Friends' exes are not off-limits

Justin Marinelli
Staff Writer

One of the most annoying moral dilemmas is when you have the opportunity to hook up with a friend’s ex. On one hand, the urge to satisfy your animalistic desires runs strong. On the other, you don’t want to induce any possible tension between you and your friend (even if you think that what you do is none of your friend’s business).

Granted, some rules exist to help you navigate such a situation, but relying on phrases like “bros before hoes” hardly provides a solution to all situations you could find yourself in. What we need is a definite line to be drawn that cannot be crossed. Allow me to set that line.

Many would consider a time limit to be a reasonable thing to gauge appropriateness of the situation. After all, getting into a relationship with a friend’s ex two years later is far more reasonable than waiting two weeks, right? I disagree. Time isn’t the issue; it’s whether your friend is over the person you’re interested in or not.

More specifically, whether your friend is over their ex dictates exactly what action you can take. If they’re really over their ex, there’s no problem whatsoever, even if it’s just been a day or so since the break-up. If they aren’t, things get tricky. Most people would argue that pursuing someone at such a time is a completely unacceptable action. I’m a bit more lenient in my view. While many consider it a mark of disrespect for your friend to date or hook up with their ex, especially if he or she isn’t over them, there is no good reason for this to be so. Still, you want to keep your friend happy, so it makes perfect sense to not let him or her find out if you’re doing anything behind their back.

Am I condoning going behind your friend’s back to get with their ex? Only if you don’t let them find out about it. It’s none of your friend’s business what you decide to do with another person, but if your friend would be hurt by your actions, then it would be a good idea to be discreet. No need to upset him or her needlessly.

Now, would it be more ethical to completely avoid dating or hooking any of your friends’ exes? Absolutely. However, what is acceptable doesn’t have to be the height of morality. As they say, all’s fair in love in war.

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