When people hear this question, their straight-up answer is a big ass “NO”, seeing it as a betrayal of the girl or bro code to even think about dating your best friend’s ex. Seeing you as someone who violated sayings like “bros before hoes” or “sisters before misters” for asking your friend if you can, how rude and hurtful of you! But feelings are already so complicated and hard to deal with, and the answer to this dilemma is not always the same. It’s not all black and white here guys, it depends on the situation they were in, what the relationship was like and how it ended. And it’s not like the girl or boy WANTED to have feelings for the ex, the heart wants what it wants, you know? But for those of you who are currently asking themselves this question, I feel you, and I’m here to try and help you find a solution to this sudden pile of drama and unexpected fucked up emotions.
The first thing you need to do is asking yourself a bunch of questions. Sit and think about your feelings, are they real? Is it just a phase? Is it worth any risks that might come along the way? What does losing your friend mean to you? (because it might happen)
If they are real and you’re ready to ask the guy or gal out, then will your bff be ok with this? Will it hurt them? How much do you value your friendship? Because whether they’re fine with it or not, it still hurts to see your ex with someone else, let alone one of your closest friends, happily in a relationship, doing all the couple activities that they used to do. Be honest and truthful to yourself, so you can be sure of the steps you’re taking.
If it was just a fling or nothing serious, then it’s highly likely that your friend won’t care whether you date their “ex” or not. Heck, they might be happy for you. The only huge red flag is if the ex cheated on your friend. I don’t care how in love you are with them, her/him being around would just be too heartbreaking for your friend, plus they might cheat on you too.
If your buddy went through hell during the breakup, if it was so toxic and exhausting that the exes can’t stand being around each other in the same room, then no. If you notice your friend bringing up their ex in a defensive way in many discussions, then that might be a sign that they haven’t moved on, and that’s another no, not yet. But if it was a mutual friendly agreement and both decided to end it respectfully without popcorn worthy drama, then asking would be fine. If the breakup was recent and the wound is still fresh, you need to wait a while, because they might still be in love with their ex; breakups are hard enough, don’t make it even harder.
If you want to make sure that they’re totally over the relationship without making it seem so obvious, you can mention the name of their ex and see how they would react. If they get angry and tears start pouring down their cheeks, then abort…abort the mission, out with the tissues and ice cream. Also, I’m sorry to inform you that they’re not going to take the idea of you and their ex giving it a chance very well. If they are pretty calm and they even talk about the ex like they’re a common friend, then shoot your shot, it’s going to be ok. If they’re in a happy relationship, then they probably have forgotten about that ex.
But if you consider asking your friend for his/her permission (which, btw, isn’t a necessity but we wanna keep it peaceful here) then you need to be considerate of their feelings and ask provoking questions that will make them express their feelings like “would it make you uncomfortable?” Listen to what they have to say and show vulnerability, tell them about what you’ve been going through and how you’re currently feeling.
It also depends on how long the relationship lasted, if they were together for over a year, then they were serious and probably had plans for the future, it probably took something serious to break them up. So, we’re pretty sure that there will always be feelings and love between them, and that it would be awkward for your best friend to see you with their once partner.
And there you have it, there isn’t a model answer to this question. Sometimes, you might even not get one at all! Just don’t put too much pressure or guilt on yourself, you’re still a teenager figuring out what you want in life. And remember, mistakes are lessons, always.