Too Soon to Date?

Updated on May 09, 2009
F.S. asks from Albany, NY
29 answers

My husband and I are separated but still live together, due to financial hardship. We share expenses, and he is actually more than willing to pay for more than his fair share. He is a wonderful father but the love is completely gone. We are still very amicable towards each other and we rarely argue. The thing is, I want to date again. I just don't know if it's too soon to do it. I know I could wait it out until my husband moves out, but that's what I said over a year ago. I thought for sure that we would be living in separate apartments by now. I don't want to hurt my husband and I don't want to go behind his back either. I want to be upfront about wanting to date, but I don't know how he will feel. I obviously don't plan on bringing anybody home. I just want to get on with my life and I feel like this is holding me back. I actually have a potential interest, and I want to pursue it, but I don't want to make anybody upset. I really don't forsee my husband and I moving into our own apartments anytime soon so I would like to pursue this relationship. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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So What Happened?

It hasn't even been 24 hours since I wrote my request and the responses are overwhelming to say the least. First let me say that I really do value everyones opinions, and I tried not to take them to heart. Although some responses were quite helpful to some degree, some of the other ones were just plain irrelevant. As I read through the responses I kept on getting judged about my children's feelings (how I didn't take them into consideration) and how they fell into the scenario. Although my children would never ever get introduced to any of my dates, let me be very clear when I say that my children are my world. They always come first! No matter the situation. I think about their feelings first and what kind of impact any situation would cause them. Bad or good. Always have, always will. A lot of responses encouraged me to try to work things out with my husband. I DON'T LOVE HIM ANYMORE!! Maybe I should have been a little bit more explanatory about the situation. Although he is a good father and we rarely fight (for the childrens sake) he has a gambling problem (and a few others) that I just can not live with anymore. He is actually at the casino at this very moment! I didn't bring it up bacause I thought it was irrelevant. After reading all of the responses I know and probably already knew what I should do. I guess I was hoping for some kind of a loop hole. If this makes me selfish, to want to date again, (even though I don't plan on it anymore) then so be it. We all are human, right?

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S.D.

answers from Albany on

I just want to mention how I felt when my parents started "dating" before they divorced. It was devestating and so confusing for me as a child. Years later I still feel very resentful when I think of that terrible time period. I just didn't understand what they were doing. I would see them together and then see them with strangers. Soooo awful. :(

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L.L.

answers from New York on

In my honest opinion, I would have to wait until I was divorced. I would need to "clean up" one thing before I started another.
Good luck!
Lynsey

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N.D.

answers from New York on

You write about how wonderful your husband is and such a good father, perhaps you should take time to see where the love has gone. Long term love isnt about stars and fireworks, its about 'being amicable' and 'rarely arguing.' Its about enjoying your children and taking time to enjoy each other. If you want to date again try going out with your husband. Get dressed up as you would for the 'potential interest' and go to a romantic restaurant, then maybe check into a nice hotel. Marriage is hard work and needs to be stimulated to keep it interesting. Who knows, with a little work and time you might fall back in love.

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S.M.

answers from New York on

Hi F.:
I'm editing my original response based on your add'l information. Thank you for sharing that it's a gambling problem- that puts the whole situation in a differnt category that really wasn't clear based on your original post. You are totally justified in wanting to leave or move on, but you are kidding yourself if you think dating another man is the way to do it or that it means nothing to your husband. Doing so is clearly an F U to him, who you probably loved before he ruined your joint lives with his gambling. Which means you're basically trying to get back at him. I am sure this new guy seems irresistible as a result.

Just a little about me- I too was in a bad money situation caused by my husband that lasted for many years. During that time an incredibly gorgeous guy became interested in me. It's been 10 years and there's not enough time in the day to provide the details, but I know now that whole thing was about getting back at my husband. I just wanted to hurt him because he hurt me so bad with our money situation. To this day I still feel somewhat justified, but it was the wrong thing to do, for the wrong reasons, just wrong wrong wrong on every level. THe f-d up thing is that it seemed soooo right at the time.

