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Monday, 10 October 2011

Dating Your Friend’s Ex

Men have a rather simplistic attitude towards relationships, being very territorial: if a friend infringes on his ‘territory’ (read: girlfriend), that friend is no longer a friend. Girls, however, have many layers in their dealings with men and other girls: there is, generally, a sort of moral code stating that ex-boyfriends of friends are strictly off-limits… or are they, really? After all, it’s a very grey area. Ex-boyfriends may be off-limits, but what about ex-flings? Ex-crushes? How do we quantify the importance attributed to a particular guy… what was supposed to be a holiday fling may have had some sort of emotional impact on you, so much so that the thought of your friend getting cozy with him cuts like a knife.feature photo
BUT if you’re in the shoes of a girl who has possibly found the love of her life, would you be so quick to give him up just because he used to have ‘dealings’ with a friend of yours? If faced with a choice between your friend and the man who makes your heart beat faster, which would you choose? Sometimes, though, you may not need to choose between a friend and a lover: if done right, you may be able to survive with both relationships intact. So how do you do it?
First: Think about it carefully – is this friend a close one? Or one that you see at every other school reunion? If she’s a close one, you owe her honesty at the very least. It shows that you respect her enough to tell her the truth.. and frankly, being the last to know just drives the knife in deeper. Side note: at this point, you should be pretty sure about this guy. There’s really no point in taking huge risks and putting your friendship in jeopardy for a fling. If you’re going to fling, go fling away from exes. If this guy is a potential The One, however, then talk to your friend.
Second: You’ve gathered your courage, you’ve picked a venue (maybe a corner booth in a restaurant: a public place will discourage over-dramatic displays of emotion and some background noise will muffle your voices if things get a little heated). But what do you say? Tread carefully here, your words can salvage the situation… or destroy it. Rule no.1: DO NOT COMPARE. Do not even hint at how you may succeed where she failed; 1. it will piss her off, and 2. that’s just being arrogant.
Third: Do not let her feel bad about herself. You’re her friend, and as her friend, you don’t want her leaving your talk with her self esteem puddling around her ankles right? If she brings up the reasons for her breakup, see rule 1. If you say something like ‘Oh.. it’s ok sweetie, I’ve got it covered,’ she’ll probably walk out hating your guts. Be the friend you always were and listen to the reasons. Sympathise with her. But most importantly, remind her of the reasons she fell for him in the first place and point out how you’re in the same position she was in all those months (years?) ago. Be her friend, not the soon-to-be new girlfriend of her ex.
Lastly, if she starts freaking out on you about the whole issue pay attention to what she says. She may not be completely over him yet, and if she isn’t then you may have to make a tough choice. Even if it doesn’t mean ending your friendship forever, you may have to take a couple of steps back to let all her emotions settle a bit; or you may have to take a step back from your new sweetheart.
The important thing to keep in mind here is that your blossoming relationship with this guy may work out… or it may fail. And if it fails, do you want to emerge from the wreck realizing that you’ve lost TWO people who are important to you? Even if it works out, losing your friend is not something to be taken lightly. So tread carefully and you may just be able to work things out!
Images from:
by:  maylee

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