3 Critical Concerns About Dating While Separated

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I was a single Pastor for 13 years, and I sometimes get asked questions that other Pastors are not asked, merely because they think that my former marital status will change my perspective on the issue. One of those issues is dating while separated.

What they don’t realize is that I am a pastor that has made more than his fair share of mistakes in my life. I don’t just speak from a theoretical position concerning the issues that surround divorce and remarriage, but I speak from experience as well.

I have made the mistakes of trying to take shortcuts, and they ended up just being another trip around the mountain spinning my wheels.

So as I write this article, I want to encourage you to take a deep breath, quiet your heart and emotions and listen to the still small voice of the Lord concerning this issue of dating while separated.

3 Critical Issues Concerning Dating While Separated

What is the purpose of dating?

Whether you call it dating, courting, or as I sometimes do, “Russian Roulette,” the fact remains that people date to find a prospective mate.

Because it has this purpose, then it only goes to reason that both parties must be free to marry to date. Someone who is still married, even if they are separated, is not free to marry. They are bending the purpose of dating to their own emotional and possibly selfish desires.

Because dating is a precursor to marriage and is part of the process that we use to find a prospective mate, it is only logical to take into consideration the value and esteem a person places upon marriage, even one that may be heading towards divorce.

If they do not value the sanctity of marriage even though their marriage may be failing, then they will not value the sanctity of marriage in their next marriage.

Although a person may have emotionally detached from their marriage, and even if they are waiting for the divorce to be final, the fact remains that it is not final and that finality is very important as I will get into later in this article.

Dating while separated is extremely unwise at best, (assuming there is no sexual involvement going on, including kissing and hand-holding), and emotional adultery at worse. You are not keeping your vow to God to give yourself only to your spouse.

It was a vow to God and your spouse, not to man, government, or based on circumstance.

What is the purpose of separation?

Separation is not pre-divorce as many see it today. It is meant to be a time where both parties separate so they can have space and time to make a critical decision that will affect their lives and the lives of those around them. It is not the time to be looking for the next person in your life.

You are about to break your covenant with God and your spouse. It is supposed to be a time of deep introspection and gravity, instead of feeling “free and ready to play.” When you flippantly treat this time, it reveals the actual condition of your heart because the heart of God is breaking.

Separation is to be the time where we give God time to work a miracle and save a marriage. If you clutter that time with other hearts and attractions, you severely cloud the waters and make it evident that you have no desire for reconciliation.

Reconciliation may not always be possible, but do not make it impossible by your actions. Do not put yourself in the position of choosing between your spouse and your new love interest.

The real choice is between being married to your spouse or being single. Trust me I know. I was single for 13 years.

The realities of divorce.

Divorce is the literal tearing of one couple into two separate entities. This is a spiritual, emotional, financial, and physical ripping apart of all that made the couple one.

It has enormous consequences on a person’s life. They seriously become wounded and needy in many ways. Damage to a person in this drastic of a manner takes a season of healing before they will be ready to marry. It doesn’t happen overnight.

Not only does it take a season of healing, but it takes a season of dealing with the issues that caused the divorce in the first place. It is never 100% one person’s fault. It takes two to make a marriage, and it takes two to end a marriage.

If you are dating while separated, you are not doing the things you need to be doing to heal up and deal with the issues that caused the divorce. You are replacing one mate for another.

You need to return to being single and embracing that before you ever seek a new spouse. You need to walk the process out to finality.

The Need For Closure

While you are separated, there are many things up in the air. The outcome is not decided yet. The consequences of your choices may not yet be felt.

Things like finances, child custody, and just getting used to not having somebody around all the time.

Until you have gotten to a place of finality and closure, you are not ready to move on. If you do it before then, then you are not bringing all who you are and will be to the table. You are bringing a broken person. Bringing a broken person into a new relationship is a recipe for disaster. Broken people break others.

Do yourself a favor and listen to a person who has walked this path imperfectly and only by the grace of God was spared making a bigger mistake.

Don’t date while separated.

Take the time to honor your marriage vows to the end. Take the time to heal and become whole as a single Christian before you try to be united into one again with another.

Dating while separated leads to more pain.


Pastor Duke

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6 thoughts on “3 Critical Concerns About Dating While Separated”

  1. Pastor Duke, can I ask for your advice? I’m not married yet, but I’m dating someone who is separated from his wife for almost 2 yrs now. We’ve been going out for a month now and I’ve been trying to understand what went wrong and heard that his wife forced him to for marriage after she got pregnant, and less than a year after marriage, his wife left him about 3 times. The 1st and 2nd time, he’d try to get his wife to come home, but on the 3rd time, he let her be.
    I hearf his wife would curse him on his face and throw things at him while he remains calme and silent.
    When I asked him to reconcile with her, he told me he doesn’t want to go back to being his husband because his family doesn’t want the wife to comeback anymore.
    Before we met, he already planned to annul his wife. I wonder if I am now an adulterer for dating someone separated. Please. Please. Please. Send a feedback.

  2. This is my second separation five years apart with a year between and this last time it is for sure over. I’ve had plenty of time. What should I do? When I’ve been betrayed isn’t it ok to find another after so much soul searching? The only reference I can find to understand is in a betrayal/exile can it be ok with God is through old testament & the fact that the old ways will be practiced throughout the kingdom of heaven on earth in revelations.

  3. Pastor Burke, I’m in a very familiar situation as yourself and I am also a Pastor. I’ve been separated but started dating again. My reputation has been tainted. My congregation for the most part still supports me by the grace of God we’re doing moderately decent as far as church finances & attendance but there has been a rejection from the Christian community, what should I do? Is it to late? Should I stop dating? Will I get my good name back? Will God restore me? The people I’ve done the most for has walked away from me.

  4. Pastor Tabor, I’m so glad I came across this. I am currently separated and know in my heart that we will never reconcile. I refuse to date and have refocused my life on God. But I continue to hear so called Christians who try to justify why I should not hold myself above the flesh. My soon to be exact has had 2 different relationships in the 3 years since we separated and the first was the cause of our separation. I guess my question is why are people so quick to justify bad choices and then try to download you for your own choice. I recently lost a good friend who was not only living with a married man (who wasn’t seperated) but critiqued my morals for not dating.

    1. wow I know what you are going through. my kids dad/spouse, has cheated so many times, he has committed fraud, right now because he does not want a job, told me he was going to try to scam SSI into giving him money, so he does not have to work. He has physically, mentally and verbally abused me. He has choked me 8 times. He has been seen by me even with other females. He is a controller and this last year I have defended myself and have not coward like I have been all these years and he does not like me standing up for myself. He gets even more controlling and abusive, when I stand up to him. I have gone to counseling, but he seems to always bring me down. I need an organization that can honestly know what I am going through. this has caused my faith to totally fail.

  5. Pastor Duke I have been approached by someone that has been separated for nearly three years and has asked me out for dinner. He is waiting on his divorce to become final but because of the pandemic the Judges calendar is back up.
    The wife left him and she has gone on with her life and is living with another man. He loves God with all his heart and I myself am a Christian woman that has been divorced for 11years and have not been dating anyone, but waiting on God…. I would like your insight..

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