Dating will add a lot more negativity to whatever interaction you have w. your husband and that WILL affect your kids. Don't do it. No one needs to "date" that badly. And believe me, another man does not have the answer.

You need to be alone and focus on your kids. Although you're under the same roof as your husband, which totally sucks by the way, you can still live a very separate life and be happy as possible by focusing on your kids. Get out of the house with them as often as possible. FOcus on womens groups in the area.

The LAST thing you need is another man in your life. Last summer I was in a bad way w. my husband. I went on line and found moms groups in my area. I spent every weekend, every spare moment out at parks or the beach on play dates with other moms. It was beyond wonderful- so much more fulfilling than dating could ever be. I highly, highly recommend it. (BTW, am totally available for play dates, please feel free to contact me personally!!)

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B.A.

answers from New York on

I would talk to your husband. If you are amicable then why not bring it up in general. Ask him what he thinks about you both dating other people. Make it into a conversation about the both of you and not about a specific interest that you have. At least that way you can figure out how he feels.

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A.S.

answers from New York on

Yes. Yes, it is WAY too soon for you to even be considering dating. Really, you need to sort out your current situation, completely. Completely, meaning separate living situations and finalized divorce completely. Then, you should take some time to not be in a relationship, at least a year after your divorce is final. Your situation is complex and messy. The first year (at least) after a divorce is complex as you sort out who you are out of this marriage and negotiate your children's feelings and help them make the transition from living with Mom and Dad to living with Mom and seeing Dad less often. I understand you want the shiny new toy, but you have a lot to deal with before then and your children should be your top priority. Starting to date will only add a whole 'nother layer of mess to the situation and make you less able to focus on your children and helping them through this, which is not fair to them--they didn't ask to be put in this situation, nor is the current situation their responsibility. You owe it to your children to either work this marriage out or get divorced and make sure they are doing well before you get to move on with your life.

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K.P.

answers from New York on

Let your soon-to-be ex know how you are feeling and see what he thinks. It's not really up to him, but if you broach the topic directly you can emphasize that you need to move forward, but want to respect his feelings. Maybe you could set some "ground rules" to make sure that you are both feeling less awkward.

I'm editing my response after reading your "so what happened". I want to say that you are not doing anything wrong by looking to move forward with your life. You cannot be tied to someone who does not want to give-up his vices to be fully involved with you and your children. You children will see you as valuing yourself as a person by moving forward rather then remaining stagnant. Shame on people for judging your committment to your children and your family.

Try to seek-out separate residences as soon as possible, though b/c it will make the break more clear when the divorce is final.
Good luck and happy dating!

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S.C.

answers from New York on

Lola beat me to it; her response was very similar to what I was going to post. I'm just going to add one potentially troublesome detail: you're still legally married. If you decide to pursue this relationship and your husband isn't cool with it he can legally go after you for adultery. Not good if you want to keep your kids. While I'm not a doomsayer I saw that happen to a friend of mine who was living separately from her husband. But the judge in their case was also ultra-conservative.

One other thing: how does your romantic interest feel about your living arrangement? It would take an extremely mature and self-secure man to date a woman who is still living with her husband and has no plans to move any time soon...and even then he'd have his doubts. Tread very carefully here.

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K.F.

