Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Separated vs. Divorced- Policy issue

Occasionally, I will get a call from someone who is separated and going through a divorce. They will ask if it is ok for them to attend a WeekendDating.com speed dating or singles event. My answer has been that if the divorce process is in the works and their is NO chance that they are going to get back with the soon to be ex-spouse, then it would be ok for them to attend as long as they are honest with the people they meet at the singles event. If they are not sure if they will get back with the ex and are temporarily separated, then it is NOT appropriate for them to attend a singles event.

At a recent event, a participant was not happy when they found out that one of the other participants was separated and not divorced. They felt that someone in the process of a divorce was not mentally ready to move on and be open to a new committed relationship since much of the focus would still be on trying to tie up the loose ends with the soon to be ex. They asked that separated people not be allowed to participate in any future events.

45 comments:

Anonymous said...

It all depends on how long someone is separated.I, myself who is divorced, know that the first year of the process, you arent in the right frame of mind to date. There are men and women our there, whose divorces are taking much longer then my year and a half. If a divorce is running on 2, 3,4 years etc. It is a leagl issue not an emotional one. What that said, The question that should be asked is: How long have you been in the process of your divorce? Less then a year, not welcome at this time over a year, ready to move on.
All the best

Anonymous said...

I agree that the length of time a person is single is more important than the actual legal status. It's true what people say...that you need "down time" first before you are ready to date.
I also think it is unfair when an attached person will accompany a single friend to a speed dating event pretending to be single, or when people attend who are not really serious about meeting someone....How do you screen against those things?
Then there are the liars. As a single man, I've met 3 women in the last 3 years who said they were divorced, but turned out to be married (and I bet you thought only men had a lock on that lie, lol).

Anonymous said...

I have been separated for many years, and have not finalized the divorce for financial reasons. My "ex" and I have an agreement that benefits him seeing the children more often than a typical divorce would, and benefits me in that the bills are being paid while still allowing me to be there after school for my kids. Also, the children did not have to go through much of the trama of changing their lives around; they still do everything they used to and have the same friends, schools, etc. We tried to keep the divorce between us and not have it effect them as much as possible. We have an agreement that when one or the other desires to remarry, we will finalize the divorce. I don't think most divorces are as amicable, so I understand this can sound pretty extraordinary to some people, although my lawyer has told me I would be surprised by how many of her firm's clients on Long Island have similar situations. I can understand the other party's point of view, of course, but my reality is what's best for my children vs. what's best for a 'potential' suitor at this particular time. Also, this arrangement allows me total flexibility to date and immerse myself in a relationship without feeling pressured to hurry up and "find" someone to 'take care' of my family. To be honest, I haven't yet met anyone I could seriously consider as 'marriage material,' but if/when I ever meet the right person, my divorce can be final in a couple of weeks. As far as allowing separated people at the singles' events, I think it is prudent if it's a sticking point with someone attending the event to verify whether someone has been divorced for 2 or more years when they meet them. This allows the separated person to know that this person is looking to get married quickly. Personally, I am taking my time and not rushing into anything (gun-shy, I guess) so when that question comes up, I answer honestly and I already know that this is not someone to follow up with.

An Angel said...

Why don't you try a "Divorced over 2 years" event? Along the same vein, how about a "No baggage" event, and a "Alcohol- and Drug-Free Singles" event. Now THAT'S one I'd love to attend! If you open the door screening how long a person has been without a spouse, you will need to screen other peeves, as well. I think it's up to the person doing the meeting to ferret out what's important topics to them. The age and gender thing is enough qualification for you to handle. After all, how would you really verify the length of time a person has been divorced?

Anonymous said...

no they shouldnt be allowed, they are on the rebound. i have dated guys like this and so have friends of mine and all they do is talk about their ex. and a few of them have gotten back w their ex. One guy even admitted to my friend after she invested time w him, he was doing it for his ego and always would have taken his ex back. if people like those events have ones that specifically say seperated males/females, so then if they want to attend they can.

Anonymous said...

Single events are for just that "Singles." It is not fair to the single people to go to an event and only to end up meeting a separated person. I agree, legal divorces can take many years, but this is the case when people are not willing to compromise and move on. So the separated person, just for the fact that he or she is still separated after 2, 3 or 4years, has me thinking that he or she is not ready to move on completely.

