My friends and I have been debating an interesting dilemma recently which came about after I had bumped into a few guys (I wish I had a better word but ‘men’ doesn’t fit either) who I had known in college and who, when I met them, were dating people I was affiliated with but are currently single.
My friends urged me to add these individuals to my list of possible “suitors” (again with the awkward words). Unfortunately, I say they are ineligible. (Sorry, boys!)
Whether or not I am still close with their ex-girlfriends, I feel an allegiance that would be betrayed if I were to date them. (My interest for these specific individuals or lack thereof is beside the point and I might be taking a break from the dating scene anyway which voids the whole thing, but that’s a post for another time… or more like a story for a dimly lit wine bar.)
Back to the point… While there are several variables to be considered, the most important one, in my opinion, is how strongly the girl felt about the relationship and her partner. (And in all the recent cases, the relationship in consideration had been a serious one.)
The others – how long ago the relationship took place, how long the relationship lasted, who ended it, how close I was/am with the girl – are immaterial to me.
My friends argue that if I really felt like there was a future with one of their exes and if the situation were handled the right way, they would understand and would support my decision. [It’s interesting that there are conditions shaping when it would okay – a casual affair would not be given the same respect, for example. (Since I am classy girl, a casual affair would be an impossibility in my case, but I guess that’s neither here nor there.)]
Thinking through all the possibilities, I still have a hard time believing it would be that easy. There’s something about broken love that is simply too raw to intrude upon if you were there to witness a relationship before its loss of innocence.
Anyway, I think this is a dilemma for the ages and an interesting discussion unfolded as we considered all the hypothetical options.
A few unexpected stipulations that emerged:
- It would be considerably harder to accept the new relationship if all involved parties lived in close proximity and had to face each other often.
- Does it make it a difference if the ex-girlfriend is married?
- What if the situation were reversed and it was a guy interested in dating a friend’s ex-girlfriend? Do he feel the same allegiance to his friend that I do to mine? Is it a gender thing?
So, let me turn it over to you, readers. What’s your take on the whole thing? What would be your criteria on when to take the next step and when to step away? When is okay to date your friends’ exes?