19 Essential Things To Consider Before Dating A Separated Man

You just found out the great guy you’re dating isn’t divorced – he’s separated.

Maybe he told you upfront, or perhaps he kept that tidbit of critical information to himself for the first date or two.

Either way, you have questions – and a few concerns.

If you find yourself attracted to a man separated from his spouse, you may wonder whether you’re doing the right thing.

Dating a man who's separated is not always easy, but it is possible under the right circumstances. 

Is It Ok to Date a Man Who Is Separated?

Separation is an ill-defined purgatory between married and divorced. Does this guy have one foot more in the married corner or the divorced one? Is he still waffling or eager to end the thing once and for all?

Before becoming emotionally attached to a guy who is separated from his ex, there are a few questions to ask yourself and factors to consider.

How separated is he, really? 

Is the guy you're into really separated from his spouse? How do you know this to be true? Are you sure he is being completely honest and upfront about his situation? Ask for as much detail about his status as possible.

How long has he been separated? 

Marriages and long relationships can be quite messy when someone is first getting out of them.

senior couple on a park date dating a separated man

Knowing how long he has been separated can help you to gauge whether or not he is ready for the type of relationship you are seeking. If it just happened, run for the hills.

Am I prepared to get involved?

Getting involved with someone who is separated can be mentally exhausting and draining. Before committing to someone going through a separation, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Always put yourself first, especially while getting to know one another.
  • Do not allow him to put you on the back burner for his ex, especially if he is adamant that they are no longer together.
  • Keep an eye on his communication tactics and habits to ensure you are not being lied to directly. 

19 Essential Things To Consider Before Dating A Separated Man

Before you begin dating someone who is separated from their spouse or currently going through a separation, there are a few things to consider and keep in mind.

Remaining aware and wise about the situation is the best way to manage your emotions and decisions at any point in the relationship. 

1. Is He Moving On? 

When dating someone separated from their spouse, consider how long the separation has been. Is he moving forward with divorce proceedings and moving on with his life? 

Do you see him taking regular action to separate his life from his wife? Knowing these things can help determine if he is serious about an imminent divorce.

2. Why is He Separated?

Confront the elephant in the room before you become too committed to a separated man. Asking why he is separated from his spouse provides valuable insight into what went wrong and why he is no longer in a relationship. 

Does he blame everything on her or accept some responsibility himself? The answers will tell you volumes.

3. What is His Living Situation?

If you find yourself attracted to a separated man, you must learn more about his current living situation. A man who is separated but still living with his ex is a red flag. 

He is not ready for a new relationship if he doesn’t have a place of his own. The separation is new or questionable if he and his wife still live together.

4. What is His Relationship With His Ex?

Once you become more serious with this guy, you may want to know about his relationship with his ex. If he is constantly speaking negatively or poorly of her, it may be best to steer clear of establishing a relationship with him yourself. 

If he is respectful but also respects the privacy of his past relationships, you can expect he will do the same for you. 

5. Does He Have Children?

When you consider dating a separated man, one of the first questions to ask is whether or not he has children. Children are not for everyone, so discussing whether either of you has children is important before getting serious. 

sweet couple holding hands while talking dating a separated man

Sadly, children are often used as pawns in divorce proceedings, creating a lot of drama and stress. Ask yourself if this situation is something you want to deal with.

6. Is He Emotionally Ready for a New Relationship?

Going through a divorce or separation is never easy. Before getting involved with a separated man, try to determine if he’s emotionally ready to enter a new relationship.

If he’s been separated for years and has dated several other women, he may be in a good place.

However, someone who is just beginning to date may need to take it slower or prefer to go at his own pace while still healing from his separation. 

7. What is He Looking for in a Relationship?

It’s the rare separated or newly-divorced man who is ready to jump back into a commitment right away. If he’s been deeply wounded by his wife or is eager to sow his wild oats, he may resist a serious relationship.

Asking the man you are dating what he is looking for in a relationship can help you save time while determining if you are a good fit for one another. 

8. Is He Able to Let Go of His Past?

Letting go of the past is not always easy, especially when his history involves deep love, marriage, and kids. A newly separated man may find it more challenging to let go of his past if his wounds are not entirely healed. 

Gauging if he is ready to let go of his past provides the insight necessary to continue the relationship or move on. It may take him a while to process his feelings and deal with the emotional fallout of the failure of his marriage.

9. Does He Respect the Relationship's Current Pace?

What is the current pace of your relationship, and are you comfortable with it? Do you find the relationship moving too fast or too slow?

If you’re free as a bird, and he’s sorting through the debris of his marriage, he’ll likely want to proceed more slowly than you do.

Having this conversation with your new partner can help you become more comfortable with one another as he finds his way through his separation. 

If he wants to run away to Vegas and get married as soon as the ink is dry on the divorce papers, don’t fall for it. He may think he’s ready, but the odds are high that he’s not. Give it time and space before making any big decisions.

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10. How Does He Feel About Commitment?

