From time to time I will check out Evan Marc Katz’s site to see what sort of dating-related questions he gets (and the resulting comments). Yesterday’s was from a man who is legally separated (and will be for 3 years) and wonders if he’s screwed from a dating perspective. Since I am the expert on this topic and the author of Dating the Divorced Man, I did comment on the post, but wanted to go into more detail here.
“Separated” is a Red Flag
Yes, the word “separated” will scare women. Anyone who’s ever gone through a divorce, or knows someone who has, knows just how emotionally and legally messy it can be. And, “separated” can mean many things:
- “Just moved out and haven’t filed any legal papers yet”
- “In the process of divorce and fighting over the house and kids”
- “We’ve agreed to everything but have to finish out the waiting period”
Any woman dating a separated or divorcing man is taking a risk. Sure, some of these guys’ divorces aren’t that complicated and they’re emotionally ready to move on, but most aren’t. The trick is to know this and handle the situation properly.
Don’t Be Dishonest
Guys hate anything that will scare women away because they know it reduces their odds, and no guy likes reduced odds. This often leads to stupid behaviors like deception and lying – for example, not telling a woman your marital status until you’ve gone out too many times or, worse, telling a woman you’re divorced (especially online!) and then admitting the truth later. You have to be honest or you’ll look like a dick – you just have to know how to spin it. For example:
- Tell her the divorce is moving along and you’ve got everything under control. Even if it’s a mess, your handling it will make her feel at ease.
- Spare her the details. She’s your date, not your shrink. Deal with your divorce on your own time and focus on her when you’re together.
- Emphasize the good points. If the divorce is in the final stages, share that, ONLY if it’s true. Share if you and your ex agree on many things, if you have no kids to fight over, or if your family supports the divorce.
She will get past the “separated” label IF you show her you have things under control and aren’t going to make her life miserable.
You Can’t Just Think About “Me”
The problem with separated men is that they want to date because they’re tired of being alone and unhappy and want some hope after the pain of divorce. This is natural. But as I discuss in Back in The Game, many may not consider what they have to offer a woman. They don’t realize that women don’t want a guy who can’t give her what she needs, who drags her into his divorce by complaining about it, who subjects her to the anger and jealousy of his ex. If you’re separated and want to date, you need to consider things from her perspective. Be honest (with her and with yourself) about where you are and what you can offer, shield her from your ex and the details of your divorce, and, even though you’re needy right now, focus on her and what she needs. Guys who can do this have more successful relationships during divorce and avoid bringing more drama into their lives.