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Monday, November 5, 2012

Dating or getting into a relationship with a friends ex: Is it okay to date my friends ex?

Is it okay to date my friends ex? Would my friend be okay with me dating his/her ex? I have feelings for my friends ex - could I make a move on him/her? My friends ex asked me out, what do I do?
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Love, relationships and dating are often not as simple or predictable as we may think they are. When it comes to dating, crushing or developing feelings for a friends ex (or having him or her develop feelings for you) it often becomes hard to decide what would be the best thing to do. There are a few important things to consider when thinking about whether or not it would be appropriate for you to be involved with or get into a relationship with your friends ex.

 How long were they together? 

The duration of their previous relationship is likely to have impacted the way that your friend felt about (and likely still feels about) his/her ex. If they were only together or had any kind of relationship for a few weeks or under a month then it's highly likely that you're friend may not have developed deep feelings for his/her ex and would probably be more open to the idea of you dating his/her ex.
Please note that this is not guaranteed to be the case but more a case of "odds are...".

 If your friend was with their ex for a few months or even years then chances are that he/she still has some feelings for him/her and it would be quite inappropriate or inconsiderate for you to just jump into a relationship or fling with his/her ex. 
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  How long ago did the relationship end?

Similar to the duration of the relationship is the space between the current time period and the break-up. If you're friend and her/his ex broke up less than a few months ago it may be too soon. Break-ups take different lengths of time to be healed from. Depending on the duration of the relationship, the reason for the break-up and the depth of your friends feelings for her/his ex, getting over the relationship could take anything from a few weeks to a few months or even a few years. 

  How serious was their relationship? 

It's no mystery that the type of relationship your friend had with their ex would directly influence his/her reaction to the idea of you being with his/her ex. If they were in a serious relationship (married, engaged, in a long term relationship or even just an exclusive relationship) he/she is less likely to be okay with the idea of you and his/her ex getting together than he/she would if they just had a casual fling, flirted a little or kissed a couple of times. 

  How do you know he/she feels or felt about him/her? 
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Being a friend, you should probably know or at least have a good idea how your friend feels about his/her ex.
  • Does he or she speak about him/her a lot?
  • Does he or she tweet or leave social network statuses hinting that he/she misses or thinks about their ex?
  • Does he or she seem to be struggling to get over their ex?
  • Has he or she said that he or she misses, thinks about or still cares for his/her ex?
If you see any signs that your friend is still not over his/her ex then you shouldn't expect a very positive reaction to you and his/her ex getting together any time soon.

Are you mutual friends?

If you're mutual friends there are advantages and disadvantages to the current situation.

On the plus side, your friend might be okay with you dating his/her ex because you all usually hang out together anyway. He/she might feel that you're all friends anyway so it shouldn't matter whether or not you and his/her ex are an item.

 More likely to be the case though, is your friend feeling upset about you and his/her ex getting together due to the fact that it would make the friendship awkward. If you all hang out together it would be extremely awkward for your friend to have to watch you and his/her ex holding hands, hugging or anything else. It might also hurt his/her feelings depending on whether or not he/she still has feelings for his/her ex. 

  What should you do?

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  1. Find out how your friend feels about his/her ex
    Do research if you can: Check your friends Twitter, Facebook, etc for signs that he/she misses or is over his/her ex. Ask around or ask your friend directly how he or she feels about their ex or the break-up.
  2. Ask him/her indirectly.
    A good idea would be to 'test the waters'. If you're scared to flat out ask your friend how he or she would feel about you dating or having a relationship with his/her ex, ask him or her indirectly.

    Say something like "I read in a magazine that some people go crazy about their friends dating their exes and others are totally fine with it. How would you feel if your ex got together with one of your friends?" Listen to what your friend says and take it into consideration.
    If your friends says he/she would be okay with the idea than be rest assured that that might not necessarily be the case but that you have something to work with at least. If your friend says she'd hate the idea than respect.
  3. Prioritize.
    You need to know what is more important to you. Is having a relationship with your friends ex something so major and something you feel so deeply about that you're willing to ruin or compromise your friendship over it? What if you were to date his/her ex and things ended a few weeks or months later, your friendship would already be ruined (possibly for good); would this be worth it to you?
Important to note is that there is a big difference between dating your friends EX and having an affair with your friends boyfriend/girlfriend while they're dating. This is something you should never do; not only would it make you both look skanky, it would also be a really horrible thing to do to someone.

Dating or having a fling with a friends ex can be highly complex and needs to be thought out completely. Think about what matters most to you; what's worth it and what isn't. Consider your friends feelings and do what you think may be best.
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