Should I Date While I Am Separated from My Spouse?

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“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.

Vulnerable While Separated

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.

Don’t Date While Separated

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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Filed under: Separation and Divorce

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360 responses to “Should I Date While I Am Separated from My Spouse?

  1. Hello. My name is Mia and I have been separated from my husband close to a year. I have dealt with so many things in my marriage and it has caused me so much grief including losing my confidence, self esteem, and bouts of depression at times. My husband cheated not long after we got married, for a long time he denied it but a few years later he admitted it. Then he turned to alcholism and would come in nightly drunk and physically abusive. I even called the cops on him when he fought me in front of kids leaving bruises on me. Now he claims he doesn’t cheat anymore but I caught emails of him asking women on a sex site to meet him for sex when he is out on the job.

    This is the 3rd time we have separated in the marriage. This time I am divorcing; enough is enough. Now he is crying and sad. I have not ever stepped out on him in the marriage but we have been on bad terms so long that I really hunger for true love and just a wonderful godly man. I’ve been so broken by my husband to the point I just didn’t want to keep going but God told me that I am worth and deserve so much more. I am now excited about my future and who God will send, but in the meantime I will continue to pray and work on me. I hope my soon to be ex-husband changes his life for the better but it won’t be with me. It’s been too much and quite frankly it scares me to even think about trying again knowing what I have been through.

    So much good has happened in my life now that I have taken my power back and moved. I have not started dating but I am not opposed to it either. I am not interested in sex though until the divorce is final. I do like this seemingly wonderful man, but he doesn’t know it yet. I won’t make the first move because I am very old fashioned and hope and pray that he will. It’s still weird to me that a marriage can actually break you and not be everything that you thought it would be.

    I think that I rushed into my marriage and overlooked some very important things in the beginning. We weren’t equally yolked and my soon to be ex-husband would often talk about still fighting demons but would not go into details. I had never heard anyone say that so I really wasn’t sure what it meant and when I asked, he wouldn’t explain. I think that was a warning for me in the beginning but I didn’t listen. Now, I am listening. It’s got to be right from the start. The word says, “your latter will be greater than your past.” Hallelujah! Pray for me!

    1. My sister in Christ! I will pray for you and continue to allow God’s will to be done in your life. It’s a new season! run on and see what he has for you. May God richly bless you!