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Divorce Doctor

Get healthy divorce advice from our in-house specialist.  Whether you need tips on choosing a mediator or you want an expert's opinion on post-divorce parenting, she has answers for your most troubling questions.  Ask away, the doctor is in!

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Dear Pam,

I am going to sound like a complete hypocrite. I broke up with my ex because he was cheating on me. It was an emotionally devastating time for me.  I’ve been single for about five years now. I haven’t dated much because I’ve been concentrating on my career. The men I did go out on dates with did nothing for me. Now, I think I’m in love with someone very special. OK, I know I am. We have a strong emotional connection and you could cut the sexual tension with a knife. We can talk for hours about anything. He’s a wonderful person. There is one catch – he’s married! I know!  Nothing has happened. He would never cross that line, nor would I.  He never badmouths his wife, who I have met briefly a few times, but it is clear he is miserable. We’re not young, my kids are grown and so are his. I’m not imagining his attraction for me, lots of other people notice and comment on it. He makes excuses to spend time with me. We’re friends, but I want more. On the other hand, even though this has being going on for a few years, I don’t know how to ask him how he truly feels and what he is going to do about it. I know he doesn’t love his wife, but he also doesn’t want to hurt her. 

Suffering from unfulfilled desire

Dear Unfulfilled,

If you are afraid to ask him what his true feelings are, then you aren’t as close as you think you are. He obviously enjoys the attention you are giving him and maybe that is enough for him. Maybe he does have real feelings for you, but if he isn’t free or he doesn’t plan to be free, you are putting your life on hold for something that may never happen. There is probably someone out there right now who is single and just as wonderful. 

Start going out on dates with single men. If you have to join a dating site or find some other way to do it, just do it. Maybe your attraction to him is partly his unavailability because you are afraid of getting hurt again. If you know this relationship will never become intimate, you can live in this little fantasy, but it’s not healthy. You could be truly in love with him, but why torture yourself in this way? Sexual tension is a great plot device in literature and film, but this is real life and it’s not fun.

Tell him you’re dating. If he is seriously considering leaving his wife, maybe this will give him the impetus to put a life change into motion. Or not! 

While you aren’t having sex, you are having an emotional affair with this man. That is just as hard on your heart. You are at his mercy in a way because you are probably counting the minutes until you see him, or pining away for him while he is off spending time with his wife. It’s dangerous to your emotional health. Ask yourself if his wife would see your relationship as acceptable. It’s highly unlikely. An emotional affair can be more devastating to a partner than a drunken one-night stand.

Maybe he is too comfortable to make a move, even if he is unhappy. Some of us stay in a miserable relationship that is tolerable but not fun, fulfilling or exciting because we figure that is the best we can do, or we don’t want to hurt the other person. Kudos to you for getting out of your bad marriage, but not everyone is that ready to make the break. Now you have to move on from another unemotionally available man.



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 Dear Pam,

When I broke up with my ex, we hadn’t even finished paying for the wedding. We still owed ten thousand dollars. We were living together for six years before we got married, but after two years of marriage and a blow out celebration that cost us a bundle, it wasn’t working. He works days and I work nights as a chef. My career is taking off and I have to pour all my time into the restaurant to make it work. I broke up with him because we were arguing all the time about my job. There wasn’t anyone else, although I am starting to see someone now who understands my lifestyle. I want to move on, but my ex constantly phones me complaining that I ruined his life. It’s been almost a year since we split. He says he didn’t see anything wrong with our relationship, but deep down he knows that isn’t true. Also, I don’t own the restaurant that I work for, but down the road I would like to open my own place. I am worried he will want a piece of the pie, so to speak.

The one thing tying us together is our debt. I have been giving him money for my half of the debt. He comes to the restaurant and I give him cash, but he won’t give me an idea of how much we still owe. I think I may have already given him my share, which would be five thousand, I’ve kind of lost track. To be honest, I’ve been so busy working, I let him handle the money. 

He won’t show me paperwork and I know he has been spending money like crazy, going out partying all the time. On his Facebook page he is always out somewhere. He also calls and tells me he has been seeing three women at a time and has turned into a complete “man whore”. That’s his term. Frankly, I don’t care who he sleeps with now. If he was trying to make me jealous, it backfired. We haven’t filed for divorce. He won’t do it and I haven’t been able to afford it because I am giving him all my money.

Tied by my purse strings instead of my apron strings

 Dear Tied,

Even though you probably want to keep things civil, he is taking advantage of your good nature by using money to keep you tied to him. This way, he still gets to keep in touch with you and even exercise a bit of control over you. This is something that shouldn’t be happening. 

You should have worked this out at the beginning, but there is still time to fix this problem. First, you need to figure out exactly how much you have given him. Work it out the best way that you can. Don’t give him any more cash. There is no paper trail to prove you’ve given him money. Use a bank transfer or some other form of payment that gives you a receipt. 

Tell your ex that he isn’t getting one more cent until he produces paperwork to prove he has paid the bills with your contribution. Take some of the money you would have given him and use it to hire a lawyer to help you get the divorce process started. If he wants to complain, tell him to get his own lawyer. It’s too bad that some of that money will now have to go towards fighting it out, but unless he wants to work with you to resolve this, you have no choice. 

You have to set boundaries. Advise him that your lawyer will work out an agreement for a payment plan after you have been given all of the documentation. Check with your creditors to see if he has been making payments. Don’t take his calls or answer his emails unless it is about something important. Tell him not to show up at the restaurant. You definitely need a lawyer to protect you if you are considering starting a business. As long as you are legally married, your ex may try to profit from all of your hard work.

Your ex is trying to make you jealous with stories about the women in his life. It’s great that you aren’t falling for that ploy. He’s also trying to make you feel guilty because you broke up with him. All of these games he is playing should be a sign that you made the right choice. People lash out when they have been rejected, but it is not your problem. You’re no longer emotionally invested in this man, so have the lawyer work out your financial situation and get him out of your life once and for all. 

You don’t have to go through the trauma of divorce alone. Need some advice or just a shoulder to cry on? The divorce doctor has been there. We welcome your questions at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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