Home Featured Married is the New Single: When is a marriage really over?

Married is the New Single: When is a marriage really over?

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married and cheating

Unfortunately, if you’ve played the dating game long enough you’ve probably (accidentally?) dated a married person or suspected you dated a committed/married person. You might not have any concrete evidence that they’re lying, but their actions don’t match their words. Maybe you can relate to this story.

Boy meets girl. Everything is going great. They claim to be single. They’re wonderful to hang out with – usually in awkward hours. They meet all of your needs and the rest of those superficial qualities you want in a mate.  But, something just isn’t right about them. They have great text-based conversations between the hours of 8:01am – 4:59pm, THEN THEY FALL OF THE FACE OF THE EARTH!

A quick story from my own personal well of experiences…

Young WIM – literally young, I was probably 23 or so and equally as dumb in the ways of the world. I met this woman off of BlackPlanet.com (strike one) and she tells me she’s “separated” (strike two). I wasn’t even familiar with the term. I just saw a pair of 28-year-old yams that I thought needed further investigation. Anywho, flash-forward to the first night we finally have a chance to meet due to her ever-changing, frequently erratic schedule (strike three).

Why did she have Young WIM ducking behind club pillars because her husband showed up? They were indeed legally “separated” but she left out the “he’s crazy, big and liable to kill you and everyone in this club” part.

*sigh* Women, be women-ing.

Because I feel like we’re family here, I can’t lie to y’all and say #SheWasTooFine.

But I can say #SheWasThick.

I’d love to tell you all how that story ended, but the SBM experience is a family-friendly affair. The point is: You live, you learn and if you’re lucky, you live to talk about it. On DamnPops post last week, Can You Sleep With Someone Else While On a Break?, a related question I asked ended up becoming a 21-reply comment thread. I learned I’m not the only one confused by the fluid relationship status of the married, yet single and dating. A few excerpts from the conversation:

WisdomIsMisery: I don’t do (formal) breaks. We’re either broke up or not. Back in college and earlier, I pretended not to know my status, but in reality, I simply didn’t care to investigate. Ignorance was bliss.

On your latter point, I do find “separated” married couples an interesting conundrum. I’ve run into a few women like that. It’s almost like “separated” is the new “married,” in the year of our Lord 2,013.

I’d be interested in hearing married/separated people’s viewpoint on that or how you single folks deal with someone who’s married but claims to be separated.

shareefjackson: I was separated for a while before I divorced, and my personal belief is that you don’t mess around until you’re legally divorced.

GirlSixx: Wellllll…

An actual Divorce is not always so cut-n-dry and may actually do more harm than good especially after being married for a long duration where you may have accumulated assets, property, health coverage, life insurance policies and such. So there are conditions where a legal separation is best.

A legal separation is much like an actual divorce in terms of you are now free to do as you please as a single individual (except remarry) while you still get to retain some of the financial/insurance benefits of a married couple.

If a married person is really separated like FOR REAL FOR REAL.. I don’t see any reason why they need to wait until legally divorced to move on and date.

shareefjackson: I hear what you’re saying. I just think part of going into marriage is that its a legal entity, and until that’s done you’re in it. Retaining the benefits as you say is like having your cookie and eating too. It’s very messy, doesn’t work for everyone, and not fair – but it’s where my mind is that.

Female: Separated is the new married. I have been married for 10 years, right out of college and was separated for a year up until this May; started seeing someone for about 8 months during separation but he eventually grew tired of my separated status considering I was in no rush to make any moves towards divorce. When I reconciled with my husband, we did not discuss our actions during said separation(which is fine with me). The conundrum arises when u still have those lingering feelings for that person you were enjoying during that separation period.

There you have it folks. “It’s complicated” is not just a Facebook relationship status out here in the real world. What are your thoughts?

Have you or would you ever date someone who is married but separated? Do you believe someone must be legally divorced before they can move on and start dating? Have any harrowing tales of redemption or near death experiences that you (or a friend) experienced while dating a married “but single” person?

