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"Dating a Married Woman Who is Separated" - Mr. Marriage Counselor


Dating a Married Woman Who is SeparatedQ: We have been dating a married woman who is separated for about a month, but both agree it feels like we have known or been dating for years. She has been separated for over a year, but her husband has been dragging the divorce out. She was married to this individual for 10 years. She is now 35. I am 38 and never been married. She has been dating prior to me, but I don't think it has been as serious as us. Things had been going really well until this last week and could feel her getting a bit distant. I finally asked her about it last night and of course it was a bit late. I asked if she did not feel the same way about me as she did. She said no she does. She felt circumstances were freaking her out. She is still married and doesn't know if she get into a serious relationship with me because she still is. I feel like she is scared of our relationship for fear it may end up again like her last? I have been treating her like I treat my other relationships, but I don't think she has been treated this well or nicely. I believe this may be adding to the freak out. I asked if she felt like she was missing out on some part of life of not being married? She said no again. What should I be asking or saying?
--Richard L.

A: A common mistake a lot of people make is getting involved in new relationships while old ones are still unresolved.  And I don't just mean unresolved in regards to the divorce process being finished, but unresolved psychologically and emotionally.

A typical scenario is that when people finally decide to separate, often after years of being unhappily married, they immediately start looking for more positive relationships.  This usually leads to getting involved in a new relationship too soon after the separation.

I'm counseling a man right now who within weeks of finding out that his wife was cheating on him separated and started dating.  Within 60 days of separating he was in a pretty serious new relationship.  That was 2 years ago and he admits now that he jumped into the new relationship way too soon.  And as a result it didn't last.

I can't say precisely what's going on with the woman you're dating.  Dating a married woman who is separated is complicated.  I would bet that the emotional and psychological baggage of her marriage is causing your girlfriend to be distant.

What can you ask or say?  Probably not much, other than suggesting that the marriage is having an affect on you guys.  Here are some suggestions of what you can do: 

  1. Give her some space
  2. Don't pressure her or force the matter of her being distant to get resolved
  3. Don't take it personally
  4. Suggest that she talk to a counselor for help

It sounds like she's not ready to have the relationship you want right now.  Sometimes the timing is just not right.  This doesn't have to mean that you can never have a relationship together, but maybe just not right now.

