Dating and intimate relationships create some questions for people who are separated but not yet legally divorced. From a legal standpoint, there are two things you need to consider. North Carolina requires that spouses live “separate and apart from each other” with at least one of them intending to end (terminate in legalese) the marriage. You have to live in a separate residence — not in separate rooms of the family house, not even in a separate apartment over the family garage — but in an entirely separate location.
That’s it:  separate residence and  intention to end the marriage.
In many cases, this is preferable to going to court and having a judge make the decisions.
You do not have to file a legal document to begin a separation, although some people prefer to do so.
Second, once you are separated, are there any restrictions on forming relationships with other people? With limited exceptions, once you are separated, you are generally free to date anyone who wants to date you with one big exception.
If infidelity/adultery — an intimate relationship with someone other than your spouse prior to separating — is an issue, then continuing a relationship with that same person after the separation can be used as evidence to prove adultery. Proof of adultery may affect alimony and child custody.
If you are in that situation, your legal situation becomes more complicated and discussing the specifics with your lawyer is important.
However, it should be noted that Desertion is rarely used as a ground for divorce since the parties must have lived separate and apart without cohabitation, just as is the requirement for a no-fault one-year continuous separation divorce.
Parties * obtain a divorce 90 days after the date of filing if a fault-based ground exists and the burden of proof is met to show that the fault-based ground exists.
North Carolina does not require you to finalize the terms of custody, child support and the division of property in a divorce agreement.
Therefore, you can make a legally-enforceable private agreement addressing these issues during the separation.
*Parties may be able to obtain a divorce 90 days after the date of filing if ALL issues in the case have been resolved on a final basis.