I know I stated unequivocally that dating your friend’s ex is not an idea worth pursuing a few days ago. However, it does happen. I mean, some dude/lady with a poor sense of timing and judgement might find themselves in a situation where dating a friend’s ex becomes inevitable.
I guess I have been fortunate enough never to experience that situation on a personal level. But one of the facts of life is this: if you have enough friends and live long enough, something like that is going to happen to you.
Maybe not personally, but at least to a very close friend; in which case you’d have to deal with the consequences as if it happened to you.
After giving the issue a lot of thought, I came up with these minimum rules you must observe if you decide that dating your friend’s ex is the path to follow.
So let’s get down to these etiquette shall we?
Make sure a reasonable length of time had passed
Most of the rules are all about applying common sense.
The first is of course the issue of the how much time had elapsed since the erstwhile love birds broke up and when you decided you wanted to have a go at dating your friend’s ex.
There are no clear cut rules of thumb to follow here. The best indication is to make sure it is so long ago since the break up that both parties are surely over each other.
Since one of the parties is your friend, you would sense a reunion is unlikely by how they behave generally.
One sure way to know is if your friend is into a different relationship. In which case, 12 months should be the minimum.
Unless your friend is obsessed with their ex, 12 months is long enough to get over them.
However you still have to follow the next rule.
Talk to your friend
Talking to your friend about dating their ex could be one of the hardest things you’d ever do I promise.
How does one even start a conversation like that? I guess that is a story for another day.
Anyway, talk to them you must. But be prepared to meet a shock look of betrayal from your friend. I would assume the best thing is to break the news in bits and pieces over a few days or weeks.
Let them warm up to the idea before revealing all. However, you must be careful your friend does not get the full gist from a different party while you were busy twiddling your fingers.
The best case scenario is after dropping hints about your intention, your friend actually comes out to suggested for you to give dating the ex a shot.
That would be like manna from heaven I tell you.
Never rub it in their faces
Rubbing it in their faces is mostly about how sensitive your friend is. If you friend is a tad too sensitive, don’t be surprised if they have their sad faces or angry faces on anytime they see you with their ex having a ball.
Some people are just wired that way
In which case, try as much as possible not to take your new love to places where you might bump into the ex. I guess this is the right time to make a list of new hangouts for you and your new love.
And if things developed as well as you might expect, don’t hold it against your friend if they decide to stay away from the wedding between you and the ex.
You just got to understand that some emotions never completely die no matter the brave face we put on.
Don’t snitch on them when dating your friend’s ex
This all comes down to the basis of friendship: trust.
No matter how your think your new partner is your better half, the fact still remains that your friend came first.
So bury the idea of talking about your friend in a bad light with the ex you are now dating. Also, you must not encourage the ex to talk about your friend in unsavory terms.
As it is, your friendship is on a tight robe. Don’t make it worse by betraying confidences. It might come back to haunt you in a big way.
Here is a hint of what never to do: never ask if you are a better lover in respect of your friend after a an intimate session with your friend’s ex.
That only shows how uncultured you are. And if the ex had any sense, they would talk seriously to you about this foolishness.
As you can see, dating your friend’s ex comes with a lot of responsible if you are a civilized person. It all comes down to showing respect for your friend and letting them know you still got their back.
However, you must be prepared for situations that would be awkward at best and nasty at worst. This is where your skills (if you have them) as a social diplomat would be fully employed to douse the tension.
On the other hand though, you might not even face much resistance or problems from your friend. Some people are awesome that way. But that doesn’t mean you would disrespect them okay.
So, do tell us what you think about this. If I overlooked something crucial in the etiquette of dating your friend’s ex, tell us about it in the comment section below.