Besides the fact that separated people are taking up spots that could have been filled by single people. That's also not fair. If someone wwants to attend Single events, then let them become single.

Anonymous said...

think it's basically an honesty issue - i am separated and there is no chance in hell that i will get back together with my ex, but because of financial issues on his part, i am not legally divorced. i am always upfront and honest with anyone i meet, whether it's my marital status or any other aspect of my life. many people are not honest unfortunately, about many things in their life. separated people should be allowed to attend your events - it's up to the individual to try to weed out the dishonest people.

Anonymous said...

Singles events are for single people. I have no problem with people who are seperated, I just don't date them. I would be very upset to find out that someone I met at an event was seperated.

They deserve to find love like everyone else, but there are other place to find it, just not at SINGLES events.

Anonymous said...

Like others have stated, it much depends on the time length of the seperation. I have been seperated more than 3 yrs. The first year was tremendously difficult while the mourning period for a life gone took place. Once we pass through that period, if there is honesty about the past being the past, then there should be no stipulations on a seperated person being part of events. It's all in their attitude & what is in their mind. For many, that piece of paper saying one is divorced means the same as all the years seperated.
And in truth to those that ARE divorced, if by some wild chance you are meant to be together again with that ex,, the piece of paper won't stop you.

Anonymous said...

It's very simple really: Until you get your legal divorce papers, you are still married. Period. Singles events are for people who are unmarried (at least that is who really single people are hoping to meet at these events). The "emotionally ready" argument is neither here nor there; I've met people divorced 10 years who are "still married" in their heart and will never move on. But the assumption is at a singles event (and I've been going to these to close to seven years), the people you meet will not be legally married.

frank said...

What ever happened to "walk a mile in my shoes"! No one knows what the person is going through. After spending over 8 grand on separation, divorce papers that couldn't be filed cause she contested the original separation agreement, and a child custody suit, I refuse to pay any more money and am hoping she wants a divarce before me. We're separated over 7 years now and we'll never get back together. So do not judge lest you be judged yourself.

Anonymous said...

Oh that's interesting. Pretty sad the one person I read who is separated wrote "Also, this arrangement allows me total flexibility to date and immerse myself in a relationship without feeling pressured to hurry up and "find" someone to 'take care' of my family." A guy or girl entering into a relationship with someone else who has kids usually isn't really looking for a g/f b/f who needs a family being 'taken care of'

My vote though is that separated should not be allowed regardless of time away from their spouse because people attending these events are looking for some basic security. Security that they know they can take this priceless time to meet someone who can commit. It's not just hang out singles event that this group specializes in. It's an assurance to the members that they're meeting someone who can commit sooner then later or not at all. If someone is willing to take their time out to attend this event. If people want to meet other people then they should take up hobbies and not go to dating supported singles events. I got screwed too by people who are separated and it's so extremely sad.

I hate to take the side of someone who is separated and dating but if it's decided that the events allow separated singles then all the events should enforce strongly wearing nametags for all it's attendees with a specific line on the tag marking their singles status.

The Dating Guru said...

I agree with the poster who said "the assumption is at a singles event, the people you meet will not be legally married." YES. Legally single people only, please.

Anonymous said...

Wow. I'd be more worried about meeting the shortsighted, judgmental people here, than someone who's separated. There are divorced liars, users and emotionally stunted people too, you know. These are different times we live in and especially with this economy, you're going to see arrangements out of the norm. Open your hearts and minds people. And Jay, are you going to ask to see divorce decrees in addition to driver's licenses now?

Anonymous said...

I think singles events should be for "singles". I have found that being "separated" means different things to different people, sometimes it means they're no longer living with thier spouse, but nothing is legal, than you still married. Divorces can drag on for years for all kinds of reasons. I attend single events to meet someone I can have a future with, not to wait for someone who can.

Anonymous said...

In the dictionary single reads unmarried! Forget about time of seperation, emotional status, amount of money spent on seperation, honesty, etc. none of that matters. If your seperated your still married. These are "singles" events, not seperated events.

Anonymous said...

Yes only divorced, never married or widowed people please. Separated people have too much on their plate and are still likely to have one foot in the door.

