Hooking up with a BFF’s ex: Would you? Should you?

You’re loyal. You love your friends. You don’t even consider hooking up with their exes. Until the one day you do. If that happens, here are a few things to ask yourself before you get it on.

Start Here

  • Why did they break up? There are two sides to every story, but if you know for sure he was horrible to her, make sure you don’t set yourself up for the same bad experience.
  • Why do you want to hook up? You might be falling for this person for all the right reasons (and by “right” we mean healthy). But sometimes we do things because we’re competitive, settling out of loneliness, or trying to get back at your friend.

If You Go For It

  • Will this cost you the friendship and is it worth it? You may lose your friend. We will always encourage you to do what’s best for you (you can’t live your life for other people), but try to look at the big picture. It’s one thing if you think this romance could be a long term, meaningful experience. It might not be worth it if it’ll span two hot weekends and then fizzle out. We’re not asking you to predict the future. Just weigh the potential with this person against the friendship you have with your BFF.
  • How will you break the news? Out of respect, you may want to tell your BFF privately before you and her ex show up at a party. Having her hear through gossip would equally suck. Do the right thing and be forthright if she is a close friend.
  • How can you mend your friendship if you really hurt your BFF? Give it time. Give her space. Be kind, sensitive, patient, and compassionate. Communicate how you never meant to hurt her. She might feel betrayed. Prepare for conversations (hopefully not full-on fights) about rebuilding trust and know that you very well might lose this friend for good.

If You Walk Away From It

  • Will this cost you a meaningful, loving relationship? If you tend to postpone your own happiness to please other people, please stop. You deserve to be happy, to put yourself first, and to have love in your life. If this new romance is the real deal—and if your BFF truly cares about you—this can be worked out. It may be tricky as hell in the beginning, but everyone can get over it and you can make it work. Use logic. Your friend broke it off. You are not trying to hurt anyone. Nobody looks bad if you all move beyond the past. All of you should try to stay in the moment and just be happy right now.
  • If you’re swapping partners, are you using the safest birth control? The most effective methods are LARCs (long-acting reversible contraception) like the IUD, ring, patch, shot, and implant. And even though they’ll totally protect you against an unplanned pregnancy, they don’t fend off STIs, so use a condom too.

And you know how they say turnabout is fair play? That means your BFF can date your ex too. Think about what you’d do in that position and treat your BFF the way you’d want to be treated. Oh yeah, we also found a guy’s perspective in case you’re curious.

Would you date a BFF’s ex? What are the rules you live by in this situation? Tell us in the comments below.

We love you even when it gets complicated,

P.S. If you ever have a question about birth control, Bedsider has a gazillion answers.

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