Dating someone newly separated.

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-18-2013
Dating someone newly separated.
Thu, 07-18-2013 - 7:37am

I began dating a guy in early May. We hit it off immediately and went out weekly, sometimes twice a week. He told me after our second date that he was "smitten." It took me a little longer to feel the same, but I eventually got there. Each time we hang out, it's just so natural. We can spend hours just talking, the physical side is great as well, but it's not the reason we get together. I always assume in the first few months that we're not exclusive until we have that talk, and I'm fine with that because I'd rather get to know someone over a longer period of time than jump into an instant relationship. That's where things here get a little complicated.

He told me he and his ex wife have an amicable relationship and the kids (he has 3 all under the age of 10) seem to be coping well with the divorce. While I am not worried that he's looking to reconcile, I did learn that he is not yet divorced. In my state you have to separate for a year if there are minor children before the divorce can be finalized. In the beginning, I just took things as they were, didn't really ask how long they'd been apart. I assumed (my mistake) that he was fully divorced. Or at least very close to it. I recently learned that he's only been separated since March. This threw me for a loop because after my ten year relationship ended, I needed a while before I was ready to date despite the fact that I'd been emotionally detatched from my ex for a long time. So the fact that this really great guy jumped so quickly into dating scares me. Further complicating things - our time together feels very much like a relationship - it's just how we fit together. I've met his friends, we hold hands when we're out and about, we get lost in conversation - all the boxes are checked off. I have never pressured him for exclusivity, never even brought up the topic of "us." I have let him set the pace of things since learning of his recent separation. And now it seems he's pulling back, we've gone from talking several times a week to just once in a while. Yet we seem to get closer and closer each time we hang out. I do take into account the fact that his kids are out of school for the summer, and he's looking to change careers while also working through the financial aspects of his eventual divorce, so I know he has a lot on his plate and that contacting me daily isn't necessarily doable.

Talking to my guy friends, they've said it sounds like he ended up in something he didn't expect this soon and now doesn't know how to deal with it. This guy is not a player, he's kind and down to earth and I would hate to lose him from my life, but I know how I screwed up numerous relationships after my breakup and I don't want that to happen here. I just wanted some independent feedback. I'm new to the board and am looking forward to any advice you guys might have: do I stick it out, date other guys while still trying to have this guy in my life, or do I cut him loose? I feel like this is an example of terrible timing. If we'd met a year from now, I doubt I'd have these questions.


iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Thu, 07-18-2013 - 10:55am

I wouldn't do anything until you talk with him about how he feels.  Can you imagine the surprise if he really likes you, thought things were going well and you just broke up with him without talking about the situation?  Just bring up things like does he think he is getting involved too fast, does he feel that he needs time to date not exclusively, etc.  Or you could mention how you felt when you first got divorced, like you thought everything would be easy since you weren't still attached to your ex emotionally & it was harder than you thought and that would give him an opening.  I think that's why most people try to avoid someone who was recently separated, but you already met him & like him.  I think your guy friends are probably right.  Most men, it seems to me, can't stand to be alone for any length of time.  I saw an old classmate of mine on match & he wasn't divorced yet--there seem to be a lot of "separated" men on OLD.  And in my state you dont' have to be living apart for any length of time to get divorced, or at least go to court--the waiting period is 90 days after you go to court for the divorce.

Avatar for khatru1
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-07-2004
Thu, 07-18-2013 - 11:42am

Wow,  I would expect him to not be ready for another reltionship for quite some time, if he has only been seperated since March. I don't know if you could unexclusively date him for long enough to wait for enough time to pass. I would think you would most likely get exclusive with another man by then. I'm worried that this is all too rebound-ish.

Community Leader
Registered: 08-25-2006
Thu, 07-18-2013 - 2:00pm

There a few schools of thought on this subject.

1. You are dating a married man.  Period.  End it (in a kind way) and tell him to call you after his divorce is actually final

2. He is separated and presumably wanting to be with you and has no desire to reconcile with is W.  Go ahead and keep seeing him as things are and wait to have "the talk" until his D is final.   You may not have that talk with him yet, but you personally feel a level of comitment and will only date him, and no one else. 

3. You could start talking to him about the contact being less, but to be honest I don't think this would get you very far.  As you know, there are alot of emotions around a D, and even if all goes well, it is still life changing.  Trying to get any kind of answers from him now would probably be futile and possibly push him away.

4.  Keep seeing him, but go ahead and date others at the same time. 

With all of that said, be very aware of what you have signed up for here.  I met my current DH at the end of his M, and we hooked up immediately after they separated.  Let's just say the next two years of my life was quite the rollercoaster ride.  At some point though, you two will need to come to some kind of understanding if things continue to progress. 

Good luck and send me a private message if you want to know more. 

Serenity CL - Making a Second Marriage Work


iVillage Member
Registered: 12-05-2010
Fri, 07-19-2013 - 1:47am

First, I'd check to make sure he is really separated, not back with his wife or still with her. Like another poster here, I am wary of people who are still married.

As to moving on after a prior relationship, people need different amounts of time. Assuming he has been honest, his marriage could have eroded over several years, with him checking out months before the separation.

Regarding what is going on with him now, as Musiclover12 said, you need to speak to him directly. There are several possibilities, including him missing his wife and/or seeing you as not right for him. All I can do is speculate from a distance, so you need to go to the source.

