Dating comes with many trials and tribulations, even in the best of circumstances. Whether you have met a man at the office, the coffee shop or through an on-line dating site, you might find that many men begin dating while separated, rather than divorced. Dating separated men brings its own questions, ranging from rebound relationships to whether they really are done with their previous relationships. Navigate this sensitive issue with care to protect your heart without missing out on a great guy.
Separated can mean a lot of different things, depending upon the individual and the divorce laws in your state. In some cases, it might mean “married and looking”; in others, it’s a sign of a long, difficult and drawn-out divorce. In any case, it does mean that he still has unfinished business with a past relationship, but the impact of that can vary.
How can you tell if the separated man you’re dating really is separated–and, moreover, if he really is ready for a new relationship? First, look at the evidence. If you have his home phone number, have been to his house and the separation is legal and on paper, it’s further along. Men who seem to be hiding something probably are. Identifying whether he is on the rebound is more difficult. It takes time to heal from a broken relationship, and most people aren’t ready for new relationships before the ink is dry on the divorce papers.
Some states require substantial waiting periods for a divorce; in other situations, divorces drag on because of arguments over finances or child custody, or even because of hopes of reconciliation. If you live in a state with a waiting period, you might feel comfortable dating a separated man late in the divorce process if it is going smoothly. If a divorce is taking much longer than is typical, expect drama.
Consider what you want out of a relationship if you are thinking about dating a separated man. If you want a casual friendship or a friend with benefits, you might be fine with a man who isn’t looking for commitment. On the other hand, if you are looking for a life partner, a man whose life is in turmoil from a separation or ongoing divorce proceedings is a poor choice. Go slow, and keep things light until he is in a better place in his life.
If you do decide to date a man before his divorce is final, check the divorce laws in your state. You might find that he is committing adultery, making the divorce even more difficult and possibly pulling you into the proceedings. Unfortunately, you also might end up the rebound, dumped after a short relationship as he sows his wild oats.