Can dating a separated man work?
Dating a separated man can work but it comes with real challenges. A separated man is still legally married and will likely deal with a range of powerful emotions that may make him unpredictable and difficult to date. It is best to keep dating causal until a divorce is officially final.
While I don’t recommend dating a separated man unless it is very casual, that doesn’t mean you should never date one.
In fact, keep reading to find out five reasons why it might work, what problems might arise, signs he’s ready for something more, and some success stories of women who have dated separated men.
5 Reasons Why Dating a Separated Man Can Work
You might be skeptical about dating a separated man. However, there are five very good reasons it can actually work. We’ll look at some examples of when it works later in this blog post, but let’s briefly go over these reasons first.
1. A Separated Man May Be More Understanding and Empathetic
A separated man may be more understanding and empathetic to a new dating partner. A separated man may possess a better emotional temperament when it comes to building relationships with others because he knows that there are some drawbacks to dating him.
This can also make him more patient, forgiving, and understanding of any drawbacks to dating you (such as being very busy with work, children, etc).
A separated man can also learn from past mistakes based on his previous failed relationships that he experienced before getting legally separated from his spouse. This means he might bring a level of maturity to the table that makes him a better potential partner.
2. A Separated Man Might Not Rush the Relationship
Many guys rush relationships with their new partners by talking about the future too soon.
A separated man will not be as needy or demanding in a relationship. Since he’s going through a separation and likely divorce, he probably is not ready for something super serious right away.
He’s unlikely to push for the two of you to be exclusive, adopt relationship labels (girlfriend, boyfriend), or talk about your long-term future. A separated man might enjoy taking things slow and getting to know each other.
Of course, this is not to say that he will not want to move the relationship forward eventually.
3. A Separated Man May Be More Independent and Won’t Smother You
Not only will a separated man move more slowly, but he will also move with more flexibility and freedom.
He will want to explore new hobbies, work on personal projects, go out with his friends, and enjoy time alone. You won’t have to worry about him trying to tie up all of your time.
If you’ve ever dated someone who smothered you, then you know it can be very unpleasant.
I remember dating someone who would freak out if I arrived 15 minutes later than expected (with no scheduled plans, mind you). One of my favorite quotes is by Thich Nhat Hanh: “You must love in such a way that the person you love feels free.”
A separated man also wants and needs his freedom.
A relationship can only flourish when both partners take the time to nurture and care for their individual selves. A man or woman should never forget themselves just for the sake of being in a relationship.
4. A Separated Man May Be More Appreciative
By definition, a separated man is facing a crisis in his marriage. He’s seriously considering divorce and has probably deeply contemplated all that he has been missing from a relationship.
Therefore, he will probably show great appreciation for even simple things.
For example, he might say “thank you” for:
- Texting him back
- Holding his hand
- Giving him a compliment
- Showing him any form of affection
- Calling to see how he is doing
- Listening and validating his feelings
Most of us expect some ( or most) of these gestures from those we date. However, a separated man might have gone weeks, months, or years without physical affection or compliments.
5. A Separated Man Might Not Want Any More Kids
A separated man might already have kids of his own, and may not want to have any more biological children.
This can be a big plus if you do not want any kids or any more kids yourself.
When you date, many people want to know your thoughts on having kids. For many people, “Do you want any more kids?” is a dealbreaker question. If you and your separated man agree on not having kids, you’ve skipped a major stumbling block for many budding relationships.
I probably don’t even need to tell you how much money and time it saves not having additional children.
Dating a Separated Man: Problems
I bet you also realize that dating a separated man comes with a few downsides.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t go over a few of the major hurdles in dating someone who is not yet divorced. Going through a separation and divorce can be emotionally draining, confusing, and plagued with drama.
You may not want to suffer through the predictable mood swings during this period.
A man who is separated will also have a difficult time with commitment. He needs to give himself enough time in order to move on from his past relationship before he can think about a new one. For many men, it takes months (or a year) of recovery before they are ready for the next step in dating. Many separated men will just be out there looking for something casual while their heart heals.
Take things slow and keep the lines of communication open so he knows you’re in this for the long haul, but do not expect him to commit until he’s ready.
Then there is the drama of his estranged spouse. You might get threatening texts, calls, or emails. You might get caught up in age-old arguments or petty fights between him and his spouse. The spouse might even blame you for ruining their relationship.
Can dating a separated man work? Yes, but it won’t always be easy.
Separation and divorce is often an ugly time. Few people express their best selves in the midst of life upheaval. As someone dating a separated man, you’ll generally need huge patience, understanding, and grace.
Signs a Separated Man Is Ready To Date
If you want to date a separated man, you want to know if he is ready for a new relationship (however casual). The last thing you want to do is invite heartache into your life.
