This is such a taboo topic that, most of the time, people say that it is never acceptable. However, there are some instances where dating your friend’s ex might just be okay. There are a few ways to gauge the acceptability of this dating arrangement, and unless these are passed with flying colors, it might be friendship suicide to move in on your BFF’s leftovers:
1. In the past or true history?
This is a question you have to ask yourself about your friend’s ex. If your friend tells you it’s over and doesn’t seem to still have feelings for him, don’t believe her. You have to pay attention to her actions and disregard what she’s actually saying since she might not be completely honest about her feelings. If she still checks his Facebook page, Twitter account etc., just to see “what he’s up to,” she might not really be over him. If the relationship is in the past, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s history. If a relationship is history, then it may be safe to move in. A good way to gauge if it’s history is to see how long it’s been since the two of them dated as well as the amount of time it has been since their last form of communication. If it’s over a decade since they dated, it might be okay to approach this topic with your BFF and her ex-man. Likewise if it’s been over six months since they’ve even talked.
2. One night stand
If the “relationship” between your friend and the guy in question was purely sexual (a one night stand for example), then it might be okay for you to date him. If you think you might want something more with him than just a quickie, and you’re positive she didn’t have real feelings beyond lust for him, then go for it! You do want to make it clear that you want more from him than that so that you don’t get your feelings hurt in the end. Since the two of you are friends, he might think you’re after the same thing, so be careful with this. If you’re both clear that this isn’t a casual hookup, then take baby steps towards what could potentially turn out to be a great relationship.
3. Ask First!
This might seem like the most obvious one, but a lot of the time, it is the one rule that people don’t follow when treading this touchy subject. You can learn a lot by your friend’s initial reaction to the question of dating her ex. If she frowns, or has a negative and/or shocked reaction, that likely means that she’s not over him and would most likely have a problem with you approaching her ex with any type of romantic intentions. However, if she barely acknowledges it and been encourages you to go after him, you’re all clear to move in. You know your friend and you will be able to immediately tell by their instant reaction what the next best steps should be.
Keep in mind that there are plenty of men in the world and good friends are hard to come by. If you think that dealing with this guy on a romantic level will even slightly shift the dynamic of your friendship, I would say pass. It’s not worth it to ruin a friendship, especially if you’re not even sure it’s going to work out between the two of you. You don’t want to end up without a man or a BFF! Choose wisely….