A few years ago, when I was still separated I had to contend with this issue. It occurred to me that during my focus on marriage on Mondays, that perhaps it would be helpful to someone if I shared my thoughts and experiences during this difficult time in my life.
As always, the people who love and support you will give you their advice and opinions on this, with the best intentions, but for the most part the advice they give may not be exactly what you need for your situation. I had many people who wondered why it was taking us so long to get divorced and others who were waiting hopefully for us to reconcile.
While we were separated most people encouraged me to date and enjoy my freedom, but one very dear friend of mine told me truthfully, that I should wait until we divorced before making any moves towards dating. Her advice was wise and loving. She said there were just too many physical and emotional complications that could occur and most importantly, it was spiritually wrong.
She was right, but I didn’t listen. I started dating a guy and things started getting serious. I enjoyed his company, but I wasn’t falling for him as quickly as he was falling for me. There were many reasons why, but the main reason and the turning point came, when, totally out of the blue, my husband decided that he finally wanted to talk. He apologized and expressed his wishes to reconcile.
Suddenly my emotions were conflicted – I had one foot in the workings of a new relationship and my heart in my separated marriage. On one hand, I felt a sense of relief and elation that there was hope for my marriage and the other I felt a total confusion about this new life I had been working on. I realized at that moment that I did, indeed, still loved my husband very much, and that meant there was no hope for the person I had been dating.
With all these emotions swirling through my head I knew I had to make a decision, and that brought on a heaviness – a dreadful feeling. I had dragged someone into a situation that was going nowhere. Even crazier, at the same time there were no guarantees that my husband and I would even be able to work out our differences, after all we’d tried to reconcile before and it had ended in disaster. Even if I was able to let the friend I was dating down easy, it didn’t mean that I would instantly be able to save my marriage. Especially if he knew I was dating someone else – things like that are often deal breakers.
So, I was in a whirlwind of confusion – most of which was the unnecessary turmoil I had brought upon myself and unfortunately had extended to the poor guy who didn’t have a chance. Telling him that was one of the hardest things I’d ever had to do. I never wanted to be in a position where I was the one who caused someone else’s pain – I knew all too well what that felt like. Yet, there I was causing someone grief over a relationship that should never have happened in the first place because although I was separated, I was still married.
My friend was right, I should have waited. But I was stubborn and hard-headed. I don’t know why so many times I’ve had to learn things the hard way. So, if you or someone you know is in this weird limbo-of-a-place called “married but separated” I encourage you to hold on and wait before making any decisions to date. It really isn’t worth the potential pain and heartache.
If either you or your spouse are not at a point where you’re ready to sign divorce papers this very moment – for whatever reason – finance, emotional or otherwise, there’s still a chance that the love you have for each other can resurface. There’s still hope that you can work things out, but if there’s a third party involved, it only makes things more complicated. Life is complicated enough. If you’re separated, wait until things are final before you start dating someone else.
If there’s a chance at all that you still love your spouse, do yourself a favor and wait it out – you never know when your “out-of-the-blue” moment may come.
I thank God for the miracle He was able to work in my marriage in spite of all the chaos. For those of you who may be joining us for the first time, my husband and I were separated for three years. We’ve been reconciled for two years now – and it’s been two of the best years we’ve had together. If there’s hope for us, there really is hope for everybody.
In addition to the moral and emotional reasons why people should wait to date while separated – why else is it wise to wait before jumping back into the dating scene? What other issues or potential complications should people consider?
Note: If you’re at a point where you think you might like to begin working on your marriage again, whether you’re the only one who wants to fix it or not, there is hope – you might want to read, Save Your Christian Marriage for steps to take towards reconciliation.
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