Dear Gems from Jen,

I have never wanted to date separated men because I’ve felt they were unavailable. Well, I fell into a relationship with one who also has shared custody of a 6-year-old. We have an unbelievable connection but after a year and a half, there is only small progress toward a divorce. He wants 100% commitment from me, yet he can only give me 50% because he is not yet divorced. I have ended the relationship. I was right; my investment in a separated man was risky and futile. Are there any good rules/boundaries when entering into a relationship with someone who is separated?


Should You Date Them if They are Separated

Dear Should You Date Them if They are Separated,

Separation is a tricky business. I believe the first consideration needs to be if they have children or not. Any good parent will put their children before their dating experiences. That is not to say that parents are not entitled to be happy and enjoy a fulfilling love life, but rather that the children need to be their first priority. Find out what the visitation/custody arrangements are and how you, the dating partner, can fit into their life.

The next step is to ask questions: How long have they been separated? Where are they in the divorce process? Is there a chance of reconciliation? I have a very close friend who has been separated from her husband for over four years. The reason they have not ended the marriage is financial, not because there is any hope of reconciliation. This does not necessarily mean that every separated person is prolonging a divorce due to financial considerations. But, it does happen with some couples from time to time.

Many people I work with who have gone through a divorce or are separated tend to be commitment shy. Again, ask questions. They may not be ready to settle down just yet. It could be that they are just seeing what is out there and weighing their options. Know what you want in terms of a commitment. If you are looking for a long-term relationship/marriage make sure you know what you are getting yourself into and do not give up your wants/needs in order to settle for something less. Only give 100% if the person you are dating is willing to give 100%, too.

Otherwise, the relationship is doomed.

Gems from Jen