Is it OK to Date Your Best Friend’s Ex?

Sharing with friends is normal - but most people draw the line at exes. Is it ever OK to break the Best Friend Code?
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Is it OK to Date Your Best Friend's Ex?

My best friend and I share a lot of things – clothes, beauty products, bar tabs – but one thing we most definitely do not share is boyfriends. It’s an unspoken rule, but exes and former flames are off-limits.

Why? Personally, I find it a tad bit disrespectful. If my best friend were to ever start dating one of my exes after we broke up, it would mean two things: First, that she’d obviously been harboring feelings for him the whole time I was dating him. And second, that whatever it was that caused my ex and me to break up clearly doesn’t matter that much to her. So much for loyalty! (Ho’s before bro’s, ladies!).

I feel the same way when it comes to dating any of my ex’s best friends. I wouldn’t want to be responsible for ruining a bromance or coming between lifetime buddies. There are plenty of fish in the sea, so there’s no reason for me to go swimming amongst his school of fish – or my best friend’s. The guilt and awkwardness that would surely ensue hardly seem worth it.

Read 5 Signs He Isn’t Over His Ex

But when it comes to matters of the heart, you can’t always pick and choose who you fall for. Sometimes you just can’t help the way you feel, and if it could mean finding your true love, shouldn’t you just go for it and hope everyone involved will understand? In other words, is there ever an exception to the Best Friend Code?

Sally*, 28, from Michigan, had been dating Jack* for four-and-a-half years, through college and graduate school. Their relationship was a serious one, but while Sally was busy getting her degree, Jack was passing the time hanging out with Sally’s BFF, Alexis*.

“Neither Alexis nor I had any idea that this would be a problem,” Sally says. “We trusted Jack and each other.” But one day, Jack dropped a bomb on both girls: He was leaving Sally… because he was in love with Alexis.

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51 thoughts on “Is it OK to Date Your Best Friend’s Ex?

  1. I'm a strong believer in the unspoken rule of "don't date your friend's ex." It should go without saying. Just flip the situation around, would you want your friend to date your ex? No.

  2. My BFF and I have been friends since we were 12 yrs. old and I couldn’t imagine losing her friendship over some guy. If she dumped him I know he isn’t worth my time. The unspoken rule stands.

  3. I’ve had a couple friends do this to me — one I no longer speak with, and the other one I’m still friends with, but things have never quite been the same between us, trust-wise. The good news is that it’s made me appreciate my REAL friends — the ones who really have my back and aren’t going to go after someone I care about — a lot more!

  4. I had one friend do this to me, and my ex wanted to be friends immediately after we had broken up. I wanted to stay on good terms, but he found things to pick fights about. So, I ended that friendship. As to my best friend that began dating him, I can no longer trust her due to what happened although we remain friends. It shows that neither of them cared about how I felt, even though I tried to stay on good terms with both of them.

    It just goes to show how a faux pas like that can really make or break a friendship or trust altogether.

  5. I practically lived with a guy for 2 years and when we broke up, i was devastated. My BFF of 7 years went thru all this with me. Time went by, about 3 years and I got married. She went out on New Years Eve subsequent to that and went home with my ex. She told me about it and then said they were going to see where it went. I was hurt. so I spoke to her about it. Well, she went off and told him what I said. Then he started sending me terrible instant messages. She even said things about me to him and she was supposed to be my friend. They were all in love (for about 6 weeks) when she sent him packing. Now she and I never speak – maybe an email 2 or 3 times a year. I do realize I was remarried, but she showed a total lack of respect for our friendship by hooking up with him and then talking about me with him not to mention personal details were shared by him with her about our past relationship. I would never do that to someone. Too many other men out there.

  6. I think I would only be hurt if it was a guy I wanted to marry or was married to. I think then there is an emotional connection to that person that you can never quite get over, especially if you had been together for years. I know if one of my friends dated my current guy, if we ever break up(heaven forbid), I would be an emotional wreck and probably never talk to her again. But if it was a guy I was with and never got emotionally deep with I would say go ahead, but good luck because I didn’t think he was worth it.

  7. i think it really depends on the situation. if your bff is totally over her/his ex, then that’s okay. It still doesnt mean that its OKAY to date your bff’s ex though. It’s really hard to say.

