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To date a friend's ex...?

(86 Posts)
WhoBU Fri 28-Jun-13 16:43:29

Have you ever done it? Would you?

Now-DP and I have been friends since we were teenagers. I moved away for uni and lived with X, who became a very good friend. Now-DP visited me, and started dating X, and they were together for 3 years. Then they split up, X moved away and dated someone else for 2 years, and now-DP dated several other people too. Over this general timescale I had two boyfriends of 2.5 years each and there was no flirtation between me and now-DP. Now-DP and I remained friends with X but didn't see her much due to distance.

Then, I split from my ex and now-DP and I started dating. We kept it quiet for a month or so (as we share a social circle and rightly knew it would be major gossip) then came clean, and I called X to let her know before she heard from elsewhere. She has barely spoken to me since.

Now-DP and I have been together for 3 years now and are very happy, but I still feel sad about losing X as a friend and miss her. She wanted to stay friends with now-DP but not me, due to my "betrayal of womanhood," as she called it in an email.


BadgersNadgers Sat 29-Jun-13 09:53:59

Ooo, it's tricky. I've always been a bit uneasy about friends' exes but you were friends with him first, which trumps her and DH was good friends with one of my exes, which is how we met and I have shagged one of my sister's exes so I've no no room to talk

Nanny0gg Sat 29-Jun-13 09:59:53

I have never understood the 'convention' of not dating a friend's ex (with the emphasis on the word ex).
If the relationship is very firmly over they weren't right for each other (even if only one of them was unhappy). There is a chance that you and friend's ex are made for each other and will live happily ever after. Is it right to miss that chance for a person that you may or may not be friends with, in the future?
However, I feel that if children are involved, or it's an affair then no, you shouldn't.

claraschu Sat 29-Jun-13 09:59:55

Don't understand what is wrong with this? They had split up long before you started going out, and it doesn't sound like there was any hugely tragic tale of woe involved-

I think she is being U

MaryPoppinsBag Sat 29-Jun-13 10:22:08


I got together with my BFF ex.
We are still together 18 years later, 2 kids 8 years married.

We were only 16 and 17 when we hooked up, but are clearly right for each other. There was s bit of hoo haa at the time even though we were all in sixth form. And BFF and I drifted apart. I still get on with her like a house on fire when I see her though.

teacherandguideleader Sat 29-Jun-13 11:08:18

I personally wouldn't date a friend's ex, would be too weird. However, I wouldn't mind if one of my friends dated any of my exes - they are welcome to them!

Jan49 Sat 29-Jun-13 12:08:51

I don't think I would do it, but as you have done and you're still together 3 years on, I think you have to just accept that the loss of X's friendship is a price you paid.

Wouldn't it feel a bit strange anyway to have a close friendship with someone who had spent several years in a relationship with your DP? I mean, she'd know things that were really personal. I think it would feel very uncomfortable spending time with your friend and your DP knowing that they were once in a quite long term sexual relationship. One of my friends has had 3 long term relationships within the same friendship circle and is still friends with the 2 exes, one of whom went to her next wedding. I find it a bit weird.

Spidder Sat 29-Jun-13 12:09:37

I went out with a lad in uni for 2 years-we even talked marriage. He was, at the time, the love of my life.

kind of, as I had an unfortunate ability to stay faithful and dumped him for an abusive knobhead.

A couple of years later, he got together with a girl I'd lived with and been really good friends with. I was really pleased fur them, as I think they probably made a better couple.i invited them to my wedding (not to knobhead), but I kind of get the impression that she would rather not get that close. so sort of the opposite of your problem.

WafflyVersatile Sat 29-Jun-13 13:11:37

When I was 15 my friend said she was going to dump her boyfriend. I asked why because he seemed really nice. She said because 'I think he fancies you and because I think he's gay'. 'Um, ok' Bit of an oxymoron but there you go.

A few weeks later he asked me out. We went out for about 6 months then he dumped me and started going out with someone called Mike....

Canny girl, that.

WafflyVersatile Sat 29-Jun-13 13:28:18

the point (if there is one) being there was no fall out.

OwlinaTree Sat 29-Jun-13 13:31:03

I don't think you are BU. I had a boyfriend at college, dated for about 4 years and split. If he suddenly reappeared as a friend's new BF it would just be...weird. Weird to socialise with an ex when once he was your partner, in a quite serious relationship. I wouldn't mind, i have a DH now and it was quite a while ago, but it would be weird and i think i would end up spending less time with the friend. I certainly would find it odd if she wanted to talk about the relationship!!

YANBU as people make their own choices about who to be with, and the two of you are obviously happy and well matched. It would be silly not to be with someone because of their ex, but i can understand why your friend feels uncomfortable being around the two of you.

signet Sat 29-Jun-13 13:40:41

In the circumstances that you describe, YANBU. I can understand it might feel a bit weird at first for your friend, but 3 years later she should have moved on and be happy for you.

FeegleFion Sat 29-Jun-13 13:53:54

My opinion on it is, there are enough people in the world to not date a friend's ex.

The feelings of betrayal would be too much to bare for me but that's just me.

SP flowers how shit.

