Monday, April 4, 2011

When Is It Ok To Date a Person Who Is Married But Separated?

Last year, blog sites were filled with separated married men who were openly dating. There was Swizz Beatz with Alicia Keys, Dwayne Wade with Gabrielle Union, and Antwuan Cook with Fantasia Barrino. These couples endured name-calling, alienation of affection lawsuits, and bad press.

Is asking a married-but-separated person to put his or her dating and social life on hold while they get out of their marriage too much? If it’s understood between the couple that the marriage is over, is it such a terrible thing that a person is moving on with his or her life with someone else? I guess the appropriate question to ask is when or is it ever okay to date a person who is married but separated?

Like it or not, a separated married person is still legally married. That is why many people ignore the word separated in the “married but separated” title. It doesn’t equate to being single. So, if a person chooses to date a “married but separated” individual, they go into the situation knowing there is someone else.
Because of our culture, there are some people who do view separated as single. I looked at the relationship status options on Facebook and the word “separated” is between the words “widowed” and “divorced.” There is no “married but separated” option available. Just the word ‘separated’ as if it was denouncing the legally married part of the title. A quick Google search of the word “separated”, pulls up several sites but none of them define ‘separated’ or ‘married but separated’ the same way.

It is hard for some working-class couples to get a divorce in these hard economic times. In order to stay financially afloat, it better suits them to co-exist in the home and split the bills as if they were roommates. They no longer stay in the same bedroom or have conversations outside of the bill payments. They continue to stay legally married because of the inconvenience and financial burden a divorce could cause.

While doing research on separations, it became evident that ending a marriage doesn’t happen overnight either. It could take six months to about six years to finalize a divorce. It depends on what state you live in, how much money and assets are involved and if the couple has kids or not. Also, if one of the parties wants to draw the divorce out longer, they can hold up the proceedings by making every question and opinion a court appearance, not returning the lawyers’ phone calls, not signing papers and some people go as far as failing to appear at divorce court hearings. One party in the divorce could be doing everything they can to get out of their marriage, and it can be prolonged due to their spouse’s lack of cooperation.

So, under any circumstance, is it okay for a person to date somebody who is married but separated?

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