Is it moral to date while only separated

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-20-2007
Is it moral to date while only separated
Tue, 03-20-2007 - 5:10pm

I’ve posed this question to several people and I’ve gotten divided response. I wondered what y’all thought.

Is it moral to date someone else when you’re separated but not yet divorced? Forget “moral” – is it socially acceptable? Does the answer change whether you’ve filed or not yet?

A workshop leader I talked to (Catholic-based divorce workshop) said that it’s acceptable to date while separated and not divorced, that it’s not “cheating.” And that sex in that situation was immoral in the same way as it is in pre-marital situations, but not adulterous since you’re seeking the termination of the marriage.

A therapist I asked said it was completely moral to date while separated as long as you’ve made it clear to your spouse that it is o.v.e.r. in no uncertain terms. But he also said that children should not be privy to this until “the gavel falls.”

A book on marital separation I read talked about dating and even sex as a forgone conclusion during this period, even before divorce is final.

Friends seem split on the topic. My father was aghast that I would consider dating (not that I’ve been asked, it’s a hypothetical) before a divorce is final. I feel weird about it, like it’s not quite right, but part of me also wonders what’s wrong with seeing a movie with someone for a little companionship once in a while?

What do you all think?


Avatar for northwestwanderer
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 03-20-2007 - 6:44pm

I dated while I was separated--it took my ex and I a fair amount of time to get around to filing and finalizing things even though we were living apart. I don't have an issue with it morally--I think that's something you need to resolve for yourself based on your own beliefs. I would say that most people I talked to it at the time thought it was socially acceptable but there were definitely people who didn't think so.

But now looking back I realize it was not SMART of me to date during that time frame, because even though I thought I was ok because I was the one who initiated the separation, I was really NOT ok and I ended up getting into a 4 year relationship that was not healthy. Now I don't date men who are only separated for that reason. I don't have an issue with it from a moral or ethical viewpoint, but I do realize that nearly all people going through a divorce are "walking wounded" and not in a good space emotionally to be dating, whether they realize it or not.


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 03-20-2007 - 9:31pm

I am of the opinion that one should not date until the divorce is final. Not only does it look bad and sends a message, one that may be best not sent.

So although the popular opinion is probably the exact opposite, I think it does matter. Moral? Dont' know if that is the word for it. But self respect would be the word that comes to mind. Lawful and honest the others.

But then again, I don't believe in "bed buddies" either, divorced or otherwise.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-23-2007
Fri, 03-23-2007 - 1:19pm
Absolutely! You should date when YOU feel you are ready to date. I've been separated for four months now. I have not been asked on a date yet but I feel that I am ready to date now. My husband cheated on me for almost a year so he was dating when we were still fully married. I plan on dating as soon as a respectful, honest man asks me out.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-24-2007
Sat, 03-24-2007 - 8:26am

Slow down. I am new here but I think there are too many women out there giving up
too quickly on marriage. I am frankly shocked that a Christian based workshop
would condone dating, and sex with another man, while still married. And your
Counselor is telling you what you want to hear I suspect.
Did your husband cheeat on you ? Did he intiate the separation ? Is he changing for the better ? I think your father is right ..

But my thoughts are with you.


iVillage Member
Registered: 06-08-2006
Fri, 03-30-2007 - 4:07pm

I think it is a decision that each person has to make for themselves. I did not date while separated, but I had decided to take a break from dating and men in general and focus on myself. My ex on the other did date and was actually already living with and engaged to another woman beofre our divorce was final. It did not cause any problems ofr us because we were clearly not getting back together and we had no children so it worked out well. I think you will have to decide what feels right for you.

good luck,

Avatar for floridagirl52
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-16-2006
Sun, 04-01-2007 - 8:53am

I also think it is smart to wait to date until you are divorced and have really processed your feelings. It's not for moral reasons. I think that most people do not spend enough time grieving a divorce (I don't care who initiates).

I have also observed that most men hook up quite quickly, usually not waiting for the divorce to be final. It doesn't mean these new relationships are healthy though.

I think it's a really good idea to enter therapy at this time and work on the issues that led to you marrying this person in the first place.

Now, having said that, of course if you just want some companionship to go to a movie, I see nothing wrong with that. But I would consider going with your girlfriends instead. And I only say that because you might not have feelings for this man at first, but you could become attached very quickly and find youself in a rebound relationship.

There are exceptions to all of this, but to me, not too many. Some people really are able to have casual relationships right after a divroce and then they can move on. But I feel that is the exception, especially for women.

Be careful during this time. Allow yourself to grieve and process.

All the best. --FG

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-08-2006
Wed, 04-04-2007 - 7:39pm

For me, I think that once you've filed the marriage is over -- unless you're entertaining thoughts of getting back together.

In our situation, we were married for almost 15 years. There was not much left of it by at least years 9 -10. We lived as platonic roommates -- and he pretty much treated me like the furniture. I was busy raising three kids and working full time.

I finally planned to end it when I found out he was cheating on me. I kept it all secret (he did not know that I knew) for 8 weeks until my son's bar-mitzvah was over. the next day I asked for a divorce and asked him to leave. I was done -- mentally and emotionally -- and was ready to move on.

I started dating my new husband at about 4 months into my divorce mediation -- and the divorce was final 3 months later. I was up front about all of it so he knew what he was getting into. I explained that the final decree was just a formality to me and that there were no feelings left for the ex.

I've been with my new husband since the fall of 1994. We got married this past summer '06 and have now been married for almost 9 months.

Go. Have a good time. Be safe. Don't make any quick or rash decisions.


iVillage Member
Registered: 08-25-2004
Mon, 04-09-2007 - 11:44pm

Divorce is rated way up there with death. It has a bad habit of biting you later on when you think you are alright. I've been through two of the rascals. We should look at a few things.
In California a person is legally single when they physically separate and live somewhere else without any hindrances. You can't get a divorce without your own abode. It's nobody's business what is going on in your personal life:But, like I mentioned emotions are strange things to deal with. I have known of many people who date right away because quite, frankly, they are horndoggys. That is very human but what if you get into a realationship without finding out what you want in life, needs and consequences. Then a person may find themselves on the road to another divorce. Oh, whoopee!
Of course, there are the kids. They need a break, too. Adjusting to mommy or daddy living alone or with too many 'aunts' and 'uncles' will require much understanding and explaining. Kids need security financially and emotionally.

Morally...get settled in life. Make a beautiful garden. Get hobbies. Find friends of quality and who know you are going through a hard time and will give you support.
Go fishing. Go sailing. Love your kids. And when you decide that you are ready for a special relationship, make sure your comode is sparkling clean and all dirty laundry is in the hamper. Best of luck, Lou

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-15-2007
Sun, 04-15-2007 - 8:57am
I am going through a separation as well, and had not planned to date until the divorce was final. I have now met someone who treats me better than my husband ever did in the
15 years of marriage. I feel that it is not immoral to be with this man. My husband also cheated on me while we were married. I feel that once the separation is in process that a Divorce is imminent and that it is not wrong to be dating again. Everyone deserves
to be happy....right?
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-15-2007
Sun, 04-15-2007 - 10:10am

In my situation, depends on who you ask...if you ask my ex, apparently it is ok, being as how he moved his new girlfriend into our house the same day I moved me and the kids out.

I went to a Divorce Recovery group who gave a time line that started from the time you made the decision to end your marriage of a year. For me, I waited the year, its been longer and I still havent dated, but I am very glad I did. My head was not in the right place to date during that period.

Good Luck!!