Before beginning divorce proceedings, many married couples experiment with a period of separation first. The intentions behind separating can vary greatly from relationship to relationship and even between spouses. Couples may be trying to mend issues in their marriage and choose to do so separately but with the strong intention of reconciling. Often, one or both partners have decided to end their marriage and are using their separation as a cooling off period before finalising the divorce. If you have begun dating a separated man, you need to be sure that you both want the same things for your future together.
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Before you begin dating a separated man, get a clear definition of his current relationship with his wife. If he is evasive or is hesitant to be forthcoming, that could indicate that he is hiding information about the status of his marriage.
Ask if he is legally separated. This means that he and his wife have filed their separation in court. If he is not legally separated, ask him why. If he is not legally separated and is sharing a household with his spouse, he may not be separated at all.
Be sure that he intends for his relationship with his spouse to be over. If he and his wife are trying to reconcile, she will likely view you as a threat and may behave hostilely toward you. Also, he may start a relationship with you only to end it in favour of returning to his marriage.
Find out if he and his spouse have agreed to dating outside people during this period of the separation. If they have not, it could create problems in your relationship and in the divorce proceedings.
Get clarity about what you want from this relationship. Do you want to move toward marriage or are you interested in a casual relationship? Knowing what you want can be a key factor in whether dating a separated man can work for you. If you want a serious, committed relationship, communicate that to the man you are dating and be sure that he wants that as well. If he is just leaving a marriage, he may not be ready to commit to a new relationship in the near future.
Tips and warnings
- Be aware that many people who are married but intend to date outside their marriage will say that they are separated. Be sure that you are not dating a man who is still living a married life.
- Realise that even if everything he communicates to you is honest and the situation is handled appropriately; separation and divorce can be painful and confusing. He may need space to himself and he may still have feelings for his spouse.
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