attend seminars… I don’t know what else to do. Just when I think I’ve gotten it right, I’m wrong. At least I’ve moved away from the abusive types…

I feel like I’m in Groundhog Day… going into similar situations, expecting a different outcome. Please let me know what you think. Let ‘er rip. I can take it.

Many thanks,
CD

CD,

You said “let ‘er rip,” so here goes.

Quitting smoking is a billion dollar industry.

And without making fun of the people who are physically addicted to nicotine and emotionally addicted to the habit of smoking (which is a very serious problem), I don’t see what the fuss is about.

You don’t want to smoke anymore? Don’t buy cigarettes!

It’s impossible to smoke if you are not in the possession of cigarettes. Yes, you’ll suffer from withdrawal. Yes, you’ll still have the temptation at work, on breaks, and after meals. But if you don’t have cigarettes, you cannot smoke cigarettes. Agreed?

You want my advice on how to break out of your pattern of dating separated men?

Don’t date separated men!

Now, I’m not the type to give blanket advice. Not all separated men are the same. There’s a big difference between the guy whose wife kicked him out last week for sleeping with his secretary and the guy who has been separated for three years, has his ex-wife in another state who still gets his health insurance, and has already had a one-year relationship since the separation.

You don’t want to smoke anymore? Don’t buy cigarettes.

But since you seem to have a really hard time assessing the availability of separated men, let’s forge a pact to not go out with any more of them ever again.

By doing so, you are swearing off the most high-risk men in the universe: separated men who are just out of a long relationship, who desire freedom, who want to sleep with someone new, who have a lot of time on their hands and a big void to fill, and who are so emotionally bereft and fragile that they honestly don’t realize that they’re on the rebound. They’ve been unhappy for so long that they fall in love with the first woman who is cuter or nicer than their wives, only to realize that they’re not ready for the responsibility that comes with real commitment – especially when they’re not even out of their last commitment yet.

I wouldn’t call you naive or lame. I couldn’t say whether you are desperate or have weak boundaries.

I honestly have no idea what motivates you for choosing these guys, CD. But I do know that there is no shortage of single or divorced men who are sincerely ready for a relationship.

How about you start there?

Because for all the therapy, meditation, journaling, and gratitude lists you have under your belt, you still don’t have the most important thing: the willingness to extract yourself from bad situations quickly.

Come back tomorrow for another video that will tell you exactly what steps you need to take to find love.

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