answers from New York on

HELLO LADIES!!!! WHAT YEAR ARE WE IN???? Some of these responses are absurd. Rachel w...your response was uncalled for!! Same w/ the woman w/ all the religion cr*p!!! Ladies...you cant force your belief on other people. I cant stand when you guys do that. I am catholic, but come on. She dont love him anymore. PERIOD!!! Did you hear me?? SHE DONT LOVE HIM ANYMORE. Its not giving up. ITS a reality. IT HAPPENS...And you know what??? I have seen couples "try" because of their children and I have seen the children beg the mother to leave the father. CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT??? The children know when their parents are not happy.
F....I agree w/ Alberta. You should probably wait until your divorced because he could hurt you in court if he believes theres hope between you too. HOwever, when love finds you...it finds you. My girlfriend was separated..same situation. She found someone when she was least looking for it. She "dated" him here and there for about a year. She told her kids that she was going out w/ friends, which was always true. Her X was okay because it was honest. Never once did she introduce him to her children at that time. Her husband moved out finally, they got a divorce and then after a couple years...her and this guy got married and had another baby and I havent seen her happier!!! END OF STORY!!
I dont know why as women we need to judge and attack one another. (incase your wondering..i am a lucky married woman still married to a great guy who has blessed me w/ 3 children-just incase you were going to try and throw stones at me. I am open and not judgemental)
F., talk to your husband. Be honest. He just might surprise you and move out sooner. Or...he could be very upset because he is still holding onto something for you. You need to be prepared for that. I also believe (which again is just my opinion) that you should leave your kids out of your "dating" life until you think its serious. Good Luck and I hope you find true happiness.

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P.M.

answers from New York on

I think this is a tricky one. Even if your husband is OK with the whole thing, what type of relationship can you expect to have with someone else? Realistically, this other relationship won't have any room to grow with the current circumstances. I really don't have any advice. Good luck to you, I can see you are stuck in a tough spot.

M.I.

answers from New York on

Dear F.,
I am surprised about how judgmental some people can be on this site.
I was in a similar situation with a man who I lived with for over 10 years, although we never married each other. We lived in the same small two bedroom apartment for two years after we had already split up. Many of our friends didn't even know that we had split up because we remained friends. For months after our split, we were very careful not to "hurt each others' feelings". But we finally talked about dating other people and we both decided that each was ready for that. He started dating someone within weeks of that conversation and I met someone else soon thereafter. We actually continued to live together, as roommates for a couple of years while dating other people! It worked out just fine. He later married the woman and moved in with her, so I was able to keep the apartment we had shared. I married (still married) and had a baby with the man I met during that time. In fact, my husband and my ex became friends. A couple of times I came home from work and found them watching the football games on TV in my living room!
You may be surprised how resilient men are. I would not be shocked if your ex-husband is already dating someone else without you knowing.
From my experience above, I my advice to you is to live your life and seek your happiness. Worrying about your ex's feelings is not your job. Also, I wonder if you are divorced yet. Obviously, if you are not yet divorced (and I guess you are not since you call him your "husband") that is an issue you need to resolve. Start calling him your roommate if that is what he is. Talk with him about how you BOTH should move forward. And don't be surprised at all if he already has...

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B.D.

answers from New York on

Hi F.,

First & foremost I want to say how this situation you are in sucks big time. It doesnt seem fair to you. Us moms make so many sacrifices for everyone all the time. However, even though we do & it stinks sometimes in the end everything works out for the better.
You need to make some serious decisions regarding your marriage BEFORE ANY DATING can occur.
My suggestion to you would be;
have him move out( family, friends, etc.)-give this a chance to work out- it could bring you closer to each other or make it easier for the Divorce decision. Think about it.

Being a mom & a wife is full of sacrifices- which includes putting your personal life on hold until you get things figured out with your marriage. This will all work out in the end. Keep your chin up :0)

I wish you all the best-

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J.G.

answers from Syracuse on

Talk about de ja vu! I am currently in the same situation, kind of. I am seeing a man though that thoroughly loves me and though my husband (soon to be x now) has known about the other guy- the situation is very sticky at times. My advice to you would be to make sure that your husband is very clear on the fact that your relationship is over, mine decided he needed to have me followed and check my phone records. I ended up needing to get an order of protection and lawyer for our divorce before he realized how serious I was. Staying in the same house while dating another man turned out very bad as my husband kept bringing it up front of the kids. While staying in the house I think it gave my husband a false hope that we might work things out and I found myself realizing he was "playing house" I hope that your husband is more mature than mine was. I also found myself dealing with the other guy worring over whether or not I was seriously leaving my husband, I don't know if it is too soon to date for you, I think you should make sure to give yourself time to be sure that you don't try to replace the relationship you and your husband had with another one right away. Give yourself time to learn who you are as an independant person and not someones wife, I hope this helps you and if you want to talk please email me @ [email protected]____.com
Good Luck!

