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So you’ve met this amazing guy. He took you on a stunning first couple of dates, shares your love of dogs and old movies and the two of you never seem to run out of things to talk about. There’s just one problem: he’s still legally married.

Married couples decide to separate for a wide variety of reasons, some more poignant than others, so though a separated status isn’t an automatic deal breaker, it definitely warrants some light treading.

Here are three simple Dating With Dignity tips to help you carefully navigate the undeniably murky waters of dating a separated man.

1. Gauge Proximity

Just like with any other budding relationship, it’s important to know when your new man’s last one ended. This intel is even more crucial in this case, given that his last relationship was one he vowed under oath would last forever. Even if the separation came about for casual reasons and was carried out on friendly terms, complicated emotions for both parties surround the decision to end a marriage and his re-entry into the dating scene may not be a comfortable scenario for his wife. Out of both respect for his wife and yourself, it’s best to step away from a recently separated man, no matter how perfect he seems.

2. Monitor Mentions

Date Tips for Dating a Man Not Yet DivorcedEven if a reasonable amount of time has passed between the separation and your first date, keep your ears perked for any mentions of his estranged wife. Be careful to note the frequency and context in which he brings her up, and read between the lines when he does.

Is he constantly verbalizing how you’re so much more easygoing and fun to be around than his wife, or pointing out specific things that used to bug him about her? You may feel flattered at first, but this could very well be his way of convincing himself that the separation was the right choice. If he frequently brings her up period, it’s likely a sign that there are still some lingering feelings for his wife that need to be sorted through. You want someone who’s ready to focus 100% of his attention on YOU.

3. Ask Questions

Communication is a fundamental component to any relationship and it would particularly behoove you   to exercise it in this case. If questions like why the divorce isn’t yet final, or what instigated the separation in the first place are nagging at you, ask them. A mature, stable man who is genuinely ready to move on from his marriage will understand your need to ask questions, and will honestly answer them to put your mind at ease. Be prudent however when deciding where to delve in – nosy questions surrounding finances or children are sensitive, private and likely to evoke an unwelcome response. Decide what you NEED to know in order to pursue a relationship with this person and then go from there.

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Marni Battista

As the founder of Dating with Dignity and with more than 25 years of personal relationship and dating experience, Marni Battista has dated, was married for 17 years, divorced, and then successfully dated again (and married!) in the 21st century. She has undergone professional training in dating and relationship coaching as well as training in the Core Energy Coaching Process from the Institute of Professional Excellence in Coaching (IPEC). Marni also has extensive training as a Facilitator with the Hoffman Institute, one of the world’s foremost organizations in personal development. A guest co-host on Dr. Drew Pinsky’s Loveline show, Marni was called LA’s best dating coach after her appearance on On Air with Ryan Seacrest. More importantly, as a divorcee for more than five years, Marni truly understands what it feels like to be lonely and sick of wasting time on dates with men that go nowhere. A woman who is not your mother, best friend, or therapist, Marni is the professional relationship and dating expert who will stand behind you to provide love, compassion, support and honest guidance as you embark on one of the most important, fulfilling adventures in your life.

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