I was engaged to a man who left me for a friend, so I wasn't yet his ex. I was devastated on both accounts.

They have gone on to get married, and in all honesty, I'm glad it wasn't a short lived thing after the devastation they left in their wake but it really doesn't make it any more acceptable that it happened.

Still18atheart Sat 29-Jun-13 14:04:33

I think it depends on the friendship i.e were you close friends you mention you lived together. Were you friends before living together?? The circumstances of the split. How long there were together for and the amount of time between the split and you getting together. Did you and the friend meet at uni.

IMO I can see why this is on your mind. But I think in this case I would put your relationship between you and dp first.

WafflyVersatile Sat 29-Jun-13 14:07:56

That's not the same though, feegle

Apart from the example given I've not dated a friend's ex but I make friends a lot more frequently than I meet a man I'd like to date who also wants to date me so I'd risk losing a friend if I thought I had a chance of happiness with her ex.

That's not to say I would never fall out with a friend if she dated an ex of mine. If I was still pining I might very well bin them both off and feel very hurt. But my unhappiness is mine to carry not theirs.

If a friend did it continually then I'd bin her as toxic regardless of whether I cared about my exes or not.

AntlersInAllOfMyDecorating Sat 29-Jun-13 14:20:07

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

LittlePeaPod Sat 29-Jun-13 14:31:39

but I make friends a lot more frequently than I meet a man I'd like to date who also wants to date me so I'd risk losing a friend if I thought I had a chance of happiness with her ex.

Wow, I think I would definitely want to know if any of my friends valued my friendship as little or superficially as this comment sounds. You would really dump your friend for a guy? Or maybe I miss understood the comment..

maristella Sat 29-Jun-13 14:36:03

I first met DP when he was seeing my friend, they were fuck buddies.

In fact I first met him in her bed! She and I had gone out, I'd fallen asleep on the sofa, she'd called him up, I woke up in the early hours very cold and had ran up and dived into her bed without seeing who was there! grin

It was hilariously awkward when we all woke up grin

But he and I got on sooooo well smile we laughed all morning. Friend commented on how well we got on.

I didn't see him again for 2 years, and then he asked me out. It's a wonderful relationship, we've had a few ups and downs, but we still have that chemistry, we never run out of things to say, we're always laughing and are mad about each other smile

I tried calling and messaging her when he first asked me out, when we got together and when I knew it was serious, but she didn't reply, which is pretty standard. Then DP and I were tagged in a few statuses on Facebook together and she unfriended me confused I did try and tell her, they were never anything serious, but it's still a shame

RabbitFromAHat Sat 29-Jun-13 14:38:46

I think it sounds like you have dealt with a difficult situation with grace, OP, and your friend is being a bit U in not extending same grace.

In a much more trivial way, I once had a ONS with somebody I had completely forgotten my best friend had had a relationship with, years previously. As my best friend and I lived together at the time, breakfast the next day was quite entertaining. Thankfully everyone saw the funny side, and no offence was taken by anybody. grin

WafflyVersatile Sat 29-Jun-13 14:42:46

I didn't say I'd dump a friend. I said I'd risk losing one if I thought there was potential.

see maristella's post for a case in point.

LittlePeaPod Sat 29-Jun-13 15:04:16

That's was my point exactly. If I have a friend that already knows that they would dump my friendship for a guy then I would rather know now. Something that happens without thought (unexpectedly) etc. is different but to already know now that you would lose a friend to me shows little value in the friendship. I am not saying its wrong or right, I am saying it would make me uncomfortable knowing that one of my friends thought that and i would doubt how true a friend the person really was.

BadLad Sat 29-Jun-13 17:06:23

It's bad form for friends of the dumpee to date the dumper, but not so if friends of the dumper to date the dumpee.

Or that's what I once thought - when I turned twenty-seven or so, nobody seemed to give a shit any more, and dated whomever they wanted, willy-nilly.

Either my circle of friends had changed, or only young peope particularly care about it.

IneedAsockamnesty Sat 29-Jun-13 17:40:13

It depends on the friendship and how serious the relationship was.

livinginwonderland Sat 29-Jun-13 18:08:14

DP had a "thing" with a friend of mine. They were never official and he even asked her out once and she said no as he has kids. DP thought "fair enough" and like any normal person, he moved on. When DP asked me out about six months later, she got in a right strop about it and will barely speak to me now. I don't regret it. I don't believe you own your ex's - once the relationship is over, they're free to date whoever they want, as are your friends!

WafflyVersatile Sat 29-Jun-13 19:02:55

Little again, not dump, risk. Whether the friendship ends depends on both friends not just one.

There are lots of different friendship states and relationship states.

Would you rather turn down a date with someone you really click with because it turns out he used to go out with someone you meet for coffee once every few months?

Would it make you uncomfortable if you knew a friend would take a job 200 miles away and feel that she didn't value your friendship?

Or if you both wanted the same job would it mean she didn't value as a friend if she took that job when offered to you, knowing that you wanted it.

invicta Sat 29-Jun-13 19:16:53

it would be weird to date a friend's ex straight after they split up -too soon. However, you knew dp as a friend, and you dated him years after they split up. That's different. You don't remain someone's property after splitting up with them. She should move on.

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