  8. Actually, one of my BFFs is dating one of my exes & I am surprisingly okay with it. It’s been over a decade since he & I dated & I’m well over being angry at him. I don’t feel that she betrayed me & I don’t want him back, though I am a bit concerned that he’s not good enough for her. However, he’s a far sight better than her ex-husband & the kids like him, so to me that’s what matters.

  9. No, it is not OK to date your BFF’s ex, your cousin’s ex, your sister’s ex, your brother’s ex, etc. Legally, there is no problem but morally, it is just not right.

  10. I hear you on that #8! But as #10 said, it depends on the situation. Did you possibly have some feelings left for the guy? I understand marriage but if things end abruptly, sometimes you never have a chance to get your feelings settled and it can sting when it is brought up back in your memory.

  11. Furthermore, I was in a similar boat! In my case, they decided to go at it roughly a week or two after my boy and broke up and obviously hide it from you. Imagine my dumb struck surprise when I found out that one of my best friends could do that to me… meanwhile I was crying on her shoulder about how hurt I am! So naive of me!

  12. I was a strong believer in the hos before bros code, until my best friend of six years decided to sleep with my then bf at the time. I didn’t really like him that much, the relationship was pretty much dead, so I forgave her. I started hanging out more with one of her casual flings, one she told me she was over and he was just sex. And then I fell for him, and he for me. I talked to her and she said yeah whatever, she didn’t care. SO we started dating, my “friend” tried everything she could to sabotage the relationship, from lying about me to him (and about him to me) to trying to sleep with him. When he told me about that I cut her out of my life. Since then we couldn’t be happier. He asked me to marry him, and we’ve already set a date for next April. I normally wouldn’t have done that, but the feelings I had for him were so strong that I felt I might be missing a major opportunity if I didn’t give it a try. Of course it didn’t hurt that my so-called-friend was a backstabbing ho, either. I have a new best friend, and it’s my fiance, and I’m glad I broke the BFF code.

  13. #15, Asha, I know that feeling. I was crying on my friend’s shoulder but how I was worried about taking my friendship with him to the next level, and she was reassuring me, telling me she’d help me and listened to me talk for hours, while I tried to build up my confidence. Meanwhile I find out from him right before we got together that she was flirting with him, and tried to sleep with him, then when he said no, told him that I liked him, but that if he wanted they could keep a thing on the side.

    I think it’s wrong to just snatch your BFF’s ex right after they broke up just to go have a fling with him. If you have feelings for him, then you should go for it. No REAL, TRUE best friend would ever ask you to hold back on your feelings just because she used to date a guy.

  14. My partner and someone I was supervising ‘hooked up’ and it felt like a double betrayal. Wouldn’t have been easy getting my heart broken no matter who it had been but for them to be doing it ….basically in front of me and everyone else I knew was even harder. But betrayal is sort of common and it is good to know what kind of person you were in love with….the sooner the better so you can move on.

  15. Uptowngirl: you are clueless to post something that you have not experianced yourself. It simply shows you don’t know what your talking about or you do it yourself. Its never ok to do it to a friend or an acquaintance.It happened to me and I will never speak to that individual again!
    There is a flip side of things. I have suggested before to a friend to hook up with an ex of mine and now they are married with a kid.

  16. I say it depends on how long your BFF and ex dated. For instance, my BFF started seeing O while she was going through a seperation with her husband. My BFF and O dated for about a month and then she started seeing her husband after she had just left him. So O and I remained friends and after a month we decided to take the next step. That’s why I say it depends, every situation is different.

  17. True Story: I dated my first boyfriend about four years ago. It only lasted a month and I broke up with him after I realized the spark was gone. Just last year my BFF decided she wanted to date him. At first I was like “NNNNOOOOOOOOOOO!” but when I realized that they both had a connection I just let it go and gave them my blessing. Before I accepted them they totally stayed away from eachother in order to spare my feelings and now I see that I was in the wrong. Not all relationships are like mine but you would think you would want the best for the people you care about right? I understand if your friend or ex start talking behind your back then yea cutting them off is the best idea but these were the people who cared about me so much that they wouldn’t even kiss until I was okay with them.

