Many daters maintain a mental no-fly list overflowing with potential partners that, despite some positives, are simply off limits when it comes to significant other selection. For lots of people, friends’ exes are no-brainer additions to this ever-growing list.
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This can create a problem, however, when a friend’s former love, while not ideal for her, does actually possess some promising characteristics that make him seem downright dateable. While the safest bet may be to prohibit yourself from even considering one of these men, you can give in to your want to date this former flame while still maintaining your valued friendship if you play it exceptionally safe. If you do decide to perform this daring tightrope walk of a relationship, employ these simple rules to reduce the likelihood of you becoming defriended in the process.
Rule 1: Consider The Suitability
While the tried and true rule “never date a friend’s ex” may be neither tried nor true, you absolutely shouldn’t date some exes. As the friend of someone this Casanova dated, you have insider knowledge. Use it to protect yourself. If this ex was ever abusive or in any other way dangerous, don’t even think about it. Yes, people can change, but it’s unwise to put yourself at physical or emotional risk when you know that this partner has a history of wrongdoing. Additionally, if you date someone who grievously harmed your friend, you are all but condoning that behavior, which will send your friend the message that you don’t really care about her at all.
Rule 2: Talk With Your Friend First
Looking to kill a friendship? Surprise her by showing up at an event arm in arm with her ex. Even if your friend is okay with you dating her ex, she’s almost certainly not okay with being surprised by it. Before you commit to this relationship, have an open and honest conversation with your friend. You may find that she is perfectly okay with your attempt to find love with her ex, and if she is, awesome. Be prepared, however, for her not to be so comfortable with this set-up. If she’s not okay with it, you’ll be put in the unenviable position of deciding just how important dating this person is to you. Regardless of whether you decide to proceed against your friend’s wishes, you can at least feel good about womaning up and doing the honorable thing by talking with her first.
Rule 3: Don’t Delve Into Their History
Your friend and her flame undoubtedly had a reason for ending their love affair. Though you likely heard all about it from your bud when the break-up occurred, you shouldn’t seek any further information about this event. Nor should you try to gather information about the relationship your friend and your lover once shared. None of this is important. For the best possible outcome when dating a friend’s ex, focus on the present and the future. Let everything else go. Nothing good will come from dredging up the past, so don’t go to the hassle.
Rule 4: Avoid Comparisons
Ego massage feels oh so good, but you shouldn’t seek it at the expense of your friend. Resist the temptation to ask your current beau if you are funnier/prettier/better at making chicken potpie than his former flame and your current friend. Nothing good can come of this, as no amount of ego boosting is worth walking all over your friend’s feelings.
Rule 5: Quiet Your Paranoia
Jealousy is a natural, albeit nasty, emotion. For some, jealousy is even more acute when their partner is around former flames. If you’re often upset when a current lover is in close proximity to someone with whom he shares a romantic past, dating your friend’s ex may prove particularly trying for you. Particularly if things work out with this new boyfriend and you stick with him for the long run, you will not be able to keep him compartmentalized. Think about whether this is going to be a huge problem for you before laying your heart on the line. If you decide you can handle it and proceed in dating this dude, keep the inevitability to shared social outings in the back of your mind so you’re prepared to handle any emotions that may accompany the event.