Dating someone whose divorce is not final

It all started with my friend Sarah three years ago, telling me over coffee that she'd left her husband of six years. Yes, there were tensions - he was away on business a lot, she'd given up her high-flying job to be a full-time mum - but nothing unusual.

The group that Sarah and I spent most time with were all in our 30s, with two or three children each, having met either when we were pregnant or shortly after having our first babies.

It can help children, too, if they can talk to their peers who understand how devastated they feel about their parents' split. My friends and I have made sure we're on the same weekend rota, so that when we have the children, we can all do 'family' things together - bike rides, picnics, summer fairs.

And on the weekends when the children are with their fathers, we adults enjoy coffees by day and cocktails by night, girlie shopping trips to London and weekend breaks.

And my close-knit family was devastated by my split. It's easy for romance to become a distant memory replaced by bickering. Which is why my heart sank a few weeks ago when my friend Katriona announced that she'd kicked out her husband.

We tried marriage guidance counselling but it was no good. It wasn't my friends' fault my marriage deteriorated; it was entirely my responsibility.

But perhaps their situations helped facilitate my decision.

Our children were still very young: Sarah's were then five and three, mine five and two. We were sleep-deprived and obsessed with toddler taming, potty training and National Childbirth Trust coffee mornings.

We loved our children very much, but as ex-career women who'd worked in London in the media or the City, we were all pretty frustrated.

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