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Dating a Friend's Ex

Updated on June 1, 2010

Dating a friend's ex is something of a taboo subject in many circles, and the situation can be unsurprisingly fraught with tension. The subsequent damage to your friendship can be devastating, especially if your friend still has feelings for the ex. If you are currently contemplating the idea of dating a friend's ex, there are a few things that can make the decision a little bit easier. 

Weigh up the situation

Firstly, assess how important it is to maintain your friendship. If you are close friends, it would be foolish to push that aside in favour of a relationship that could fizzle out within weeks or months. Secondly, assess how important it is to embark on a relationship with this particular person. If you suspect that it will only be a short-lived fling, think twice before rushing in as the repercussions will probably last a whole lot longer. Thirdly, consider how your friend's relationship came to an end. If he or she was cheated on or treated badly by their ex, it is worth reminding yourself of the fact that you could suffer a similar fate. 

Be Up-front

Making a move on a friend's ex can potentially ruin a friendship, especially if it is down in secret. Being up-front about your intentions is a more honest way of approaching the situation, although it does not guarantee that your friend will not take offence to the relationship. At the very least though, it ensures that everything is out in the open. 

Ultimately, you will need to assess whether it is worth risking your friendship for the sake of a relationship that may not last. This will largely depend on whether your friend still has feelings for their ex partner. Many people will not have any problem with a friend dating their ex, but this will not necessarily be the case. If it turns out that your friend is not totally over their ex, you will have to tread very carefully to avoid alienating others in your circle of friends, as well as the friend in question. 


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      karen hartley 6 years ago

      This isn't really a question of consent as people are going to do what they want to do regardless. Hopefully they'll have the decency to be honest and up front about their feelings.

      There are so many factors to consider.... how much you value your friendship. Was their closure in the relationship? Are you prepared for the dynamics of your friendship and peer groups to change?

      I’ve never been in this predicament and don't have any intentions of dating my friends ex partners. I'm not an advocate of it, as there is too much too loose and it can get extremely messy. On the other hand I'm pretty sure there are people who have gone on to have fulfilling relationships with friends ex partners.

    • stricktlydating profile image

      StricktlyDating 7 years ago from Australia

      It's a known rule between my circle of friends that we don't date eachothers ex-boyfriends. It's a no go zone!

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 7 years ago from London, UK

      Somehow I couldn't do it for various reasons.