Can you ever date a friend's ex-partner

The thing about the heart is it does what it wants and whenever it wants, regardless of whether the act is right or wrong. Sometimes, this can be a nuisance especially if your heart decides to make you fall for your friend's ex-lover.

To date your friend's ex-girlfriend or boyfriend is often complicated. If you are aware of the 'bro-code' or the 'girlfriend-code' (created based on the spirit of brotherhood and sisterhood), you will know there is an unspoken rule that a friend's ex is off-limits.

But there are several high-profile personalities who have defied the rule. In 1959, Hollywood legend, the late Elizabeth Taylor married Eddie Fisher, the ex-husband of actress Debbie Reynolds, her long-time friend.

The Beatles' lead guitarist George Harrison and his wife Pattie Boyd divorced in 1977. Prior to that, Harrison's best friend, Eric Clapton, confronted him about his interest in Boyd. Clapton received Harrison's blessing and married Boyd shortly after her divorce.

Then there was guitarist Richie Sambora who hooked up with his friend and neighbour, actress Denise Richards, after his divorce from bombshell Heather Locklear in 2006. Richards and Locklear used to be best friends before the scandal.

The search for a special someone can be a long and arduous task. So, when you stumble upon someone whom you're attracted to and get along with, the smart thing to do maybe is to grab this person and never let go.

Unfortunately, if that person is your friend's former lover, things might be a little bit tricky.


Relationship expert and matchmaker Christine Foo doesn't think that dating a friend's ex is wrong as long as one does it "ethically".

"Of course you shouldn't date your friend's ex a day after they break up. You have to give them some time and space to resolve whatever issues they may still have. They need to get over each other," says the founder of

It is crucial to be certain of the timing before one starts "pursuing". There is a possibility the friend may get back together with the ex. That is just the nature of a break-up.

"If your friend has had a serious long-term relationship with the ex, it is best that you wait at least a year, just so that you can be sure your friend no longer has intimate feelings for the ex ... or at least let the friend find somebody new first," she adds.

But it is a different case if your friend was with the ex for only a short period.

"Still, don't just jump on it. Ask for your friend's permission first. Technically, you don't need the permission but, by doing so, it shows that you respect the friendship. It is the most courteous thing to do," Christine advises.

But dating your friend's ex is wrong if it's done with malicious intent. "It is a big no-no to wreck a friend's relationship just for the sake of 'stealing' his or her partner," Christine says.

Getting involved with your friend's ex is a risky business, simply because you are putting your friendship in jeopardy. If not done carefully and tastefully, one can end up losing a good friend.

"Some people don't appreciate their friends going after what they once had. This is why your friend's personality is also important. If he or she is open-minded, he or she won't care that you are dating the ex. But if the friend is very insecure, your life might become very difficult," she says.

She adds another scenario. "Sometimes, your friend may say it is okay for you to date the ex, but in actual fact, he or she feels the opposite. If that happens, chances are your friendship won't remain the same again."

In that case, Christine's advice for those who want to get serious with a friend's ex is to ask themselves, "Is it worth the risk?" or "Do I mind losing a friend?".

"Do your research well and be sure that your friend is absolutely fine with you dating the ex before you start making a move," Christine advises.


Is there hope for friendship after you've dated a friend's ex? Yes, there is, according to Christine.

"Love and attraction are blind. Sometimes you can't help but fall for someone who happens to be in your friend's love history. An understanding friend will not mind," she says.

"It will be complicated if there are unresolved issues between your friend and the ex. Don't put yourself in the middle of such a situation. You may end up having to choose sides."

Once a person starts going out with a friend's ex, there are some dos and don'ts. The most important is to not compare notes.

"For example, if you tell your friend that you had so much fun with his or her ex at a fancy restaurant or something, your friend might feel annoyed. Probably because he (or she) was never treated the same way while in the relationship. This would create unnecessary tension. The best is to keep your activities private," Christine advises.

People change all the time. The way they acted in previous relationships may not be the same as in their current. But on the positive side, you can learn about the likes and dislikes of the ex from your friend. This will put you a step ahead in your future relationship with the ex.

