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Deciding to separate is a hard enough decision for people in a relationship. Dating while separated depends on what your head and heart tells you.
If you read everything on the internet, then you could literally be stuck in place not being able to make a move. The feeling of needing a break from your relationship is mind-boggling, and figuring out if dating while separated is for you is a bigger confusion.
There is a part of you that just wants to run to them and hug away, and then another that is telling that something isn’t right about the situation and you need some perspective, or maybe even date someone else. Whether you decided to ask for the separation or they did, it makes no difference when it comes to dating someone else.
You have to take the time apart to figure out your feelings and to sort through what you want for yourself.
12 questions to ask about dating while separated
Some people will tell you that you should get right back up on that horse, and then others will tell you that, until you see the relationship through, you shouldn’t take on another new one. The truth is that it doesn’t matter what anyone “says” or what the “theories” are about what to do while being separated, it only matters what you feel is right in your head and your heart.
Here are 12 questions to ask yourself about dating while separated.
#1 What are you going to do if you start liking someone new? Being separated is sometimes the first part of ending a relationship, but other times, it is about being without someone in order to gain perspective. If you are done with someone, then dating while separated is kind of a no-brainer, except for legal reasons of divorce.
If you are taking time away just to figure out your feelings, and you still have some, then adding someone in the mix might only further complicate things and have your feelings so messed up… you won’t know what is right or wrong. [Read: Is flirting cheating when you’re in a relationship?]
#2 Will dating someone else confuse the situation? What if you start dating someone and you really start to like them? If you aren’t sure about whether you want to be with someone but haven’t made the final break, you might just find your rebound person and think that it is a sign that your previous relationship wasn’t meant to be.
Sometimes you can mistake the little extra attention from someone as being something that is real. You don’t want to make a decision about whether to continue a previous relationship by hopping ship into another one. So, dating while separated might push you to make a decision based on feelings that aren’t real.
#3 Will you feel guilty about dating someone else? If you aren’t officially done with someone, you might feel like you have the “right” to date someone else. Just because you think you have a right to do something, that doesn’t mean that you are going to feel good about doing it.
If you end up getting back together, there might be residual guilt that you have to live with. Only you can decide whether you will feel guilty about dating while separated before you really ended the relationship, especially if you decide to reunite. [Read: One sided love and what to do when you don’t love them back]
#4 How do you feel about them dating someone? If you don’t like the idea of your significant other starting to date while you are separated, then you are probably not ready to start dating yourself.
If you are worried that they might find someone else if they start to date someone else, then you might want to think twice before doing it to them. Likely, they feel the same way. What is good for the goose is not always good for the gander.
#5 What if they find out that you are dating someone else? If you do start dating someone else while separated, that might mess up any chances of getting back together. What if you find that the separation is not what you want and you want them back?
Could dating while separated mess up your chances? Right now, you might be feeling really hurt and confused and not thinking about a future with the person you are separated from.
But, it is imperative that you not do things you can’t take back or regret your actions in the future because you made them out of anger, loss, or even loneliness. [Read: 15 rebound relationship signs to watch out for]
#6 What do you want to come from the separation? The most important question to ask yourself is why are you separating? What is it that you hope to learn from time apart? If you are hoping that your significant other will start to miss you and want you back, dating someone to make them jealous could really backfire.
If you are separating because it is the first step to getting rid of them forever, then what are you waiting for? If you know they aren’t the one for you, then you have no cause to question checking out other options. [Read: How to get your life back on track after a big change]
#7 Are you willing to choose? If you start to get attached to someone, are you ready to have to put yourself in a position where you have to choose? If you have residual feelings for the one you are separated from, why would you want to muddy the waters by bringing someone else in?
It is a good idea to focus on you and to make a decision about what you want instead of bringing in a confounding factor that will only make choices and decisions more difficult in the future. [Read: Choosing between two people – 20 questions to find your answer]
#8 How committed are you to making your current relationship work? If when you said “I do” you meant I do, then a separation means that you need time away to gain perspective, work on yourself, and find a way back to each other.
It doesn’t mean that I am going to check out other options. Of course, if your “I do” really meant “I might,” then that is a different level of commitment, in which case, you have to decide what is right for you going forward.
#9 If you have children, do you think it is healthy to date while separated? If you have children in the mix, then dating while separated might be more than you need. A separation is not only a difficult time for you and your spouse, it is also hard for your children.
Likely, they will need a little extra care and attention. If you wrap yourself up in dating someone else, or even many other people, then you aren’t going to have the focus that you need to deal with your children’s grief. It might seem like they are weathering the storm just fine, and now that you have every other weekend free, it is a perfect opportunity.
But mentally, it might be too much for the entire family unit. Surely you can wait just a little longer to get things sorted out and everyone back on track. If you are ready to move on, there is plenty of time. [Read: Why a trial separation usually doesn’t end the way you want it to]
#10 What advice would you give a friend if they asked about dating while separated? Knowing what someone else should do and what you should do are two different things. Sometimes the answers that we crave come from asking ourselves what we would tell our best friend to do if they were in our shoes.
It’s always easier to give advice than to take it, and sometimes the only advice we need is our own. So, think long and hard about what you would say to someone else you love who was in your shoes.
#11 What would happen if your partner found out? If you want to date while separated, then it might be a good idea to discuss dating before you take time apart. You don’t want to find out what their reaction is after the fact or hurt them any more than you are both hurting right now.
You don’t want them to have to find out about your activities from someone else. Sometimes having the talk before you break apart is the best way to know where you stand, and not only to let them know what you expect, but so that you know what they expect of you. [Read: The top 20 reasons for divorce that most people overlook]
#12 Will it hurt divorce proceedings? Okay, sometimes I can be practical. Before you decide if dating while separated is a good idea, you should check with the divorce laws in the state you reside. For some states, a formal separation has to last a specific amount of time where you have different addresses.
The problem is that, according to the laws in many states, during the separation time, you aren’t supposed to date anyone else. That is considered adultery and can affect your divorce settlement.
Outside of the many emotional questions you have about whether dating while separated is a good idea, you should be aware of the legal repercussions, so you don’t end up accidentally shooting yourself in the foot.
Separating is never an easy time for anyone. If you are asking about dating while separated, no one can answer what is right for you but you. Although best not to put more stress in the mix, if you are done, you are done.
[Read: 15 strange and unknown facts about divorce]
Just make sure not to do anything that can come back to haunt or make you feel guilty if you do decide to reunite. With these tips, you’ll make the right decision about dating while separated.
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