Does this count as cheating on my spouse?

This happened 30 years ago (and I don’t need an answer quickly). My first spouse and I broke up. We started the divorce process, we went through a legal settlement to divide our property, and she moved out. I refinanced the house in my name only and began making structured payments to buy out her share. She moved to another city in the next county.

In the state where we lived, divorce is accomplished through a process that includes a one year waiting period (except in special circumstances such as incarceration). We had started this waiting period.

Then during the waiting period I dated somebody, and my ex knew. I wasn’t hiding the fact and it didn’t even occur to me to.

So – would you consider that cheating? Does it count?

Nope, not at all, your relationship was over. At least for me.

Not sure about your legal system, but I guess that the one year interval is mostly to give the divorcees a time span to recover and take back their decision, if there is the will to do so. I’d say becoming involved with other people, and/or not objecting when the other partner does, is a sign that there’s no such will, but doesn’t feel like something that must not happen.

Even if you were married, as in, haven’t filed the papers yet. If your wife is giving you her blessing, WRT dating, it’s not cheating.

You may, depending on your state, have committed Adultery, or violated some similar statute with a different name…but you didn’t cheat.

Your marriage seemed all but dead except for some legal paperwork, morally I would not consider what you did cheating.

Not at all. And I can’t believe this has bothered you for 30 years. :eek:

Cheating is in the eyes of the cheatee.

Does “cheating” have an exclusively sexual connotation? Does there need to be some overt action on the part of a cheater, or can it just be “lusting in the heart”?

There is no question that screams more loudly “define your terms”.


But, I don’t mean to give the impression this has bothered me for 30 years. It’s more like this: I think of myself as somebody who has never cheated (and never will), but recently it occurred to me that maybe I shouldn’t. On a technicality, you might say. So I am happy to hear everybody agree with the way I had been seeing it.

Nope, not cheating.

The marriage was over in all but the required paperwork sense. Everyone had moved on and started over. It’s a little harder in states with required waiting periods to figure out where the bright line is - but moving to another city is definitely going to qualify.

I know certain laws would define this as adultery, but as far as I’m concerned anything that happened after she left you (whether the state finalized it or not) is none of her beeswax.

I tend to come down on the YES side of any “Is it cheating if…” scenario. But when the spouses have filed the paperwork, moved out and are living in different cities, even I give it a pass.

Legally, yes. But in the sense I think you mean, no.

Unless the cheatee has an absurd definition of cheating. Not arguing whether that was the case for the OP, just saying that I think the cheatee does not get to unilaterally define what constitutes cheating.

Once we were separated and knew we weren’t getting back together, it seemed a non-issue. My wife started dating someone about six weeks into the separation, and I started dating someone about three months after that. The divorce was final at seven months.

If you have to ask, the answer is always “yes”.

Not if you’re reading for comprehension.

Did you even read the post? Go back and read the post then comment. That’s how this thing here works.

It would depend on the laws of the jurisdiction.

In most jurisdictions with that laws derived from Merry Olde, if you are married and you have sexual intercourse with someone to whom you are not married, then you have committed adultery. Usually there is no penalty, but it usually permits the offended party being able to immediately seek a divorce, rather than wait a certain period following separation.

In a few jurisdictions, there is a criminal penalty for adultery: in Canada if you are physical committing adultery in a house where a child lives you open yourself up to a charge of corrupting the morals of a child (but I’ve never come across this charge actually having been made in the context of a separated couple – perhaps it might have been in days gone by); in South Carolina you can be fined or imprisoned for committing adultery (I don’t know if this actually happens – somehow I doubt it); in Nigeria you can be stoned to death (but don’t blame this on English based law – the stoning stuff results from the superimposition of Sharia law in the north of the country that for the most part runs on English based law).

Adultery used to, and depending on jurisdiction still may, affect corollary relief such as custody, access, child support, spousal support and property, however, more and more jurisdictions are moving to no-fault divorce in which adultery has no effect on collateral relief. Put together a parenting plan based on what is best for the kids, rather than based on who had sex with whom. Base child and spousal support on need for support and ability to pay support, rather than on who had sex with whom. Base property (assets and debts) equalization or division on equity (often using a formula to reduce litigation), with little or any regard to who had sex with whom. Court fights dealing with adultery usually end up with he-said she-said squabbles that are financially ruinous without helping figure out what would be best the best resolution (e.g. she says he fucked around on her, he says she cut him off after she bore their child, she says she didn’t cut him off – they have three children, he says the DNA test prove that one of then was not his, and on and on and on, with little or anything helping the judge make a decision on the corollary matters in which who committed adultery isn’t particularly relevant).

Depending on the jurisdiction, if a separation agreement has been made, post-separation adultery will have no effect on the corollary relief, although if there is a material change in living arrangements post-separation agreement, that may have an effect on custody, access, child support or spousal support.

Most health benefits contracts usually will not cover more than one spouse at a time, and usually will not cover a person’s divorced ex-spouse, so many folks delay getting divorced so as to maintain spousal health benefits as long as possible, and only get divorced once they want to put a new spouse on their health benefits (hoping that before they put their new spouse on their health benefits, their non-divorced ex-spouse will get a new spouse and go under that new spouse’s health benefits).

Conversely, depending on the jurisdiction, people may wish to divorce earlier rather than later to avoid problems should they become incapacitated or should they die. It can get really complicated depending on the circumstances, for sometimes divorce law does not fit cleanly with estate law, so I won’t go into I here. It’s something that usually can be taken care of when making a separation agreement.

There is no limitation period on divorce other than death, but usually there are limitation periods on corollary relief triggered by divorce (again, depending on the laws of the jurisdiction), so usually it’s good practice to settle all matters prior to seeking a divorce, and from a practical standpoint, the sooner parties work out a separation agreement, while facts and figures are still fresh, the less buggered up things will become when they are arguing about the fair market values of various assets a few years after the date of valuation.

Since it is normal and emotionally healthy for separated people to move on with their lives, including finding new partners, there is a lot of post-separation adultery, but provided that you don’t live in a third world rat-hole like northern Nigeria, it won’t make much of a difference in your life.

So Napier, you don’t have much to worry about having had sex with someone other than you married spouse following separation, other than having committed the sin of fornication with your new partner and the sin of adultery against your married spouse. Fortunately, this sort of religious clap-trap is gradually being removed from Anglo countries’ laws.

Bottom line: assuming that you live in a typical English law based jurisdiction, yes, you committed post separation adultery, and no, no one other than religious nutters could care.

Must be great getting that validation!

Honestly, it doesn’t matter much what you do or what others think of it - everyone ends up finding their own justifications for their actions and emerging as the heroes of their own stories (especially since they get to tell it). It’s a tremendous feature of the human mind. So even if you did cheat, there’s always a way to spin it or even simply ignore/forget about it such that you still get to be the upstanding hero. Worrying about the “track record” that only exists in your own mind isn’t a good reason to do or not do something (of course, this isn’t to say that there aren’t other good reasons; of course there are).

If you are asking the question, a part of you is questioning your own motives.
The thought is the deed.
So, yes.