Marriage Missions International

Should I Date While I Am Separated from My Spouse?

“Should I date while I am separated?” How many times have I heard that question? And, how many times have I given a hard answer? “If you are not free to marry, you are not free to date!” I first read that statement in Britton Wood’s book, Singles Want to Be the Church, Too. Mr. Wood has worked with singles and separated persons longer than anyone in his denomination.

After several years of counseling the separated, I am more convinced than ever that Britton Wood is right. When you start dating someone else while you are separated, you make reconciliation more difficult. The more you date, the muddier the water becomes.

I know that you have needs; you are lonely. Sometimes the load seems unbearable. I know that dating while separated is accepted, even encouraged, in our society. But most of those who are dating will never be reconciled. They will be divorced.

Dating is a prelude to remarriage, not therapy for reconciliation. Certainly you need friends. You need a listening ear. You need people who care and help bear the load, but the dating context is not the best place to find such help.

You are extremely vulnerable during these days of separation. Unfortunately there are those of the opposite sex who would like to take advantage of your vulnerability. Although pretending to be concerned about you, there are busy satisfying their own desires.

I have seen many men and women devastated by such an experience. Your own emotions are erratic, and it would be easy for you to get infatuated with anyone who treats you with dignity, respect, and warmth.

Have you noticed the number of people who get married the day after they are divorced? Obviously they have been dating during separation. If the separation period is a time to seek reconciliation, why spend energy in an activity that leads to divorce and remarriage? Separation is not tantamount to divorce. We are still married while we are separated, and we ought to so live, whether or not our spouse complies.

I know this is difficult to accept, but I believe the present trend of open dating immediately after separation must be deterred. Such activity encourages and contributes to the increasing divorce rate.

If you believe in the power of human choice, then you must concede that your estranged spouse may well turn from his or her estrangement and seek reconciliation. You want to be prepared for that day if it comes. Dating someone else in not the way to be prepared. Develop friends, but refuse romantic involvement until the fate of your marriage is determined.

The above article comes from the book, Hope For the Separated: Wounded Marriages Can Be Healed, written by Dr Gary Chapman, published by Moody Publishers. This book deals with the question of dating while separated, how to relate to your children during this time, and ways to improve communication. Assignments are given to encourage growth both as individuals and as a couple. The ultimate value comes not in reading but in applying truth. It’s a practical book for both the separated husband and wife.


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279 Responses to “Should I Date While I Am Separated from My Spouse?”
  1. Rob from United States says:

    My wife of 23 years is having an affair with a man from another state. I’m not sure how many times they’ve actually had physical contact, but at least twice that I know of. They are emotionally attached and they say they love each other. I’m sleeping in the guest room now and my two teenage daughters know something is up but we haven’t told them. I found out about the affair in June. I’m struggling to move forward but don’t want to lose everything we built together for the past 23 years. My wife is so resentful of me for not being there for her emotionally that she hates me. I do not want to date anyone right now but I need female companionship someone to talk to at least. Any ideas?

    • Michelle from United States says:

      It’s difficult for a woman to live alone especially if there is a small kid involved. I’m trying my best to make ends meet… my husband left me for another woman… just because she is rich and I’m not. But this has made me even stronger. I have a daughter. She is 5… my support and reason to move on.

  2. Roxanna from United States says:

    My husband and I have been married for 31 years (the last 2 years separated). When I found out about the affair, he said he wanted to go to his brothers to stay because he needed to think. He never came home and 7 months later he moved in with the woman he was having an affair with. A year later they broke up because he cheated on her and she kicked him out. He ran away and never came back.

    We went golfing twice in the past 2 years, and that was the only thing he would do with me. He came over for family functions with our daughters, and we have been cordial and nice to one another. I’ve aligned myself up with God’s word that He hates divorce and wants reconciliation. He was baptized several years ago, and we went to a Bible study for a couple of years. I saw that there was something wrong with our relationship when he began to shut me out by not talking, etc. I think he would have continued to keep the affair a secret until it ran its course had I not started digging and found out about it and then confronted him.

    I desire that he repent and come back to a relationship with the Lord more than anything and that we be reconciled. He has yet to file for divorce and I feel like I’m living in limbo, waiting on God to move in our situation with a miracle. So why have I shared this? It’s because I’m lonely. All my friends are busy with their husbands and families -and I just feel like a third wheel doing something with a couple. I don’t have anyone around who shares my same interests. Help! I’m lonely and miss my husband and doing the activities we enjoyed doing together.

  3. David from United States says:

    Here is the most basic question…why would we even contemplate a “separation” when the scripture stands opposed to them? Why would Paul be so clear as to say that wives are not to separate from their husbands and if they do husbands are not to seek divorce? Do you think the Holy Spirit knew that women would ultimately seek 80% of all separations and that 88% would end in divorce? Certainly!

    I have recently moved from my house following a time when my wife, against advice of our Christian counselor, had moved away with our daughter. Other than typical marriage disagreements – certainly not violence or scandal – there is no true justification for this action. Both sides of our family met and attempted to head this off but to no avail. I have been advised by many to stay where I am and let m wife deal with the stresses of trying to find housing, schools and income. Finally, just a few moments ago, it became very clear what path I must choose as a “Godly” man – I’ve written my wife to let her know that although I am sure that separation violates God’s sovereign will and purpose for our marriage, I will be out of our house by Sunday evening so she and our daughter can have the safety and comfort of a home they know and love. Divorce or reconciliation regardless, at least my children will know that dad did everything he could and left no stone unturned in seeking reconciliation. I pray that God will withhold his wrath such as David and Solomon experienced when they chose conscious sin over obedience…I have no place to go; this is a tiny town and I must stay close to my work. I have no extra money. I believe that this is just where God wants me.

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