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Dating Your Friend's Ex (33 Important Rules)

by Sonya Schwartz

Are you interested in finding out what a romantic relationship would be like with one of your friend’s exes? Or perhaps you’re already embarking on a new relationship with someone that used to date your friend? Dating a friend’s ex can not only be extremely complicated, but it can also cause you to lose one, or both, of the most important people in your life.

Although typically dating a friend’s ex-partner is seen as completely unacceptable by most people, there are exceptions - there always is when the heart is involved with matters! In fact, dating a friend’s ex doesn’t have to be as painful and conflict-heavy as you might think - all you need to do is follow a set of rules and have a good think about a variety of things.

So, in this article, that’s exactly what we’re going to share with you! Take a look at the 33 vital tips to dating a friend’s ex, including rules you need to follow and the most important things you need to think about! Good luck...

Contents

1. Think About Whether You’re Willing To Ruin Your Friendship Over This Person

The first thing you should think about, above all else and before doing anything, is if you are willing to ruin your friendship in order to be romantically involved with this person. 

Although your friendship might be just as good as it used to be, dating your friend’s ex will most likely create some kind of conflict, so as long as you’re prepared for that and you’re willing to possibly lose your friend, then that’s fine.

2. Think About How This Will Affect Your Friendship

think about how this will affect your friendship

Even if your friend seems like they are completely fine with you dating their old partner, you still need to think about how dating this person could affect your friendship. Are you going to be able to hang out with this person as often? Will they get annoyed in the future? Or are you going to have to distance your relationship from your friend?

3. Think About How It Will Affect Relationships With Other Friends

If you’re in a sort of friendship group, it’s a good idea to think about how this could damage that. I mean, let’s be honest, how would you feel about someone dating your ex-partner? Or what would you think if a friend started a relationship with another friend’s ex? 

You’d probably think that this person certainly isn’t the best friend of the year, so you need to be prepared for conflict with others, as well as the direct people involved.

4. Think About How This Person Acted In A Previous Relationship With Your Friend

You should have a good think about how the person you’re planning on dating, or are now dating, acted when they were in a relationship with your friend. For example, if they cheated on your friend or did something like abuse them (physically or mentally), is this really someone you want to be with?

5. Think About How You Came Into Romantic Contact With This Person

Before you speak to anyone about what’s going on, you need to get your facts straight - how did you come into developing a romantic connection with this person? Did this person message you on social media? Or did you end up kissing on a night out? 

6. Think About How It Could Affect Your Social Life

Most probably, if you’re dating a friend’s ex-partner, you aren’t going to all be hanging out together. Therefore, this means that your social life as a whole will probably change. It might seem trivial, but dating a friend’s ex-partner can push you right out of your social group, leaving you to feel alienated and lonely.

7. Think About How Serious The Previous Relationship With Your Friend Was

think about how serious the previous relationship with your friend was

If your friend only briefly dated this person or had a one-night stand with this person, you’re probably in the clear when it comes to crossing the ‘girl code’ line. However, if this person was the love of your friend’s life or they were engaged or in an incredibly serious relationship, you should be prepared for conflict.

8. If This Person Is Off-Limits, Leave Them Alone

If this person is specifically off-limits to you for any reason, be it that they jilted your friend on their wedding day, they abused your friend or they were a serial cheater, then stay as far away from this person as humanly possible! 

9. Think About How Seriously Involved You Want To Be With This Person

Even if you haven’t become romantically involved with this person yet, or you’re in the early stages of dating, you need to think about how serious you are about this person. If you simply want to get them into bed to have a quickie, it’s not worth it! 

However, if you definitely see having a future with them and you have romantic feelings for them, it’s more of a reason to potentially ruin a friendship.

10. Be Certain That Your Friend’s Ex Isn’t Using You

This typically happens if this person is you and this person’s ex’s best friend. You need to be careful that your best friend’s ex-partner isn’t just using you to get back at your best friend. 

If the pair have recently broken up, or if your best friend cheated on them, then this person could potentially be trying to use you to get back at them. You don’t want to put yourself in the situation of losing your best friend, and being used by someone you like!

11. Check That You’re Not Using Your Friend’s Ex

As well as watching out for this person using you, you need to make sure that you aren’t using them to get back at your friend for doing something to you. Are you particularly angry at your friend or did they do something that you feel like you need revenge for? If so, be careful and make sure you’re not using this person to get back at them.

