Dating The Ex’s Friend

We see it on TV all the time – on Friends, Rachael dated Ross, then Ross’ best friend Joey, and ultimately ends up with Ross again. It seems so easy for people on TV, yet many people in “real life” always wonder if it is OK to date an ex’s friend or a friend’s ex. I understand it’s TV, but in some ways, it’s a reflection on what happens in “real life” so if its simple for them, why do we have such headaches over it?

There’s no right answer to this question – everyone is different, and feels differently about it. My rule of thumb is that it’s generally not OK, but I also understand that it’s not my business to prevent two people who really like each other from dating just because I got first dibs. Given no two situations are the same, and no two people are the same, when deciding what to do, the list below should help mitigate some tension, and help you clear your thoughts on the topic.

  1. Make sure you really like the person, and it’s not just lust. Lust will die out before you know it, so it’s not worth jeopardizing your friendship over it
  2. Extend your friend or your ex the courtesy and make sure they are OK with this. Tell them how you feel, and give them some time to think it over.  They will probably be so shocked, and don’t know how to react, so they do the polite thing of “being OK” with it. Be careful that when they say its OK, that they really mean it. Otherwise, this will stir up problems in the future, when you are somewhat far along with dating the ex or friend. That said, going behind your ex’s or your friend’s back is down right hurtful, and will more likely ruin the relationship than had you been honest
  3. Make sure enough time has elapsed since the previous couple dated. Also, use your judgment; if the previous couple were really serious, then it might be too complicated, and too much history to get in the middle of
  4. Assess how much your ex or your friend’s friendship mean to you. If it means a lot to you, then you should proceed with much caution, otherwise you might lose your friend
  5. The last thing is if your friend or your ex gives you the green light, you should still exercise discretion around them when talking about or hanging out with your new sweetheart. If you act too apathetic, they will be upset that you guys made them go through this whole drama for something that doesn’t seem to mean a lot to you, and being too lovey-dovey will make them feel uncomfortable.

As with most things in life, you need to think about the consequences. Even though your friend or your ex is OK with it, things may never be the same between you and your friend, and the friendship might be strained. Remember, it’s always easier to get over a crush than a serious boyfriend/girlfriend so the sooner you extricate yourself from the dilemma, the better.

4 Responses to “Dating The Ex’s Friend”
  1. I have to say you’ve got a nice point of view towards this matter.

    I never dated the ex’s friend but I had sex with ex’s friend, I never got to far with that besides like you I don’t think it’s a very good idea to date ex’s friends no matter how the relationship between them was.

  2. i believe that communication as a big role here because the only way things can go smoothly is if people are honest with each other.

    i will never agree with a couple not being together because some third party doesnt like it. no one has the right to decide who another person should date or be happy with. its just unfair. so if a couple is serious about being together then they should just run it by whomever may get seriously hurt to let them know that it isnt intentionally to make them uncomfortable.

    just my 2 cents

  3. kaelovinlife says:

    i’ve dated someone that my friend really, really liked and this list is still very applicable to that situation. and let me tell you…I learned plenty of lessons. when they say they’re okay with it, they really are not. i think you hit the nail right on the head with the first item on your list because, if it’s lust, then it is probably not worth jeopardzing your friendship. man…wish i had access to this blog some time ago. 🙂

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