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-25-2013
Fri, 07-19-2013 - 9:12am

Everyone's satisfied with different things, but if I was dating someone for 3 months, I'd think he'd want to speak to me at least once a day. Having kids around is no excuse. If a person has time to go to the bathroom and eat lunch, he has time to make a brief phone call, even just to say, "I'm with my kids but just called to say I miss you." That takes 10 seconds. The relationship is regressing instead of progressing, so that's not a good sign.

Yes, he should have waited a year to date for being married that length of time. Why is he divorcing? That can be very telling of his character. I would think it takes something major to have 3 kids under 10, which makes things a lot more difficult. Start thinking about what you want in a relationship. He's going to be financially strapped paying child support for 12 or more years with possible alimony. Are you okay with a guy with limited funds? You have to think of this economical reality of how limiting this will be if you want to take vacations or set up a household with him in the future. How can he contribute? What is his character? Did he cheat on his ex? Did they grow apart because of poor communication or lack of daily effort. Finding out these things is important. How many times a week do you like to get together with a guy? How often do you like speaking on the phone? Think of your needs first. If he's not in a place to provide them, move on before you invest more time in to someone who's not emotionally ready to be in another long term relationship. At what point are you willing to address these things with him? If you're afraid to speak to him about these things for fear of losing him, it's because the relationship is on rocky ground to begin with. And if you lose him because you're communicating your needs, then it's for the best if he cuts you loose now so you can find someone who is ready for what you want. If you always let a man set the pace, it's very telling on how little you consider your own value. You're driving the bus. You tell people when to get on and when to get the hell off if necessary. Good luck.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Fri, 07-19-2013 - 12:22pm

I usually do not date people who are only separated as some men conider themselves separated when they are still living with their wives.  I even remember after my ex & I started talking about divorce, he said "are we separated now?"  I said "How can we be separated when we are still living in the same house?"  Anyway once I met a guy through OLD and he said his DW had left the house (and the kids) and the divorce was in progress, both had lawyers, etc. so I figured that was safe.  Well first of all on the 1st meet lunch, I heard way too much about the problems with the ex--I mean I suppose you want to know why they are getting divorced, but do you spill all your personal issues to someone you've just met?  I don't even tell someone that I've been divorced twice until I decide whether I like the person--why divulge my personal embarrassing business if it turns out we'll never see each other again anyway?  So aside from that, I thought he was nice enough, but don't you know that not too long after that, I got a text from him by accident that was meant for his DW (our first initials are next in the alphabet so that was probably why) saying something like "I'll always love you, Mary, what can I do for you?"  I doubt  they were getting back together but he was definitely not emotionally over her, so why get involved with someone like that?  As a divorce lawyer, I know that some people have very amicable divorces and esp. if they don't have children, things can be wrapped up really quickly, but it's definitely better for the divorce to be final.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Fri, 07-19-2013 - 12:26pm

I think you made some really good points here Safire.  I know that after my 1st divorce I was very emotionally vulnerable--it doesn't sound like the poster is like that, but so many women don't ask for what they want but let the men take the lead in everything because they are worried about being too demanding.  Now I've been divorced from the 2nd DH long enough to have a lot of time to think about what I want and hopefully I could stick to that.  I figure I've been w/o a man long enough that I'm not desperate to find one so I can just continue the status quo unless i find the right kind of relationship for me.

Community Leader
Registered: 08-25-2006
Fri, 07-19-2013 - 1:15pm

Well said, Safire! 

I eventually came to that point of "s*** or get off the pot" two years into our R.  It was painful, but as the saying goes, "you want to be someones priority, not their option."  Or something like that.  Embarassed

It is always better to wait until someone has been divorced for a while. Can easily take a year or two to heal.  Matters of heart don't follow rules very well. 


iVillage Member
Registered: 09-29-2003
Fri, 09-13-2013 - 1:29pm

Men move on quicker than women, so I’m not surprised that your guy only waited 6 months.

The man I’m with was separated 9 months before he found himself on dating websites. He contacted me and I didn’t find out he was separated until our first phone conversation. I wasn’t pleased with this news but thought to myself “it is just drinks…………..”

A year and a half later, we are still together. He has since filed for and been granted a divorce, but this has not been an easy road for either of us. He was courting me the whole time he was going through his divorce and we had a few stumbles along the way.

I just want you to be prepared for what may (or may not) come your way. I honestly believe my guy and I have a future together, however if it doesn’t work out- I will never, NEVER date a separated/going through divorce guy again. I tell all of my girlfriends to steer clear of a man that is not 100% available.

The divorce went amicably for him as well. They both wanted it and they didn’t have kids. However, it was never that simple. There were days I could not come over to the house because she was picking up more of her stuff. It was too awkward for us to meet under those circumstances. He also chose not to tell her about me right away so I had to put my foot down and refuse to be his “dirty little secret”.  He had to go through separating their items and paging through old wedding photos. Mutual friends were on “her side” and a little icy towards me. I had terrible guilt as well over dating a married man. I would like next to him at night and think to myself “this is another woman’s husband…….”

He also went through a period of considerable emotional pain. To watch the guy you’re falling in love with hurt over another woman is not something I wish on another human being. There is nothing you can do about it either. It is his pain to get through, you didn’t cause it and you can’t fix it. You can be there and listen but after a while- you will get tired of hearing her name over and over and over……

Your guy may not know what he wants yet. He probably feels guilty meeting someone new and enjoying his time with you.

Some other people on here asked some very good questions surrounding the circumstances of his divorce. I’ve learned through the other’s here that 2nd marriages fail at a much higher rate so always proceed with caution.

My advice, continue to take it slow. Date other men as well. Decide if this is what you really want. For me, it ended up being worth it but I would not do it over again.