By Heather Dugan, Connection Coach, for the SouthFloridaReporter.com, Aug 15, 2015 — The divorce forced his relocation from a serene life of utopian comfort to one that feels more like primitive camping. They had everything—the perfect life—until she callously tossed him aside. Or maybe he wrecked it all with a casual affair for which he will never—ever—forgive himself. He’s dining across the table from you, but his mind continuously wanders his own misery—reluctant to leave the catastrophe. You can switch the topic or offer this Damaged Soul first-aid—with tissues, sympathy and emotional hugs—but he’ll just keep ripping off bandages. Ultimately, it’s Dead-end Dating. He’s not budging until he gets a do-over.
“Chances are you won’t even be tempted into a second date with this guy unless you have what my friend Sarah wryly refers to as ‘the social worker gene.’ You may want to pass on the name of your therapist and proffer a tissue, but this guy is living in the past. He’s angry or he’s devastated. He’s guilt-ridden. His wife is a bitch or a saint. It’s his fault or her fault —not their fault. There is no perspective because he’s still wallowing in the middle of a mess.
Be kind, but do not get sucked into coffee counseling unless you’ve a strong deflecting mechanism for all the negative energy this guy exudes.
If you do venture into any sort of relationship with this guy, hoist up your confidence and pin it in place. The sensitivities of a Damaged Soul remind me of a fragile tooth, vulnerable to the slightest changes in temperature. You may be required to determine if/why/when he is offended. You will wonder why he doesn’t just speak his mind, but remember that it’s engaged elsewhere or even temporarily lost.”
Excerpt from Date Like A Grownup: Anecdotes, Admissions of Guilt & Advice Between Friends by Heather Dugan. Copyright 2014. All rights reserved.