Love, Flings and Other Things: Is Dating Your Friend's Ex Off Limits?


What do you do if you start to dig your best friend’s significant other?

Whether you follow the unspoken “bro bible” or understood “girl code,” you’re familiar with the basic rule: don’t date your friends' exes. And certainly don’t swoop in and steal them.

Out of all the billions of people in the world, it just doesn’t make sense to put yourself in such an unnecessarily complicated situation. Friends are supposed to be there through the break up. They’re supposed to bring you ice cream while you cry or kick a soccer ball around when you need to get your frustration out. How is someone supposed to comfort their friend with “you can do better” and it’s “their loss” if they turn around and start dating that very person themselves?

For those who are dating a friend's ex, you may not see it as weird now. But it will be when you remember your new significant other has kissed your best friend. You’ll hate those thoughts of them together, lurking constantly in your head. You’ll have to deal with the “sloppy seconds” jokes and live with the fact that you voluntarily broke your friend’s heart even more than it already was.

There is ONE exception and by this, I mean there is one way to keep your friendship alive while dating the forbidden fruit that is the ex. You MUST ask permission and receive it. Never asking constitutes as total betrayal if you break the news to your bestie after already being involved with their former lover. If you care about your friendship enough, you’ll (wo)man up and admit you’re crushing on the person who crushed your friend.

If they say yes, be grateful your friend is willing to go through endless nights of denial and frustration with seeing you two together just so you can have a shot at love. No one wants their best friend to date their ex. If you get the green light, be conservative. Don’t ask them for tips on birthday gifts or date ideas. Realize it’s killing them inside.

If they scream and tell you to leave because they can’t believe you mustered up the courage to ruin their life, don’t say I didn’t warn you. If my friend asked me to give her my blessing to date my ex-boyfriend I would end up in the precinct.

Clearly, it’s a delicate subject. Breaking up with a partner means cutting all ties with that person and moving on. It's kind of hard to do when your best friend brings them as their plus one to game night. Every situation is different, but the most important thing to remember is to be considerate of your friend.

If this whole “off limits” thing was a total news flash to you, be sure to check out the blog next week for a rundown of awkward and strange scenarios that also are off limits. Unfortunately, some of this will be coming from personal experience.