Should you be friends with your boyfriend's ex?

Being friends with your guy's ex may seem odd, but it's actually not a completely strange concept. I know a few who've done it and they ended up becoming close friends with each other. Even Katie Holmes found a shoulder to lean on in Nicole Kidman, the former wife of her soon-to-be ex-husband, Tom Cruise. But is it actually a good idea? Although it's a chance to form a great friendship and learn some extra insight about your guy, it could put a bit of a strain on your relationship depending on how you handle things. If you decide you're open to a friendship with your guy's ex, there are a few tips to keep in mind before you go any further.

Tell your guy the two of you are talking

If you don't tell your guy the two of you are talking and he just finds out, expect all hell to break loose. In the case of Katie and Nicole, it was a bit different considering the end of the relationship was near, but if you're planning on your relationship staying intact, let him know the situation before he learns about it accidentally or from someone else.

Be weary of what you confide

Unfortunately, not everyone has pure motives, so while you might be under the impression that your words will stay with your new-found friend, that may not be the case. She could end up running to your guy with your confessions in order to try to damage your relationship. Even if she doesn't tell your guy what you told her, your guy may not be too thrilled that you're confiding in his ex and telling her personal info about him or your relationship. Whatever the situation, don't tell his ex anything your guy would be upset about.

Decide what to do with what she confides in you

One of the major problems you might have when choosing to be friends with your guy's ex is what to do with information she tells you. If she confides in you about something that has to do with their past relationship or just your guy and she asks you to keep it private, are you going to stay quiet? You may immediately say yes out of respect for the friendship, but what if it's something that could have an effect on your relationship with him? A way to avoid this problem before you're faced with it is to let her know up front that if she tells you something important that could affect your relationship, such as if she tells you he cheated on her when he told you he never cheated before, that you're going to talk to him about it whether she likes it or not.

Be honest about why you would like to be friends

Whether it's for the sake of kids the two of them have together, because you see her often and don't want things to be awkward or because you genuinely just want to get along, be honest with her about why you want the two of you to be friends. It'll eliminate any questions about your motives.

Don't compare yourself to her

It's easy to compare yourself to your guy's ex if the two of you become friends, but you don't want to get into a habit of doing that nor do you want to compare your relationship to the one the two of them had. Both of you are different and each of you had/has a different relationship with him. You're with him now, so rather than focus on how the two of you are alike or different, focus on him and what the two of you have together.

Having a friendship with your guy's ex is obviously a bit more tricky than if they were never together, but it is doable. After all, it's much better to friends with her than awkward enemies. I'm friends with a couple of the ex's of my ex-boyfriends, and we genuinely have great friendships. Have pure motives and be honest with your guy and his ex. You never know, you may end up with the guy of your dreams and a life-long friendship.

More from Lauren R:

5 things to never tell your boyfriend about your ex

How to react when you run into your ex while you're with your boyfriend

Tips for maintaining long distance friendships