Picture this: Your BFF has a great partner. They're sweet, funny, attractive, and they make your friend happy. Over time, it's normal to develop a platonic friendship with them as long as they continue to be a good partner to your friend. But, what happens when they break up? Are you still allowed to have a relationship with them? And if the two of you vibe well and your relationship evolves into something more, should you hook up with a friend’s ex? It might seem tempting, but it also might not be the best idea, in any situation.
"Tempting as it might be to hook up with a friend’s ex, it is generally a bad decision," Denise Limongello, psychotherapist, tells Elite Daily. Plain and simple, Limongello advises against getting it on with a friend's ex. Obviously, it won't always be as simple as not doing it, but definitely try your best to refrain.
The thing is, even if your friend and their ex ended things a while ago, there's no telling just how "over" their ex they are. Your friend might say they're over their ex, but you can never know for sure, so for that reason alone, it's a smart idea to at least think long and hard about hooking up with your friend's ex.
"It is written in the social contract that you should not date or hook up with a friend’s ex without explicit permission," Limongello says. "In a better-safe-than-sorry-kind-of-way, it is still likely a good idea to ask permission even if the assumption is that your friend won’t care." Additionally, it's a good idea to put yourself in their shoes. Imagine one of your exes — even just the most casual ex who you didn't even have time to develop feelings for. Got it? Now imagine them getting it on with your best friend. Is it a pretty picture? Probably not.
Even if you honestly wouldn't have any problem with your friend hooking up with your ex, it's important to remember that you and your friend are two different people. You should still talk to them before you do anything with their ex. But how do you have that awkward conversation? Unfortunately, it's not an easy one. "In the event that you feel that there is an important connection with your friend’s ex that you feel compelled to explore," Limongello says, "then simply asking permission and assuring your friend that you only intend to act on these feelings if she is 100 percent comfortable with it is a way to express and communicate loyalty and support to your friend." Remember, your friend is there for you, so try and be there for her, no matter how attractive you find their ex.
Getting over a relationship is hard to do, and it doesn't really matter how long you were with the person — it can still hurt to even just think about them. In fact, "the pain of past relationships often persists for longer than many people admit to," Limongello says. "Thus, assuming that your friend is completely over his or her ex is a risky assumption to make. Furthermore, in the event that the relationship ended badly, your decision to hook up with her ex just because it’s in the past does not guarantee that your friend may not experience feelings of betrayal."
Most of the time, it isn't worth risking a solid friendship for a potential hookup. Of course, every situation is different, and if you feel strongly about your friend's ex, then talk it out with them. You never know what will happen, and it's always best to be honest in any relationship.