Dating Your Friend’s Ex
Is it ever okay?
David Wygant wrote this handy article to guide you through this step by step.
One of the eternal questions that plague men all over the world is, what are the rules about dating your friend’s ex? Is there some kind of man code that says that once a woman has been claimed by a member of your pack there is no way another can ever date her down the road? Is there a time frame from when they dated that makes her totally off limits to you? Let’s say they dated for six months. Does that mean you need to wait around another six until you can do anything? Until he has another girlfriend? And what happens if this is your best friend’s girlfriend? What are the rules then?
Let’s set the scenario: Your friend is dating an amazing girl. (And I’m talking about a real friend here, not a friend of a friend, a work friend or someone you see around who goes to all the same events as you.) The whole time your friend was dating this great woman, you always made sure to tell your buddyhow lucky he was to have a woman like her. Every time you hung out with them in a group you guys really got along with each other. She was so cool. And all you kept thinking was, “Why can’t I meet somebody like her?”
Can You Date Your Friend’s Ex?
But now you’re in a predicament — they’ve broken up. To make things worse, she was the one who broke things off with your friend. Maybe he called you and told you; maybe you saw her out and, in the middle of another great conversation, she brought it up. So what do you do at this point? Is is OK to call her? Or maybe she’s started calling you.
Now that she’s single, you’re really thinking about this woman a lot. You start to develop feelings for her. You guys talk with each other and she tells you she’s starting to have feelings for you, too. At the same time, your friend still talks about her and wonders if he did something wrong to ruin the relationship.
Now you’re in one of the biggest predicaments of your entire social life. You really want to start dating your friend’s ex, and she wants to go out with you. You want to start seeing her, and you have a very strong feeling that you two are really going to hit it off. What do you do in this situation?
How To Handle Your Friend’s Ex
There are a lot of guys out there who truly feel that once they’ve dated a woman she is off limits to all of his friends — no matter how long it’s been since they broke up. This is ridiculous thinking. We don’t own people; we just share our time with them. It’s your job to make the relationship that you have with her a great experience, and when that relationship comes to an end, you need to let her go. You had your time together and hopefully you created some great memories, but now it’s not your place to try to change and control anyone’s future or the way they want to live their lives.
I am somebody who truly believes that people are not possessions. I don’t care if it’s a casual acquaintance, I don’t care if it’s your best friend in the whole world, and I don’t care who broke up with whom. If I break up with someone — and I have broken up and been broken up with a lot — I have no problem with any of my friends dating my ex, falling in love with her and even marrying her. A great relationship, and great chemistry between two people, can be rare to come by.
If you’re feeling a connection with someone, I firmly believe that you need to take every potential opportunity for finding a great person to be with. And if you’re the bystander, if you’re fuming because your friend is dating your ex who broke up with you, you need to realize that people are not your possessions. You may have shared something special with her in the past — and that’s something to cherish — but now it’s time to give your friend and your ex the freedom to do what they want without you in the picture.
What To Do
So, if you have feelings for your best friend’s ex, here is what you need to do. First you need to confirm your feelings with her. Sit down with her, clear the air and tell her exactly how you feel. You know she feels the same way about you as you do about her. Make sure you are both on the same page with each other. Then you need to make sure you are both on the same page about your friend. Tell her, “We need to talk about how to approach this situation with my friend. I don’t want to lose his but I certainly don’t want it to stop me from acting on my feelings for you.”
You need to talk this out with her. Both of you know your friend well, from different points of view, and together you will be able to come up with an honest way of telling him so that he will not be angry or hurt. Once you’ve had that conversation with your friend’s ex, you’ll need to sit down with him. Depending on how close you are, this can be one of the toughest things in the world — you need to have “the talk.”
Breaking The News To Your Friend
When you sit down with him, be truthful and tell him what your friendship with him means to you. For most men, really communicating that to another guy is the hardest part, but you need to get that out there and let him know that you respect him. Then you’ll need to ask him how he would feel if you started dating his ex. You really need to be honest and tell him everything. You need to tell him how you feel and whether you’re serious about her. He may be fine with it. He may have to sit and think about it. He may be upset and say, “F*ck you. Absolutely not.” He may not want to see you for a while. In time, though, he is going to understand.
He’s not with her anymore, so give him his space if he needs it. He is out there dating, having fun and sleeping with other women. Eventually, he is going to get over it. Amazing women with whom you have incredible chemistry don’t come around that often. You have every right and you owe it to yourself to pursue a relationship with her.
Depending on how close your friendship is, this may be one of the toughest situations of your life. You’ll need to display complete and total honesty with yourself and ask yourself how serious you are about it (it’s OK if you don’t know yet, but you need to be honest). You need to be honest with this new woman in your life and with your friend. This is going to be a tough lesson, but a valuable one. Your ability to have difficult conversations with two people you care about, knowing that those conversations won’t be safe or easy, will demonstrate what sort of a man you are.
I loved that quote.. “we don’t own people.. we just share our time with them.” But do you think that’s true? Can you really date a friend’s ex?
And will someone please explain bro code to me?!