So, here is a list of signs that a separated man is actually ready to date you:
- He is happy by himself
- He does not constantly talk about his spouse or ex
- He is in good shape finanncially
- He can express his emotions
- He is not overly emotional
- He is clear about his dating intentions (casual, exclusive, long term, etc)
- He takes care of his body (exercising and eating healthy foods)
- He does not talk badly about his spouse or ex
- He doesn’t hestitate to date you
- He doesn’t hesitate to introduce you to his friends
- He doesn’t try to hide his relationship with you
- He is emotionally available to you
The most important sign is that he is actively taking steps to move from a legal separation to a divorce. Dating a separated man who doesn’t know what he wants is a sure path to trouble.
Can a Separated Man Fall in Love?
Generally, a man who is separated can fall in love with someone new. A few factors that come into play are how socially active the man is and his current emotional state. Don’t expect instant results.
It can be difficult for a man who is hurt and vulnerable to welcome another person into their life with open arms—especially without feeling the need to retreat or protect themselves.
Their mistrust could make them wary to forge new relationships. That’s true even if dating feels like an escape from loneliness.
A lot of men who find themselves alone and dealing with long-term separation will initially feel the instinctual need for comfort and emotional attachment. I would consider that completely natural. This may eventually lead them to pursue another relationship to meet those needs.
Yet they must heal before there is any room for someone else again. It’s likely that his previous bond with his spouse is fractured and that he needs time so that he can be fully ready—both emotionally and physically—to connect with you.
The best way to make a man fall in love with you is to tap into every man’s hidden obsession. It’s like rocket fuel for attraction.
Dating a Separated Man: Success Stories
On forums across the internet, users share success stories of dating a separated man. I thought it would be fun to look at a few of these stories to see that sometimes it can actually work out.
Can dating a separated man work? Yes, and here are some stories!
A user called CallLady said:
I’ve been with my separated guy for 18 months now and it’s still working – I’ll call it a true success when he’s fully divorced and we’re still together. Only you can really judge whether it’s worth the risk, separated can mean a whole different thing between one person and another. If he’s completely over the marriage and they’re just waiting to sort the paperwork that’s one thing and I’d be more willing to chance it.
However if he’s still mourning the end of the marriage and going through the emotional fallout from it, I’d stay clear. One thing to think about though is that if they have two kids he’s going to have to deal with his ex to some extent for the rest of his life – if that bothers you already then getting involved with this guy may not be right for you.
On another site, LoveShack.org, a user named LuluJ has been dating a separated man:
I have been dating a wonderful man for almost a year. I’m 26 and he’s 38. On our first date, I asked him if he had ever been married, and he said yes, but that they hadn’t been together for four years. I assumed they were divorced, but a few months into the relationship, just as things were starting to get serious, he admitted to me that they had never finalized the divorce…There are no kids involved, but they share car insurance which saves them both some money.
They’re amicable, but completely and totally over (according to him). He told me that he loved me, that I was very important to him, and that he wanted to be available to me, so he was going to get on with the divorce right away…We’re planning on moving in together in December, and he’s said that he wants to be divorced by the time we move in.
George Marris on Quora adds his insight:
I live about 3000 miles away from my ex and we haven’t spoken in five years. I think we will be divorced next year. My partner is half a world away from her husband and she will divorce him once she becomes a Canadian citizen. Divorce is very complex in the Philippines and timing is everything. My partner and I have been together for coming up on five years, both of us are only separated.
I think of us as married, our friends think of us as married and frankly, it really isn’t something to worry about. So it worked out great for us. But depending on your particular circumstances, having a relationship with someone separated but not divorced could easily blow up in your face.
Other users on other websites mentioned dating men and women for months or years. Most dating relationships (in general) don’t end in marriage, so success doesn’t necessarily mean a long-term commitment.
You can tell just from these three stories that dating a separated man can work but there are definite complications.
That brings us to the next question: Should you even date a separated man?
Should You Date a Separated Man? (Answered by Experts)
Even though dating a separated man can work, I don’t suggest it.
When a man is going through a separation, he is usually off-center from his life. He’s often in the middle of an emotional maelstrom, probably in a bad or unhealthy marriage, and legally still very connected to another person.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t ever date them or that you should rule them out completely. That’s not the case at all. However, you should be extremely careful, patient, and go into it with eyes wide open. Dating a separated man is more difficult than dating a single man.
You might want to consider keeping your expectations casual until the divorce is final and the man has fully processed the emotional fallout of ending a marriage. Even if he checked out years ago (as I did in my first marriage), there will still be emotional and psychological repercussions.
Here is video that shares another point of view:
Final Thoughts: Can Dating a Separated Man Work?
Dating a separated man can work if you understand his situation, if he is completely over his spouse, and taking active steps to get divorced. It’s also helpful if you know and use the best relationship strategies for triggering almost irresistible attraction towards you.
What to read next: