Is This Cheating??

Updated on September 04, 2012
J.A. asks from Whiteland, IN
32 answers

A friend of mine is separated from her husband and seeing another man.. again. (She did this a few years ago, too.) They have 4 young children. How would you feel if you or someone you knew were in this situation? Do you consider it cheating?

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answers from Hartford on

Separation is not the same as divorce. Seeing someone else while still married is bringing someone else into the marriage. That's never a good idea especially when children are involved. I find it selfish and self-absorbed. Is that judgmental? Oh well. Can't really say as I care if I seem judgmental on this one.

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answers from Dover on

Is it cheating? Yes. Though separated, they are married so it is adultery (if they are having sex). If not having sex, she's still cheating on the relationship.

If they are separated and truly getting a divorce, she may see it as moving on but it is still technically cheating. Most people seem to view separation as the end of the marriage and the divorce just being a technicality.

It sounds like maybe you have outgrown this friend and maybe she is one you may say hi too when you see or even chat now and again but not actively socialize with.

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answers from Chicago on

If they are legally separated...I don't know. Many people separate to play the field and that's really their business. I do not monitor other folks' marriage. I keep an eye on my own. My BIL and his wife have been married for 20 years and separate every few years. She moves out for a year or two, then comes back for a year or two. They've been doing this for two decades. No one can understand why she does this or why he even let's her come back. It boggles the mind, but this is their cycle and life. Don't personalize their situation. Just watch the show. It's a never ending sitcom.

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answers from Washington DC on

she's separated.
keep your snoot out of it.

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answers from Biloxi on

If the state she resides in has legal separation then it is okay to date while legally separated - no risk of the other spouse charging adultery.

In my state, that still has many old laws on the books, there is no legal separation - one is married or divorced. Which makes dating while waiting for a divorce to be finalized a little trickery as one spouse can actually charge the other with adultery. Lovely, eh?

From a moral standpoint - which is where I think you are coming from - Why should this bother you? Your friend is free to live her life as she sees fit. As her friend, you should accept her for who she is, and not judge her.

Separated means, according to - (of a married pair) to stop living together but without getting a divorce.

If they are not living together as husband and wife, and are planning to get a divorce, why can't she date?

So, no, I don't think it is cheating.

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answers from St. Louis on

I don't consider it cheating. My husband cheated while we were married but I strongly feel if he had done it while separated it wouldn't have bothered me. I guess personally I don't see separated as really being married. Sure you are still legally married but not married in the heart if you are separated. I suppose you can look at it as the flip side of living with someone for life, sure they aren't legally married but they are married in the heart.

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answers from Cleveland on

i do and i think we need to stop saying don't judge people. What she is doing is hurtful to her kids and if she were a grown up she would wait until things are settled.

and if it's a double standard that if she were single she could do what ever the hell she wanted than so be it. But the case is she is a mother and dating someone else at this point when her kids are in a limbo of not having dad around ( maybe it's a good thing maybe it's a bad thing) but either way it is a big change for them and she needs to put her attention towards them.

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answers from San Francisco on

So you drop friends if they don't measure up to your moral standards? That sounds pretty harsh. I've had friends make some pretty poor choices over the years but I'm still there for them. That's what friends do.
I say stop judging her. No one is perfect. Yes it's sad that that her marriage is ending and of course her children will be affected but that's all the more reason to be there for her.
Oh, and I don't consider it cheating if they are separated, though the law in your state may see it differently.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

In my book, you clean up O. mess before making another.
To me, she's cheating.
I don't know how she can do that and look her kids in the eye, much less her poor husband.
The. "have your cake and eat it, too" mentality, perhaps?
Sorry about your friends lack of good judgement. :(

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answers from Richmond on

In VA, there is no 'legal separation'. You have to be separated for a year before filing for divorce if minor children are involved. You can DATE other people (they encourage that you move on with your life and live a happy, healthy lifestyle as long as the children and marital assets aren't effected), but you can not SLEEP with someone else, as that is adultery... HOWEVER, if the adultery in no way led to the dissolution of the marriage, and since it's really hard to legally prove adultery in court, as long as the adultery wasn't committed during the marriage and did not lead to the dissolution of the marriage... stuff happens. There's a lot of gray area there. If she's emotionally checked out of her marriage (hence the separation), no, it's not cheating. Me personally, I'd mind my own business. There are quite a few people on my soon to be ex husbands 'side' not minding their own business, and they'll be dragged to court for doing so :)

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answers from Phoenix on

With 2 separations, it sounds like they are still "in limbo". If they thought the marriage was irretrievably broken, then they'd just get the divorce & be done with it. It sounds like your friend (just based off of your post) maybe doesn't know how to be alone, and is very lost & confused.