  18. Read your comments posted on the subject of “Dating your best friends’ ex”, although I agree partly with the advice, there are always exceptions to every rule. With my experience however, the exception applies. I was best friends with a girl from our sophmore year in highschool untill about three years ago, when she introduced me to a group of people attending her son’s wedding, as her long-time friend, and another woman she’d made friends with only a few years, as her best friend. I was stunned, and hadit not been the occasion it was, I would have said something.For years after her seperation from her husband, I always heard that HE was a blank-a-ty-blank, or HE was this ,or HE was that. For the most part I never questioned her remarks. While at the wedding, her estanged was at the wedding and came up to me, asked me something, but the music was so loud at the reception, I couldn’t hear what he said, so I screamed out,”Let’s go out to where it was more quiet”,to talk. Now this man, I’d known for as long as they were married, so it wasn’t like he was a stranger. We sat on a sofa in the foyer of the reception hall, and for a good half-hour, sat and talked about our kids, what I had been doing since my divorce(s), etc.etc. He got up, excused himself, went to the men’s room, and I looked over at my “friend”, who was standing with some women, talking, whe she mouthed to me, “What the f— was I talking to him for?”.I said nothing,until on the way home, her cousin drove me home, and not knowing the way, or streets, my “friend” went too. She asked me again what HE and I were talking about? I told her it was no big deal, just kids, what I’d been doing since he’d last seen me(in ’86)and what not. She was fumming. That was the last conversation we ever had, almost 3 years ago. To think, after 41 years of friendship,years of letters, phone calls, being in her wedding, visits with her and her husband,at different places they had lived,all was over a 30 minute conversation. That evening, as I was getting ready for bed, I called her, checking about the plan of going to her son and daughter-in-law’s the next day, to see them open their gifts. I was expecting for either her or her cousin to come byand pick me up, her knowing I didn’t have a car. By early afternoon, I called again, asking thes time if I could get e ride. She told me that they were leaving right then, and there was no more room in the cars. Again, I was stunned. What has transpired from then til now, is I’m happy to say,another story. If I hadn’t started to question things that had happened in the past several years, I may have gone about my life the same as usual, instead of moving, to Virginia, where HE lives. I know things that she had divulged to me, things she may or maynot think I would tell him about her antics during their marriage. She’s perfectly happy with someone, for the past 19 years, and I wouldn’t tell HIM what I knew, HE doesn’t deserve the pain of knowing what she did. He found out what she was capable of on the nite of one of their anniversaries. Found her out with one of the men she was having an affair with. HE snapped. Lost HIS temper, and she had to deal with it.It’s a nasty story, and no use in saying any more.

  19. yea, this is tough. i was in a situation where i fell for my (boy)BFF…but his ex was one of my (girl)BFFs. there were never any feelings while they were going out, i was actually kinda grossed at the thought of him being intimate. but we ended up having feelings, were both in denial, and then finally tried things out after a while. things were hard, but it was expected. it was the first time i had followed my heart & listened to my feelings – whether they were wrong or right. so, no regrets. the whole situation has helped me become the woman i am today.

  20. I think in general the BFF Code should be stuck to like a life preserver. However, there are exceptions to every rule. I’ve been in that situation. My closest BFF and I have known each other since 7th grade, and been thick as thieves since the very day we met. In 10th grade I started going out with this guy that I had had a secret crush on for nearly a year. I had no idea that she had dated him as well, in 8th grade when I was living in a different city and we’d lost contact for a while. I never found out until after the relationship ended, when she told me “I dated him too. Never worked out.” I was blasted right out of the water, because, not knowing their history, she had seen us together often, and apparently was HIGHLY unhappy about it. Though she never said anything to me about, just vented to other people until the relationship ended and she told me everything. Thankfully, she and I are STILL very close BFF’s (thank goodness, since I’m currently staying at her place while I figure a few things out). And I’m also still really close friends with our mutual ex, I consider him one of my closest male BFF’s. It could have been a friendship ending situation all the way around, but thankfully that’s not how things went. We got past it and now we’re all perfectly fine with one another, seeing each other as a kind of life line.
    Can’t say the same for another friendship. A now ex-BFF and I also share an ex. I haven’t known her nearly as long as the other, but we were just about as close, calling each other “sister” and each others parents “Mom and Dad” and that. But I briefly dated an ex of hers, again without knowing that fact, and she had a FIT all over me about it. The relationship was short lived (I learned from her and several other non-biased sources that he was a lying cheating backstabber), but it completely totaled the friendship. We don’t even exchange e-mails now. Which bothers me a lot, but I can’t change the way she feels about it. I do keep up on what’s going on with her though, through mutual friends. Not stalking or anything, but she has kids that I thought of as my nieces and nephews and I like to know how their growing up. I even see the kids sometimes, when their out with a mutual friend or their dad. Which is nice, they love me and I them. They even still call me “auntie”. She knows about all of this of course (she is their mother after all, and it is HER life I

