7 Clear Signs You're Ready To Date While Separated

What to do when your relationship status is "it's complicated".

couple kissing in the forest Standret / shutterstock 

Getting separated from your spouse comes with many challenges, particularly the unknown of a future together (or apart), handling situations with your children, and splitting households (even if it's temporary). Then add in whether you’re going to start dating while separated and your relationship status has clearly changed to “It’s Complicated.”

If you’re considering dating while separated, there are several factors to take into account — including any legal ramifications, whether to share your marital status with strangers, and most importantly, being honest with yourself to determine if you’re emotionally ready to start dating.


Choosing to separate is a vulnerable time in your life and deciding to jump back into the dating pool must be done for the right reasons. There are no cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all solutions when it comes to your heart, so if you’re considering dating while separated you’ll want to make sure the timing is right for you.

RELATED: The 5 'Golden Rules' Of A Trial Separation


Seven signs you're ready to date while separated from your spouse

1. You’re emotionally ready for a relationship

To date while separated it’s imperative you’ve already grieved the end of your marriage and the choice to separate is just the first step toward divorce. Maybe you were in a loveless marriage, or the two of you have been emotionally estranged for years and you’ve finally decided to legally end the relationship. You won’t be ready to date if you haven’t gone through the stages of healing your heart after a breakup.

Whatever the reason for the separation, you’ll only be ready to date if you've moved past the heartache and frustration of a relationship that’s no longer working. If there’s zero chance of reconciliation, then dating while separated may be the next step for you moving forward in your new life.

RELATED: Why Men Move On So Quickly After A Breakup

2. You’ve accepted responsibility for your role in the separation

If you’re still at the point of assigning blame without taking any responsibility, then you’re not ready to start dating while separated. Your soon-to-be-ex-spouse may have done something unforgivable, however, this doesn’t completely absolve you from taking responsibility for your part.


Take an inventory of the choices you made and the actions you took (include the actions you didn’t take) that lead to the separation. Introspect on the lessons the marriage has taught you to gain clarity on yourself. What would you do differently next time around? How can you become a better person through this experience? What did your spouse show up to teach you (even if it was played out in the dark)? Having the answers to these questions will let you know if you’re ready to date while separated.

RELATED: 5 Expert Tips For Navigating A Structured Separation

3. You’re not still living together

If you’re still co-habitating with your spouse you’ll find yourself in some awkward situations if you choose to date while separated. You may want to wait to date so you’re not navigating your partner’s feelings while managing your heart.

Putting off dating until you’ve found a new living situation will allow you to feel settled and comfortable before you start dating. There’s no need to rush into dating or a new relationship. Trying to date while your life is uncertain will add to the stress of your current situation. Get settled in your new home before you choose to date so your heart is open to meeting someone new.


RELATED: One Thing I See As A Therapist That Means It Is Time For A Trial Separation

4. You feel good about yourself

Going through a marital separation can be a blow to your self-confidence and self-esteem, especially if your marriage has been on the rocks for a while. Don’t make the mistake of dating to boost your ego or self-confidence. It’s not fair to the people you’re dating, and you may end up feeling even worse about yourself.

Dating while separated may feel like freedom, but you could easily end up causing more harm to your self-esteem. Take time to put yourself back together emotionally and grow your self-esteem and confidence before going out into the dating pool.

RELATED: If You Have To Convince Yourself It's A Good Relationship, It's Not


5. You’re not trying to avoid feeling lonely

Feeling lonely may be the worst reason to date while separated. Those feelings exist because they’re appropriate — you’re going through a life change and there’s simply no shortcut. Expecting a stranger to fill the empty space inside is a recipe for a co-dependent or toxic relationship.

A rebound relationship may ease your loneliness for a bit, but it’s usually just a passing fancy to keep your mind off your current circumstances. It will end up distracting you from the real work of healing your heart. Instead, seek out the company of friends, family, or a support group to fill the emotional void.

RELATED: 4 Reasons You Should Try 'Living Apart Together' As A Couple

6. You’re not interested in reconciliation

If any part of you still desires reconciliation with your spouse, then don’t date while separated. You could damage opportunities to get back together. Dating while separated is only an option if you know you’re heading toward divorce.


If you’re still hoping and wishing to work things out with your spouse it’s best for you to work on yourself while taking a break from the relationship. Get support from a therapist or coach to work through your current circumstances. Making an investment in yourself will always pay off because the most important relationship you’ll ever have is the one with yourself.

RELATED: The Slightly Unconventional Way I'm Saving My Failing Marriage

7. You have a legal separation agreement

Dating while separated without a legal separation agreement can be additional grounds for divorce on terms that may not favor you. Don’t give your spouse the evidence they need to have the upper hand. Legally, you don’t want to put yourself in a bad situation.

Make sure you have a legal separation agreement drawn up before you start dating while separated. If the split is ambiguous in the eyes of the law, you are not free to pursue a new relationship without consequences. It’s best to wait and speak with legal counsel before rushing into the dating pool.


If you’ve taken time to heal and grieve you can successfully date while separated. To avoid repeating mistakes approach dating from a new perspective now that you’ve matured and have new life goals.

RELATED: How Moving Out Of My Boyfriend's House Made Our Relationship Stronger Than Ever

Take a new approach to dating while separated

It’s a big mistake to rush into a new relationship while you’re separated. Instead, approach dating as an opportunity to discover more about yourself and how you’ve changed over the years. Dating can be a wonderful way to gain insights into your strategies for love and to practice new communication skills.


Dating while separated can assist the healing process as long as you take things slowly and are upfront about your current relationship status. Never give a stranger the benefit of the doubt no matter how attractive they are or how comfortable they make you feel. Beware of instant emotional intimacy and delay physical intimacy until you know you’re ready to risk your heart again.

RELATED: 5 Signs A Marriage Cannot Be Saved (And You Should Stop Trying)

Orna and Matthew Walters are soulmate coaches who have been featured guest experts on Bravo’s The Millionaire Matchmaker. They're the authors of the free ebook, 7 Steps To Soulmating.