Personally, I think anyone in that situation needs to worry about the kids that are suffering because of a broken marriage & make them a priority & put their own selfish needs to the side. Either end the marriage, or don't, but don't start screwing someone else before your marriage is officially terminated.

Is it cheating? I'm not sure. Being separated, to me, means that you are still trying to work on the marriage. Screwing someone else is counter productive.

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answers from Dallas on

Do you know the details between her and her husband she is currently separated from?

You don't know what you don't know.

Frankly, I feel bad for the children because cheating or not, she is screwing her children now just to get her desires met. That is pretty selfish in my book.

Her priority should be her children, not her sex life.

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answers from Williamsport on

I don't personally like overlapping for the record based on how I've seen it play out for some frineds, but it depends on the separation imo.

If the couple has agreed to divorce because they DEFINITELY never want to reunite, and they're just waiting for the right time, money, whatever to file divorce, then fine. If it's a mutual agreement, and they're moving on APART.

If it's a "trial" separation while people just "try out" dating others? If everyone's on board, great.

If it's a "trial" separation, and one person is SECRETLY dating someone else with hopes of getting the spouse back if the new hot romance takes a nose dive? No. Cheating in my book if it's a secret and nothing legal has been filed. If a legal separation has been filed, then I guess it's that person's choice and fault the new relationship would risk their chances of reuniting with spouse.

I'm in a pre-divorce separation. My husband and I are NOT getting back together. No way in hell. I am not dating, but if Mr. Amazing fell out of the sky before we can file divorce (NOT likely) I guess I wouldn't feel bad dating. Especially since the ex cheated through our whole marriage. I would still MUCH prefer to divorce before dating though and that's what I plan to do.

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answers from Dallas on

Until the divorce papers are final, they're legally married. In my book, it's cheating.

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answers from Denver on

If the agreement between she and her husband is to be separated, and this includes seeing other people, it's not cheating. Sounds like a tough situation all around. Just wondering... how does one with 4 small kids find time to see someone anyway?@(!(

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answers from Baton Rouge on

If you have decided the marriage is over, then, IMO, you are a free agent.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Columbus on

Hell YES it's cheating!! In my opinion, as long as they are still married, I don't care if they're separated or not, it is cheating!!!

If a couple is separated, then there are obviously problems in the marriage. Going outside the marriage and seeing other people is not going to help solve any problems they're having inside the marriage! They need to figure out if they even want to be married. If not, then get divorced and then, AND ONLY THEN, start seeing other people!

If my husband and I ever separated and he started dating I could never be with him again without thinking he cheated.

I would bet her husband, and especially her children, deserve better!!!

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answers from El Paso on

Ironically, my neighbor's ex-husband did exactly this. He had moved out sometime last summer, almost immediately started dating someone else, and didn't even FILE for divorce until this past January. Regardless of anything else that went on in their relationship, that aspect (to me) is the lowest part. To me, it's cheating. I don't care if the new person is the TRUE love of your life. If they are that special, they'll wait for you to do the right thing and take care of that divorce. In my book, it's cheating.

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answers from Charlotte on

How is it cheating if they are separated?

I think you're using the wrong word.

Is it smart? No, not in my opinion. But separated people do it all the time. I have never been in the circumstance, but I think that part of the reason they do it is to feel like they have some worth. They were unhappy enough to separate, OR they are so unhappy that their spouse left them, that they want to feel better, and dating makes them feel better.

I WILL say that I have never understood why a woman would date a man who is separated. A lot of men go back to their wives. What if they fall in love with the guy? What if they are "rebound girl"? Stupid, if you ask me. I get why a man would go out with a separated woman - he may be thinking that she is easy pickings. (Yuck!)

Anyway, all that aside, it's not cheating because the law says they have a legal separation. I don't think it's smart at all, and I hope she won't bring the guy(s) around the kids.


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answers from Boise on

She is committing adultery.

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answers from Augusta on

She's married and seeing another man, yes she's cheating and it can be used against her in court if they get a divorce.
I'd remind her of this.

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answers from Iowa City on

Meh...I don't really like the term cheating. But, in my opinion, if she is separated and a divorce is pending or it is agreed that they will be divorcing then no harm no foul. If they are separated and attempting to work things out or if they are just 'taking a break' because they need alone time then she is being unfaithful in her marriage.

