Are Married-but-Separated People Safe to Date?

Cindy Wilbur, a 59-year-old married-but-separated executive from Chicago, e-mailed me and said meeting men was difficult. I suggested she might be having difficultly because she was still married, and for that reason men might shy away from her.

Should you date someone who is "married-but-separated"?

Most People Say No
Most who responded said "no" to dating someone married.

Pat Duncan of Little Rock, Ark., wrote, "Start dating only when the divorce papers are signed. Until then, you're still married, like it or not."

Suni e-mailed from Florida: "I never date men who are separated. It's asking for trouble. Some attorney shave used that as an adultery issue. Plus, the spouse may not be used to the idea of a former mate dating,and sometimes that's a nightmare in the waiting."

"I dated a woman who was getting a divorce," said Ed Hebert of San Francisco. "She was using me as a rebound to her spouse, proving to him that she could date also. She was harboring deep feelings for him and not ready."

"Separated does not equal available; I refuse to connect with anyone who lists their status as separated," e-mailed Rhonda NeSmith, 47, of Atlanta, Ga.

"There is no such thing as being 'separated' -- unless you're an egg," shared Patricia from Pittsburgh, Pa. "Men or women who try to act as if they're single, but aren't divorced, have no integrity."

Julie Britt of Houston, Texas, said, "When I discovered my wonderful Internet date was separated, not 'single' as he had posted, and was avoiding the pain of ending his marriage, and obviously not available for a healthy relationship, I moved on."Some singles, like Pat Sickler of Shickshinny, Pa., shy away from dating separated people because of the experiences they've had. "I was burned badly by an old friend of many years who was in the process of getting a divorce. He went back to his wife."Roseanne G. of Tyler, Texas, met a guy who "was in the middle of a divorce that was to be 'final in four weeks.' Things grew too close too fast considering his situation and my naive acceptance that we had something worth holding on to. Two-plus years later he still wasn't divorced. Haven't seen him in a year and a half. He just called and said the divorce would be final Feb. 20. Laughing out loud."Reader Val said people shouldn't date until after the divorce because it's not fair to drag whomever you meet through the emotional traumas and court battles. "Also, you are vulnerable emotionally and are likely to do something stupid you'll regret, like sleeping with someone because you're lonely or don't remember how to say no."Are There Exceptions?Might it be acceptable for a married person to date, depending on the circumstances?
Carol Turenne of Oakdale, Minn., thinks so: "Depends on where a person is in a relationship. If it's completely over, why not start dating? Not fireworks, but dating?""I'm single and I'm not single," a 60-year-old separated woman wrote. "My being 'not single' is pure technicality. A complicated financial issue precluded putting my estranged husband's and my signature on the divorce agreement."Another woman in her 70s separated from her husband six years ago because he had been having an affair for years. Since then, he has developed advanced Alzheimer's and is in an assisted-living facility. She said, "I have chosen not to divorce ... financially it would be impossible to maintain his level of care after communityproperty were divided. I would be fine, but he would not, and I cannot leave my daughters with the sole responsibility for their father."She's been dating a widower for two years. Neither is interested in re-marrying; he is aware of her situation. "Both of us realize we must enjoy each and every day we are given."Personally, I dated before my divorce was final. My wife cleaned out the house on Christmas Eve and left. Was I going to sit around and wait for the divorce papers out of respect for her? No way! I needed to jump start my life and I did.
Some still-married people have every right to date. They could become great mates. The problem: How do you distinguish between who's lying and who has a legitimate reason? The Internet is rife with married men dating (and cheating). If you decide to date someone married, proceed with caution and protect yourself.How Do You Know If Someone Is Married? Barbara Sloan of Wallingford, Conn., said, "I ask for their home phone number and call them there, rather than giving out my phone number. This allows me to make sure I can block my number until I'm sure I can trust a man. It's a red flag if he won't give out his number."Excuses Singles Hear From Married People Faylee of Kingsport, Tenn., wrote, "I've heard, 'I can't get a divorce until my mom dies, it would kill her to have a divorce in the family,' and 'My kids wouldn't talk to me if I divorced their mom,' only to find out the kids are in their late 20s and already divorced themselves."Are You Available? In the movie "Forget Paris," when Billy Crystal found out the woman he had fallen in love with was married, he told her, "Don't make yourself available if you're not available."Married folks wanting to date need to ask themselves: "Am I available?"Only they can determine the answer, and then they have to convince the new love they've just met that they're a safe bet for the future. Depending on their situation, they might have a tough sales job on their hands.Tom Blake is a syndicated columnist in Southern California.
1 2 3 4 Next
Source: Relationships & Love

Print Article