Is It Okay To Date A Separated Man?

✔ Research-backed

Dating a separated man puts you in a tricky situation, and if you are already dating one, you must know what you are getting into. A married man is still the legal husband of his wife and has responsibilities towards her and the family. He does not live with his spouse but is not officially divorced or single. A courtship with such a man is a risky affair and involves several complications. Read through this post to know everything before getting into a relationship with a separated man and the problems you might face when dating him.

In This Article

Is It Okay To Date A Separated Man?

Dating a separated man

Image: Shutterstock

It is okay to date a separated man if you are willing to take on the risk attached to it. He comes with legal, financial, and even emotional baggage. He will still be visiting his wife and children regularly. His spouse could be trying to save their marriage. You have to be extremely patient to accept it and work hard to keep the relationship strong.

If you really love this man, wait until all his divorce proceedings are finalized, and only then look for a serious relationship with him. A guy who loves you will be patient and understand your need for security.

Problems You Might Face Dating A Separated Man

A relationship with a separated man is complicated in several ways. Besides compatibility and chemistry, there are several other aspects of this relationship. Here are some of the risks and problems you are likely to face when dating him.

1. Rebound and family attachment

The biggest risk of dating a separated man is that you could be his rebound. Since he is not legally out of wedlock, it means he could be having feelings for her. In time, he might even miss his family and get back to them, leaving you in the lurch.

For this reason, many women avoid dating men who are separated but legally married. Jaime Alexis Stathis, a writer, shares her experience of being in a relationship with a man she believed was divorced, only to discover that he was separated. She says, “I would never have gotten involved with a separated man. Married men looking for dates are on my permanent blacklist. In my opinion, separated people need to wait it out. I’m leery of anyone getting out of a relationship who needs someone else waiting in the wings (i).”

protip_icon Do remember
Ask him the causes for the separation and whether he had a mutual, conflict-free separation before considering dating him.

2. Emotional baggage

A recently separated man may be looking for some support and not a new relationship. You may end up becoming his unofficial therapist as he vents his dissatisfaction with his ex or life. You do not want a relationship that is all about him complaining about his ex and you listening patiently, right? Remember that his devotion towards his family and children could be both a blessing and a curse for your relationship.

3. Insecurity

Insecure woman dating a separated man

Image: Shutterstock

The fact that he is not legally separated from his wife leaves a door for him to go back to her. This may make you feel insecure about the relationship. Also, he may have to meet his ex for divorce and other legal proceedings, which can leave you feeling jealous of their proximity. There may also come a time when he may choose to meet his ex over you, making you feel neglected.

4. Long legal process

Divorce is a long, expensive, and even painful process. If assets, finances, and children are involved, then the process can get ugly as both parties can get aggressive in these matters. You need to ask yourself if you are ready to go through all those complications for the sake of your partner.

5. Change of mind

Change of mind when dating a separated man

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Long divorce proceedings can change people. Chances are you support him throughout his legal battle, but once things are settled, he might change his mind and not be ready to get into a serious relationship with you.

6. Social stigma

Dating a separated man may project you in a bad light if you live in a conservative society. People might judge you and say unpleasant things about you. This is because they may have strong opinions about relationships, and they speak ill of those who defy conventional norms. However, remember what others think of you is none of your business. People are entitled to their opinions, and you don’t have to change their mind. Surround yourself with good friends and create a strong support system. Stand by what you think is right, and stay away from people who try to let you down.

10 Things You Need To Know About Dating A Separated Man

If you have made up your mind and are sure about dating a separated man, you need to know about the following aspects of his life.

1. Type of separation

The first thing you need to be sure about your partner is the type of separation he is involved in. Is he separated and on a trial period with his spouse or permanently separated? Has the divorce proceedings started, or is he yet to file for divorce? His separation status can have some serious repercussions; hence, you need to be sure about his liability as a spouse.

2. Duration of separation

Next, you need to know how long he has been separated from his spouse and at what stage they are in their legal course for a divorce. Is it been only a few months since their separation, and are there any chances of reconciliation between them? Or have they been separated for a considerable amount of time?

3. Number of children

Separated man with kids

Image: Shutterstock

Does your partner have children with his former spouse? If yes, ask yourself if you are willing to become a step-parent. Children can change the dynamics of a relationship. So, if you are not ready to be a parent to a child, then you shouldn’t take the relationship forward as it won’t be fair to you or your partner.

4. Reason for separation

Your man may have been married once or multiple times before. You need to know what went wrong in his previous relationship, especially if he has been married a couple of times before. Also, find out if there has been a case of infidelity on his part that caused the separation. If so, can you trust him now?