--Kurt Smith, Marriage Counselor for Men


As far as I'm concerned you shouldn't be dating a married woman in the first place. You say she has been seperated for over a year but the husband is dragging his heels...what about her? She has every resource available to her to initiate a divorce whether he likes it or not! If nothing else her assertiveness would imply how ready or serious she is about ending her marriage and moving on. 
Obviosly these two people loved each other at one time and possibly still do. Who's to say this seperation isn't just a time out for both of them. Ever heard of the cliche...absence makes the heart grow fonder? 
In the end the only real contribution that you will have made is being just another obstacle that stands in the way of a possible reconciliation. You will be the one person she will seldom, if ever, "live happily ever after" with. 
What about your total disregard for the person you don't know? 
What about her total disreagard for the person she does know? 
There is a world to which we live that is full of people waiting for the chance to have a lasting relationship that involves love and commitment. Moments of passion, happen every day in every moment then fade away.
Posted @ Monday, June 07, 2010 9:24 PM by Mark Good
Your situation sounds similar to the one I am currently in. I was introduced to a "separated" woman (for over a year) through a friend and we hit it off from the very beginning. We had similar childhoods, likes, dislikes, music, etc. She has a 4 year old daughter who became very attached to me, and I to her. I found myself staying at her place a lot and we were, essentially, like a happy little family. However, there was a LOT of drama with her ex and I realized that my girlfriend had been "dragging her heels" towards a finalized divorce. She listened to me and allowed me to lead the relationship, and I finally guided her to seeking legal help to finalize the divorce. This all took place over a 4 month period. One day, after a visitation from a girlfriend, I didn't get any responses to texts or phone calls that I attempted to make. These texts were simple, "How is your day going? Are you gonna be home tomorrow night after work? Should I come over when I get out of a meeting?" Nothing in return. After a couple of days, I got a text stating that her ex was finally served his papers. I congratulated her and asked how she has been and why I haven't heard from her. Again, nothing. After 5 days, I text her asking what's going on and that I think it is odd that I have not heard from her, especially because things were flowing so well. I recently got a text stating that she would call me and explain. Nothing. That was 2 days ago. I am at the point now that I think I at least deserve a phone call and an explanation. I mean, when people care about each other, that is what they do...one person asks a question and then (usually) and answer is given. I weighed out the option that maybe I am over re-acting...but a week and no explanation? What gives?
Posted @ Sunday, July 24, 2011 5:13 PM by Thomas
I have been married for 13 year's and i am 37 years old and my wife is 40.some 8 years ago i had an affair and it crushed my wife. 
the affair did not last and my wife and i worked things out. 
last week i found on facebook that my wife has been sleeping around and now i know how she felt when it was i who did it to her. 
she is enjoying herself and has told me there is no way of sorting things out.....i am crushed,not eating or sleeping..does anyoune have any advice
Posted @ Saturday, October 29, 2011 9:40 AM by nick southgate
I am a married woman (18 years) who is waiting until I can find a place to live before filing for separation. I have never been unfaithful to my husband, and in fact have done absoulutly everything I can to make the marriage work. The first 8 years were great, but the last 10 not so great. It turns out my husband has the madonna complex which manifested once I got pregnant. I have been starved of affection and intimacy for 10 years. We have slept in separate bedrooms for those 10 years (at his request/ demand) and I have done everything pretty much on my own. A year ago I gave up and started the process of realizing nothing will change. During that time I met someone who I have fallen in love with. I wasn't looking for it, it just happened. This man has never even physically touched me and we have maintained only a friendship. I so want to be with this man, but am trying to first dissolve my marriage. Once I am separated and living apart from my husband (we decided to divorce 9 weeks ago) I will allow him to move closer to me. But for now I must maintain a distance. It isn't that I have feelings for my husband; I don't. I dealt with those over the last year. I have moved to acceptance phase. We are ending things on a very amiacable and unusual note. But I am keeping my distance from this other man out of respect for both men. Not every situation is the same and a blanket statement can't be made about all married woman. There are exceptions. So be patiend with this woman and good things may come to you.
Posted @ Wednesday, November 16, 2011 5:39 PM by Francesca
Hey Nick, 
I know it's not what you want to hear but there is nothing you can do if she doesn't want to work things out. We can't force a person to want us and even if we could, to do so would be wrong. The best thing you can do is move on.
Posted @ Saturday, November 19, 2011 9:16 PM by Mark Guthrie
@ Nick, 
In my experience, if she says that, after having cheated on you, it won't work out. You can try, but it will be painful and there will be relapses and you will get hurt. 