Comment(17)

  1. When I became single for the first time in mg life I was 30. So imagine being 6ft2 black man with a white collar job, no kids but living in the new york city area. Ya I was like a lamb in a wolf shed. I had never dated in my adult life so I was cluess.

    so I had been living with a white woman for 10 years so OBVIOUSLY when I met a sista things woule be perfect…or so I felt. So my buddies tookme to a lounge…which is good because 20 dollar martini is too expensive for young chicks so its mostly people late 20s early 30s.

    So we meet a group of ladies who are walking out as we are walking in. A bunch of spanish ladies and one thin little sista. The sista hollars at me and says we should talk sometime. I think to myself. .see black love is that easy. Oh how silly I was… we went out on lots of lunch time dates as I worked nights and she worked a block from where I lived. I took her to meet my uncle and my friends…I remember my uncle walked behind her looked at her body and gave me the head nod and thumbs up. So to me things were great. After about date5 she would speak about her ex husband….ok… I cant figure a lady this nice looking was single at 35 for all these years so obviously shes divorced. I continued to take her out and treat her nice as I had no swag and no game being newly single and all…and yes I admit I wasnt smashin it. Sbould have been a clue. Well on date 11 she finally invites me over to her place. Dinner movie shopping and then chilled. She got me naked and did minor work but then seemed shook up about it..so I went home and told her I would take her out on Monday for her birthday. And on sunday night is when she dropped the bombshell that she was married….not just my husband is living somewhere else type married im talkin home girl removed pictures and the whole 9 and had me up in that dudes pad. Yeah..it happens

    1. The sista hollars at me and says we should talk sometime. I think to myself. .see black love is that easy.

      I'm ashamed at how hard that sentence made me laugh. It gets real out here sometimes.

    2. "She got me naked and did minor work"

      LMAO *jesus catch me*

      I think the fact you worked nights did it for you. A couple of 9pm phone calls and she would have been exposed after awhile.

  2. I’ve dated separated and “separated” women. I use the word date loosely because honestly I’m not committing myself to another man’s wife. Younger me was happy to be that guilty pleasure, sneaking around, doing what he wasn’t, I ain’t know no better….until I did.

    Abridged version, maybe I’ll tell the whole story on my own blog, but I meet this girl, she tells me she’s single, the red flags were there I ignore them yada, yada, yada I’m feeling her, so I send flowers to her crib my name on the card, I assume she gets them because she calls, except her husband was on the line talking tough she’s yelling in the background I’m just a friend…awkward. She was a type sociopath, I only knew her by her seldom used middle name, she 5 years older than she told me she was, married for 3 years, and her “godson” she had on her phone was her real son, named after her husband. They would separate a little while after (he forgave her then cheated and she was reh ta go, the irony) when she would reach back out to me., I lied and told her I was married, she still wasn’t opposed because she really ain’t sh t. #Shewasthick tho

  3. I rather the person be divorced. Too much room for bull. I might be friends with you if you’re separated. Give you some platonic company, and let you take me out to dinner. But being serious with you is a no-no. You need to get that stuff straight on the other end. You are still legally connected to your ex-wife. I don’t want us to get serious and start planning to get married and now we have to fight with her to let go. Think of the women who don’t get remarried because they still want to get an alimony check, well imagine the stress of having to fight with this man’s ex wife to get off of his insurance, let go of the tax breaks etc… (and yes for the fellas, maybe the ex-husband can be just as petty). Now of course there are some people who are separated share benefits and are cordial, but I’m not chancing. I’m sure there are enough men who are legally single for me to deal with.

  4. Separated means just what it says SEPARATED. It DOES NOT MEAN DIVORCE. More specifically it means STILL MARRIED AND A WHOLE LOTTA BULLCHIT. So, avoid them like the plague. Handle your business, tie up loose ends and when you're free, then we can see what happens. But like dude said, I ain't committing to someone else's wife. Where do they do that chit? LOL. Yes, I know, women do it all of the time, playing as if 'I didn't know he was married' – I've even met single women who were very much committed to someone else's husband – still can't figure that out but oh well. Don't say I didn't warn ya 😉

  5. I have dated someone that was "separated"and I just felt like I was constantly being lied to- especially when his wife called me. It wasn't a bad or "made for reality tv" conversation, but after I told her everything he told me she let me know it wasn't true amongst other things and that was the last time I dealt with either of them. Whether or not she was telling the truth, didn't matter to me, just because I knew I didn't want to be a part of any foolishness. Going forward I would need to know the guy was legally divorced, so there's not confusion and so I'm not getting foolish phone calls.
    My recent post Pretty sad lookin themed “scandal” cake but the…