Anonymous said...

"SIngle" means SINGLE---- any other "status" at these events are misleading. Granted that it may not mean you are emotionally single, but the term here means your martial status and that is black or white. I am divorced and although I felt "divorced"
even before the process started (on an emotional level) - having to "explain" just had no appeal to me, Besides, it was "my time & my turn" ,,,,and 4 years later - it still is!!!!

Anonymous said...

I can't belive some of these comments. Is a separated person different from someone who just ended a meaningful relationship? I have dated many "single" women who are still getting over a relationship (and some who are still in a relationship and are just testing the waters). Anybody who talks about an ex; ex-wife, separated wife, or ex-girlfriend should be kicked to the curb. Often the separated are more ready to make a new commitment than someone who has been divorced for ten years and is leery of getting married. Should these events be restricted to those who are ready to be married? These are dating events, not match-making events.

Anonymous said...

While I understand the concern that separated people are not ready to commit to a long-term relationship, every relationship is different. I went through no mourning period for my marriage; it was unhappy for years and it was just a matter of time before one of us (me) made the physical move to separate. My ex is stalling the actual divorce; should I be penalized for it? One poster made a very good point, asking what is the difference between someone rebounding from a failed marriage and another rebaounding from a failed non-marital relationship? Another poster pointed out that these are dating events, not necessarily marriage events. Bravo to both. If you are so unsure of yourself that you cannot date separated people, then you are too unsure a person for me.

Anonymous said...

What are people thinking? As one poster put it "If you are so unsure of yourself that you cannot date separated people, then you are too unsure a person for me". Not wanting to date a person who is seperated has nothing to do with being unsure of yourself and you are just insulting people for no reason. A singles event is just that, a SINGLES event. There are plenty of places for a "seperated" person to meet people just NOT at a SINGLES event.

Anonymous said...

No, I don't think it's fair of people attending who aren't totally available no matter if they're separated for less than a year or more because they most often can't give you that commitment you desire going to an event.

Anonymous said...

I have been separated three years and enjoy your events. I never expect to reconcile and have not completed the divorce for financial reasons. When I meet someone whether at your events or elsewhere, I'm completely upfront with that person, so the re are no misunderstandings. It's up to that person whether they are interested in pursuing something or not at that point. There are many singles at your events that are perpetual singles for the past 15 years that are much more emotionally unavailable than myself. People should get over the status and get to know the person before making judgments.

Anonymous said...

If you are separated, you have a wife. I don't date men who have wives. I don't go through the trouble of going to 'singles' events to meet men who are still legally married, no matter how they want to finese their situation. A wife is a wife.
Get the divorce, take time to become the person you were meant to be, and then start thinking about dating.

Anonymous said...

I'm fascinated, but not surprised at the poll results. Men have much less of a problem with this- maybe because they think a separated female at these events is up for sex and not more. Women are really looking for relationships-hard to have when you are not divorced. And just how do you "know" that one is really separated, not just cheating?

Anonymous said...

OMG - Jay you are going to have to start a detective service and run background checks on everyone attending your events? The cost per event will have to be increased to $500-$1,000 each. So many of these posts are just so ridiculous. What if I have a child with someone and never married them? What if I am living with someone and I'm looking to cheat on them? What if I have a boyfriend in jail and am looking to date until he is released? There are so many possibilities worse than someone who is just "separated, but not yet divorced." Those looking for "divorced only" are making a big mistake. Not to cast aspersions on anybody, but someone who has made a commitment once is more likely to make one again than someone who has been dating for over 20 years and never married. Good luck to all in finding that special someone.

Anonymous said...

Single is single.........I have dated people who were seperated & they always went back to their ex.....regardless of time.......a guy I know recently returned to his wife after being seperated for 2 years & dating.........it is not a judgement... it is a fact seperated people are still married....unless you(jay) are going to make know to everyone at the event who is single & who is still in limbo.......

Anonymous said...

I am currently separated from my wife. We are living apart and there is absolutely no chance of reconciliation. My wife and I did not have a relationship for years before that, but stayed together for the kid's sake (a mistake in hindsight).