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V.F.

answers from New York on

Don't date until you can make a clean break (physically, from the living situation), so you can show the kids a good example. You sound very concerned about them, and obviously want to be able to hold your head up high. Hang in there, this must be very tough.

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M.T.

answers from New York on

Hi F.,
Either you and your husband are a couple or you are not. If you have a legal separation, you are not obligated to consider your husband's feelings, as he is no longer your husband but your estranged husband. Do you still live in the same bedroom? If your children are not aware that you are no longer a couple, dating would be awkward, and I wouldn't want to give them the message that married couples date other people. I think if you want to pursue dating and relationships, it's really time to find a way to live in separate households and live separate lives. When you are legally separated, you aren't going behind someone's back when dating.
Good luck

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D.F.

answers from Albany on

Hi F., I think you should just go for it ! See what happens and maybe if things go well with this "new" guy, then it will help to get the ball rolling on your "ex" moving out and everyone getting on with their lives.
Too many times us Mom's put ourselves and our wants and needs on "hold" and then before we know it life has passed us by !! Take it one day at a time, and see where it goes.
(but be sure to keep the "new" guy under wraps from your Kids ! That could be confusing for them since your ex still lives with you)

Enjoy life ! And grab whatever life throws at you !
You only live once !
Good luck ! :-)

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J.C.

answers from New York on

F.,
I'm actually in the same boat your in. My ex and I separated, then divorced, then moved back in together to help each other out financially. I'm with someone else and he is being completely understanding especially since I have three daughters with my ex.

The first thing is if you truly feel that you are ready to date, then date. This is the time for you to do what's right for you. But make sure you talk to your ex about it. He may want to start dating too if he hasn't already.

The second is you guys need to set ground rules with each other, and follow those rules. Always be honest with each other. It has really helped in my situation. We both agreed not to bring anyone into the home we are shaing and we both agreed not to introduce our kids to a new girlfriend/boyfriend until the other has met that person first. We agreed to just be respectful of eachother and you would be amazed at how much easier that has made our situation. We still have our issues but I think agreeing to certain rules when it comes to our private lives has helped.

Also, be honest with anyone you want to date. Let them know up front what your situation is. Some men may not be able to handle it or may start to think your sleeping with your ex no matter how much you tell them its never going to happen. Not every date is going to lead to a new relationship but I have found that being honest about my situation has actually helped weed out the men that wouldn't have been worth my time any way. The guy I'm currently with really appreciated my honesty and it gave him the choice of staying or going. He knew what he was getting into and he made the choice that I was worth it. That has made my relationship with him stronger.

It also helped him have a good relationship with my ex. They will never be best buddies but they respect each other and sometimes that's all you can ask for.

I truly hope things work out for you. I understand what you're going through and it can get complicated. I have found that just being honest with everyone involved can help alleviate or at least lessen the pain of hurt feelings.

If you want to speak more, please send me a message here and I will give you my email address and cell number.

Stay Blessed.
J.

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C.O.

answers from New York on

I can offer you little advice on such a sensitive subject. It sounds like you are in a tough situation! However if I were you, I would consider how another gentleman would feel about you still living with your ex husband. And if you aren't yet divorced, perhaps ask your lawyer about any implications that this situation could add to your case. My parents divorced in the south almost 20 years ago, my mother always said there were very tough judges that took all these things (they even frowned upon a wife taking back her maiden name!!) into consideration when making decisions. Of course--please take whatever I say with a grain of salt, it was a long time ago in a red state with a year waiting period before divorce could be granted. things are probably different now. But better to ask the question than not....