If I knew someone in this situation, I don't think I would really mind too terribly. It isn't really any of my business and a lot of people do things I don't agree with but that doesn't prevent me from being friendly with them or appreciating other facets of their personalities.

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answers from Dallas on

I don't know what the law in her state says, but socially if you're not divorced, your cheating.

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answers from New York on

Technically, it is cheating as they are still married. Everybody's different and I would feel it's none of my business if this was my friend. Her life does not affect mine, so why should I feel anything but understanding if it should be asked of me. I'd be her friend, her shoulder if she needed it, her advice giver if she asked for it, but under no circumstances would I judge or get involved. You never know what makes a marriage tick and perhaps they do this every now and again and it helps their marriage. You said they did this before. Maybe this is the way they cope with the strains of a marriage, everybody's different. Good luck.

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answers from Norfolk on

I'm definitely a one relationship at a time person.
I would not move on to the next until the current one is finished (divorced).
And then I'd take some time to get over it before being ready for another.

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answers from Phoenix on

I personally dont believe in separation. If you dont want to be married, then get out and get divorced. I personally would not date unless I was divorced. However, I know a lot of people do this. So in this situation, I guess if her husband knows they are "separated" and they agreed to see other people, then I guess it's ok. But not in my book. Good luck.

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answers from Cincinnati on

Are they separated with a divorce on it's way or are they separated with the hopes of things working out?

Personally she is still married so I think it is cheating, it doesn't matter if they are separated or not, she is still married to her husband.

Now with the above questions she might see things differently, but the fact that she's done this before, means she'll do it again and may not take her vows as serious as others.

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answers from Boston on

Your "high moral standards" are certainly your business, but you have no idea what happens in others' marriages and personal lives, even those of good friends, unless they share with you openly and honestly and you are open-minded enough to listen. Not just hear, but listen. I have no desire to give you my opinion on whether or not your friend is "cheating", I am a little more taken aback by the judgmental high ground you have placed yourself on. Who cares what state laws say, really? Do you think human beings' relationships and feelings are based on a book of laws? You dropped a friend because she showed immaturity, or because what she felt and did struck a chord with you somehow? If I were you, I'd focus less on the definition of cheating, since that is honestly personal opinion when you come right down to it, since we all have different thresholds, and more on why this bothers YOU so much. A little self-exploration and honesty might result in you having more friends in the end, something that could seriously benefit you someday when your marriage, like all others, goes through rough times.

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answers from Topeka on

Yes, technically if you are still married and seeing someone else, it is cheating. I know a girl who is still married but seperated and engaged. She breaks up with one "boyfriend", goes back to her husband, leaves and gets another boyfriend. It's a terrible cycle.

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answers from Anchorage on

Is her marriage completely over? Have they filed for divorce and are just waiting on paper work? or are they simply taking a break while they think things through? To me, if the marriage is truly over then there is no need to wait for the paper work to be final and it is not cheating, some divorces can take very long to settle. If, however, divorce has not yet been discussed and they are just separated, then that is cheating IMO.

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answers from Boca Raton on

I think a true friend will make her best case to her friend as to why the behavior is destructive to her friend and friend's children (if you believe it to be). And then let it go. But whatever you do - do it out of love. That's your best chance to register in her brain. At the very least, someday she will remember that you spoke truth to her, but didn't judge.

If you're not that close of a friend I wouldn't waste any more time worrying about it.

As far as dating while separated - I think it depends on the circumstances.



answers from Chicago on

Actually I do now, but when I was separated many years ago before my divorce I dated and my older sister, who actually was still married and dated someone before her divorce (and got pregnant) well, she eventually got divorced -married the next man and proceeded to discuss what a lowlife I was once she attained her sainthood. She is now actually separated (no one is sure if she is going to divorce this next man) but she is in her sixties and life is a little different and did I mention she could lose her pension this time around? Well, anyway, something about being married makes me feel like you as I think it violates my feelings that I have eternal happiness in my life and do not understand others who would do this. Oh how quickly I forgot after over eighteen years. Because to tell you the truth, I figured that if I was dating (or sleeping with or having a relationship of a serious nature) in front of my children at that time then it was time to be divorced and be married if I was going to carry on. Did I say too much? No not really because I forgot to mention this, in some states this is a very serious problem and the aforementioned sister was unable to obtain custody of her first child. So...this particular friend might want to check out what role this plays in a courtroom if it did come to divorce.

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