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Dating Chronicles: Don’t be the “Clean-up Girl”

Since I am technically single, and have been actively dating for about 5 years now I’ve come across a multitude of situations while dating different people.

One common thing I’ve personally come in to contact with is situation that requires a clean-up girl.


A clean up girl, in my opinion is a woman who is dating a man who may not be at the best stage in his life, but you see the potential in him. So you stay around to help him fix what may be wrong in his his life, in hopes that when he does get back on his feet or whatever, you two will ride off into the sunset and live happily ever after. (Wrong!)

Here are some situations that require a clean-up girl:

  1. A man who has just recently lost his job or is in between careers.  He overall has great potential but not stability. Image
  2. A man who is recently divorced or getting out of a long-term relationship. You can see that he is willing to be committed based on his past, but you don’t want to push another long relationship on him when he is not ready. Image
  3. A man with emotional issues. Women are not the only one who can express emotion.  Some men are just often much closed about theirs. However, there are men who are very openly emotional. This type of man can drain a woman because she feels as if she should stay with him and show him she can be there for him. Image

I’ve had the un-pleasure of dating a man who embodied all three of these issues. Here is my experience:

So I met this guy named….we’ll just call him Keith*…lol. Keith was a very handsome guy, ex-professional athlete turned corporate guru. We met on a social forum and flirting turned into exchanging numbers which turned into light-hearted dating. Turns out we knew some of the same people so we’d been in each other’s circle a few times. Everything was great at first. He was a really good communicator which is something that a woman like me can appreciate.  He matched me in credentials, meaning he had an apartment, a job, and a car. Believe it or not those are the basics that most individuals are lacking one or the other. Here’s where it went left; about a month into dating he lost his job.  When a person loses their job, they go through a range of emotions.  I saw a side of him that was foreign but was willing to stick it out because I liked him genuinely and to me that didn’t define him.

He just started changing rapidly though. Very moody and feeling like he wasn’t good enough as a man because he wasn’t working.  He would constantly complain and sulk over his failed engagement with his college sweetheart. He hated his apartment because it reminded him of her. He seemed very upset that the relationship didn’t work out.

Then he started acting suicidal. I say acting because he seemed really intelligent to me and I think he was just doing it to get attention.  But sending your friends and family sad text messages and emails, then leaving your house leaving all your possessions (car keys, phone) was not a good look. Especially when the police and your family are discussing Baker-Act with you.

From there, I still tried to be that supportive “clean-up girl”. I was helping with job interviews, creating power point presentations for him to present to prospective employers. Compromising on dating out because I knew money was tight, so that meant a lot of Red box nights, or if we did go out I paid. More than anything, I was the encouraging girlfriend. I prayed a lot for him and with him. We even went to  church together.  I did my part in letting him know he would get through it, and he wouldn’t be down forever or alone.



In the end, we decided to take a break so he could gather his thoughts and we could reconvene when things were a lot smoother for him. It got tough between us so for me too so I thought that was logical.

Guess what though???

A few short months later, he’s back on top! Back where he needs to be, feeling great about life got a new job making more money than the last! He also got a new girlfriend. LOL I guess the joke was on me. Now I look at their lovey-dovey pictures on that same social forum I met him on and I just shake my head.


That’s what I get for being the “clean-up girl”.

It’s nothing wrong with being there for someone (male or female) when they are going through a tough time. After all everyone in the world is not shallow, however you must be very cautious to avoid getting your own feelings hurt or wasting time that could have been invested in yourself.

Time after time, we as women get caught up on the possibility of a relationship and we ignore the signs that are staring us dead in the face. Keith was and probably still is a pretty good guy; he just wasn’t the guy for me. Had I would’ve have listened to my gut feeling in the beginning that was saying to back off, I wouldn’t be telling this story. But no, I wanted to show him I wasn’t some superficial girl and I had his back. What I should have been doing was protecting my own feelings.

You live and learn!





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