Better to thank her for the years you've had, reflect on the good that was there, accept that the relationship is no longer what she needs, pick yourself up and move out, and look for new hobbies and friends to invest in.  
Posted @ Sunday, December 04, 2011 2:13 AM by Zach
go to counseling. Ask her to stop.
Posted @ Sunday, January 08, 2012 9:03 PM by Ken
If she said there is no way of sorting things out I guess you should find a real good divorce attorney before she depleats the joint checking account.You also learned the hard way ,what goes around comes around.Maybe we'll see you on divorce court.
Posted @ Monday, January 16, 2012 12:10 AM by ron
once a cheater always a cheater. If they have had sex w/ another it's time to realize you have someone who you can't trust anymore.Without trust any relationship is doomed to fail.
Posted @ Sunday, July 08, 2012 10:10 PM by ron
Thanks for your comment's.It's been a tough 6 month however,i feel great at the moment,still some off day's. 
And yes,what goes around comes around and maybe it was my turn...not to worry though,life goes on and slowly but surely things are looking up...thanks again for your comments.
Posted @ Monday, July 09, 2012 7:56 AM by nick
I met a woman 2 months ago who was in the process of moving her and her daughter down to her parent's house to live, because after 10 years of marriage and many attempts to save it it was just to the point where it was over.  
We started out very innocent, but have since further moved into quite a serious relationship.  
She lives 7 hours away and we've only met twice, but we talk every single day and night.  
I worry however, that despite that she is "separated" and that they are in process of divorcing that maybe I am being played for a fool. 
I have a hard time trusting after my own divorce. She seems so genuine, but in the back of my mind I always wonder if we are rushing into things too soon. Each time we try to take a step back, we only end up getting closer. Any advice?
Posted @ Thursday, October 11, 2012 2:30 PM by George Costanza
No point in rushing into things .She would just be on the rebound.Needy and not wanting to be alone.Need to give her alot of time for her to be on her own.After 6 months to a year then I'd come around and see how she's doing.Until then date available woman that are not going thru break up drama like this.There are plenty out there.
Posted @ Sunday, October 14, 2012 7:46 PM by ron
Well.I've been separated from my husband for the past 5mths after a 4 year marriage.I've also reached the acceptance phase.I've always been a hopeless romantic lady who believed in lasting love but in this case-it is a very big exception.Divorce,is really messy,I've thought a lot about it and I've decided that if my husband decides why not?.but I'd rather not start it!I don't know if he tries to check up on me,but I've avoided every foot he brings.Yes,I've been tempted to go into other relationships,but immediately it starts getting too 'close',I call it off especially when the guy isn't patient about the situation(i have 2 kids-i need time to heal-i want to be properly on my feet),so as not to make the same mistakes.I believe that eventually,I will marry someone else -For me there's no looking over the shoulder anymore.
Posted @ Sunday, March 10, 2013 3:11 PM by ify Obah
Once trust has been broken it will never be the same.Cheating poisons the relationship and can never be reversed.Best bet get proactive and start protecting your assets bank accts,etc.Don't let the other person beat you to it.Once a cheater,well you know the old saying.I wouldn't want to go back with that person again.She has already decided what she wants ,so it's time for you to move on and do the same
Posted @ Thursday, August 15, 2013 4:51 PM by roy
why waste your time with someone that has serious trust issues.If she'll cheat on her husband don't be foolish to think she doesn't have it in her to do it to you someday.After all her husband thought she would never cheat on him right?A zebra can't change it's strippes now can it? She is what you see.Best advise look for someone that is not a cheater and you'll be able to trust that person.Trust is the foundation to any relationship.
Posted @ Friday, October 18, 2013 2:44 PM by ralph
Married 45 yrs. Husband 76 yrs old 
retired 4 yrs ago I'm 71 look 60 Out of the blue one year ago husband said needs a break moves to B'klyn. Have one daughter and 3 grandkids I am angry mad and frustrated after all these years. 
Said he is going thru mid-life crisis He comes around twice a week Going to see a counsellor, but no real answers from him
Posted @ Friday, December 20, 2013 10:37 PM by adele
I met a seperated christian woman of 52yrs on a chritian dating site.I flew to her and after a month decided to move in with her.She had just gotten a seperation letter from her husband a month before I flew over.I was friend s with her husbnd as we had a good tone and the house I lived was jointly owned by him and her.I don t think she is over him at all even though she says otherwise.He left her.I just got more and more insecure about our relationship due to her marriage situation...We had a fight 3 weeks ago and she threw me on the streets in a strange town where I knew almost no one..it s been an eye opener.I would definitly not advise anyone to date a married and seperated woman..It s not worth it.The pain and frustrated is terrible..There re lots of single women available.
Posted @ Tuesday, September 16, 2014 4:23 AM by Michael
Michael, You guys went to too far, too soon, too fast with the relationship. Glad to hear lesson learned. -Kurt
Posted @ Tuesday, September 16, 2014 7:45 PM by Kurt Smith, LMFT, LPCC, AFC
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