"Be careful though. People change all the time so this can backfire on you also," she says.


John Tang, 35, can relate to the topic well. His friend, Mr K, is currently dating his ex-girlfriend. The financial controller remembers the time the three of them used to hang out together.

"He was like our third wheel. I got used to having him around. It was fun. But I didn't know he was admiring my girlfriend in secret," says John.

Oblivious to Mr K's interest, John would often share his relationship problems with Mr K. One day, he felt the relationship was going nowhere and thought that a break-up was the only answer. So, he told Mr K about it.

"What I didn't know was that my ex was also confiding in him!" says John.

Time went by and John was unaware of how close Mr K and his ex had grown after the break-up. Eventually they started going out on dates.

"Kuala Lumpur is so small... you can bump into each other quite easily. That was what happened. I saw them walking and holding hands in a mall. I was shocked and somewhat enraged. Most of all, it was very awkward. Not knowing what to do, we just smiled and walked away," John says.

That night, he texted Mr K. They met up and Mr K admitted that he and John's ex were already an item.

"He apologised for not telling me about the relationship earlier. He said he was worried that I would react badly. I realised that it was not right for me to stop two people from falling in love. So I just let it be," says John.

"After that, our friendship turned sour although we tried to be civil to each other. I personally wouldn't date my best friend's ex. It is just weird. I don't know how he could do it."

Sharing the sentiment is Paul Anand. For him, although dating a friend's ex is not wrong, it can create unpleasantness.

"Will your social circle be comfortable with this? Often, it turns out for the worst. Your peers and friends may look at you differently. There are going to be comparisons and there could also be feuds within the circle too," says the editor of Hype magazine.

"From a man's point of view, it may be awkward at first. But if I was really into the girl, I would treat her better than the ex," the 32-year-old says.


Krystle Iris van Dijk has a positive take on the issue. She feels that if two people are made for each other, other things don't matter much. "I actually have a friend who is currently going out with my ex and it doesn't bother me at all. In fact, I am happy for them. They are a sweet couple and they complement each other so well. I know she can give him so much more than I could have had, so yes, I am more than okay that a friend is dating an ex-boyfriend," she says.

But the 28-year-old believes that it is better to wait a little while before one goes out with a friend's ex - out of respect.

"It would be nice if the friend lets you know about the relationship too though I can also understand the hesitation. They probably don't want to spoil the friendship. But for me, honesty is the best policy. Just bite the bullet and it may not be as bad as you think," says Krystle who hails from Miri.

Derek Lim Teck Sheng from Petaling Jaya feels that whether the act is right or wrong, it all depends on the level of friendship one has enjoyed with the person.

"I don't think I would interfere with anyone's love life. If my friend is a good person, I wouldn't mind him dating my ex," says Derek, adding that the best response is to wish both parties well. If the friend and ex are not sneaky about the situation, there shouldn't be any qualms about them being together, believescollege student Delia Azahari.

"I guess it will be complicated if there is still unfinished business. I would definitely expect my friend to speak to me about it. That is important because it would mean that she actually cared about my feelings. Don't get me wrong, I won't stand in the way. I just like a heads-up," says the 20-year-old.

Hoping for the same treatment is Kristina Antonette Mariswamy from Penang. "Who my ex dates is none of my business, but I hope if it's a friend, she will be honest with me from the start. I will accept it as she has shown she cares enough about our friendship to check if I am okay with the situation. It's not a must, just courtesy," says the 26-year-old media practitioner.

By Zuhaila Sedek-De Booij


Ana REx said...

Has a guy ever given you mixed signals?

One minute he’s crazy about you and the next minute you have no clue if he ever wants to see you again?

And it’s especially hard when there’s something special between you and you have no idea what went wrong.

I assure you it’s nothing that you did.

In fact, he may even care about you a great deal and still not be able to stop himself from acting this way.

But why does this happen?

There’s one BIG reason why men do this...

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If it’s missing, he’ll never be able to truly give his heart to you...

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On the other hand, when you know this powerful “secret ingredient”... won’t believe how effortless, passionate and bulletproof your relationship can be.

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Thanks again.

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