Lots of people have told me unequivocally that they would never date a friend's ex. They wholeheartedly believe that it's wrong, disrespectful, and if a friend did that to them, they'd never talk to that person again. They believe this is something everybody knows, that they're just following the rules.
It started our innocently enough. Brian had been divorced for three years when he filled out the cumbersome eHarmony profile. Looking through all the profiles on other dating sites was daunting, so he decided to let a computer do the mate selection for him.
Let's play a game. Your mate is dating Sally. They split up, and suddenly Sally's single.
She and I were soul sisters, spoke on the phone for hours, had sleepovers all the time. She was my rock. She started to date this guy and four months after they broke up we started to see each other. Also, I knew so much about their relationship.
Yes, you may as many people tend to get completely wrapped up in your own feelings and give the middle finger to anyone who tries to tell you otherwise, but if one of your besties decided to start humping your ex, would you be supportive or forgiving? Thirdly, yet without intending to come across as territorial in a caveman-defecating-on-his-patch-of-land sort of way, that person was with you and was part of your life. They were someone who significantly contributed to shaping the person you are today.
Sometimes when you develop feelings they happen to be for your friend's ex. But, pursuing these feelings might not always be worth it. Some friends might be cool with you dating their ex, but other friends may feel it's crossing the line.
It just sort of happened. In discussing this topic with my female friends, it seems to me that men are especially experienced in dealing with this dilemma. Say a friend of mine breaks up with so-and-so, and we run into her at a party.
Back in my hometown, I lived in a small arts and activism community, and everyone dated everyone. It was a cesspool of friends and lovers mixing. I distinctly remember talking to a new friend and finding out we had dated not one, not two, but three of the same guys. This made it difficult for me to even go on dates without thinking about all of the partners the other person might have had — people I probably knew and would inevitably compare myself to.
It does, after all, seem like a hard line to draw in the sand. On the flip side, it might also impact your relationship with your friend, depending on things like how they broke uphow long they dated, and whether or not they still harbor feelings for this person in question. If the breakup was recent, for example, your friend may have some lingering feelings.