You've all heard of the girl code.
Your group of friends can laugh off the idea and try to deny there's a "code" to follow, but there is.
The rules for all cliques can be a little different: Don't let your friend make a drunk fool of herself, never share a girlfriend's secret, make your closet available for special occasions and emergencies, etc.
Of all the rules, however, there is one that's universally known across the board.
Breaking that rule can — for lack of a better term — lead to social suicide.
Or worse, it will force you to leave your regular lunch table.
All girls know it's wrong, yet some (like me, unfortunately) do it anyway.
And when they do and people find out, there's hell to pay.
The first rule of girl code is to never, ever, under any circumstances, date your best friend's ex.
It's as simple as that. If you do the crime, you better pay for the crime.
At least I had to.
Let's start from the beginning.
A few years back, my best friend Jessica* started dating Rex*.
They were great together, and everyone could see that.
Their relationship was also fun for me because I got to get to know Rex better.
He became a close friend of mine, and it wasn't uncommon for the three of us to hang out.
Like most high school relationships, their romance came to an end once college came around.
They were both hurting, but the distance was too much to realistically keep their spark alive.
This led to the first time that I broke the code, although I didn't know it at the time.
When your best friend breaks up with a guy, apparently it's wrong to stay friends with him.
But that's exactly what I did.
Rex and Jessica's breakup didn't end my friendship with Rex.
In fact, I'd say we got even closer afterward.
The following summer, we hung out regularly, just like we did in high school.
That was mistake number one.
My girlfriends talked about our friendship behind my back, but they never confronted me to say that what I was doing was wrong.
Remember how I said all girl codes are different?
Well, this is a perfect example of that.
In my mind, continuing a friendship with a friend's ex-boyfriend is acceptable.
To them, it wasn't.
Long story short, we continued hanging out, developed feelings for one another, denied those feelings, hooked up, admitted those feelings and tried to hide it.
People found out, and my friends hated me for it.
Somewhere in that crockpot of dramatic bullsh*t, Rex became my boyfriend.
Needless to say, I didn't handle my feelings for Rex well.
I tried to hide them, lied to Jessica about them and endured months of the silent treatment because of it.
So, if you really think dating your friend's ex is worth the trouble, here are three questions you should ask yourself before starting up this new romance:
1. Is she over him?
How long has it been since they broke up?
A week, a month, a year, two years?
Depending on the seriousness of the relationship, it's not uncommon for it to take a year to completely and fully get over someone.
If it's barely been six months since your friend broke up with him, I'd say it's definitely too soon.
Everyone is different, and people deal with breakups in their own way.
But before starting something with your friend's ex, make sure that she is 100 percent over the relationship.
Regardless of if she's with someone else now, it will be weird for her to see you with him.
It will be even worse if she is still in love with him.
2. Have you told her how you feel?
If you don't think your feelings will go away, try talking to her.
Honesty is the best policy, after all (although it wasn't in Peyton's case).
If you tell her how you feel about him, hopefully the worst thing that will happen is she will tell you dating him would hurt your friendship.
Things may be awkward for a bit afterward, but it's better to be open about how you feel.
Chances are, your friend will also appreciate the honesty, and your friendship won't suffer from opening up about a crush.
3. Is he worth it?
I promise you, he won't be.
No matter how sweet he seems, how strong he says his feelings are for you or how badly he says he wants to be with you, it's never worth putting a valuable friendship at risk for a boy who A) isn't going to last and B) will prove he's just playing you both in the end.
He wasn't a good guy the first time around when your friend gave it a go.
So, what makes you think he'll be better this time around?
You can save yourself the trouble and skip all those obstacles and instead, opt for this one-step plan: Don't do it.
Don't date your friend's ex-boyfriend.
I promise you'll regret it, and in the end, you'll see he wasn't worth it.
He is never worth it.
*Names have been changed.