12. Give It Some Time Before You Do Anything

give it some time before doing anything

Crushes come and go, so make sure that you allow ample time before actually telling your friend what’s going on, or making a move, to check that you’re genuinely into this person. If you don’t allow enough time to pass, you might realize that you’ve gotten yourself into a relationship in which you’re actually not happy, and you’ve lost a friend in the process.

13. Think About How To Speak To Your Friend Before Anything Happens

It can seem incredibly daunting having to ask your friend if it’s acceptable for you to date their previous partner. So, it’s a good idea to plan the talk and think about what you’re actually going to say. You should practice talking about why you’re telling them, what the reasons are for wanting to date their old partner and why you want to remain friends with them and avoid conflict.

14. Then, Actually, Ask Your Friend First!

Once you’re all prepared and you know what you’re going to say, it’s time to actually speak to your friend. You should, if possible, talk to your friend before you get properly romantically or physically involved with their ex, as a sign of respect. When you’re speaking to them, try to keep the conversation calm, open, and honest.

15. Or, If Number 14 Didn’t Happen, Let Your Friend Know What’s Going On

Unfortunately, you might already be engaged in a romantic or intimate relationship with your friend’s ex, and if you are, it’s essential that you let your friend know as soon as possible. You don’t want to keep this secret from your friend, and you certainly don’t want them to find out via someone else.

16. Practice Clear And Honest Communication With Your Friend

Once you’ve had the chat (that hopefully went well) with your friend about the fact that you want to date, or you are dating one of their previous partners, you need to maintain clear, honest, and open communication with them. You should let them know that you will always respect how they feel and you want them to communicate with you, even if they don’t think you’ll like what they have to say.

17. Practice Clear And Honest Communication With Your New Partner

You also need to maintain clear, honest, and open communication with your new partner (your friend’s ex-partner), to be sure that you are not only on the same page with everything happening in your relationship, but so that you communicate clearly about any issues between the two of you and their previous partner (your friend).

18. Ask Your Friend How They Want You To Act

If your friend is cool with you dating their ex, you need to really make an effort to keep things good between the two of you and keep them happy. So, ask your friend about how they want you to act. If they would prefer you don’t talk about your new relationship, then don’t! If they want to create some space, then do that.

19. Create Boundaries With Your Friend And Their Ex/Your New Partner

create boundaries with your friend and their ex/your new partner

Although you’ll most likely not all sit down and have a chat, it’s a good idea to set some boundaries for the three of you. For example, don’t go to parties altogether, don’t talk about each other behind each other’s backs, etc!

20. Don’t Flaunt Your New Romance

To ensure you’re being a good friend, don’t flaunt your new relationship too much. You don’t want to push your happiness in the face of your friend - they are your new partner’s ex-girlfriend after all.

21. Keep Your Romance Off Social Media, At Least For A While

In keeping with the point above about not flaunting your relationship, it's not a good idea to be posting sappy things about your new love all over social media! Lay low on social media, at least for a while.

You may also be interested in: 3 Easy Ways to Find Out If He's Cheating On You

22. Keep Your Friend And Their Ex/Your New Partner At A Distance

Regardless of whether your friend seems like it’s cool or not that you and one of her previous partners are dating each other, it’s best to create some distance between the two of them, simply because if you’re all in one room together, things could get pretty awkward pretty fast and feelings could quickly get hurt!

23. Don’t Let Secrets Slip Out

You will most likely have lots of secrets and intimate information about both people in the situation, so don’t let anything slip. Be sure to keep your friend’s secrets away from your relationship, and don’t drop any information about your new partner to their ex-girlfriend.

24. Keep Talking About Your Partner And Your Friend To An Absolute Minimum

When you are with each person, you should avoid talking about the other person involved. Your friend doesn’t want to know about your new love life with their ex-partner, and your new partner doesn’t want to know about the life of their ex-girlfriend

25. Don’t Compare Yourself To Your Friend’s Ex

Due to the fact you know your new partner’s ex-girlfriend so well, you might start comparing yourself to her. Absolutely no good can come from this, so avoid doing this at all costs! 

26. Don’t Get Your New Partner To Compare You And Your Friend

don't get your new partner to compare you and your friend

Following on from the point above, you should never ask your partner to compare you and your friend (their previous girlfriend), as it’ll not only put them in an uncomfortable situation, but you will be creating drama for no reason.

