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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 got divorced eight years ago. I’m 42 and I had my two kids early, so they are already grown and out of the house. In fact, I just became a grandmother. My ex and I were high school sweethearts. I got pregnant at 18 and we got married, even though we probably knew it was a mistake. We just grew apart really, and we have civil relationship, although I wouldn’t call us best friends. Since that time, I’ve been concentrating on my career, which I put on hold while I was raising my kids. 

I dated rarely, but never met anyone special. Until now. Ben is amazing. He’s smart and kind. The only issue is that he is 15 years my junior. Even though my ex is with a woman eight years younger, he thinks it’s disgusting. My daughter and my son like Ben, but they said I should be careful because he’ll just end up leaving me for a younger woman and I’ll get hurt. I’m not exactly over the hill and I take care of myself. We love each other. Ben isn’t looking for a mommy substitute. He has a child with a woman he used to live with and he’s a good father to a seven-year-old boy, so he isn’t craving any more kids. We get some looks and people make comments. His mother isn’t happy about it, she’s only eight years older than I am. She calls me “Mrs. Robinson”. My boyfriend had to ask me who that was. The mother of his child says I won’t make a good stepmother because I’m “too old”. She calls me a “cougar”. I try to live my life and not let it bother me, but it does. What can I say to these people and what are the chances of this working out in the long run, given our age difference?

Thanks, Maude

Dear Maude, 

Is that name a reference to Harold and Maude? Wow, you must be old!  Just kidding. For those who don’t know, that quirky1971 movie featured a relationship between a 79-year-old woman and a man in his early twenties. Love is love. Why is it fine for men to be involved with younger women and not the other way around? “Cougar” has become part of the lexicon and there are a lot of women who use it to describe their attraction to younger men. It’s become a TV trope. On the other hand, Hollywood has made older woman/younger man relationships more acceptable. I could name at least a dozen such couples. The term may not always be flattering, but cougars are magnificent creatures, so embrace it. 

This is 2013. Women should be equal in all ways, and that includes choosing who to love. No relationship comes with a guarantee. You could be involved with a man your own age and it might not work out. In a way, you can relish the negative feedback because those people are envious. Don’t even bother trying to explain, let them figure it out. If they push you, tell them about the fantastic sex you are having, that should shut them up. (Don’t tell his mother that, just say that she raised a fine man who doesn’t judge people based on their age.) They’ll eventually see how happy your are. Enjoy your relationship, life is short.


Image Courtesy of EW.Com

Dear Pam,

My ex keeps trying to sabotage my dating life. He hasn’t got it that we aren’t getting back together. We did split up twice before and I took him back, but this time I am ready to move on. He’s very juvenile. He just turned thirty, you would think he would have more smarts. We have a lot of friends in common and they tell him what I am up to. I blocked him from my Facebook, but he always manages to find out what I’m doing. For instance, two weeks ago, I was on a first date with a man I met through someone at work. We were having dinner and my ex showed up, came over to the table and said, “My wife has multiple personality disorder.” Then he said, “Come on, baby, I’m here to take you home, you won’t remember this in the morning.” I tried to tell the guy this wasn’t true, but he said he didn’t need that kind of drama in his life. 

I tried online dating and my ex made a fake profile and tried to get me to go out with him, but I recognized right away something was wrong.  He always apologizes after. He isn’t violent or dangerous, just stupid and irritating.  He always played mind games. After we broke up, he tried to make me jealous by showing up places he knew I would be with very attractive women. I have no idea how he got them to date him, well, I do, but I would rather not go there. He told me he was having “revenge sex” with them. I don’t care, I just want him to leave me alone. 

He also tries the other way, by sending flowers to my work, or showing up with presents because he thinks people will feel bad for him and talk me into taking him back again. I thought about turning the tables on him, but I don’t want to sink that low. Oh, ya, he says it is my fault because I made him watch all these romantic comedies where the guy shows up at the church when his ex is about to marry someone else and they run away together. How do I get rid of him once and for all?


Dear Charlotte,

What he is doing is stalking you. That’s against the law. Sure, it may seem harmless or even funny at times, but he is causing you distress and trying to manipulate and control you. You are smart for not doing the same thing back to him. Be firm and tell him that you are going to get a restraining order and have him arrested if he contacts you, or does something like this again. Don’t accept any flowers or gifts, send them back. It is probably flattering in a way to have someone so keen on you, but it really doesn’t serve any purpose if you aren’t interested. He’ll try to weaken your resolve and you may go back with him, again, despite your claims. 

Keep your private life private, even from friends. Someone is filling him in on your activities. If you know who it is, talk to them. Tell them it isn’t cool and don’t confide in them anymore. 

We are so used to sharing our lives on social media. It wouldn’t hurt you to stop doing that for a while and stay under the radar. Document everything that he does, that includes every email, text, or attempt to contact you or your friends. You’ll need this information to file a report against him. I realize you probably still have some feelings for him and don’t want to get him in legal trouble, but he is the one doing wrong. If he doesn’t stop after you warn him, that’s his problem. He probably tried to control you in subtle ways when you were together, so you are much better off without him. This isn’t a romantic comedy, it’s a drama. If he goes to jail because of his actions, the joke is on him. Allowing this to continue will lead to a bad ending for one or both of you and you don’t need it. You deserve a real relationship with a mature man.

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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  • Comment Link Kat Thursday, 17 October 2013 23:23 posted by Kat

    I left my drunken, cheating, abusive ex 32 months ago and have found an awesome blessing from God whom I am now married to and we are having our first child. A little over a year after the divorce was final he had a 10 week courtship and got married again and now he is taking me to court to gain parenting time for our youngest (age 2) whom I found out I was pregnant with, a month after leaving. He and his new wife talk negatively about my husband and I and 'invite' my older two children (ages 8 and almost 7) to join in and then my oldest tries to play both sides and is starting to lie very severely not on major things yet but like...she received pictures of her father and the new house they were building and had put them in a drawer an I guess she'd forgotten where she had put them; I didn't even know she had them. Then one day comes home with a set of pictures that has "here is another picture, hopefully your step dad won't be a bully and throw this one away. Love mom" written on the back. When I asked her why she said that she replied that she never said that and she didn't know where the original pictures were. Another thing is that she has an address book I had and I had written numbers in it for her to be able to call family. She keeps it at her fathers. She brought it over and I just glanced through and noticed his number was corrected since he has gone through 2 different numbers so. Looked up mom and I am crossed out. She says he told her too so i made a copy for my files and didnt say anything to her. She when to his house and must have told him I made this copy and he texted that i can throw the copy away because she asked if she could cross it out and he told her it was hers and she could do what she wanted. Instead of being a respectful man and saying that would not be vey nice. My husband and I have not told the kids that he is an alcoholic and cheated, nor do we speak negatively of them in front of the kids but they pray for him to stop chewing and smoking and drinking and know that he gets in fights and sees him punch holes in their house walls as well as the 7 we had in our 4 year old home. His wife and her two boys packed and left for a short period less than 9 months into their marriage due to one of the fights he used to get into with me. I am very hurt,confused and worried about my oldest daughters do I go about dealing with this issue?