I attended a few of WeekendDating's events when I was newly separated. I was clearly ready to move on and began to pursue opportunities to meet new people. I did have a few dates and had fun, but ultimately met someone at an organized social function at a bar in the city. Thing have been going very well with us for the past few months and we're now dating exclusively.

My divorce is still not finalized (it takes time), but I've been up-front with my girlfriend about it and she's comfortable with the situtaion and of my feelings for her.

My point here is that I think that separated people are entitled the same opportunities to go out and meet someone that a divorced person is. Obviously every person is different, but in my case, I was ready to date very soon after my separation.

I advocate being upfront and honest about your status. If someone I meet has an issue with dating someone who is separated, I would respect their feelings and move on. However, I think that they would be potentially be missing out on an opportunity with me, since for all intents and purposes, I am essentially divorced just without having the paperwork officiated yet.

So here's my vote for not trying to put too many parameters around things. I feel bad for those poor folks who are about to get separated in the near future, who now need to wait around for a year before they can take advantage of WeekendDating.

Anonymous said...

To the best of my understanding, and experiencing this in my own personal divorce/seperation: After you have been legally seperated for one year, it just a matter of filing the DIVORCE papers. That's it....just paperwork! Unless you haven't abided by the Rules of the Seperation Agreement ie; sleeping with your ex, cohabitating, ect. during that year.
If someone claims they are seperated for more than a year, just ask..."what are you waiting for"......interesting, yes?
I concurr with the previous. There is still an attachment emotionally.

Jay said...

 There has been an ongoing debate as to what the policy regarding the attendance of separated individuals at the events should be. Last week I asked for your feedback to the following question:
"Would you be open to meeting someone at a WeekendDating.com event who was separated for more than a year and acknowledges that their is no chance they are getting back with the ex."
85% of the men polled responded that they WOULD be fine with meeting someone who was separated as outlined above.

62% of the women polled responded that they WOULD NOT want to meet someone who was separated as outlined above.

Jay said...

Both sides have made some very valid arguments therefore I believe a compromise is called for. I also believe the actual number of separated individuals who attend any specific event is very low.

For starters, those of you who pointed out that WeekendDating.com runs singles events and is NOT a matchmaking service are 100% correct. I require a drivers license to verify age at the events, but have no plans on asking for divorce papers or charging hundreds/thousands of dollars for events and doing background checks. That is an entirely different business. So this proposed policy will have to be on the honor system.

When registering for an event, I will have a question that asks you to document whether you are single, divorced, widowed or separated. If separated, the question will ask "for how long." This status information will be included on the notescards at our speed dating events. A maximum of two separated individuals (who have been separated for more than one year) per event will be allowed, and I will monitor the registrations. If you have been separated for less than one year, then you would be asked not to participate in an event.

At the actual event, you will have the option to "opt out" of any dates with individuals who are separated (the max would be 2 rounds). You will know who these individuals are by reviewing the notescard. I guarantee a minimum of 10 dates per speed dating event. If by opting out of, you meet less than the guaranteed 10, you can talk to me and I will pro-rate you a refund for the number of dates below the guarantee.

If you are separated and attend the events, there will not be any guarantee as to the number of dates you will have, since I can not predict how many individuals may decide to opt out.

This will be a work in progress policy and will modified by your continued feedback.

jay said...

If anyone is aware of the policy that other speed dating companies use, please let me know. I have checked and do not see any type of policy listed anywhere.

Although the proposed policy can not please everyone, and this topic has opened a can of worms so to speak, I felt it was important to address the issue rather than ignore it.

Please email me at info@WeekendDating.com if you have other suggestions on how to address the issue.

Anonymous said...

Jay - Although I am one of the "this is not a match-making service" posters, I understand that as a businessman you have to be responsive to your clients. I think that your compromise policy is just that - a compromise, and so it does have flaws. But, my hat's off to you for trying to find a way through what is clearly a thorny issue. As a last note to the "divorced only" crowd - I met and then went on a date with a woman I met at a speed dating event who was divorced and still living with her husband (two family house - he moved upstairs)! She still loved him even though he had cheated on her with her best friend - and she was totally unready to date. With the current recession - housing slump this will not be a strange situation for the next few years. Look into his or her heart people - legal papers mean nothing.

Anonymous said...

