Sharing with friends is normal - but most people draw the line at exes. Is it ever OK to break the Best Friend Code?
- Faye Brennan, BettyConfidential.com
My best friend and I share a lot of things - clothes, beauty products, bar tabs - but one thing we most definitely do not share is boyfriends. It's an unspoken rule, but exes and former flames are off-limits.
Why? Personally, I find it a tad bit disrespectful. If my best friend were to ever start dating one of my exes after we broke up, it would mean two things: First, that she'd obviously been harboring feelings for him the whole time I was dating him. And second, that whatever it was that caused my ex and me to break up clearly doesn't matter that much to her. So much for loyalty! (Ho's before bro's, ladies!).
I feel the same way when it comes to dating any of my ex's best friends. I wouldn't want to be responsible for ruining a bromance or coming between lifetime buddies. There are plenty of fish in the sea, so there's no reason for me to go swimming amongst his school of fish - or my best friend's. The guilt and awkwardness that would surely ensue hardly seem worth it.
But when it comes to matters of the heart, you can't always pick and choose who you fall for. Sometimes you just can't help the way you feel, and if it could mean finding your true love, shouldn't you just go for it and hope everyone involved will understand? In other words, is there ever an exception to the Best Friend Code?
Sally*, 28, from Michigan, had been dating Jack* for four-and-a-half years, through college and graduate school. Their relationship was a serious one, but while Sally was busy getting her degree, Jack was passing the time hanging out with Sally's BFF, Alexis*.
"Neither Alexis nor I had any idea that this would be a problem," Sally says. "We trusted Jack and each other." But one day, Jack dropped a bomb on both girls: He was leaving Sally… because he was in love with Alexis.
"Much to my shock, they started dating immediately after," says Sally. "I was deeply hurt and couldn't believe Alexis didn't know something so basic as 'don't date your best friend's ex right after they break up.'" Alexis broke it off a week later, after her older sister pointed out her faux pas. But six months later, Alexis and Jack were back together. And then, they got married.
"Alexis and I have been distant ever since she and Jack tied the knot," says Sally. "We still talk, but it's not the same, and I don't want to be too close to her at this point. I didn't even invite her to my own wedding because I didn't want Jack to be there. But I do miss my friend."
Caitlin*, 22, from Wisconsin, broke up with her long-distance boyfriend while still in college, a school her ex's best friend also happened to attend. The two started hanging out more and more, and eventually they became a couple. "All of our mutual friends seemed to be OK with it, but my ex was not fond of our relationship," Caitlin says. "He tried to start fights between me and his best friend and even tried to break us up by telling lies about me to get inside his friend's head. It made the beginning of our relationship really rough."
Tammy, 42, from California, believed in the Best Friend Code until last year, when she was about to dump her BFF, a woman who was causing rifts among Tammy's other friends and was treating her own husband very poorly.
"I went over to their house to tell her we couldn't be friends anymore, but only her husband was home," says Tammy. "I was about to leave my own husband at the time, and that night, after I explained the purpose behind my visit, my friend's hubby admitted he was about to leave his wife as well. We started a very strong emotional connection, and have been committed to a relationship filled with love, support and kindness ever since."
But it hasn't all been a fairytale for Tammy. "My ex-BFF is ruthless and has vowed to make our lives hell," she says. "But, the incredible connection my boyfriend and I have has made it all worthwhile. The drama is incredible, but sometimes you realize that it's not worth missing out on the love of your life just to appease some snotty ex-girlfriend/BFF."
Hearing these stories, it's hard to pick a side. In every situation, someone got hurt - but did they deserve it? And was it worth it in the end? Is it ever worth it?
For now, I'm sticking to my guns on the Best Friend Code: Don't go there! But I'd love to hear your thoughts.
Tell us: Is it ever OK to break the Best Friend Code?
*Name has been changed.
Faye Brennan is assistant editor at BettyConfidential.To read more from BettyConfidential:
Should You Friend Your Exes on Facebook?
Is it OK to Dream About Other Men?
- Why Do Good Girls Fall For Bad Guys?