Dating A Separated Man Who Lives With His Wife
You’ve met the perfect guy. He’s everything you’ve always wanted, and a bunch of other stuff you didn’t realize you wanted until you met him. You’ve got your future mapped out, and he’ll be right there in it.
But first… he has to get rid of his wife! No, no, not in the literally sense, in the legal sense. And if the fact that they’re still married wasn’t bad enough, shock! horror! they still live together. Quite unwittingly, you just stepped right into your very own soap opera.
Dating a married man who still lives under the same roof as his wife is not for the faint of heart. It takes a special kind of person to be okay with this in the long term. So it’s good that you’re weighing up your options and considering the pros and cons. The last thing you want is to get attached to someone who’s still attached to someone else.
It’s not wise
Let’s state the obvious. Dating a separated man who’s still shacked up with his wife isn’t a good idea, but you already know this. You might think he’s totally single and available for you, but oftentimes their relationship has simply changed names: separated in theory, together where it counts.
That said, the issue isn’t cut and dry, and you shouldn’t write off a potentially good guy who’s in a tricky situation without giving the matter careful thought. Let’s look at some pros and cons.
Pros of dating a man who lives with his wife
He won’t have to move in with you sooner than necessary
No one wants to date a hobo! While your relationship is still in its infancy, you should never feel pressured to move a guy in just because he has nowhere else to go.
Your new guy is clearly content where he is – with his wife (and kids?) – so you won’t need to move him in with you before the time is right.
He’ll be too busy to grow needy
If he’s living with his wife, he’ll be busy dealing with the logistics of family and home. That means that if you’re the type who likes their space, you’ll still have plenty of it, and he won’t be hounding you to spend all your time with him.
It shows his character
The horror stories of feuding exes are rife – you’ve probably heard some of them. A couple can adore each other one year, and want a pack of hungry lions to ravage each other the next!
Not this guy, though. If he is able to live under the same roof as his ex-wife, it shows that he can be on good terms with his exes. Not an easy ask for most.
She’ll take the load off
Depending on their arrangement, it could be that her role as a wife and mother hasn’t really changed much from when they were together. It’s quite possible that she still does most of the housework – the thankless, grueling tasks most people wish they had maids for. Meaning this frees up his time so he can spend more of it with you.
In addition, due to her proximity and their history, she’s more likely to deal with all of his emotional stuff, the baggage you aren’t interested in dealing with. A blessing in disguise.
Cons of dating a man who lives with his wife
Constant access to her could stir up old feelings
His wife will always be around to remind him of the good old days. It’ll be easy for him to fall back into familiar habits, and before you know it they’re sharing a bottle of wine, cuddling in front of the fire, and making sparks of their own…
His time is limited
It’s important to remember that his wife and children still take up a lot of his emotional energy, and having them around constantly will mean that they’re his first priority. Whatever time he has left after work and family is what you’ll get. After a while, it might feel as though you see your OBGYN more than you see him.
If you ever have to visit him at his house, there’ll be lots of tension, amicable split or not.
If there ever comes a time when your friends or family see them together, they may not understand why she’s still around, and why you’re not freaking out about it. Their living arrangements will make for some very uncomfortable conversations.
His place is off limits
Continuing from the previous point, it doesn’t matter how cool their arrangement is, or how cordial you and his wife are to each other, you’ll never feel comfortable having sexy sleepovers under her roof.
He won’t get any privacy while he still lives there, and it will always be awkward for you. You’ll start to feel like an intruder. Everywhere you turn there’ll be constant reminders – from the photos on the walls to the Mr & Mrs matching coffee mugs – that you’re sleeping with someone else’s husband.
A man with a conscience will want to spare her feelings and not rub you in her face; as such, you’ll be forced to meet at your place all the time.
He might not want to leave her
If she’s been with him this long, she’s become an integral part of his life, so much so that the idea of moving out and leaving her will be impossible for him to conceive. It would be like removing one of his limbs!
Whether he wants to stay for himself or out of pity for her, this will undoubtedly create friction between you when the time comes to take your relationship to the next level.
He’ll have difficulty getting over her
Getting over a breakup is a much easier endeavor when you don’t have to wake up every morning and see your ex strolling around the house. Or smell their scent wafting through the air. Or hear their squeaky, yet adorable laugh…
His wife is like a ghost, only she’s alive and kicking and makes a mean breakfast. So getting over her, forcing himself to treat someone he once loved as nothing more than a friend, will be much tougher if they still live together.
She might feel threatened by you
The ex-wife knows him better than you ever could at this stage in your relationship, and if she still has feelings for him, she isn’t going to take kindly to you showing up and impeding on her life. Bitter wives have been known to try to sabotage their husbands’ relationships.
So if you find a voodoo doll that looks suspiciously like you in their bathroom, assume that she’s plotting your demise.
Can he really be serious about you if he still lives with her?
After a separation, many men will continue sharing the same house as their wives, especially when mortgages and children are involved. Some opportunistic men, in rare cases, continue to share the same bed as their wives!
While continuing to live together might make sense for financial and logistical reasons, it can be hard to feel taken seriously as a new girlfriend when he’s still living at home with his partner of X-years.
If he’s showing an unwillingness to move out in the future, then he probably isn’t serious.
How to successfully date a separated man who lives with his wife, while avoiding getting hurt or feeling guilty
Navigating a relationship like this whilst keeping your heart intact and staving off guilt will be challenging. You’ll have to be strong, both in your commitment and with the boundaries you set.
- Set clear expectations
- Be patient while he transitions into a new life with you
- Know that they will always have history
- Remember that something clearly went wrong for them to separate in the first place
- Don’t forget about your needs in all of this – you’ll need his support too; she’s not the only one whose feelings matter
- Be prepared for them getting back together – it’s a sad reality that many married couples separate in order to heal and find their way back to each other, new lovers be damned. Know that this is always a risk, and a high one for a couple who are still living together.
- Don’t ever feel guilty for “taking him from her”. Something broke down in their marriage long before you got there, in most cases; if it wasn’t you it would have been some other woman. Probably a busty brunette named Sandy.
An important thing to take away from this
They’re on good terms, and they’ll be spending a lot of time together. They might even be best friends. They’ll have friends in common, friends who like her better than you and and are praying for their reconciliation. They’ll still do things as a couple; if they have kids, as a family.
If you’re not strong enough for this, you need to walk away.
However, if you can get past it and embrace the situation for what it is, you’ll be in a good place mentally. Understanding his situation rather than judging him for it will go a long way in strengthening you as a couple.
This is one of the messiest set ups ever, and one a sane person would steer clear of. So much can go wrong; great risk with little reward. You need to have a serious talk with yourself and ask if this guy with all his drama and baggage is worth the inevitable mess he’ll bring.
If, after long introspection, you decide that he is, you need to do all you can to protect your heart. It’s not a given that he’ll go back to his wife or start sleeping with her again; but on a lonely night, possibly after you guys have had a fight, and she comes sauntering out of the bathroom, towel wrapped around her torso, body glistening, he might not be able to resist.