Things happen and not all marriages work out. Hardly a fact that’s escaped any of us. It’s not a bad thing to be separated but there should be major red flags flying if the guy is habitually separated and shows no signs of actually getting a divorced.

People separate for one of two reasons: Because they think that some time and distance can give them some objectivity with a view to possibly working things out; or because they have already decided that the marriage is over and intend to divorce.

The first presents a problem because he is still emotionally tied to his marriage and it is unresolved. He has a lot of baggage and one of the requirements of being in a relationship is that you are emotionally available and ready. It is impossible for him to be. If he is trying to work things out, the marriage must come first, which means that you come second or somewhere else down the pecking order, which means that you are picking up the crumbs.

The latter situation can go one of two ways: He has already decided to get a divorce, things are proceeding and the fact that he’s met you means that he is doing everything in his power to get it finalised so that there can be closure. The other route is that there is talk of a divorce but there is no sign of one showing up anytime soon. The fact that divorces can often be unpleasant means that this makes him emotionally unavailable as he may not be able to cope with the emotions of not one, but two women. Plus he may have children to worry about or financial woes.


Always make sure that he is actually separated. Many a woman has found herself with a man who is not separated at all, except for that hour when he’s crept into her bed in between going home to his wife.

If you habitually date emotionally unavailable men, it is best to avoid this scenario altogether previous experience should indicate that knowing when to bail is not your forte. Very good judgment skills are needed to gauge which situations have the potential to be resolved, and which should be aborted as quickly as possible.

‘Me, Me, Me’ Rich/Time Poor – When you spend most of your time listening to his problems, his everything, but he can’t spare time for you, whether it’s a friendly ear for your problems, or actual time with you that doesn’t involve you playing armchair psychologist, it’s not a good indicator of things to come. We all have our off days, our problems but relationships are about give and take and when he makes it all about him, your needs get relegated.

Ask the uncomfortable questions – How long have you been separated? Is the separation for breathing space or have you decided to divorce? Have you both agreed that it’s OK to see other people?

Listen to his answers – Listen for clear red flags. When he says ‘Well we haven’t made a decision about the divorce yet’ you should be hearing mega alarm bells and running like a mofo. What you shouldn’t be hearing ‘In good time he could decide to make the decision to divorce. I bet I can help speed him along.’

Ensure that you have a balanced investment that is going to yield a return. If it’s you who is making all of the effort whilst he gets to languish in the great white space of emotional unavailability and a fear of commitment, you’re putting in waaay more than he is, whilst he throws back pennies.

Where does he stand on relationships? Commitment? Marriage? More children? If you want to be in a committed relationship whereas he now views relationships and marriage akin to a very tight noose around his neck, you are barking up the wrong tree.
If he is still in the process of making a decision or struggling to take the necessary steps to obtain a divorce, step away and let him do it on his own time.

If he still hasn’t divorced after an extended period of time – I know someone who is with a ‘separated’ guy for the past four years – he is stalling on being committed to you and cutting the ties with his past.

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