My boyfriend and I have been together for about eight months now. We’re at that pivotal stage of our relationship where we need to decide whether or not to get serious with each other or go our separate ways. In order to figure out where we truly stand (and make sure we’re not jumping the gun), we’ve decided to take a temporary break. We’ve also decided dating other people is okay while we’re separated. And while not everyone approves of this, here’s why I think it’s a great decision.
Here’s what I mean by “dating” while separated
- I’m “putting myself out there” a bit more. For the last eight months, my boyfriend and I have stayed in a lot and only really hung out with each other and our couple friends. Now that we’re on a temporary break, I’m going out a lot more again. My girls and I are going to the club on the weekend, I’m back at the gym, etc. That’s inevitably going to introduce me to some new people.
- I’m saying yes to dates when guys ask me out. Sure, why not? Dating while separated is something I’m actually looking forward to. While I’m not signing up for dating apps or specifically looking for anyone else, I should be open to going out with a guy if he shows interest.
- I’m open to talking to guys if I sense a connection there. If a guy starts chatting to me at a bar or we’re introduced through a mutual friend, I’m not going to immediately shut him down. I’m not going to force things, but if we click, we do. I’m open to giving him a shot.
- I’m not having sex with anyone else. That’s where my boyfriend and I have drawn the line. Yes, I’ll have a little kiss with a guy if it happens organically. However, no matter how much I like someone, I’ll never have sex with another guy. If I really wanted to do that, I’d end my relationship first. I would expect him to do the same.
No, our separation isn’t prolonging an inevitable breakup
Some of my friends have questioned why I didn’t just break up with my boyfriend if I planned on dating while separated. The answer is that I didn’t want to. If I wanted to break up with my boyfriend, I would. I’m not afraid of being single and I’m not playing games. Taking a relationship break was something we both agreed on and we’re on the same page about it.
I truly believe what’s meant to be will be. Is there a chance that we’ll eventually break up? Of course. That’s a possibility in any relationship. However, I don’t feel like that’s a foregone conclusion. That’s not what I’m planning to have happen, and neither is he. However, no one can predict the future. I’m going into this with an open mind and will wait and see what happens.
Why I’m dating while separated from my partner
- He’s also dating other people while we’re separated. This is something we discussed before deciding to take a break. While we’re not aggressively pursuing other people, we’re open to it. It’s only fair that both of us gets the opportunity.
- I want to be sure my head and heart are in the right place. If and when I go back to my boyfriend, I want to be 100% sure that he’s the person I’m meant to be with. I can’t do that if I don’t explore other options. I don’t necessarily know that I’ll find someone I like more than him, but I’ll only know if I try.
- I owe it to myself to see what else is out there. Like I said, I can’t fully commit to my boyfriend unless I make sure that being with him is a choice. I want him to be the one I want over all others. I’m pretty sure that’s the case, but you never know.
- Dating while separated is making good use of my time. Being separated for a bit would be pointless if I wasn’t doing anything with that time. It doesn’t have to be all about dating, of course. I’m also spending time doing some self-reflection and figuring out what I want. I also go to therapy every week to discuss some of the issues I bring to the table. I’m doing the work.
- I want to. It’s as simple as that. I want to be dating other people while separated from my boyfriend. So, that’s what I’m going to do. I’m not being dishonest about it or hiding it from him, so I’m not doing anything wrong.
Is seeing other people while still technically in a relationship okay?
Obviously, whether or not it’s okay to date other people while on a break from your relationship is complicated. It’s not an easy question to answer. Ultimately, it depends on the people involved and the specific terms and expectations of the break. For me and my boyfriend, it works. That may not be the case for everyone.
Separation is meant to be a period of reflection and space to work on personal growth and address issues in the relationship without outside distractions or influence. Because of that, I get that dating other people may not be conducive to that process. I still think it can be if it’s done wisely, though.
If it’s anything like my situation, a break may involve a mutual decision to take time apart and explore other options before deciding whether to continue the relationship. Because we both agreed and are okay with the idea of exploring other options and dating while separated, there’s not an issue.
At the end of the day, as long as you’re clear about your attention and boundaries during the break and you stay on the same page, it’s all good. My boyfriend and I are well aware of each other’s feelings and the emotional impact that can come from deciding to date while away from each other. We’re okay with our decision, and that’s all that matters.