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Should I Date My Friend’s Ex? The Unwritten Rules You Need to Consider

There is a taboo about dating a friend’s ex that stops most people from doing it. However, love is blind, and there are times when rational thought make way for sheer lust. A little dirty chat can soon turn into a budding romance — but is it really worth harming your friendship over?

sexy red headed thinking if she should date her ex's friend
Follow the unwritten rules of dating an ex's friend

The emotions surrounding dating an ex are massive, and they shouldn’t be underestimated. That said, this type of relationship is common. Whether your friend’s ex is a fuck buddy or something more serious, it’s important to remember that this doesn’t have to be the end of your friendship.

The reason this set-up is so common is that people tend to socialise in groups with their partners. If you’re in this situation, the chances are you met your potential new partner through your best friend.

You may have hung out together, which means you already have a bond. This is a sensitive and potentially volatile moment for any relationship. Handle it the wrong way, and you could lose your partner and your friend.

Follow the unwritten rules of dating an ex, and you should be able to give your new romance the best possible chance of long-term success. If you can’t follow the rules, it’s probably best to avoid the relationship altogether.

1. Ask Permission

Yes, this is a little old-fashioned, but it demonstrates to your friend how much you cherish your friendship. It also shows how much you respect what your friend and potential new partner had.

But it’s important to be honest here. If you want a long-term relationship that is going to go somewhere, say so. Spell out your intentions, and then ask for your friend’s thoughts. But don’t expect too much too soon.

If your friend was serious about this person, you might be causing them serious pain.


Meet in a neutral place to break the news to your friend. The last thing you want to do is make him or her feel uncomfortable in their own home.

2. Never Gossip

If you’re going to enter into a relationship with someone who knows a good friend intimately, there are bound to be times when private details come up. After all, you’re only human, and wanting to know about how your friend dealt with certain situations is only natural.

However, you should be able to avoid becoming embroiled in gossip.

For example, asking your partner what your friend was like in bed is only going to end in disaster? What if your friend was better?

What happens if your friend had a serious sexual problem? How will you react? It’s also worth remembering that asking your partner about details of her previous sex life might make her feel very uncomfortable.

passionate encounter with your friend's ex
Follow the unwritten rules of dating an ex's friend

3. Keep Things Civil

Whether you like it or not, this new relationship is going to be a love triangle — at least at first. There may be times when you’re arguing with your friend. At times like these, resist the temptation to bad mouth your friend to your partner, or vice versa.


The best way to ensure both of these relationships remain intact is never to take sides. There might still be animosity between the two, so be there for both of them.

DON'T play one off against the other, and never turn to one for advice on the other.

4. Respect Boundaries

The chances are there will be times when you, your new partner and your friend are invited to the same events. After all, you were probably once all part of the same social circle.

As much as you might want to enjoy an evening with your friend, you have to respect your partner’s feelings. He or she might not want to spend an evening with their ex, and that’s something you can’t ignore.

Remember: they spent a lot of time together, and shared a lot of experiences. Let them set the boundaries, as they’re the people this new relationship affects the most.

In truth, this isn’t about you; it’s about your new partner and your friend.


Express your love for both people at every opportunity. Set aside time for both separately, as mixing in the same circles (at least in the early days) will be very tough.

5. Never Compare

Comparing character traits is possibly the worst thing you can do. Never ask your new partner if you’re better looking, fitter or more intelligent than your friend. She’ll either tell you the truth (which might not be what you want to hear) or lie to you — neither of which is healthy for your relationship.

This is also a matter of respect for your friend. Would you like it if the roles were reversed, and your friend was asking intimate questions about you? Of course you wouldn’t. If you can avoid this temptation, it’s probably not an good idea to go ahead with this new relationship.

love traingle with your friend's ex
At the beginning this new relationship is going to be a love triangle.

6. Don’t get Jealous or Paranoid

Before you decide whether or not you can date your friend’s ex, think about how you’ll feel when she talks about times they spent together. There’s a good chance that this will stir up feelings of jealousy, which can be very destructive to relationships and friendships.

Before you even go for that all-important first date, try to imagine your friend and your date spending intimate time together. If it’s too much to handle, proceeding with this new relationship is never going to work.

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7. Don’t Go There if Too Much Has Happened

Sometimes you simply have to accept that some exes are simply off-limits. Validate- Would it be leading you both to just to have a casual sex fling or would is it a real things?

Perhaps your friend has children with this person. Or maybe they’ve gone through some life-changing experiences together. Trust your instinct in this regard. It may also be the case that this person mistreated your friend, or vice versa.

This will undoubtedly be a source of resentment and anger — if not now, later on in the relationship. You’ll be naturally inquisitive about why certain things happened, and that will lead to confrontation and suspicion.

If you friend was treated badly, for example, dating the person responsible could cause irreparable damage to your friendship. Dating a friend’s ex is a huge gamble!

Before you take the plunge, think about these rules, and whether you’re able to abide by them. If just one seems too much to swallow, it’s probably best to look for someone else.

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Image sources: (1) Drobot Dean| (2) nd3000 | (3) bokstaz |