Separated men don’t typically fare well on online dating sites. That’s because any woman in the know knows how badly it feels to be involved with a man who is emotionally unavailable and, even worse, how it feels to eventually become his rebound relationship – the one from which SHE will never rebound with him. As a counter measure, many men deceptively list their marital status as divorced instead of separated in order to avoid this inevitable kiss of death.
Separated women, however, play by a much different set of rules. The problem is, oftentimes they don’t know that they are even part of a game until it’s too late because they have either been out of the game for so long or, like myself, were never in the game at all because I married young. Instead of playing, these women end up getting played.
It’s true that, like commitment-minded women who avoid separated men, men who are genuinely looking for a long-term relationship will steer clear of separated women. They know well from their own experience the emotional roller coaster the divorce process brings, and that separated women may not be ready for a serious relationship despite truly believing they are.
Unfortunately, there are many men who are all too aware of the benefits that come with dating separated women and see them as moving targets for their womanizing ways. Consequently, separated women unaware of their “street value” may unsuspectingly find themselves duped by players who knowingly take advantage of them or by emotionally unavailable men with a pattern of excited starts and abrupt stops.
Here are five reasons why some men love to date separated women and why these women must be on their guard that the signals they send are, in fact, bringing them the dating prospects they want.
1. Sexual freedom. Remember the girl who lived in your dorm during freshman year of college, the one who grew up with strict parents? The one who began having her very own sexual revolution with guy after guy the minute she was out of her parents’ sight? Well, some separated women aren’t that far off the mark. And, you know what? It’s not only understandable but their right.
After spending a long time in a marriage, one plagued with problems as evidenced by its imminent end, separation often becomes the time for women to rediscover a sexual identity that may have been repressed for years. Remember Thelma and J.D.’s steamy love scene in Thelma & Louise? That said, just because a woman feels sexually charged and invigorated doesn’t mean she is in the market for being used. Female sexuality should never be confused with promiscuity or cheapened morals. All women deserve respect.
2. No pressure. A separated woman is less likely to pressure a guy for marriage (and children) because she’s still legally married and may already have a family of her own. As much as a woman may want to reinvent the wheel with someone new, she remains in legal limbo until her divorce is final. Great for a guy who is tired of a population of women questioning him on a first date if his taxi light is on or when it will be, and the ticking sound of his dinner date’s biological clock.
3. No strings. Separated women may not be ready to commit. The time after a marriage ends is often a time for experimentation. After being in a monogamous relationship with one man for many years, many women see separation as a chance to meet new people, those with backgrounds and interests differing from their own. What outsiders may see as an unlikely pairing could actually become a satisfying relationship because we don’t know always know what we are missing until we find it. Separation provides a perfect opportunity to search.
4. Vulnerability. At the other extreme are women eager to head back down the aisle. Marriage is what they know best, and they are anxious to get it right the second, third or umpteenth time around, despite proclamations of independence and a love of single life. They are counting the days until their divorce is final, and in the meantime looking for the next Mr. Right.
Who they get is often Mr. Right Now, the guy who attentively listens and tells them everything they want to hear, the guy who is too good to be true simply because he is. The smart, pedigreed, sexy guy who shows up enticing his most recent catch with everything from empathy to hot sex, and whatever else was missing from her last relationship. He’s quite the dish and he knows exactly what to dish up because he’s done it so many times before.
5. Get out of jail free. But as that woman soon discovers and when she least expects, her guy will make a break for it. Just when she thinks she has him under lock and key, that her relationship is exclusive because he told her it is (Did she actually check to make sure his profile was not back online? That he wasn’t communicating with and seeing other women?), he bolts and uses HER separated status as the excuse. Your divorce isn’t final. I never saw myself with a ready-made family. I want children of my own. All of which, no doubt, runs contrary to EVERYTHING he said while stealing her heart.
So, what does she do? The only thing she can do – SHE breaks it off with him (for now). After all, she cannot give him what he wants. Because it’s never what he wanted, not for the long haul anyhow. And he? He walks away, ever the good guy. Only to do it again. And again. And again.
Do you date (or not date) people based on their marital status?