Dealing with the end of a relationship is hard enough without the additional baggage of a best friend’s betrayal. Because that’s what dating your friend’s ex is, as far as most people are concerned.
While many of the girl code rules remain ambiguous, the unspoken one not to get with a friend’s ex sits clearly at the top.
Putting the code aside for a second, how does one handle seeing someone you trusted like a best friend pick things up where you left off with your ex? Worse still, what are you supposed to say or do when you find out their relationship has been going on for some time, as is usually the case?
Are you expected to put the friendship first as a good friend would, even though that didn’t seem to stop your so-called friend from stabbing you in the back? Is it okay not to want anything to do with either of them after this?
Does it still count as a betrayal if you no longer have feelings for your ex and have already moved on with your life? I answer these and a few more questions you may ask in this situation. Read on.
- 1 7 Things to Do If Your Friend Dates Your Ex
- 2 FAQs
- 3 To Conclude
7 Things to Do If Your Friend Dates Your Ex
1. Acknowledge The Fact
The initial shock of finding out your best friend is dating your ex can bring about a host of emotions or denial. You’d think your friend would never do that to you even if it isn’t beneath your ex-boyfriend.
If you’re like me, you might even try making excuses for her, like she didn’t know what she was doing. Or that it isn’t what it looks like.
It can be even more shattering if you still have feelings for your ex and your friend knows. To be sure, ask your friend if what you heard is indeed true (in case you didn’t hear it from her). Once she confirms it, it is important that you allow yourself to feel all the stuff you might otherwise want to suppress.
And if it happens that you had your friend and perhaps yourself convinced that you no longer had feelings for your ex, but it turns out you do, acknowledge that, too.
2. Consider What This Means For You And Your Friend Going Forward
Once you can admit to yourself that you are not dreaming and that this is actually happening, the next thing is to consider what this means for your friendship. How much did your relationship with your ex mean to you? How long have you and this girl been friends?
After all, you’ve lost to your ex, is he worth losing a best friend over? Is the hurt deep enough for you to never want to see your friend again, or do you think you could get past it after some time? Asking yourself these questions and answering them truthfully can help you determine your next move.
If you decide not to burn bridges, consider having a conversation with your friend about how hurt you are that she made such a decision without giving you a heads-up. It might do you some good to not be so close while the whole thing is still fresh.
You can also put some boundaries in place regarding your ex, from either of you talking about the relationship to him hanging out with you guys.
3. Mourn Your Friendship
Alternatively, you can choose to part ways with this person altogether if you don’t think you can continue seeing her as your best friend. Apparently, many people think staying friends with someone after learning they’re dating your ex would be too weird for them.
A 2019 survey showed that over one-third of friendships have ended for this exact reason. If you believe this would be the best move for you, then you should make it. Whether you tell your friend your relationship with her is over is your prerogative.
However, you shouldn’t assume that losing years of closeness with someone wouldn’t affect you. You may not realize how much you’ll miss her now because of all the negative feelings, but once they subside, you will.
When they do, don’t be ashamed to mourn your friendship like you would a break up, as you may not get real closure without it.
4. Forgive Them But Don’t Forget
Whatever you decide to do between keeping your friendship with your best friend and cutting both of them off completely is fair. Assuming you make those decisions based on what’s best for you and not because of what people will say.
Speaking of what’s best for you, consider forgiving them. It may seem impossible right now, especially if you’re neck-deep in anger. Nevertheless, holding on to bitter feelings for too long does not help you, and frankly, it probably doesn’t deter their relationship as much as you might think.
For your sanity, do what you must to let the resentment go. You should, however, hold on to what you learn from this incident. Don’t ever forget that even people you once called a significant other and best friend can choose their happiness over you because that’s just life. Forgive them to stay sane, but remember the lessons.
5. Forgive Yourself
It is not uncommon for people in your situation to blame themselves somehow for what happened. You wonder if you shouldn’t have talked up your partner, now ex, so much in front of your friend. You wonder if you should have held onto the relationship for a little longer.
You’re angry, but a part of you questions whether you have a right to be since you’re also seeing someone else. In all of this, you are forced to think about whether your ex ever even loved you, or you were just a stepping stone he used to reach to her.
If you’ve been feeling this way, I’m here to tell you that it isn’t your fault that your best friend is dating your ex. Stop feeling guilty for a decision these two took without your consent. All you did was trust and that they decided to break it is their cross, not yours.
6. Turn To Your Other Friends For Comfort
The truth is no matter how forgiving you are and how happy you are in your current relationship (if you’re dating), this would be a pretty tough time to navigate alone. If you can help it, you shouldn’t be by yourself.
Surround yourself with people you can trust, perhaps other girlfriends, your sisters, or anyone else you think might understand. I’m suggesting ladies primarily because it can be tempting to lose faith in female friendships altogether if you don’t have a reminder of what it’s like to be around supportive women.
But if that single friend was all you had, lean on others who love you until you no longer feel like you’re drowning in despair. The pain you feel will pass, I promise. Give your friends a chance to help you through it.
7. Live Your Life
Most importantly, forget your friend, your ex, and their relationship and focus on living your best life. Whether you are dating yourself right now or not, don’t give them the satisfaction of dominating your thoughts longer than you already have.
You already said goodbye to your ex anyway, don’t let this little drawback bring him back to the center of your existence. While you figure out where things stand with your friend, distract yourself with other things you love. Spend time with people whose company you enjoy.
No one is worth putting your happiness on hold for. So, take a breather if you need to. Then get back out there and channel your energy into improving your friendship, career, love life, and other things that make you, you.
Acknowledge the fact that this is happening and allow yourself to go through the emotions that your friend dating your ex brings. Consider what their relationship means for your friendship now and have a conversation with her when you decide. Forgive them and yourself but hold on to the lessons. Lastly, surround yourself with loved ones and move on with your life.
Dating your friend’s ex is generally frowned upon. Nevertheless, you should clear it with them to see if they wouldn’t mind you going out with their ex. But don’t try it if there are still some feelings there and be prepared for some awkwardness if they were together for long or the breakup is still fresh.
Being friends with your ex may help both of you get past the bad blood, but it doesn’t guarantee getting back together. While hanging out with each other may spark some jealousy when you start seeing other people, it can also shine more light on why your relationship didn’t work in the first place.
Going out with an ex’s sibling can be weird on so many levels, but I guess that comes down to those involved. If the breakup has been a while, with no lingering emotions between you and your ex, then, by all means, go ahead. As long as you’re both okay with it.
You should ask your friend how they feel about you staying friends with their ex. When you do, try and listen actively beyond their verbal response. If you get a not really or a reluctant yes, you should probably abort the mission. But if it genuinely doesn’t bother them, then it’s okay.
I hope you found these tips helpful about what to do when someone is dating a friend’s ex. Remember, make your decision based on your interest, not what is expected of you.
Don’t cut your best friend off if what she did doesn’t even bother you because society says that is the rule. If you feel like both you and your best friend might even still want to hand out with each other in the future, it’s best to keep in touch with your best friend.
And don’t condemn yourself to a relationship without trust just to appear as the bigger person. If you liked the article, kindly share it and leave a comment.
As hopeless romantic I struggled tremendously in my love life. After many years of searching, trial & error, and countless failed relationships, I finally found my Mr. Right. It wasn't an easy road, but one that has taught me an incredible amount about the workings of relationships between men and women, and this is what I hope to share through my writing on this blog.