I think the policy is quite unfortunate. Now people who are separated have to go to events with what is essentially a scarlet S on them. I, for one, will pass on that and I don't think anyone is the winner there. I've been separated for 1 and 1/2 years and for the 7 years before that my wife and I slept in separate bedrooms in separate parts of the house. I have a better chance of getting together with my first girlfriend who I haven't seen in 40 years than I do my wife. I dare say even before we legally separated that I was more ready to committ to the right woman than many of the single, never married women who I met at one of your events. I didn't lie or dissemble about my situation. If any lady was not interested for that reason, that is her right and I have no issue with that. In this day and age financial reasons play a huge role in finalizing a divorce as they are in mine. If any woman talks and finds out about me, their concerns would be easily allayed. Meeting a woman who is separated would only bother me if AFTER GETTING TO KNOW HER, I believed that her relationship was not over. I don't think anyone wins here.

Jay said...

As far as a scarlet letter, there is none. Everyone will have the status on the sheets, either single, divorced, Widowed or Separated.

The common theme I have read from those in the "separated camp" is that they have nothing to hide, are up front about their situation, that they should not be excluded, and that people should weed out who they want to meet themselves. So everyones status, not just separated people, will be listed and people can decide for themselves.

I have attempted to keep my personal views out of this, however it is time to share them.

From a business perspective, the smart thing to do would have been not to address the issue when raised to me, and just let everyone attend the events. The more people out there that can attend, the better it is from a revenue standpoint. In the last half hour I have done some competitive research and thus far have learned that most other companies have no published policy on this. The verbal policy is that separated individuals are more than welcome, but it is suggested that they be honest with the people they meet.

I have already gotten a few emails from people on both sides saying that I have now lost a customer because of this, and that there are many other speed dating companies to choose from. I feel very bad about that, and certainly hope you will reconsider. If you do not, then please choose another reputable group. (See tips on choosing the right singles group at http://www.weekenddating.com/competitive1.shtml)


From an ethical standpoint, a customer had a concern, and although addressing it is probably bad for business, I wasnt going to sweep this under the rug.

Personally speaking, I take the side of those in the separated camp. My sister has been separted for more than ten years. There is no chance that she is getting back with the ex (who has moved on), however they stay legally married because of health insurance reasons. If the day came that she met someone, fell in love, and was ready to marry, then the arrangement would end. Every situation is differnt so to completely elimate those that are separated was not the right thing to do.

That being said, I also had to take into consideration those in the other camp. The work in progress policy is not perfect, and I do not think there is a perfect solution that takes both sides into consideration. If you have other solutions, please email me.

Anonymous said...

I don't agree at all.

The complaints you are getting seem to be from women who don't even want to talk to a separated man rather than let that be one fact in their consideration of whether someone they meet is someone they are interested in getting to know better. Your policy I think will stigmatize separated men. "You don't have a date this round because the woman you would have been talking to doesn't even want to talk to you because you are merely separated." Let each person discover the other and if the woman (or rare man) isn't interested simply because the person is separated they can just say no! BTW - Given the date of the first post, I wonder and have a feeling that I might have been the separated man in question and I can tell you that nothing I said or did could have possibly conveyed that I wasn't emotionally ready to commit to the right woman. And I have a date with someone I met that night and feel as nervous as a 16 year old. However that works out, if I am at risk of going to an event and having to sit out a round because a woman doesn't even want to talk to me (and I guarantee you be pleasantly surprised), I will not be back!

Anonymous said...

I met a guy at one of your events that was just beginning to go through the separation process....if I listened to what many of the letters in this blog said, I would never have given him a chance. I too had been separated and not divorced for awhile and I felt he was honest and sincere about his situation.....We have been dating for 3 months and he followed through with everything he said he would do to end the marriage and we are very happy together! I think you are making the right choice Jay. Each person has to make their own decision as to who is right for them. We all have "baggage" and no one should be judging others.

Anonymous said...

Speaking as a separated person (more than a year) I applaud Jay for meeting the needs of his customers. I'm upfront with anyone who asks about my marital status and I'm confident that most people do the same. I'll be back when my divorce is final. But here's a crazy idea: how about an event just for separated people, whose divorces are not yet final? Just a thought.

Jay said...

