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Dating Your Ex’s Friend…


You’ve broken up…and now find yourself attracted to your past love’s best bud. Is it ever OK to go for it? Find out here.

By N.F. Mendoza

es, you’ve been through a tough breakup, and your ex’s friend has lately been a great shoulder to cry on. And it doesn’t hurt that this person is pretty darn hot. Soon enough, you may find yourself falling for your last love’s good pal. It happens more often than you think. Kibibi Springs, 32, co-owner of Moodivations spa in Los Angeles, remembers her brush with an ex-bf’s buddy. “I had a horrible breakup with my first true love,” she says. Soon, Springs found herself hooking up with her ex’s friend. “I just felt like all was fair in love and war,” she remembers. But is an ex-boyfriend’s buddy really fair game? Is the price you pay for this kind of relationship worth it? Here are four questions to ask yourself before you get involved.

1. Am I ready to hurt some feelings?
When movies show characters falling for their ex’s pal, it’s all about cute montages and perfect kisses, but in real life, prepare yourself for some problems. Arthur Day, M.A., a marriage therapist in Los Angeles, recommends first considering how your new venture could affect others. “The ex-boyfriend may feel betrayed by both his friend and his ex,” says Day. “Regardless of who did what and why, feelings like hurt, loss, sadness and anger may be stoked.” Make sure you’re willing to accept fall-out from your actions: Your ex may hate you, and his friend may ultimately resent you for “causing” the end of their friendship.

2. Can I sleep at night knowing they’ll compare notes?
The same way you’ve vented about your heartbreak to your best friend,
If your motivation is to rub your desirability in your ex’s face, the answer is clear—don’t do it.
your ex will likely talk to his buddies about you. Your new guy has probably already heard details of what went wrong or — shudder — what you two did together in intimate detail. “Each situation has to be taken case by case,” says Day. “Consider what your relationship is like with the ex, how serious you were, and how close he is to the friend.” If you think you’ll wind up obsessing over what your new beau “knows,” date outside your breakup circle for a while. Otherwise, you’ll stay tethered to your ex by worrying about what he’s saying and you’ll put your new guy in the middle—neither of which is a good method for moving on. And if you even suspect that the friend is just playing nice because he knows you’re vulnerable, steer clear.

3. Is this really about my ex?
There are issues you need to confront before you make a move—if you and the friend are so great together, why weren’t you dating him in the first place? What do you want to happen with him? Be honest—many of us daydream that our ex will snap to his senses and come fighting for us. If your motivation is to rub your desirability in your ex’s face, the answer is clear—don’t do it. You’re using his friend, and if you really want your ex back, sleeping with his pal will hardly win you points. Even if you’re able to get an angry or jealous reaction now, trying to manipulate him will just make you the “psycho ex.” Tempting as it may be, ultimately you’ll find that forgetting about your ex is more satisfying and healthier than screwing with his life.

4. How would I judge an acquaintance for doing this?
“Some people would view this relationship as taboo,” says Day. A good
Wait six months: If you’re still burning to be together, you can hook up then.
way to gauge this for yourself is to imagine a friend in a similar situation. If you’d tsk-tsk her for poaching a second guy from the same group, that’s your conscience warning you away. If that’s the case, wait six months and see how you feel. If you’re still burning to be together, you can hook up then. If you’re not, you saved yourself from confusing conflict with real passion—and wasting time on a not-right relationship. Note: If you do decide to go forward, some people will always question your motives and morals for getting involved. It’s not your job to try and change their minds—it’s your job to ignore them, rather than feed off the drama.

Now what?
If you’ve got some hesitation, chances are good that diving in head-first isn’t going to make that go away. Springs agrees. Her relationship with her ex’s pal eventually ended because of her feelings about the triangle. “I felt really guilty about the entire situation,” she says. Twelve years older and wiser, she cautions against finding comfort in the arms of your ex’s friend. “Now I can see that I was just trying to prove something to my ex. Even though I believe you can’t control who you love, there are too many fish in the sea, even if your pond feels small at the time. It’s not worth it—I’d have to advise people to walk away.”

But if you still think dating your ex’s friend is the right move, then go for it. Sometimes, the minor relationships in our lives introduce us to the next person we date—there’s no reason your ex’s friend couldn’t be your soul mate.


N.F. Mendoza is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer, who's been on staff at The Los Angeles Times and People Magazine. She's currently a contributing editor at Inside TV and writes for The Hollywood Reporter, Readers Digest, and Women's Health & Fitness.
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