Love, Heartbreak

3 Reasons Why You Should Never Date Your Friend's Ex

Photo: Kendyle Nelsen on Unsplash
3 Reasons Why You Should Never Date Your Friend's Ex

When you hang out with friends, especially later in life, you begin to notice something. It seems like at least half the people around you are dating, cozied up to a new guy/girl. Most of the time it wouldn’t matter, but one of your friends happens to be going out with someone that particularly catches your eye.

Whether it be for their looks, personality or a bit of both, you find yourself really taking an interest in the guy or girl your friend is currently dating (or just recently broke up with). I’m here to give you some advice on this matter. It’s really simple. Are you ready? Here it is.

Stop. Stop it right now.

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Look, I know that that person appeals to you and honestly, there’s nothing wrong with thinking that your friend’s boyfriend/girlfriend is hot. The problem becomes acting on it and you starting to think you may have a chance. Oh, and if your reason is “well he/she is nice to me,” newsflash people, they’re probably just being nice because the alternative is being a jerk to you.

As you may be able to tell, I’ve witness this sort of thing happen to several of my friends to varying degrees. While I haven’t personally done this, I’ve watched as these actions hurt people, make things overly complicated and destroy friend groups. It’s a bad situation for everyone all around.

The thought process behind the idea of dating your friend’s ex often seems to go something along the line of “he/she wasn’t interested anymore, so why can’t I go for them?” or “well they broke up, so he/she is fair game right?” While those both may be true, it doesn’t mean it’s right. It’s kinda follows the saying “just because you can do it doesn’t mean you should.”

Also, if you’re trying to shrug this off by saying this is bro code or girl code garbage, it’s not. Forget the “bro code,” it’s just common courtesy.

You don’t tell your sibling they can have the last piece of cake and then take it anyway do you (if you do, shame on you for stealing cake)?

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I have a lot I could say about this topic, but I’ve narrowed it down to three main reasons for why you should never date your friend’s ex.

1. Someone is going to get hurt.

This first one is really the most obvious. Your friend has been going out with this other person for a while, but you’re also interested. When they finally break up, you want to take advantage of that. Trying to do what’s best for you is a natural human instinct. I won’t shame you for that.

However, think of how your friend is going to feel when he/she sees you two together. It’s going to sting. A lot. Your friend is going to be super hurt and feel really betrayed. It’s one of those things where it may not be logical, but neither is love. Seeing your ex with someone else is awkward enough, but seeing them with a friend? Ouch.

There’s also another person to consider here: the former ex, now your boyfriend/girlfriend. While you may be happy now, he/she might still feel uncomfortable about the whole thing. In the end, the relationship could be over quickly because they acted on impulse rather than true feelings. So now you’ve ended up with three people hurt: your friend, the ex of now two people, and you.

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2. It makes social situations extremely awkward and uncomfortable for everyone.

So let’s say the two of you have found happiness. Hooray! But, here’s the thing. Just because you’re happy doesn’t mean everyone else is. In fact, you’re both probably the topic of a lot of discussion when you’re not around. And I mean A LOT. Like, it becomes around half of what your other friends are talking about.

Aside from the gossip, it can seriously divide a friend group. Something like this goes beyond just the people who are directly involved. Friends will take sides, which is why there’s constant debate among them on whether it’s right or wrong. And because people take sides, it causes the friend group to disintegrate.

And of course, there’s always the situation of you, your (most likely former) friend and the ex (now your boyfriend/girlfriend) all ending up at the same gathering. No one wants to be in that room. The awkwardness is so thick you can cut it with a machete. There’s also the possibility that you’ll have that one friend who’s completely tactless and will bring up the situation while you’re all together. Great party conversation right?

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3. It's just common courtesy.

As I said before, this is really a matter of common courtesy. And especially what it comes down to is time. I won’t go as far as forbidding you from dating your friend’s ex (not that I could anyways), but please, at the very least, wait a while if you’re going to. I know that you want to go out with them, but when it’s only been a couple of weeks, that’s just going to hurt your friend even more than what it already will.

But seriously, just don’t do it. You wouldn’t take your friend’s food right off his/her plate would you (I don’t know, maybe you would)? The bottom line is that while you may be happy, your actions will just cause more harm than good.

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Jesse Oakley is a writer who writes about love, relationships and self-care.