5. Duration of previous relationships

Sometimes, some men develop a relationship pattern where they cannot stay committed to one person for long. You need to find out the duration of your partner’s past relationships. Was he in a long-term relationship, or did he separate within a short period of the union?

protip_icon Point to consider
Don’t commit to a guy just because he had long-term relationships in the past. Every relationship is unique and past records may not guarantee you a successful relationship. However, it may indicate that the man takes his relationships seriously.

6. Financial condition

Financial standing of a man

Image: Shutterstock

If you consider settling down with this person, ask him about his financial standing. You need to know if he is paying for child support and alimony and can afford it. And that’s not all, there are many other expenses such as tuition, healthcare, and monthly expenses. It is important to know if his assets belong to him or he shares them with his wife. Do not be suspicious of your man but be sure that he is not in any debt that eventually affects your relationship.

7. Emotional availability

Before committing to this guy, you need to be sure he is emotionally available to you. He may be physically loyal to you but he needs to show emotional loyalty too. He cannot be seeing you if he is still spending more time with his separated wife. He must be completely detached from his previous relationship and must be on the same page as you. He needs to have the same commitment level as you to feel togetherness.

8. Dating exclusivity

Are you the only person he is seeing, or has he kept his options open? Fidelity is usually a big concern for most partners. Before committing to him, ensure that you both share the same view on the relationship. He should not be going on dates with potential partners if he sees you. Also, consider if he is with you only for physical intimacy or if there is an emotional connection as well. Make your intentions and expectations clear early on in the relationship.

9. Feelings for his ex

What does he feel for his ex? Is he okay talking about her, or he gets angry at the mention of her name? Does he still carry affection in his heart for her? If he still harbors resentment for his ex, it means he still carries the baggage and is not ready for a new relationship. The bitterness in his mind for his former spouse shows his attachment to her that can be detrimental to your relationship. A separated man may have respect and admiration for his spouse – nothing more, nothing less.

10. Living condition

Your man may say he is over his ex, but if he still lives with her in the same house, then chances are he is not true to his words. There may be reasons such as he is waiting to get a good price to sell his house, or his wife is still dependent on him, so he cannot leave her alone until she gets a job. No matter the reason, such a situation is messy, and you must stay away from it.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is dating while separated cheating?

No. Dating someone after separation is not cheating, especially when you don’t wish to get back together with your ex-partner. Instead, dating someone may help you move on faster and boost your confidence and self-image.

2. How long after a separation is it okay to start dating?

There is no fixed timeframe as to when you can start dating after separation. However, it is not advised to be in a rebound relationship immediately as it may break your heart again. So, take some time to heal and process your feelings before starting dating again. Also, ensure your dating does not hamper the divorce proceedings.

3. What is the hardest part of separation?

Many say deciding to part ways is the most challenging part of separating from your partner. The loneliness that separation brings, especially if you have a long-term relationship, can also be hard to deal with.

4. How does separation affect a man?

A man can experience frustration, anger, sadness, grief, and relief when he separates from a partner. One study found that men who were unaware of the impending separation were more likely to remain distressed one to two years after separating. In addition, men with lower occupational status and those who lived alone were more likely to recover poorly from mental distress(1). While women are more likely to have the support of friends and family, men often live through it alone, which can be especially hard.

Dating a separated man may come with its own set of challenges. It is wise to commit to such a relationship only if he is to be divorced soon. This is particularly important if kids are involved as they can be a substantial influence for someone to change their mind. You must keep communication lines always open to have a better understanding of his personality while telling him about your requirements. You may have to compromise on a lot of things as well. You may avoid ending up being his casual fling by asking him to let his family know about you. This will also prevent other complications that may arise later. Offer him your emotional support but make sure he is being honest and truthful while presenting his side of the story.

Infographic: Red Flags In Dating A Separated Man

You cannot choose the person you love. But if you’ve fallen for a separated man, you must take things slow until his divorce or separation agreement is finalized. So until then, you can take the time to analyze the man and your future relationship. Here are a few warning signs to look out for during your dating period.

red flags in dating a separated man (infographic)

Illustration: Momjunction Design Team

Key Pointers

  • Dating a separated man could be a challenging and complex affair.
  • It is wise to comprehend the problems and other vital factors before pursuing your relationship with a separated man.
  • Learning about his past relationship, separation status, financial situation, and other important aspects might eventually help you make a well-informed decision.
dating a separated man_illustration

Image: Stable Diffusion/MomJunction Design Team

Dating a separated man comes with its sets of challenges. Learn about the love and complexities involved when dating someone going through a divorce. This video shares first-hand insights and stories about dating a husband before his divorce.

Personal Experience: Source


MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
  1. The Effects of Marital Separation on Men.
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Maria Romano

Maria RomanoRelationship coach

Maria went from having a multi-million business with her husband to living on her own when he died, leaving her to deal with ageism and redefining her life. But for her, it's never too late to be doing something she loves and isn't just something she had to. And that thinking led her to become a wedding officiant for full bio