By Marianne Beach GalTime.com
You've finally met the perfect guy. Too bad he's already dated your friend! So is he totally off limits? Or is there a way to turn "sloppy seconds" into a real relationship that even your friend can support?
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We asked Jennifer Oikle, Ph.D., relationship psychologist, dating coach, and founder of MySoulmateSolution.com what you need to consider before dating a friend's ex. The number one rule, she says, is respect.
"Men may come and go, but friendships are rooted in trust. So whether or not it's cool to date your friend's ex is entirely dependent on your relationship with her and how she feels about it."
First, she suggests, ask yourself what kind of relationship this guy had with your friend. Was it just a quick fling or were they planning to walk down the aisle? Also, what's your personal interest level going in? Do you think he could be "the one" or are you just looking to have some fun?
Next, have a conversation with your friend--and let her know your intentions. Dr. Oikle says if it's just a casual friend, you might simply inform her you plan to date her ex. But a close friend requires a little more. "I feel like if you are good friends, then permission should be obtained because you already have a real relationship with her--you just hope for a relationship with the guy. So, the first relationship should take precedence--getting the respect it deserves."
Of course, don't be surprised if she doesn't approve. "Some people think it's never OK for a friend to date their ex, others think it's fine, others think it depends," says Dr. Oikle.
In any case, avoid the temptation to sneak around behind her back. "Because she is always going to find out--and the feelings of being betrayed are always worse and more difficult to forgive and get over than whatever the behavior was to begin with," she insists. "They might have been OK with you dating him, but can't forgive your dishonesty--because that changes the whole level of trust and respect in the relationship."
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It may just be a matter of time--waiting until your friend feels "over" her ex, "when they can think and talk about him without triggering a reactive emotional response." If not, and she still has feelings, "it may be just way too painful to continue the friendship, even if she agrees for you to go ahead from her logical side."
One thing to keep in mind--breakups have ups and downs--which means she could feel "over him" one day and not the next.