Do I Need To Wait Until I’m Officially Divorced To Date Again? 5 Things To Consider

February 12, 2018

dating during divorce

You and your spouse have decided to divorce, and now you’re working on rebuilding your life. As you start over, you may consider beginning to date again. But is it wise to take up a new relationship before your divorce is finalized? Here are 5 things to consider before you make the decision to hop back into the dating pool while separated:

Are YOU ready?

Just because your relationship has ended doesn’t mean you’re ready – emotionally, mentally, or even physically – to move immediately into a new relationship. This is an especially important question to give some real thought to if your previous marriage ended on a bad note, such as your spouse was unfaithful or there was abuse in your marriage. [1] If your mind and your heart aren’t completely over your last relationship, and you haven’t put to rest any issues that may have arisen in your marriage, you could open yourself up to even more hurt. [2] It’s best to take some time during your separation to “date” yourself and learn who you are outside your marriage, and what you want and need going forward. Take a solo vacation, learn a new skill, or go out with some friends, giving you some time and space to heal and grow so you can form healthy relationships once you’re ready.

Do you have children?

With children, your separation doesn’t just affect you and your spouse; your children may be dealing with a lot of confusion, pain, and anger. Bringing a new person into their lives at this time is not wise. They need time and space to grieve the loss of their complete family before introducing potential new members. If you do decide to date during your separation, it’s best to leave scheduling dates with your new significant other to times when your children aren’t around. [1]

Are you ready to face potential blow-back from your spouse?

Even if everything seems settled and amicable between you two now, seeing you date again quickly after a separation could set your spouse off. This could cause previously agreed-upon issues, such as custody of your children or who gets to keep certain assets, to become points of argument, leading you into a protracted, expensive, stressful divorce. [3] Additionally, your spouse may decide to accuse you of adultery if you begin dating prior to the divorce being finalized. If your new significant other spends any time around your children, he or she may be dragged into the divorce, as well, which could doom your new relationship. Dating someone new can create difficulty for you during what is already an emotionally heightened time. [4]

Is your new significant other up for the potential challenges?

Though you and your new partner may be perfectly suited for one another, dating someone who is separated but not divorced presents its own challenges to a new relationship. If you haven’t yet put to rest any problems that arose during your marriage, such as trust issues or insecurities, these are likely to rear their heads and cause tension in your new relationship. Your new partner may also face difficulties related to your separation, as the idea that you were so recently in a long-term relationship with deep ties and now you are moving on cause confusion. Additionally, if you have children, your new partner may not enjoy only being able to see you during times when you do not have your children. Should you decide to move forward with your relationship, seeing some couples counseling to help you both navigate all the challenges and changes ahead could be helpful. [1]

Are you sure your separation will stick?

Though it may seem obvious now, it’s not uncommon for couples to separate and think they are headed for divorce, then decide to get back together. This can even happen if one spouse moves out, and if one or both have moved into new relationships. While this is great for a marriage, it’s not so great for the new partners who are now left alone. If you cannot confidently say you are totally ready for your marriage to be over, it’s best not to start dating again until you are. [5]

If you and your spouse are in the midst of separation and you feel you want to date again, consult with a licensed family law attorney to discuss the possible pitfalls.

Experienced Family Law Attorneys in Maryland

The team at The Law Offices of Sandra Guzman-Salvado have years of experience handling all aspects of family law for both English and Spanish-speaking clients. Contact us today to discuss your unique situation and to be connected with the right attorney for you.

[1] Oberlin, Loriann, “4 Tips for Dating During Separation and Divorce,” Huffington Post.
[2] Smith, Kurt, “Dating While Separated – 5 Reasons To Say ‘No,’” Guy Stuff Counseling and Coaching.
[3] Papa, Ashley, “Divorced Dating: How To Date Before the Divorce Is Final,”
[4] Achen, Tracy, “Why Dating During Divorce Is Unwise,”
[5] Amatenstein, Sherry, “The dos and don’ts of dating when you’re separated but not divorced,” She Knows.