27. Don’t Ask About Your New Partner And Your Friend’s Previous Relationship

What you don’t know, can’t hurt you doesn’t always apply, but in this situation, it definitely does! Do not ask your new partner about things that happened in the relationship they previously had with your friend. There’s no reason for you to know this, and you’ll only end up getting strong feelings of jealousy when you find out the details.

28. Commit To Maintaining A Strong Relationship With Both People

If you actually want both your friend and your new partner in your life, you have to make an effort to maintain a strong relationship with both of them individually. Be sure to spend sufficient time with both of them, even if sometimes it feels difficult to.

29. Don’t Become Jealous Or Overprotective

It’s really easy to become jealous and overprotective, especially if your new man and your friend start to hang out together again (with you there, of course). Try to remember that this guy is with you, not her, and there’s no reason for you to be jealous. 

30. Don’t Pressure Both People To Hang Out Together

Sometimes, people simply shouldn’t hang out with each other, and in this situation, this is definitely the case. As much as you might want to force your new man and your friend to hang out with you at the same time, it’s not a good idea, so don’t do it.

31. Focus On Yourself

It can be extremely exhausting trying to manage relationships with two people that can’t be around each other but that both mean a lot to you, so it’s essential that you take time out for yourself and be selfish from time to time. Prioritize self-care and do what makes you happy.

32. Take Time For Yourself To Be Happy

Amongst all of the conflict and stress, it’s important that you take a step back and realize that you are with someone that’s worth it all and that makes you incredibly happy. You never know, they might even be the one for you!

33. Follow Your Heart

follow your heart

At the end of the day, you should always follow your heart, so go ahead and do so. You have a right to be happy and to voice your feelings for someone if you do have romantic feelings for them.

FAQs

Is it wrong to date your friend's ex?

Most people tend to think that it’s completely unacceptable to date a friend’s ex. Whether you want to call it ‘bro code’ or ‘girl code’, most friends have an unwritten and typically unspoken rule that they will never date each other’s exes. However, as most of us know, life rarely goes as planned. 

So, sometimes you might start dating one of your friend’s previous partners, or even fall in love with a friend’s ex. This can be acceptable and you can both remain friends with someone and date their ex, as long as you follow the right rules!

What do you do when your friend starts dating your ex?

When your friend starts to date one of your previous partners, it’ll make you feel an array of feelings, such as angry, upset, and betrayed. So, the first thing you need to do is allow yourself to register and feel all of the emotions that come up inside you. 

Then, you need to properly (clearly, calmly, and honestly) communicate with your friend, and your previous partner if you feel like you need to. Getting feelings out in the open might cause conflict, but it’s essential if you’re all going to move forward as adults.

Should you date someone who is friends with their ex?

You should definitely be open to dating someone that’s friends with one of their previous partners, because, simply put, this situation doesn’t mean that there’s something wrong with this person! 

In fact, someone that’s friends with their ex is typically more mature than those people that hate their exes. As long as everything stays friendly, there aren’t any romantic feelings involved, and you feel comfortable, then there aren’t any problems.

How do you tell a friend you are dating their ex?

Firstly, you should always try and ask a friend’s approval to date one of their previous partners before you actually go ahead and do it, so try and ensure that this is your first move. 

However, if you’re already dating their ex, you need to tell your friend in a calm, mature and honest way. Be aware that your friend will probably be angry and upset, so make sure you’re supportive of them and hear exactly what they have to say.

Are friends exes off-limits?

Let’s be real here - nothing is off-limits if you actually want it badly enough. However, most people would like to believe that their friends wouldn’t date their ex. Although, dating a friend’s ex is fine, as long as everyone involved is mature about the situation and content in moving forward conflict-free.

The Bottom Line

If you’re planning on dating one of your friend's previous partners or you are in fact already doing so, hopefully, this article has provided you with some of the things you need to think about, and some of the rules that you need to follow. Essentially, as long as you act in a respectful, honest, and mature manner, there shouldn’t be too many complications and hurt feelings.

Did you like this article and find it useful? Let us know in the comments and feel free to share with anyone you feel like needs to read this!

You may also be interested in: 3 Easy Ways to Find Out If He's Cheating On You

You may also be interested in: 3 Easy Ways to Find Out If He's Cheating On You

Sonya Schwartz
A hopeless romantic that struggled for many years to find her Mr "Right" and made all the mistakes you could think of while dating. Known for always choosing the wrong guys or messing up relationships, Sonya was finally able to change her approach and mindset when it came to dating which helped her eventually find the man of her dreams and become happily married. You can read more about me here...

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