Separated, roommate of the opposite sex

I have been separated for about 6 months now. My wife and I are in good terms. Recently I’ve become very good friends with a woman at work, but not romantically or sexually, just plain friendship. We have even started a small business together.

This friend is about to get separated from her husband and she is miserable living with the guy, so I would like to ask her to come stay with me since I have a spare bedroom with its own bathroom and the place is big enough for both, plus since we are starting this business together, it also helps if she’s here since we have more time to dedicate to that. The place I live is a rental and is only in my name.

My question is, would it bring me trouble to have this friend living here, even though there is nothing beyond a good friendship? I read that if a spouse takes the other spouse to court to get alimony and the supporting spouse cheated on the other spouse the judge would rule against the supporting spouse, so that’s the only reason I’m worried about inviting my friend here. If I were to tell my wife that my friend is staying with me for a few weeks until she finds a place to live, could she use that against me in court if she wanted? Is the simple fact of having my friend living here temporarily proof enough that I’m cheating on my wife, or would my testimony in court (and maybe my friend’s) would be enough to proove that there is no sexual or romantic relation between us and I’m only helping her to get back on her feet?

If I decide to invite her to stay, should I tell my wife about it, or not? As I said, we are in good terms, but her family doesn’t like me and they love talking trash to her about me.


I don’t recommend this action. While you are simply friends, at best the appearance of a relationship could stir up a whole world of trouble that neither you, nor she probably want. In addition to the fact that it could ruin her chances for alimony from mere cohabitation with a member of the opposite sex, there’s also the possibility that you could be accused of criminal conversation and if you were friends prior to either of your separations, alienation of affection. Such accusations may eventually be dropped, but you both could end up paying through the nose just to defend against them in the meantime. As much as you want to help your friend, this isn’t a good idea.

What if she paid me a small rent for the room she uses? Would that still be seen as cohabitation? Given of course that I give her a receipt for the money and I keep a copy of it.

If you are a supporting spouse and your wife a dependant, you will likely pay alimony regardless of whether there was adultery.
As far as the friend goes your wife would have to prove that you were sleeping with this woman prior to the date the two of you separated to prove adultery. Having her move in now could only be used as evidence to corroborate any evidence that a sexual relationship existed prior to your separation. If no sexual relationship exits or existed you should be in the clear, especially if you can document the roommate is paying rent, and or sharing the cost of utilities.
I would certainly recommend that you be honest with your wife prior to having your roommate move it.

So what you’re saying is that it’s not considered adultery if I start dating a woman after the date I separated? I thought that if started seeing someone at any point during the separation but before the divorce was final that it was considered adultery even though I’m separated. I thought I read that here somewhere.

Dating is not adultry. Having sex with someone of the opposite sex before divorce is final is adultry. You may date…just don’t have sex.

OK, but the way Erin put it, it seems clear to me that adultery is sleeping with someone prior to the separation date, not the divorce date. Erin, would you please clarify?


OK, but the way Erin put it, it seems clear to me that adultery is sleeping with someone prior to the separation date, not the divorce date. Erin, would you please clarify?


The way I’ve seen it explained multiple places is that sleeping with someone before divorce is grounds for a civil lawsuit against that person by the other spouse, but is very unlikely to mean anything in terms of alimony or divorce proceedings due to NC being a no fault state. If you’re the supporting spouse, I’d play it safe.

I believe there was a miscommunication. Sex…even after separation…is adultry if done with someone who is not your spouse, and you are not divorced.

She has to prove you had sex. Living together gives the ‘inclination’ and ‘opportunity’ to have sex. She can pay rent…but HELLO…anyone can cut a check to their roommate and still be having sex with them. It’s just risky in my opinion. Unless you have a SUPER COOL relationship with your STBX OR your STBX wants to have a roommate of the opposite sex too…then don’t do it. Besides…maybe HER STBX is an ■■■ and wants to persue YOU for adultry or what not. YOU have to be careful too with HER ex. It’s a 2-way street.

That said…if this is truly temporary (only a few weeks as you stated), then you are probably OK…but it still looks suspicious to the outsider to be honest. If it extends beyond ‘temporary’, you need to be careful, cautious and prepared.

I agree wholeheartedly with comingclean2. Many couples split paying household bills, so that in and of itself is no defense.

It’s not whether the courts will find you guilty or not guilty, it’s whether or not you feel like dishing out those attorney fees (either one of you) while the STBXs put you through consultation, retainer, process of discovery or whatnot to determine whether or not they have a solid case to make against you or her. Is it really worth spending that much money to live together?

In our case, the STBX (now ex) threatened us with AA/CC as a means to pressure for more money during the divorce. While we had a solid defense and even a countersuit against her, we had to pay attorneys just to deal with the BS…and it probably also dragged the ED out a lot longer than it would’ve been. Trust me, you both are already stressed enough with both separating from your spouses as well as starting a business without adding this into the mix.

Thank you for the questions & responses! Since there are ‘grey areas’ from state to state, this discussion helped define my decisions for my potentially similar living arrangements as I go thru a Seperation/Divorce. Although I have a Legel Advisor & an Attorney, could no get straight-forward answers beyond the “legal-eeze”.