Discussing how your guy feels about commitment will be necessary if things continue to go well for you as a couple. 

If your guy is still not over the breakup, he will likely steer clear of any conversation regarding commitment or even exclusivity. 

According to research, the first relationship after divorce lasts, on average, about two months. If you are his first new romance, the odds aren’t in your favor that it will last very long.

11. Are You Willing to Accept Being a Rebound?

You may find yourself in a rebound romance with a newly separated guy. His self-esteem may have taken a hit, or he may not have had sex with anyone but his wife in a long time.

He could be lonely and needs companionship or thrilled to be around someone who finds him desirable.

If you go into the romance aware of these possibilities, you won’t be as surprised when he moves on. It’s possible you can come back together when he’s in a better place.

12. How Stable Is He in Other Areas of His Life?

Even if you are dating someone who isn’t recently separated, you want to know how stable he is in all areas of his life. 

For instance, if a stable career is essential to you, consider the line of work he is in and whether or not he is ambitious.

If you prefer dating someone with hobbies and a creative side, inquire about what he does in his free time to learn more about his inner world. 

Also, find out if his instability in some of these areas contributed to the break-up of his marriage. This may require some sleuthing on your part, but it’s worth the effort to avoid future heartache.

13. Does He Have Serious Emotional Baggage?

A divorce or long-term separation can take an extreme emotional toll on one’s mental and physical health. If you get involved with a newly separated or recently divorced man, he likely will have more baggage than someone who is not going through a separation. 

Preparing yourself for this likelihood allows you to help him face the emotional challenges as he continues to heal from his past relationship. 

14. How Does He Express His Feelings for You?

Does your new guy express his feelings for you verbally, physically, and emotionally? How does he let you know that he cares about you? Does he tell you how much you mean to him, or does he keep his feelings bottled up inside? 

Many men are less expressive about their feelings than women. A guy who’s recently gone through the breakup of his marriage may be even more tight-lipped. Manage your expectations in this regard and try not to pressure him. 

15. Do You Feel Deeply Connected to Him?

Trusting your gut feelings and instincts can go a long way when dating someone new, especially when you’re involved in a unique situation.

If you feel deeply connected to the man you are seeing, regardless of his separation, it may be worth exploring more. 

But if you have a history of jumping into relationships head first, this particular pool may have an especially painful bottom. Trust your instincts – but question them. Be wise and wary.

16. Clearly Communicate What You Are Looking For

Be upfront and honest when dating someone new, even if he is separated from his partner. Know what it is that you are looking for in a relationship and what you expect from your partner. 

young couple in a coffee date laughing dating a separated man

Clearly state whether you want a committed relationship or just dating for fun with no expectations. Avoid sending mixed signals or feeling misguided when spending time with your new partners. 

17. Set Clear Boundaries to Avoid Miscommunications

Whenever you date someone newly separated, set clearly defined boundaries from the beginning. Some guys are more likely to feel clingy or attached to any woman willing to give them attention. 

Defining clear boundaries can prevent him from becoming too comfortable with you while you get to know one another. 

18. Ask Friends for Advice

If you have friends with experience dating men who are separated, ask them for advice regarding your new love interest and the pros and cons of dating this guy.

True friends will be honest and help guide you through the dating process. The key is to listen and accept that pitfalls are possible, no matter how smitten you are with your guy.

19. Don't Ignore Red Flags 

Never ignore red flags or gut feelings about this new guy. Here are some red flags to watch out for.

  • He doesn’t invite you to his home or to meet his friends.
  • He is still living with his ex or spouse.
  • His ex doesn’t know he’s dating.
  • His ex is unaware that they are separated.
  • There have been numerous instances where you have caught him in a lie

Common Question About Dating a Separated Man

Before dating or sleeping with a separated man, there are a few questions you should ask yourself to feel more comfortable and confident in your final decision. 

Is dating a separated man adultery?

Typically, adultery involves having an illicit affair with someone legally married. If both parties in the marriage agree to date others and go their separate way, you might not consider dating someone who is separated as adultery.

However, for religious reasons, some may feel it is not proper to date someone still legally married, even if they are separated and no longer living together.

If you think that dating and sleeping with a man who is separated from his spouse is adultery, then your best option is to wait until he’s divorced.

Is dating while separated a good idea?

It depends on the man you are dating, the type of relationship you seek, and where he is in terms of emotional healing.

Each dating situation is unique, but dating a separated man will generally be more complicated than dating someone completely free. Know the odds and potential problems, and determine what you are willing to live with.

How does separation affect a man?

Depending on how long a man has been with an ex-spouse or partner, he may be emotionally vulnerable. A separated man may also be more directionless and lost than when he has himself together.

He may seek additional mental, emotional, and physical support as he rebuilds his self-esteem. 

Final Thoughts

Is it possible to happily date a man who is broken up but not completely broken off from his spouse? It is. But it has its drawbacks and landmines. Know what you’re getting yourself into, and try to move slowly before giving your heart away.