I recently heard from a wife who was devastated that her husband was pressing for a separation. He had told her that he intended to move out next weekend, and she was bracing herself for an awful day. And her husband had just recently dropped another devastating piece of news. He told her that he felt they should see other people during the separation. His reasoning behind this was that doing so would allow them to see if they were missing anything by being married. And, he reasoned, if they met and were attracted to someone else, this would tell them that the marriage was not really worth saving anyway.
The wife did not agree with this reasoning. She felt that dating other people was pretty much assuring that the marriage was going to come to an end. In fact, she suspected that her husband was just trying to ease her into a divorce. After all, once they started seeing other people, how likely was it going to be that they were going to work on the marriage? She said, in part: "I'm devastated that he wants to see other people. We're getting separated, not divorced. Dating others is not something that you should do while you are still married. If he really thinks there's a chance that we could save our marriage, then why does he want to date other people? I'm just floored by this. I have tried to reason with him but he will not listen. Is there any way that I can make him change his mind? My friends say I just should date other people to make him jealous, but I do not want to do that. What are my options? "
This is a very tough situation. The husband had made it clear that he really was not willing to talk any more about this because his mind was made up. And I have seen marriages that were saved even after a separation in which the spouses dated others. But, the wife was right to be reluctant because there is also a good deal of risk involved. However, in the following article, I'll go over some things that you may want to think about or try if you're in this situation.
Before You Agree To Date Other People During The Separation, Try To Talk Your Husband Into Other Alternatives: It was pretty clear that the husband did not want to negotiate about this, so I felt that the wife might want to approach this in the spirit of compromise. She might suggest that they first take a finite period of time where they are separated but faithful to one another while they were trying to work on their marriage. This would buy her some time in the hopes that she could save her marriage and get her husband back home before he starting dating others.
If this did not work, the other alternative would be to set some guidelines about what was meant by "dating" others. What the wife absolutely did not want was her husband sleeping with other women while they were separated but still married. So, if she could not change his mind, she might ask him to set the limit at that point. After all, if they were still married and he was being intimate with other women, one could argue that this was adultery. The most important argument though was that this was well outside of the wife's comfort level.
I suggested that she be very direct and calm when she had this conversation with him. She might say something like: "I hear what you are saying but I think that if we date other people, we are not really giving our marriage our full attention or a real chance. There's a reason that we are getting separated instead of getting divorced. The hope is that the separation will give us some guidance as to what we want to do next. But seeing other people does not help with this process. it only makes things more confusing and it compromises our marriage. Having you be intimate with other people is something I hate to even think about because I'm still very much invested in our marriage. I had hoped that you would be too. Can we agree that, at least for a little while, we will take dating others off of the table so that we give our marriage a fair chance? "
What Are Your Options If Your Husband Insists On Seeing Other People While You Are Separated ?: Sometimes, the wives do or say everything in their power to get their husband to change his mind about seeing other people, but nothing works. What happens then? What are your options? Well, as I see it, you have a choice to make. You can either tell your husband that seeing other people is a deal breaker for you and you will never agree to it. Or, you can pretend to go a long and see if you can actually use this to your advantage. I've had women tell me that allowing their husband to think that they were seeing other people actually worked out quite well for them. This has to be convincing of course and you should never take it too far or be inappropriate with it.
But it's my opinion that a little mystery can actually help your cause when you are separated. Of course, you do not want to be overtly dishonest or go over the top with this, but you can leave out some details, be evasive and see if this has any effect at all on him.
And, although I know that you're going to want to know all of the details about his dating others, I think that it's best not to go overboard with that either. If he's determined to do this even though he knows that you object to it, then it's clearly an issue on which you are not going to agree. So if you continue to harp on it, you almost give it more power than it already has.
At the end of the day, your real goal is to get your husband focused on you and your marriage during the separation. To that end, you do not want to be bringing other people into the equation any more than you have to. To the best of your ability, try to bring the focus back to you and him. If you have to use a little mystery to make him curious and to encourage his involvement, I think that this is fine. But I think there's a difference between mystery and dishonesty. It should be clear that seeing others is not your first choice. But since he's made this decision, you're going to make the best of it because you know that you still have a lot to offer. And of course this is only a suggested strategy if he will not agree to anything else.