I would like to begin dating. What should I do?

(The very best insights to the difficult questions from the dating forum)

I’m legally separated from my husband, and would like to begin dating. What should I do?

Technically, you’re still married. You’re in that gray area and this can be a bit tricky. When you’re meeting guys that you’re interested to date, you’re one of two things and that’s it: married or single. As far as any prospective beau goes, that’s it. If you’re divorced or widowed, you’re single. Single, even if it’s as a divorced woman or as a widow is still single: there is no man you are legally attached to, even if there was at one time.

However, the gavel hasn’t come down for you in court yet. You are not divorced. Some people remain separated for many years, perhaps even the rest of their lives. There could be many reasons for this. Money, guardianship, custody, citizenship… Even just the fact that it prevents them from having to explain to a new companion that they can’t be getting remarried anytime soon. You, my dear, are married. That’s wonderful that you are ready to date again. There are many different things you can do.

One thing you may want to try out is the bar scene again. This is usually good for finding people that want to hook up. You may or may not find a relationship this way, if that’s what you’re looking for. But beware that when you are making that initial small talk, you’re going to get asked if you’re seeing anyone. The answer is, you’re married. You can explain that you’re separated, and you can go into a lot of detail regarding your private situation and intentions. But really, do you want to go there? Do you want some guy in a bar to know your legal and personal business?

Many of the ladies that write to me feel the set-up is the best way to meet guys. They believe their friends know them well enough to set them up well enough. They feel like this is safe, as no one is really a stranger. They also tell me that there is already a level of comfort involved since this new person most likely already knows a little bit about them through the matchmaking friend.

What’s not great about this however, is that your separation is probably not the easiest of things for all of your friends. Some of your circle may still consider you married, which technically you are. They may be judging about your decision to date at this point. You may have neighbors or coworkers that are hoping you and your husband work it out, who don’t want to see you happily dating. And then there’s the possibility that they will set you up with someone that you really hit it off with. Note that nothing will be private between you and your new guy when he’s someone else’s old friend. That mutual acquaintance is going to hear all about it – if you had sex, how many times, what you said, even the intimate things you may choose to share regarding your marriage and separation. Once one friend knows, they all know. When you accept the set ups of friends, you’re also accepting the fact that your friends will know more about you than you chose to share with them. Are you really ready for all your friends and family, and your husband’s friends and family, to hear about your private business? I you want to keep it private, don’t date people that know your friends. It’s that simple.

Another thing you can try is online dating. There are many different kinds of sites, all with their own niches and reputations. You have your sites like eharmony.com where there’s emphasis on finding yourself a committed relationship. There’s sites like match.com which seem a little more geared to dating around and exploring different situations. There’s alt.com which is designed for alternative lifestyles. There’s of course gay.com if you decide you want to try to go to bat for the other team. And then there’s the married dating sites.

Before you dismiss that idea, think about what it is you’re really looking for. Maybe you’re very sure you’ll be divorced in no time and you want to find that special single someone that you’ll spend the rest of your life with. Well that’s just duckie, and I wish you the best. But the odds are that’s a little too perfect. Your situation is most likely something more sticky. Maybe you’re going to be separated for a long time. Maybe permanently, and never divorced. Maybe you’re just looking for some company for one night. Or a weekend. And maybe you’re open to the idea of having a friend that you can build a bond with. Someone you can share a physical relationship with. Someone you can actually build a little something with, but still someone who is not your husband, and who is not going to give you a hard time about your different situation.

On a site that is designed for people that are married and looking to date, you’re not going to be the oddball. You’re not going to be the only one that has that Facebook relationship status of “It’s complicated.” You’re not going to have to explain yourself again and again, because really everybody on there is already complicated and done explaining. These sites are designed for adults. Adults that have private lives. Adults that perhaps do not wish to intrude on anyone else’s privacy. On a site made for married people to date, it’s ok to decide how much information you want to share, and how much you don’t. It’s ok if you just want to have sex, or if you just want to have a weekend. he point is, you aren’t alone. There are people that are separated, miserably married, divorcing, should be divorcing, or secretly wishing they were divorcing. There are people that are actually happily married, but don’t have the sexual relationship with their spouses that they would like to have. What is the one thing that they all have in common? – They aren’t single.

In almost all other venues of dating and personals and hook ups and matchmaking, the opposite is true. At least it’s supposed to be. Single people date. They assume the other people they’re meeting in a singles bar or a singles site, are also single. You’d be the odd man out, the one having to explain, the one with “The Situation” that has to be either avoided or hidden or talked through. Even if you’re looking for that nice relationship, you still have extenuating circumstances. You’re still not single. There are others like you. The best place to find them is a place where you can all just be yourselves. The best thing about trying out a dating site for married folks is that you can always stop. If anything I’m saying turns out to be wrong, you can always let your membership run out and not go back. It’s a completely risk-free opportunity. You don’t have anything to lose to give it a try, unlike the “set-up by a friend” option: once you do that, it’s out there for good. Once people you know learn your private business, they won’t forget.
Good luck:)