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DATE SOMEONE SEPARATED BUT NOT DIVORCED?
DEAR MIDLIFE BACHELOR::
Should I consider dating someone who is separated but not yet divorced?  I was involved in a very ugly divorce that finished up around two years ago, and am just now giving online dating a try.  I've been getting emailed lately by several women on the dating site I'm on, and they are "separated" but not divorced.  I come from a somewhat religious background myself and so I didn't personally date before my divorce was final, but I'm wondering what's normal out in the world today.  I was married for 12 years so I've been out of circulation for quite a while.  I do want to go out and have fun because I was miserable for a long time while married.  Any advice?
Pregnant in her 40s
MIDLIFE BACHELOR ANSWER:
Thanks for writing in - this is an excellent question that seems to pop up from time to time.  Basically, it is UP TO YOU to decide if dating someone who is not yet divorced is morally acceptable.  Many (or most) people these days don't seem to care either way - but those that spend a lot of time in church often believe if someone is not divorced then they are completely off limits.

I, personally, am not at all religious - so in the absence of religion, I suggest you take into account these additional factors that apply to those who are dating but not yet divorced:

  1. They are prime REBOUND material - which means they are often times have a tendency to jump directly into bed with you, and/or directly into a relationship with you, even though the two of you might not necessarily be a good fit for one another.  Someone who is "on the rebound" is basically afraid of being single, and will make quick decisions just to avoid being alone or to avoid NOT being in a relationship.  I explain rebound relationships in more detail here - Rebound - Does Fear of Being Single Drive Your Behavior?

  2. The separated person might still be in love with their spouse, and is at some risk of leaving you and returning to his or her spouse.

  3. The separated person might be interested primarily in sex only with you.  Often times, someone who has recently left their spouse has had a very long, miserable marriage which may have been sexless.  What this means for you is - that separated person could be extremely sex-starved, and could be primarily seeking that type of gratification.  This could be very good for you, or bad for you - depending on your outlook. :)

  4. The separated person might still be going through a lot of heartaches and emotional ups and downs as a consequence of the divorce they are going through - so be prepared for some drama if you date someone separated.

  5. He or she is likely having a hard time financially precisely because they are spending a lot of money on divorce-related things - such as attorney’s fees, setting up a new household (buying new furniture, etc.). There also might be spousal and/or child support payments going on.  Anyone who is divorced can tell you that you are essentially "starting over" with a brand-new life when you leave a marriage, and there is almost always some financial hardship involved so just be ready for that if you date someone who is separated. They might even ask YOU for money. :)
So as long as you are comfortable from a moral standpoint AND ALSO you keep in mind the factors discussed above, then you should be good-to-go.  Make your decision, and report back here with your findings (assuming you do decide to date one of the separated women).

For some additional thoughts or input, I also ran this issue past our crew over in the Midlife Dating Forum - where we often discuss dating issues just like this one.  Please feel free to join our community, and add value regularly.  The thread that discusses this is:

           Should You Date Someone who is Separated but Not Divorced?

Good luck!  Oh - and anyone who wishes can also add a COMMENT to this article directly below, in the COMMENT section.

COMMENTS?
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