Dating Your Ex’s Friend—How To Avoid The Pitfalls
Dating your ex’s friend may sound strange, but it is in fact perfectly natural. Attractive women tend to be friends with other attractive women. It is only logical that your eye should wander over to one of her friends when the two of you have split up. Indeed, you will probably already have the basis for a good relationship. If you and your ex dated for a long time, then you probably got to know a few of her friends pretty well. And this will save you from some of the awkwardness that comes from having to talk to a complete stranger.
It will also put you in danger of stepping into the first pitfall of such a relationship. You will be tempted into thinking that you can skip the getting-to-know you drudgery and move on to the nights out, the great sex, and the partying together. That is a bad move. It suggests that you intend to treat her as the friend of an ex rather than a woman in her own right. You must court and woo her just like you would any other woman you are interested in. Otherwise, she will feel like she’s having her friend’s sloppy seconds.
The courting and wooing may lead to another pitfall. You both are probably part of a larger group of friends and acquaintances that includes your ex, and you will be on each other’s Facebook and Twitter feeds. Keep what the two of you are doing off social media until things have developed to the point at which you are both comfortable calling yourselves a couple. This is not about feeling shame or being secretive. It’s just better to avoid making your new squeeze the target of gossip before she’s ready for it.
This leads to the third pitfall to avoid. Don’t give your ex a veto over the new relationship you’re trying to forge. This can be tricky depending on whether you dumped her or she dumped you. If it is the latter, she may think you are dating one of her friends just to spite her. If it is the former, then she may try to prevent you dating one of her friends just to spite you. In either case, tensions and emotions will run high. And she will most likely work on her friend rather than directly confront you with her disapproval. You must therefore be prepared to answer serious questions regarding your motivations for wanting to date the new woman.
It shouldn’t be too hard to respond. First of all, she’s hot. Second, you have common interests and shared tastes. Third, you got to know her somewhat while you were dating her friend, and now that you’ve had the chance to see her on her own you think she’s really terrific. Fourth, attraction is what it is. You cannot help that you happen to like her and want to be with her. Fifth, you’re your own man. You know your own mind and feelings. And you make your own judgments and decisions about who you want to date. Something like this should suffice if your ex’s friend asks why you want to date her.
Finally, you should avoid the pitfall of remaining always her friend’s ex. This fact need not define the whole of your relationship. At some point, the two of you will have to establish yourselves as a couple—independent of your respective past and present relationships. Your ex-girlfriend does not have a copyright over you. She doesn’t get to license your relationship. You should get quickly to a place where this is accepted as given by the both of you.
About Christopher Reid Chris was born in Washington, D.C. and lives in Britain. He works as a blogger, essayist, and novelist. His first book, Tea with Maureen, has just been published.