That is an interesting thought about a separated status event. I will have to do a lot more research, since I still believe the vast majority of people who attend are either single, divorced or widowed. I am not sure I would have enough separated people to do an event, but I will bring it up as a suggested event in the future.

Thanks for the idea.

Anonymous said...

I first came to this site at the recommendation of a friend who has been going to your dating events. I've been reluctant to get back into the dating scene since it's been about 30 years since my last date but I said what the heck and I signed up just a week ago. But now I think I'm sorry that I did because I'm one of those separated folks. How long? 8 years, no not divorced because that damned SOB would have taken every dollar I had because he hurt his knee and hasn't worked for much longer than we've been separated. If you haven't tried to get a divorce, it's not easy.
Being open and honest up front is the best way to start any relationship, in my case.... separated 8 yrs, ex lives in another state, don't to talk to or see him and I prefer to keep it that way!

Jay said...

If you have a better suggestion to the policy I proposed, I am all ears.

I had two choices, either ask that separated people not be allowed to participate for any reason OR allow separated people to participate, but take into consideration the feelings of those who were against it.

Since you are separated for more than a year, you would be welcome to participate in the events. You mentioned that "being open and honest up front is the best way to start any relationship", so I would like to better understand why you would object to letting people know up front that you are separated.

For those of you who have never attended a speed dating events, you only get 5 minutes to break the ice and get to know someone. For some people who assume that separated people are not part of the single crowd, they may not think to ask "are you separated" and then get hit with a surprise later on.

Again, this proposed policy is open to debate, and I appreciate everyones comments both supporting me and who are against it.

As has been the policy for the past five + years, your feedback makes a difference and helps me shape how the events are run.

Any other compromised solutions are certainly welcome.

Anonymous said...

I applaud your effort. Unfortunately, I think you are pandering to a vocal minority and creating a worse problem by allowing people who don't want to see separated people to opt out of a date or two. At most you should note their marital status on the sheet but no one should have the opportunity to back out of a 5 minute date on that basis. Who knows they may be pleasantly suprised. Or let's take it to the extreme - also include whether that person has EVER been married or has not had any children because maybe some people think that someone who has not been married can't make a commitment and someone who hasn't had children are selfish and can't handle responsibility and they should have the opportunity to pass a date on those people. I cannot and do not believe that even in a 5 minute date, the person's marital status does not come up. For many people separated is single in all but a document just like a person can be "married" without one. Once you start setting rules......

Jay said...

You bring up some very good points. So your suggestion is to list the status (separated, divorced, single, widowed) and leave it at that?

I have no issue with that. If anyone still feels they were shortchanged by getting less than the promised number of dates (10), I would still honor a pro-rated refund.


Other thoughts?

Anonymous said...

I go to a shoe sale and they are out of size 8 1/2. I go to the supermarket and they are out of strawberries. I go to a restaurant and they ran out of chicken marsale. I go speed dating and there are separated people there. None of rhese occurrences makes me feel shortchanged! You get what you get when you get where you go. It's a simple as that. The fact that Jay is willing to reflect someone's sincere feelings in his charges is more than I would ever get with my shoes, the strawberries or the chicken. Thank you, Jay, for proposing a "solution" that required the wisdom of Solomon to respect the wide variety of heart-held beliefs. I for one THANK YOU. You should get an A for your efforts...not a scarlet A, but rather an A with a star on the top of yout paper!

Anonymous said...

wow, I can see why I will never set foot in a singles convention. I have never seen a more judgemental group of people in my life. You guys that have never been divorced well good for you however you really have no idea at all what anyone who has had a divorce or is going through a divorce has been through. I am so tired of people talking thinking divorce is like this ugly step child. Have you ever watched a lifetime movie? You know that stuff happens all the time, just go on craigslist. There are a ton of people who think they are living the peachy life only to find out their spouse if living a secret life. They deserve to find love too and at whatever time they feel they are ready for it. It's not up to you to judge. Some of these process take months and so take years and I'll tell you something - you shouldnt have to wait that long to find love again if you are ready. If you have some sort of hangup with seperated/divorced or whatever fine - then just say no thank you. But feeling that person is not worthy of your time because they have been fully divorced or seperated for a period of time just means your being close minded and just judging. I am sorry, but its true.