    1. Told her everything. …smh…see this is why women cheat and men just play video games. Women of this generation LOVE drama where as men love simplicity.
      if a dude called me saying hey u sleepin with my wife…im all about deny deny deny. I have zero friends my age who are female that ever denied. And no its not about honesty its about reveling in the drama. Look around at your own friends that r older than 27 and you will see similar results.
      Do u know any woman who is happy being a mistress? No. They are all ultra competitive and want to have something she dosent. Weather it be a baby or just have the man for herself so she “wins”
      A guy who is the jump off dosent want the woman and dosent hate or feek competitive with the man. Ever see a married black woman get pregnant by the copy room guy? Now jus think about how often the secretary or maid turns up pregnant. If you really think 35 year old women with biological clock baby feaver cheat less than 15 years past sexual peak men then your gullible. You jus hear more about men these days because of the drama that the other woman will always bring out of a need for drama and competition.

    1. Not really…..you're either married or you're not. and the "its complicated" nonsense, I'd rather let someone else keep their nonsense until it makes sense to me. LOL. I've seen separated couples GET BACK TOGETHER….where does that leave you? I just believe in closing certain doors before opening other doors….but apparently, I'm in the minority cause a lot of other folks DON'T seem to care or mind. LOL.

  6. I dated a “separated” man once. “And I wish we never did it!” *Trey Songz voice* Separated = Still Married. I fell for him hard. He claimed to have felt the same. But in the end he and his wife reconciled (which was the right thing to do). But I’d be lying if I said it was a clean break. And you’ll always wonder how much of what he told you was true vs. just a married man tryna have something on the side. All around bad situation.

  7. I was tricked into dating a separated man once. We met, he seemed cool, we started dating. He told me he was recently divorced and just getting his own spot the whole nine. First time I went to his apartment – it seemed to mesh w/ his story. Stuff still in boxes etc. So we kept dating…fast forward a couple weeks and I'm really starting to like dude. So I start "investigating" and the first thing I looked up were his divorce papers. Found them and saw that yes – he had filed for divorce but there was no divorce granted yet. I went OFF – ended it all. Had he told me the truth – I might have still dated him – but just because he lied about being divorced when he was only separated I had to run away.

  8. I've dated a man who was separated from his wife. I don't know if it was an official separation with all the paperwork, but I do know they didn't live together. Supposedly, they weren't getting a divorce for the financial benefits, and because they had a son together. But while we were dating, they started getting a real divorce, and I also think it was made official during our time together.

    Now, I should clarify that dating is a STRONG word for what we were doing. Mainly we just went over to each others' houses and "watched movies". I sure as heck developed feelings, but he made it clear that, despite being one of those guys who likes to treat women really well, almost like a girlfriend, he had NO designs on being a real boyfriend or eventual husband, and I could take it or leave it. So, I left it. I met his son maybe four times total for less than 10 minutes each in the maybe 1.5 years we were seeing each other, of and on. And I was cool with that, because unless I'm a permanent fixture, I shouldn't be in your kid's life like that.

    I will say that I only dealt with him because all we were doing was "watching movies". Once I started catching feelings, that "separated" thing got old real quick. Other times, when I got the feeling I was dating someone in a relationship, despite what they said, I peaced out quickly. I'm not about cheating or any of that.

  9. My advice is to stay away from anyone who is legally separates or divorce no matter how thick she is men. Hahaha. I dated someone in the midst of my divorce who was also separate or shall i say not living with his wife. And after all the we spent together, he went back while i finalized divorce. Therefore, i do not take any man who on that dating scene that is “separated” seriously. By the way, i loving the stories from all the men. This is too funny. Please post more.

  10. I’ve never encountered this situation, but if I don’t think I would date someone that is separated. It’s just a sticky situation. While I understand why separated people would want to date. And in some states it is mandatory to be separated for some time before you can actually divorce. Dating someone that is still legally bound to someone else just doesn’t seem like it would go anywhere. It’s basically a rebound for the person that is separated.

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