How to date a man in a separation or divorce

Updated July 20, 2017

If you find yourself attracted to a man who is going through a separation or a divorce, you may be wondering if pursuing a relationship is a good idea. But with 50 per cent of marriages ending in divorce, there is a very good chance at some time in your dating experiences you will encounter a man who is separated or waiting for the divorce to be finalised. By taking the relationship slow and with mature decision making, you can find yourself with wonderful individual, who will be more sure of what they want out of a new relationship.

Assess and reality check if the man you are interested in is ready to date. If it's only been a few months since his separation, he will not be ready. Men need to grieve the loss of their marriage. This is a crucial phase for anyone going through a divorce. For some men, this phase will take longer than for others. If you are already dating during this time, you may need to give your man some space, but let him know you are there for him when he needs you. Look to see if his single life is in order. He should be living on his own, in an established home and have his finances in order. He will also have set aside any anger, resentment or bitterness towards his ex-wife and see his future life as a second chance. Divorce is stressful, so be patient, supportive and sensitive to his moods.

Figure out what you are to him and if he sees you as a rebound relationship or a long term partner. Ask him questions such as "Where do you see us in another three months?" or "How serious do you think our relationship is?" to assess if he is interested in a serious relationship or are you the transitional women as he moves on to single life. If you met on an online dating website, does he still have his membership updated or did he cancel it after you started dating? If he has children does he have plans for you to meet them? A man who wants a serious relationship he will be excited to introduce you to his children. In addition, trust what your gut and your instincts are telling you.

Accept his ex-wife to be a part of his life in some capacity, and that he still may have some feelings for her. Don't bring up the ex-wife to him, but if he wants to talk about her, be a good listener. During these discussions determine the extent of his feelings toward her. If he still has strong or intense feelings, this maybe a sign for you to back away for some time. He still may care about her and her well-being. After all, they have a history together and may have children together. There will be times he may have to speak with her about finances or the children.

Be a good listener and listen for reasons to why the marriage failed. Assess to see if the man you are interested in has looked at his mistakes in the marriage, is willing to learn from them and will try not to repeat them. Do not criticise either your man or his ex-wife since this is a sensitive issue. It is important that he is able to take responsibility for past mistakes and know what needs to happen differently in his next relationship.

Have sensitivity towards his children. Children should be a priority and good parents will put their children before their dating life. You should be prepared you may be put on hold while he fulfils his parenting responsibilities. Help him with daily activities with the kids. Don't spoil or be too strict with them. Do not ever ask him to choose between you or the children. If you have children this is a great way to bond. Be prepared for the kids' emotions. Some children will have feelings of resentment towards you. Teenagers especially can be resistant to a father's new relationship.


Stay present when dating a separated man and try not to have grandiose thoughts of a future together.

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About the Author

Katherine Sheldon has been writing since 2005. She has written for and American Adoptions. She has expertise in adoption, parenting, relationships, children's mental health and wellness. Sheldon holds a master's degree in counseling psychology from Pace University.