First Of All He’s Separated, Not Single
This is going to be one of those posts that I’d prefer in the form of girl talk over dinner. It’s one of those “No, but for real sis it’s not a good look” kind of posts. Anyway, let’s get into it. I’ll come out the gate by saying I am firmly against dating someone who is separated and I believe there are no exceptions! I know that we live in a culture that almost glorifies and unapologetically boasts about dating married men. Within this mindset, dating a separated man would almost be seen as completely innocent. What if I told you though that they are one in the same? That is when someone is separated they are actually still married. This is a fact that we know logically but some of us have been in situations that challenged this knowledge once feelings were involved. Marital separation may seem to be a gray area but it is really more black and white than some choose to acknowledge.
I am able to shed light on this topic because I have been on both sides. During my separation, I began dating someone who was also separated. I didn’t seek him out however I didn’t turn him away. After much conviction I adhered to God’s correction and ended it. What made this so difficult was that my ex continued to date and later entered a serious relationship. This experience left me with some pretty rich life lessons that I would be remiss not to share. I know there are women out there who are dating, have dated, or are considering dating a man who is separated thinking it’s cool because he’s almost divorced. Well sis, let me advise you that almost doesn’t count and here’s why.
Dating and Divorce Don’t Mix– Divorce is an emotionally trying and sometimes traumatic experience. It is one of the most significant life events one can endure. It doesn’t matter how it ends or who was at fault (divorce always takes two by the way) there is a healing process necessary for all involved. Even if he is telling you that he doesn’t love his wife anymore, there are still a multitude of complex feelings that he will need to confront. We know that men process differently than we do but trust he is going through something internally whether he admits it or not. This is why you don’t want to date anyone who is at this place in life. He needs time and space not a subsequent relationship. You getting involved is ultimately a distraction from his recovery. It is not wise to expect someone who is emotionally burdened to be emotionally available for you.
It May Not Be Over– Just because a couple is separated doesn’t mean that divorce is automatic. I don’t think I have to remind you that some guys just aren’t honest. No one wants to lead a first date with “Yeah so, I’m separated and we’re still figuring things out.” It’s often easier for him to say that he’s getting a divorce even if it’s a lie or an uncertainty. Truth is, there are many separated couples who are still dealing, having sex, and living together. Separation is also a time that can be used to work on presenting issues in hopes of reconciliation. You may end up with a guy who truly believes divorce is on the horizon but by some turn of events God restores. I say all of this to say that marital separation can be very volatile and unpredictable. Inserting yourself during this transition can leave your heart hanging in the balance.
You Shouldn’t be a Part of the Process– Dating a separated man makes you a part of the process and you really shouldn’t be. Proceedings are stressful enough to then factor in extramarital romances. The legalities, emotional rollercoaster, and parenting agreements are enough to manage. Speaking of the children, they are innocent in it all and do not deserve the added confusion of another woman in their father’s life. If they are old enough, most likely they have caught wind to what’s going down no matter how hard you tried to keep things on the low. You also don’t know what you’re signing yourself up for until after everything settles. I can attest to the fact that during divorce you are not completely yourself. In many ways divorce is a catalyst that shifts you into a different (hopefully better) version of yourself. The guy you fell for three months into his proceedings may be a completely different person post-divorce.
The Exception– Now I know there will be some who believe they have an exception to the rule. I usually hear questions like “What if it’s been over and she’s holding up the divorce?” or “What if he moved out already?”. Truth is we all can convince ourselves that something is right or makes sense if we really want to. Let’s call a spade a spade while I throw out the ultimate trump card- either way, God is not going to bless it! So often we want to practice worldly dating while asking for God’s approval. The way a relationship begins is important, it is the foundation that you build on. So start things off right by dating someone who is actually single and available. I promise you sis, it will be for the best!
Moment of reflection: Do you agree that dating a separated man is wrong or do you believe there are some exceptions? Can you give some other reasons why this is not a good idea? Have you ever dealt with this situation? How did it turn out?
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