  21. I say NO!! ..but i suppose it depends on every situation!! I had not my BF, but actual blood cousin date my ex!! I could not believe she would ever do that, but life teaches you a lot of lessons! …needless to say, nope, she is not one of my BFF’s of Best Cousins!!

  22. i think it more depends on the situation, the reason for the initial break-up, and how close your friend and you are. my best friend and i have been friends for thirteen years. If i was dating a guy, we all three got along, but it just didn’t work out between us, there have been times in the past where i wouldn’t have minded, because i can tell when my bff and my ex would have been great together. other times, i dont want her any where near my ex because i know she’ll get hurt. it depends on who why and when in my opinion

  23. no go get your own man…there are plenty of them. it shows you dont care about your best friend..its black and white. Its only ok to date the friend of an ex if its been over 2 years since they broke up, they have NO contact, and you both (you and the ex)live in another city.

  24. Been going through this. My best friend is saying there is nothing…but, then she goes to the ball game with him, events with him, dinner with him, he helps her clean her yard and do projects around her house, goes for drinks. So…to me actions speak louder than words. I feel betrayed. They don't see it that way. I do not want him back. But I can't be around them. I don't approve. I confided personal information to her about my ex…because she was my best friend. It makes me very uncomfortable. I would never have done this to her. Never.

  25. well i did this and the guy broke up with me 3 days after and it ruined me and my bffs friendship ive been trying so hard to get her to forgive me nothing is working i give up any ideas

  26. Am in the same situation, am dating my friends BF 4 the reason that he knwn me first b4 she came into picture, I luv him so much and 4 the fact that he broke my virginity I can't end the relationship, wat should I do??? Its like after they broke up he stared chasing me I tryed to say NO, but the guy was like he luvs me, I fall 4 him n gave it a try…

  27. My best friend is dating my ex 5 days after we broke up and he thinks I was over reacting when I snapped on him, I don't see why she wants to be with him he is an a hole. I was nothing but nice to her the whole time we dated but then when I gave her a second chance she cheated on me with him. I finally got the guts to stop being there friends takes a lot of drama out of my life.

  28. So my BFF liked this guy at the beginning of 10th grade, and him and I were fairly good friends. So being me, I decided to buddy buddy with him to talk up my bestie. He asked her out, her first boyfriend and kiss, but throughout the relationship she had no attraction to him and kept shutting him out. After 2 1/2 months he broke up with her. This was 4 months ago. Him and I remained best friends and they started to get over the bitterness of breaking up. Recently he confessed to me that he liked me. My immediate response was "nope not gonna happen" even though I liked him too. So we've been talking almost every day for hours upon hours. We are both so attracted to eachother, and have admitted this, despite never having actually touched. So I went to my friend about it. She told me in her excited voice "omg that would be so cute" and she wasn't lying (I've known this girl for 513 years I know when she is upset and won't admit it). But, despite the go ahead from her, my parents aren't having it. This guy and I have some crazy connection I've never had before, but I keep having to tell him we can't date. Am I making the right choice by refusing these ridiculously strong feelings, or should I face the drama that could possibly come head on? Help.

  29. My best friend started speaking to my boyfriend and they formed a kind of "team xbox" that went against me. The more he spoke to her, the less he spoke to me, until one day he left me, and less than a week later they were together. Now they have split up and I constantly tease her about how he was my ex and stuff… And we laugh about it, but it hurt and I have never properly trusted her since. Recently I went out with another guy who I met on NCS and he was perfect… until he dumped me for no reason. Now she's trying to get with him, another one of my ex's (she's never had a boyfriend who wasn't my ex first) and is making me feel bad for feeling upset, wondering why I won't "give her the chance to be happy" and only the other day she was being horrible to a guy I know for being insensitive. Don't date your friend's ex because it hurts like hell.

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