Updated: Nov 28, 2020
One of the unspoken rules of the girl/guy code implies that it is never okay to date your friend's ex, especially your best friend's ex. It can become a touchy subject in many friendships especially if the breakup was hard on your friend and then you end up falling for their ex; this can cause a lot of friction between you, your friend and of course within your friendship circles.
But what is one to do?! Especially, if you have fallen in love with your friend's ex? What are the rules?! (Well, the rule is do not date your friend's ex, but...) What about following your heart?! Well, the heart is emotional and therefore fickle. If people went with every feeling that came to their hearts, the world would be a lot more chaotic than it already is.
There is also something to be said about self-control, especially when it comes to dating your friend’s ex. As humans, our hearts are inclined towards selfishness and sin, and therefore some decisions made with the heart, are made with the wrong motives, this could be true when you realise you are dating your friend's ex.
Following your heart is an attempt to gain immediate gratification
It is impulsive
It does not weigh the consequences
It's desires are temporary
And it does not want to tolerate the suffering required for specific results
But what if you are passionate about this new relationship and feel there is potential in it? Surely if you have a burning desire deep in your gut, propelling you forward despite whatever your friends feelings are; is this not more governing? The reality is, passion is different from the heart. Passion is often more committed than the heart.
“Passion has little to do with euphoria and everything to do with patience. It is not about feeling good. It is about endurance. Like patience, passion comes from the same Latin root: pati. It does not mean to flow with exuberance. It means to suffer.” - Mark Z. Danielewski
Following your passion is committing to something you know you must do regardless of the outcome
Even when it scares you
Even when it’s difficult
Even when you’re tired
Even when there’s some suffering involved
It is taking the time to discuss with your friend their feelings and yours, it is being responsible and accountable for the decision you make based on the feelings in your gut, instead of being a slave to the fickle feelings of your heart.
We can all make decisions with the wrong motives and choose to follow our heart instead of our gut. Each time we ignore our gut feeling, we tend to regret it and each time we listen to it, we are glad we did. So if you are faced with a situation where you are dating your friend's ex, listen to your gut, 9/10 times you would probably stop the relationship because you know it will affect your relationship with your friend and your passion for your friendship should outweigh the feelings in your heart, however, just like most things, there are some exceptions (when your friend has given their approval, obviously) and so, if this is not the case then you have to do what is right.
In the case where your friend say's it’s okay, this will require discernment to see if this is true. Monitor how they act when you discuss their ex and how they interact when they are around each other, this will let you know if you should continue with the relationship or not, but just know the damage may already be done and irreparable because you followed your heart.
On the one hand, dating your friend's ex might turn out to be no big deal at all and they end up being your life long partner. On the other hand, it may matter to your friend or even yourself, so tread carefully if that's the path you are choosing to take and be ready to have a possibly uncomfortable conversation along with a potentially rocky road with your friend.
If you would like to speak to someone about any relationship issues or advice check out https://www.relate.org.uk