Relationship counsellor Andreas Banetsi Mphunga says it’s something that could break a friendship for reasons pertaining mainly to loyalty.
“In terms of loyalty, it probably isn’t the right thing to do,” Mphunga explains. “We tend to say that if you’re loyal to your friends you can’t date their exes. People are often aware that what they’re doing is wrong, and you can see this in the way they approach the relationship – they’re sneaky about it and hide it from their friend.”
However, Mphunga says this isn’t always the case.
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Senzo Bhengu (23) says that it depends on how the friend approaches the situation.
“A friend of mine dating an ex is a no-go area – you just don’t do that,” he says. “It’s going to come across like you’ve always wanted to and now you’ve finally got the chance to get her. Unless a friend came to you before they made any moves to ask for your permission or your blessing, then no friend should do that.”
Siya Bobotyana shares the same sentiments, adding that the only exception should be if someone isn’t really a close friend, an acquaintance that’s not really part of your life.
“I wouldn’t mind as much if it wasn’t a real friend that started dating an ex of mine,” Bobotyana says. “If it was just an acquaintance who I saw every once in a while, then it doesn’t cut as deep as it would if it was a close friend.”
Here’s what a few other guys had to say about the issue:
But what happens if you find yourself in a relationship with a good friend’s former girlfriend – how do you go about navigating the issue with your friend?
“We can’t always choose the people we fall in love with,” Mphunga says. “So firstly, you have to approach your friend and tell him about the situation, about how you’ve found yourself in a predicament you can’t control. And you have to prepare for the worst, because your friend might not ever want to engage with you after that. You might lose your friend or have to choose.
“Also, be prepared to answer questions like, ‘When did this start happening?’, ‘Did you have feelings for her while I was seeing her?'”
The ex-girlfriend owes no explanation to anyone, especially not her ex-boyfriend.
Mphunga says if you were part of the reason for your friend and his ex splitting up, then the friendship might not survive your new relationship. But if they separated for reasons that don’t involve you or you weren’t even in the picture when they were dating, then things might be different.
“You might lose your friend for a month to years before you reconcile, but chances are a reconciliation will eventually take place,” Mphunga explains. “But if you were part of the reason for them separating, then chances are the friendship will be beyond repair.”
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He adds that it’s important to recognise that your new partner doesn’t owe your friend any explanation and should not be involved in the first discussion you have with him about your new relationship.
“The ex-girlfriend owes no explanation to anyone, especially not her ex-boyfriend, and the first time you speak to your friend about the relationship, she shouldn’t be part of that discussion,” Mphunga advises. But, he adds, for the sake of your friendship with her ex-boyfriend, at some point she will have to accompany you to set the record straight on other issues she is able to speak on.
What are your thoughts on the topic?