Dating a Separated Man Is a Major Dating Mistake

dangers of dating separated manThe dangers of dating a separated man are significant. Here are some dire situations to watch for when dating a man who is still married that so many women somehow overlook.

The Dangers of Dating a Separated Man with Children

“Dear Ronnie, Love & Dating Coach for Women,

My intuition is telling me to walk away from my current romantic situation, but there are other factors involved and I don’t want to make a mistake.

I bumped into an old flame in June and he asked me out on a date. He is currently separated from his wife and has been for almost two years. We are both in our 50s.

I went out on three dates with him before he told me that he’d told his wife about us. Within a week,  he informed me that she was texting him constantly and putting him under a lot of pressure and he was feeling guilty.

On our 4th and 5th date he suddenly went very cold on me. The last date was an absolute nightmare.

Sorting Things Out with the Wife

He then informed me he was going to see his wife to ‘sort things out and move on one way or the other’ and he hoped I understood!

I was fine with that but, heard nothing for a few days. I was a little anxious when he eventually texted me. He said things were really bad between them and they had loads to sort out.

I said I wasn’t happy with how things were going between us and suggested I give him some space which he agreed to.

He said he would text me when ‘his head was sorted’. That was over a month ago. I’ve had a few texts since, but nothing to indicate that we are getting back together.

Did I Push Him Away?

I bumped into him recently – he was a little drunk and all over me. I admit to pushing him to make a few dates along the way but have never texted or called him first.

I’ve not always been available to meet him, which he did not like.

I’m not sure if I’ve pushed him away or if it’s really his circumstances that are keeping him away.

I have pushed guys away in the past and have tried very hard this time to be more aware of my actions.

Should I Move On?


Should I walk away or wait a while before moving onto someone else. I guess this is one of the dangers of dating a separated man. I’d appreciate your advice.


Left Hanging in Hingam, MA


Dating Someone Who Is Separated

Dear Hanging,

First off, this situation is EXACTLY why I warn women about the dangers of dating a separated man. And why I encourage you to avoid men who have not been divorced for at least a year. (Same thing goes for women too.)

Before you enter the next dating situation, be sure to ask the man how long he’s been divorced. If it’s less than 9 months to a year, walk away!

Why Do You Like Him?

There are a number of things you mentioned that puzzle me about this liaison. I wonder why you’re interested in dating this man after…

  • He went cold on you after three dates
  • The last date was a nightmare
  • He’s still clearly attached to his not yet ex-wife
  • He stopped asking you out
  • He’s not emotionally available

Any of these are reasons are enough not to see him again! What is it about him that makes him worth compromising your sense of self-worth and your time or affection?

dating a separated man You Are Compartmentalizing

When certain parts of a man capture your attention and cause you to overlook unattractive characteristics, that’s how you KNOW you are compartmentalizing.

What does that mean? In your mind, you separate the things you like about this man from the things you don’t like, which you then ignore.

These traits are all PART OF THE SAME MAN. You cannot separate them! He is a package deal and you need to see him as a whole – the good and the bad.

When you do, my bet is you’ll decide to move on quickly. No matter how cute, fun, intelligent, rich this man is, he is also emotionally unavailable, attached to his wife, and well…rude.

Read Between the Lines

When this man said to you he had to “sort things out,” that was ManSpeak for “I can’t see you anymore.” You hung around wondering how long it would take.

He said he hoped you would understand, but you missed his meaning. He was exiting the new relationship. Next time a man says he’s got to sort stuff out, say GOODBYE because that’s exactly what he means.

All on His Terms

You said that perhaps you pushed him away by not being available when he wanted to see you. But you are allowed to be busy. On the other hand, you mentioned that you’ve pushed other men away and that’s worth looking at.

I encourage my clients to make themselves available when a man asks you out. I don’t mean to cancel plans, but be sure to keep some open space in your calendar.

If you can’t make a date, always suggest another time. In this case, it doesn’t sound at all like you pushed him away.

A Pawn in His Marital Drama Game

dating a separated manI can’t help but think he used you to make his wife jealous, one of the dangers of dating a separated man. Otherwise, why would he ever tell her about you?

There’s only one reason – and that is JEALOUSY. I think he was hoping to get her back by dating you which is sort of a crummy thing to do all the way around.

Given everything I’ve explained in this post, I hope you see the wisdom and only real choice – move on to find a new man.

You deserve better than dating a separated man and this kind of dysfunctional situation.

My Dating Coach Hopes for You

I hope you meet men who are divorced for more than a year and healed of the trauma. Consciously choose to date guys who are ready to date, are emotionally available, and seeking a serious relationship.

The men you date should not text or talk on the phone during your date and show you far more respect and interest. Know you are worthy of a man’s full attention unless there is an emergency.

Wishing you love,

dating advice, date online, dating coach



Want more insightful dating advice about not dating a separated man, not chasing men, and valuing yourself more? Download my free book 7 Dire Dating Mistakes Women Make that Keep You Single and get my newsletter too.


Single for too long, Ronnie wanted to find love. She put her skills from personal development and her spiritual path to work, dating 30 men in 15 months to meet her adorable husband Paul. Discovering the keys to manifesting and midlife dating, she founded It’s Never Too Late to help smart, successful women find love or live an empowered and magical life. Ronnie Ann Ryan, MBA, CCC, is a Certified Coach who has helped 1,000s of midlife women with her Love & Magical Life Coach services. She’s the host of the Breathe Love & Magic podcast and has been featured on NBC, ABC, & Fox News, NPR, BBC, eHarmony,, and Connecticut Magazine among others. Also, Ronnie is the author of 6 books which are available on Amazon.

