How to Spot the “Married Man” vs. the “Currently Separated Man”

Over these past 5 years of online dating, it remains a mystery how I have avoided being targeted by the “married man.” 

Most women who date will encounter those types at some point, but I never attracted them. (Or, more likely, they reached out to me and I unwittingly ignored them.)

I never dated a married man who was looking for some on-the-sly side action. 

I never dated someone who was still living with his wife and unhappy in the marriage, but uncertain what his next steps would be. The guy who makes vague promises and assurances of a nebulous future with “the other woman.”

I avoided guys who were married and promised to move out/hire an attorney/file for a divorce “eventually.”

The “married man” is typically secretive, deceptive, a user. Mostly? He is usually a liar — whether to his wife, the women he dates, and/or himself.

To be clear, I have met and dated several men who were married but separated. In my experience, though, there is a very big difference between a “married man” and a “currently separated man.”

Though both types of men may be married officially, their intentions are very different.

Every currently separated man I met/interacted with/dated did, in fact, eventually get divorced. 

That’s surprising, isn’t it?!? But it’s true. 

I’ve had time to reflect on what distinguishes the two types of men.

There are some important indicators to look for that distinguish a married man with no intention of divorcing his wife and the currently separated man who will divorce his wife.

Steps that Indicate He is Sincere About the Divorce

He lives in a separate residence

From my unofficial research, this is one of the most critical steps in determining whether a guy is serious about divorce. It doesn’t matter if he moved out or if she did. If they are maintaining separate homes 100% of the time, then this is a very strong indicator that the divorce will proceed.

He has hired an attorney

Typically, there is still a long way to go in the divorce process, but retaining an attorney is not inexpensive. It is also a huge emotional step. This is a positive sign.

He has filed divorce papers

This is an even bigger step in demonstrating his sincerity. The ball is officially rolling. His wife knows that he is serious about moving forward with the divorce.

He is awaiting his court date

By this point everyone (children, extended family, close friends) is typically aware of the situation. This is one of the final hurdles in the divorce process. Aside from having a separate residence established, meeting someone who is at this stage is the strongest indicator that the divorce is very likely to happen.

He has discussed custody and/or financial details with his soon-to-be-ex

He may be at the beginning stages or further along in those conversations, but the fact that he is having them indicates he is truthful about his intentions.

His wife is dating/living with someone else AND/OR He has had a prior relationship that his soon-to-be-ex is aware of

If either or both of these situations exist, then the chances of the relationship being 100% in the past and the divorce becoming a reality is greatly increased. Both parties are demonstrating that they are no longer interested in the other. They are already moving on with their lives separately.


Obviously, nothing is a guarantee. People change their minds at any point in the divorce process. Relationships can be complex and grey rather than clear-cut.

Most importantly, I have found that the divorce process ALWAYS takes longer than these currently separated dudes EVER realize!

Even the guys in the most straight-forward scenario (no kids, separate residences, and awaiting a court date) typically underestimate how long the divorce process will take. Equally important, I have found that guys that are currently separated ALWAYS downplay the emotional and financial toll it is taking on them.

In their defense, I have found that they are typically in denial or unaware of how daunting the divorce process is. They are not usually maliciously or intentionally being dishonest. They simply don’t realize how draining the process is until they are in the middle of it.

Final Words

I acknowledge that I made assumptions about what the dating world would look like prior to jumping in. I was guilty of assuming the worst about men who hadn’t finalized their divorces. 

With this story, I wanted to clear up the myth that EVERY guy who isn’t divorced yet is shady, lying, and without scruples.

I no longer date currently separated men, but not because they are untrustworthy scoundrels who have no intention of finalizing their divorce. I have other reasons, which I will share in a future story.

And finally, yes, some married men do become currently separated men and then divorced men. There are always exceptions. Of course some married men really are conflicted and confused rather than dishonest. I have been around the dating block enough times to appreciate that NOTHING is a foregone conclusion. 

Not ALL married men are villains! But, broadly-speaking, there is a big distinction in my mind between the two types of men. Those who are actively proceeding with their divorces with transparency and those who are hiding their true intentions — from their wives, the other women they are dating, and even themselves.