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A.G.

answers from New York on

Are you divorced officially? If not I would get that taken care of first. Also if you do start to date like you said don't bring the guy home and make sure you don't rub it in to the ex. I think (in private) I would tell the ex I would like to date again AND have someone interested so your honest and then when you do go out just say your going out with a friend and leave it at that. ! that protects the children and 2 the ex will figure it out but it won't be pushing the idea on him. Becareful and tread lightly. You don't want to make your living conditions unbearable and your amicable relationship turn angry. Ali

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T.W.

answers from New York on

You ask if it is too soon, but don't specify how long this has been going on? If it has been YEARS separated and living together, then get the divorce, do what you have to do to get an apartment or whatever and move on. If not, then you need to slow down. Hot only will you be putting your kids in the most horrible situatiun by "dating" and living with your husband, but you will spoil whatever this new "interest" is with the current living situation you are in. If you are that interested in leaving your husband, make a plan, file for a divorce and follow through. If money keeps you living together for a while, then you have to put your love life on hold for now.

Separation is supposed meant to give people time APART to figure out if that is how they want to remain. I wouldn't call your situation "separated" at this point, especially in the eyes of your children. They don't understand emotional distance when physically their parents are in the same house.

My husband and I have thought about a similar living situation and have decided that as long as we live together we are both willing to TRY to make it work as a couple. IF/WHEN we both decide that it just isn't going to work, then we will have to move on-even if financially it is a hardship, which when is divorcing not?

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K.A.

answers from New York on

Honestly I have never heard anything so ridiculous. In essence you're not even separated if you're living together and I'm guessing haven't filed for divorce. I can honestly say no sane or self-respecting person would date either of you short or long term. If you want to have a new life then close the chapter on your old one and that definitely means one of you has to move out, even if it means living with parents or relatives or even friends. If you have any compassion for people your wouldn't bring them in to your life right now. You should ask yourself how would you react if you met someone who claims they're separated with 3-kids and in reality are living together. You either need to keep your libido in check or figure out what you need to do financially to move on.

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T.E.

answers from New York on

Dear F.,

I personally understand the desire to date. I have been there, but here are some things to consider. How confusing for your children to have you live together while you are dating someone else. How could that work? What happens when you get serious with the new person, will you then have the finances to move to your own appartment or will you just go from this marriage to the next. How will your husband be able to see you every day knowing that you are dating someone else? How will you be amicable after that?

You said you want to pursue a relationship. You should definitly do that with all your strength and all your might, but peruse a relationship with your husband. You said he is a good father. He is also being responsible and paying for things. Seems to me that the only thing lacking is that you both don't love each other anymore. I truly, truly understand that, because I have been there, but there is a solution. It's called Retrouvaille. This is a couple's weekend that will help you re-discover each other again. Fall in love again. Isn't that what we all want to feel that feeling of being in love. Why not have it with your husband? Give it one more chance by trying this weekend. What do you have to loose by going. If you don't try something to save what's left of your marriage, you loose an intact family for your children and so much more.

My husband and I went to the Retrouvaille weekend (www.retrouvaille.org). It is a Catholic ministry, but we are not Catholic and they don't push their religion on you. The just help you rediscover each other and give you the tools to stay that way.

I say, get your life back, get your love back! Start dating again! But make it your husband!

God bless you dear F.,
T. E
www.LovinLifeWithHomeBiz.com
www.LiveWellShopSmart.com

M.H.

answers from New York on

Hi F.,

I would have to say wait until he moves out. What is this going to set for your kids. He may get more upset then you realize. Just for your family sake I would wait it out a little longer. And I would also try and see if maybe your husband could start looking for a room to rent or a studio. I do not see this going down a good path. That is just my opinion. Good Luck! :)

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S.T.

