People often wonder about dating someone who is separated—not officially divorced. Some won’t do it. Some don’t have an issue with it. Read this email I received from a reader who is having problems in online dating because he is separated–not officially divorced.
I have been separated for over a year, with young kids I have half the time. My divorce is amicable and I maintain a good relationship with my ex. There’s no love there though, we’ve clearly moved on. The divorce should be final in September. I have my stuff together…own my own place, pursuing an MBA, good job, do the best for my kids, and I’m in a good place right now. I’m not looking to rush back into a marriage, but I’m looking to date with an intent on finding a relationship. It’s what feels right for me and I feel ready for it. I wouldn’t fear being exclusive with the right person. I don’t have a wide network of people where I live, so I’m online. What I’ve noticed is that no woman seems to want to touch me with a 10 foot pole because I’m ‘separated.’ My divorce is pending and will be finalized in September (it’s written better in the profile).
One woman proceeded to tell me “recently divorced people are somewhat unstable emotionally”. Another says “I see you’re separated…I’m looking for a serious relationship”. I also went on a date with a really cool girl and had a great time. Next day’s text “You are an amazing guy, but still being married is an issue for me”. I mean, WTF…she knew this already! I even skipped grad school class to go on the date.
My friend thought I should show myself as ‘divorced’ and explain in the profile that I will be soon. However, I’m not trying to misrepresent myself and I feel like that would.
There are many possible reasons people have issues with dating someone who is separated—not officially divorced: They think the person could end up getting back with their ex, they think the person isn’t mentally ready, they think that dating someone who isn’t officially divorced is the same thing as dating a married man.
While I respect the comfort levels of men and women who don’t want to date someone who is officially still married, I have to make the argument for why dating someone who is separated and not divorced yet is perfectly OK. Here is how I feel:
- A piece of paper does not change what could happen with a divorced couple. Someone who is officially divorced could end up sleeping with or getting back with their ex just as easily as someone who isn’t officially divorced. It all has to do with emotions-not legal documents.
- As far as the person not being mentally ready, who’s to say someone is mentally ready when the ink dries on their divorce decree? They might not be mentally ready for a relationship for years. Or, they might be the type of person who enjoys monogamy and is ready right away-from early on in the separation. You have no idea what their life has been like. Maybe the person has been separated for 5 years and has felt alone and has been healing, and is now ready for a relationship.
Now, one would think I would be totally against dating someone who is separated and not divorced yet, basically because I have done it a few times, and one time I got pretty badly burned. A guy I was seeing who was separated—not divorced was still sleeping with his ex. (I found out years later, but it still hurt like hell.) That said, I still feel like dating someone who is separated is no worse than dating someone who is recently divorced or for that matter, divorced.
The thing is, every divorce story is different, every situation unique. I think that people later in life make commitments of the heart, and whether or not they are monogamous has nothing to do with a divorce decree.
Regarding this guy’s situation specifically, I feel for him. He is going to be officially divorced in September, so what is the difference in one month? During the next 30 days is he going to all of a sudden become ready to date? Ready for monogamy? Over his divorce just because he will have a piece of paper that says he is no longer married? Nope.
I am not going to tell him I think he should lie on his profile and tell women he is divorced. Lying isn’t good. He needs to wait it out. It’s only 4 weeks away. In the meantime, he should keep doing what he’s doing: going to school, working hard and raising his kids. He will turn out fine, and when his divorce is final, he will probably get more dates, which seems a little silly to me (that the women care so much) but it is what it is, right?