50 thoughts on “Dating a Separated Man Is a Major Dating Mistake”

  1. Hi, I’m planning to date a separated guy. We haven’t met yet but he has made plans ofr traveling with me abroad. Should I pursue or not?

    – Ms Curious

    • Hi Ms. Curious, You have to make your own choices. But think about this…If you’ve never met, traveling together is questionable. How do you know you will like him, get a long, or can trust him? How do you know he is separated vs. married and cheating? Will you get attached to him after traveling and sleeping together? Will you want more than he can give you? Will you start to resent that he isn’t truly available? There’s a lot to think about. Best of luck.

  2. I’ve been living with this man for 4 years now. Yet, he has taken no steps or effort to get divorced. I have had beyond multiple conversations yet nothing. Even the separation document wasn’t made up by any lawyer – they both made it up. He revised the papers a year ago to change his arrangement with the kids. She’s had the papers since Aug 2019. Finally 2 weeks ago he gave her the papers again and now the excuse I’m getting is, “Oh she says we should see a lawyer to write it up. ” Then he says can’t afford a lawyer. Which is it? I’ve warned him and warned him that I’m not going to wait anymore. He thinks I’m bluffing cause its been 4 years. I’m getting to the point I just want to pack up and leave and I think of this daily. I know it’s easier said than done and its so tough to think about but I’m just lost on what more I can say or do.

    • Hi Dunn, Ultimatums only work when you follow through with the threat. Since you are still there after four years, like you said, he doesn’t take your threats seriously. Why would he? The truth is you can’t make anyone do anything they do want to do. This man doesn’t want to get divorced or he would have years ago. He is still tied to his wife. Now that you are 100% clear he may never get divorced, what do you want to do? You can stay and put up with it or you can leave and move on. But you will never get him to take action.

      Sounds like you are pretty miserable, so is it time to go? Only you can decide, but I hope you choose to love and take of yourself. Be brave. It might be hard at first, but at some point you will feel free and relief. He’s not the only man on the planet. Next time promise yourself- no dating separated men!

  3. I met a truly nice guy. Been seeing each other for a short time. I brought a clean slate – divorced for 15 yrs and no contact with my ex. He on the other hand has been separated for 7 yrs. and not divorced, no initiating steps towards divorce and they have known each other for 40 yrs. They are still in touch for whatever reason. I have no desire to find myself in a shit storm of drama somewhere down the road thinking about the number of yrs these 2 have been together. I don’t think anyone in this situation should be trying to develop a new relationship. The red flags are there and I am ready to explain why I am not willing to continue. I feel sad that these two can’t make a go of it. What he needs to realize is not to involve other people’s hearts if your not over and done with another. It’s just not fair and selfish. I’m choosing self preservation, emotional and mental health and well being for my future!

    • Hi Lee, thanks for sharing! I’m so glad you are smart enough to get out early, seeing the red flags and writing on the wall. Congratulations on recognizing this no-win situation, not getting sucked in and choosing your well-being! Awesome!

  4. I started to see a recently separated man about 2 months ago, i had lost my best friend and his wife had just left him so it seemed like we could both offer some comfort to each other. The chemistry was really intense, but this is going to be his second divorce, he told me he has never been single and somehow i thought he couldn’t possibly be ready for a relationship. He had also mentioned that he met his second wife within a month of separating from his wife of 21 years, and mentioned a couple of extramarital affairs, that sounded too much like a man who needed to grow up. Then the red flags started to show all the time. He started to be quite possessive whenever he was around me, like he couldn’t hide his attraction in public and i decided to walk away. Somehow i thought later down the road we could remain friends, but after about 3 weeks of no contact, out of concerned i had asked to sit down and talk things through, he sent me a message excusing himself for not being in touch but his girlfriend was in town and he needed to focus on that. My heart sank, i asked why was he contacting me to tell me that, i am now guessing he met her at the same time we met and he was with both of us at the same time(she doesn’t live in the same country), i feel completely drained even if brief i feel betrayed, and not sure how to approach all this situation, he wanted to talk but i cut all contact…

    • Hi Gigi, You did the right thing! He sure doesn’t sound like a good man to me. You deserve better. What’s left to say to him anyway? He HAS a girlfriend! Let him go and thank your lucky stars it’s only been 2 months and not two ears. You’ll find someone better. One piece of advice – don’t date separated men for any reason.

  5. I dated a man that I feel in love with. We were together over 3 1/2 years. Him and his wife, share a home. They have older children together. She knows about me, and she was the one who was cheating and why they are separated. Today I ended it. We live close together till I took a job 2 years ago 3 1/2 hours away. I am tired of not being a priority in his life. As much as it hurts, please tell me I did the right thing. Our relationship was amazing until covid hit, he has medical issues and because of my job, he is afraid to be near me. My heart hurts, but I didn’t know what else to do.

    • Hi Stephanie – You get my vote! congratulations on taking care of yourself and choosing that you deserve better. In the future I hope you date a man who is ready for love and divorced at least one year. This will help a lot. And feel proud that you will no longer put up with not being atop priority!

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