answers from Albany on

Oh, F., I am sorry that this is happening. First of all, I don't personally don't think you should date for many reasons: 1) You're still married so you will be sinning and same difference if you were having an affair and there was nothing wrong with your relationship with your husband;2)you are looking for love and supportand someone to hug you and listen to you what you're feeling and going through and that is not good that you want to date for that reason just yet;3) he may be hurt and your children will be very, very hurt thinking you are fooking around with someone else while Daddy is still lving with us. I would suggest you talking with your husband say that these are your needs and knowing that you two aren't communicating and there is no love reciprocated (splling?), let's try to work it out by attending A Weekend to Remember conference and my husband I went and it was amazingly fabulous and there wre couples who went and helped them to connect once again. Work at it and work. Marriage takes works. Ask him if he would like to work at it with him by going to the conference. Another thing, Love and Respect book is GREAT to read together. Personally, I don't believe you fall out of love. I believe that many times, people get married while feeling the feeling or other reasons. You can't base marriage on feelings. Jesus Christ sis the only One that is stable and need to be the foundation of your marriage and be the center of your marriage. You need Him to hold your marriage up (support, like a foundation under a home) and you need Him to hold it together (glue) or otherwise, it will fall. No, it doesn't mean there won't be hard times and difficult times you two won't face, you will but you have to work at it and work it out and have Christ being the center and the foundation of your marriage, your home, everything. I will pray for you. Your name is F., why were you named that name? F. is the substance of things hoped for the evidence of things not seen. Let me know what you think? I am here if you need to talk.

D.D.

answers from New York on

I don't think it's too early to date since you've been separated for over a year but I do think it's not cool to do it while you and your hubby are living under the same roof. Have you ever seen the movie Little Manahattan? Watch it and see how a couple living under the same roof but dating effects their child.

You and your hubby need to move forward and either get back together or leave each other. Living sort of married but not isn't healthy for either of you. It gives him false hope of you being his wife while giving you all the perks of being married without the actual committment.

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K.S.

answers from New York on

F., I would not suggest dating until you have finalized your divorce because even though you are seperated your husband can say that you were unfaithful and could have a leg up in the divorce proceedings. It sounds to me that one or both of you dosen't want to give up your marriage if neither one of you has moved or gone ahead with the divorce for what ever reason you need to make the first move on the divorce.
You need to ask yourself do you really need him for financial support only or are not ready to give him up. Sorry this sounds harsh but you need a reality check.
You also should give your children time to adjust to the whole situation of not having mom and dad under the same roof. Divorce is difficult for children at any age. Please I beg you to put them first not your own needs. It may be a long time before you date but remember don't introduce every man to your children it will only confuse them. Again sorry this sounds harsh but I have been there and it's not easy for anyone.

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C.B.

answers from Buffalo on

F.--I have the perfect solution. Agree on one night that each of you can go out and do what you'd like to do. He can watch the kids while you are out and vice-versa. Tell him you need one night out to "get-away" and schedule your dates that night. He should not argue with that., since you are giving him his night out also. Also, once you meet someone you really like, it won't be a good idea for you to continue these living arrangements, for all involved.
Hope you get the happiness you deserve !!!

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C.H.

answers from Rochester on

F.,

When I read your post, I am struck by how much "I" there is. In our society, we have been programmed to think more of self, to start putting ourselves first, to pamper ourselves for a change, etc. The reality is, this is deceptive advice. When we seek to please ourselves and feed our own desires, we become selfish and inconsiderate of others. When we think of self, we push out others and become unable to really love anyone but ourselves. You made a committment when you married your husband and while you may be "separated", that covenant has not been broken, but still stands today. The Bible tells us we are to die to self and seek after Christ. What would it look like for you to die to self and seek after Christ in your relationship with your husband? How might this impact your children, your husband?

Only you can decide what path to take F., but know that whatever path you take there will be consequences. What consequences are you willing to endure? May I recommend watching "Fireproof" and/or reading "The Love Dare", I think you may find them useful.

Lifting you up in love and prayer F..

God Bless,
C.

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L.N.

answers from New York on

tricky,
seems you guys have three children. in my opinion, it will be difficult for children to see dad staying behind while you go out, if they're not used to that. a lot of heartbreak. also, i can't see your husband being ok with that. i understand you're separated, but that is different from divorce, and he is still living there. i think that would be a reason for major commotion between you two with three kids caught in the middle.
I think you should try work towards moving separate ways, then you could start dating.
bottom line, I am thinking about your kids, and the good situation that exists between you two right now that could be ruined by you starting to date again
good luck

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