Dating A Soon-To-Be Divorcée?

October 7, 2011  |  

I could go on for days with marriage and divorce statistics, but I’d probably be repeating a lot of information that you have already heard a thousand times like “50% of all marriages end in divorce.”  What that popular statistic should emphasize  is the word “all” since there are some differences in the likelihood of a marriage’s success rate based on whether it is a first, second or even third marriage. Note: first marriages have the greatest success rate.

Nonetheless, the truth is that the older you are when you are single and dating, the more likely it will be that you will date a man who is either divorced or separated. As many of us know, both situations can bring a unique set of challenges.

Separation is a period of time when someone is not quite single but not exactly living as a married couple.  Most states recognize legal separations in which the courts detail the rights and responsibilities of each partner living separately, without officially terminating the marriage.  Even if a couple is convinced that a marriage is over, some states such as North Carolina and New York require a one-year legal and physical separation before a divorce is granted.  With that said, “separation” means a lot of different things to different people.  It can be a loose term thrown around when someone decides to take a break from marital responsibilities and challenges, but not the fringe benefits (aka sex); it can be interim break taken by two people who agree they aren’t the best fit for one another, or it can be a period of time when a couple commits to working on their issues while taking time apart.  Dating a separated man can be a tough situation at best, and it can be a plain old predicament if you add children into the mix.

When you’re dating someone who’s separated, you’re dating someone who is still legally married which may not be a big deal to you on day one, especially if his wife lives in a different time zone.  But dating a man who’s separated is every bit of the gamble it sounds.  I, personally, am not the betting type.  For others, cupid’s big shiny arrow knows no mark and you could find yourself not only falling in love, but falling into a big legal black hole.  Here are some questions you might want to ask yourself before investing your time, emotions and money:

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  • El

    I’m married but one of my best friends is dating a man who is “separated” He and his wife still reside in the same home supposedly with separate bedrooms. They also have a few small kids. She thinks he is “The One”. I have serious doubts. Opinions are welcome, please!

  • kate

    Unfortunately, I am experiencing right now the early stages of after having dated a “separated” man, him deciding he misses is family. His son is 18, so he didn’t have any child support obligations. He was 35 I am 21. Anyone who knew him said “Oh him and his wife didn’t belong together, they’ve been miserable for a long time they act like roommates”
    So this man and i began a relationship, which was for a while the best thing that ever happened to me. However, one day I come home from work and he is packing up and saying he misses his family.
    This is the most devastating experience I have had yet to endure, but I suppose it was a lesson I had to learn the hard way.
    Just something to keep in mind for those who are falling for a separated man:
    If he gets back with his wife odds are he won’t be allowed to contact you, given the circumstances. So whether he thinks of you or not, you can’t have any closure-related talking, or decide later to be friends. This I have to say is the hardest part, because all of a sudden someone who you shared so much love with, trusted, and gave your heart to now is pretending you don’t exist.
    You will feel used, abused, and confused. Even if you two have a good relationship, there is a whole lot of weight in a separation on family.
    All in all, I wish I had been smarter in my decisions, but perhaps my experience may serve as aid to someone else who is hurting or confused, but for now, it’s just nice to type it out.

  • Jenny

    Hi,I am dating a man for 1 year and 2 months now him and his wife is still married but has been separated for 6 months before I met him, he gave her the divorce papers but she doesn’t want to sign it she is not happy with the agreement. He said that he wants to do it because he doesn’t want to loose me, but it feels like every thing is never going to end. I love him but please I need advise. Should I wait for him and still be with him till he gets divorce or should I leave him and wait for him to finish the divorce first? What should I do? Please help!!!

  • Brandi

    I have been dating this guy for 5months as of today, him and his wife have been separated for a think two years now. She has been with a friend of his now since the separation and have recently become ingaged. I don’t know everything that happened but am being told two totally different things about her doings and why they are no longer together. I care a great deal about this guy, I let my gaurd down and have devloped very deep feelings for him. I don’t know what to do, it’s hard to just walk away when I am so emotionally attached. He’s quiet and doesn’t say much, I don’t hear from him through the week I basically have to have his permission to come over I can’t just show up. I have so many questions, I need an experts advice on this.

  • Clarissa

    I fell for someone separated…he was only 6-months separated …and he really didn’t know what he wanted (emotionally all over shop!)….saying one thing …then another…sensitive/intense then distant. I also agree longer term that kids would take up so much of his time and the ex-wife, so much of his money!! Not the wisest choice on my part….but the heart and head are very different things. Safest to avoid I think – as they can’t offer you the things you often want most – stability, security and a loving partner (and by extension of that, a family). Also you have to wonder, even though you considered him to be amazing…why did the wife want out so badly?? (worth thinking about…!)

  • atticusam

    I have to agree with the comments made here. Against my better judgement I agreed to date a man who is separated, and am now experiencing the consequences I was originally afraid of: his confusion and ambivalence about becoming emotionally involved with someone new. Some of these men are just kind of testing the waters, to see what being single might be like. For me, this has become rather painful, as I have unfortunately found myself very attracted to him, and started letting my guard down and letting myself entertain ideas of a relationship with him – only to find that, once we became a bit close, he retreated (no calls/contact). My advice (for what it is worth) is: don’t do it. Stick to dating men who are legally (and emotionally) free to start a new relationship.

  • I’m Just Sayin

    Plain and simple-dating a “separated” man is a bad idea and wrong. According to the law, he’s still married and is technically cheating on his wife. Who’s to say later on down the line that he won’t cheat on you too??? Just something to think about. . .

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  • Jaytee

    A separated man is nothing but a married man who isn't living with his wife at the moment..(so he says). And especially beware of the ones who've been separated 5 years or more….that person isn't going to ever get a divorce.

  • If you have to go through all this with a man who is separated from his wife, then you don't need to be with him. Until he divorces his wife, he is still a married man and that would make any woman who dates him his mistress. Just because their having some problems and aren't living together or continuing an intimate marriage relationship does not mean the marriage still isn't there. Truth hurts, but it is what it is. . .

  • yeh

    i really dont mess with separate men cus everyone needs time to heal and find themselfs first it just makes me feel like iam a rebound he does't know what he wants

  • Teflon Mom

    I dated a guy many years ago who was seperated. He and the (now) ex had lived apart for over a year, both were dating other people and she had a new baby with her live in boyfriend. I kept wondering why he didn't finalize the paperwork – he gave a million excuses about being busy and all. Silly me – that fool knew that if he finalized the divorce the courts would automatically look at child support for the ex wife and he was something like a deadbeat. He cussed the ex clean out for asking him to pick up play clothes and shoes for their kids and he had a bad habit of leaving them with me when he did get around to "keeping" them. It was time to get out of dodge on that one, lol.

  • Lady D

    If a man is "separated", he needs to close out one chapter before opening another–meaning he should NOT date (I know that's asking too much). During the separation period he needs to get himself together emotionally so that when the divorce is final he's ready to date with a fresh outlook.

    • IllyPhilly

      Nope not asking too much at all. I never understand how people can do that. If he's not fully divorce he's not fully yours. I knew of a female who was with a man for EIGHT years who NEVER divorced his ex-wife and the girl stayed with him even after he got wife pregnant again!!!

  • L-Boogie

    Well, in all relationships are a risk. Take it one day at a time.

    • L-Boogie

      DAMN, I was stating an opinion not a truth.

  • jjac401

    I don't think is even a good idea to date someone recently divorced because usually someone will end up as a rebound for that person.