Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Sharing means caring

Is it ever OK to date your friend's ex ... or your ex's friends?

Is it ever not OK?

People are not belongings (except perhaps my cabana boy, Eugenio, who slaves away diligently in his tie-dye Speedo with the hope of obtaining a green card.)

Still, your friends' feelings should be be taken into account.

I've experienced both sides here, and really don't know the answer anymore. Years ago, my ex, who was the love of my life (that I desperately wanted back), began seeing a friend of mine. I was fine when we broke up, it seemed right at the time ... but having to see him with some one else was absolute torture.
The friend who was seeing him, came to tell me about it in person. She wanted to let me know from her before I found out through someone else (which is honorable). Though this was harder to swallow than throwing-up in your mouth during a hungover conference call, I appreciated the courage it took to approach me, and the concern that showed for our friendship.

But that experience left me thinking I would never put someone through that kind of pain. Friends' exes were off limits. I would even argue this point fervently with my friends, up to this very year. D., Chuckles, Sunshine and myself were in a heated debate on this very topic, and not a week later I found myself hopelessly smitten with a guy that had once been involved with another close friend. The irony of life never ceases to amaze me.

All I could do was be upfront and honest with everyone. I shared my concerns with the guy, and laid it all out there with the girl. And, even though I felt more awkward than that time I told a snotty midget not to get short with me ... I came out of it with a strengthened friendship and something pretty on my arm for a couple weeks.

You can't help who you fall for. You don't want to hurt anyone, but you also don't want to miss out on something special. I still don't know the answer, but I truly feel that, even though it's corny, you have to treat people with the respect and honesty you would want in return ... then take a step back and watch how it all plays out.


Sten said...

Do you think it is OK to date your friend's ex, or ex's friends?

Rachael said...

I think relationships have the 'don't touch shelf-life', which varies depending upon the length of the relationship, and how hard the friend or sig. other takes it.

While there's no absolute definition on said 'don't touch' period, generally speaking, the longer the relationship lasted, the longer it needs to be left alone.

And there's always the worry factor, that the person is dating you, just to be around the ex - especially if the breakup is fresh.

There's a difference between exes of a month, and exes after years.

E said...

I think it also depends on your degree of friendship with the person. I for one could never see dating any of my best friend ex. But a lesser friend that you don't have any direct experience with them as a couple, definitely more plausible.

Chrissie said...

I have trouble with this question, because I've been on both sides.

My best friend of 20 years started dating my first love/high school sweetheart, who I was with for nearly 4 years, a few weeks after he and I broke up.

I thought it was unforgivable. I thought it was creepy and weird and just plain wrong.

And then, years later, after having MY heart broken by a man, I ended up seeing his best friend, of nearly 20 years, a few months after the break up.

And unfortunately the only thing I've learned from the experience is that once you become a hypocrite, you can't say much;)

Sten said...

I think every situation is different. I really only had the one ex I still had feelings for after it was over. With every other guy – it was done when it was done. I don't like to look back ... it hurts my neck.

I just abhor "drama". And then there is the awkwardness. Like when your ex stills refers to you by your pet name. The new girl never likes that.