Girl Code: Dating a Friend's Ex
Let's discuss the Girl Code, shall we? It means different things to different people. For the sake of this post, I'm going to discuss three situations that fall under the Girl Code. (This code can apply to women for women and men for women and men for men, but since I'm straight, I'm going straight for the straight Girl Code to keep things straight -- got that?)
Type A: You were in a long-term relationship with a man, and you talked to your girlfriends about what this man meant to you, how he helped or hurt you, and they were there through the whole thing and when it painfully ended.
Type B: You were never in a long-term relationship with this man, but you thought about it. You talked with him -- perhaps got some smooching in or had a few dates. Your girlfriends listened to you coo about him and offered advice about what to do. For whatever reason, it flamed out, but you're not happy about it. Or it is still flaming in some way -- just slowly.
Type C: You met a guy who was nice, but you weren't interested. Maybe you went on a few dates, but then you decided to end it. You're OK with it. Your girlfriends know this.
Is it OK for your friend to hook up with or date any of these men?
Personally, I only see ONE of these situations that would allow for a friend of yours to date the man in question -- Type C. I feel this way because I've known a few people in my life who have gone on to marry someone that a friend of hers dated at some point -- when there were no hurt feelings or confusion about the topic. Most of these women are from the sock-hop generation, when people actually danced around in socks and were modest and virginal at all times. It's a little different here in 2011, but Type C can definitely still happen.
Regarding Type A and Type B -- it's a no. No go. Off limits. Walk away.
These types of codes were much more clear when I lived in large cities. Now that I live in a small town where there are only so many fish, I see a lot more crossover with Types A and B. This creates a lot of hurt and feelings of betrayal. I think if you are a true, good friend to someone, you would never consider hooking up with or dating one of their exes. Right?
As with all things, there are exceptions. If something wackadoo happened and Person A's best friend fell in love with Person B and it was real and good and true and beautiful, that's one thing. Who can deny true love? But the last time I saw that whole "love at first sight relationship" thing was a looooong time ago. It's very rare. Usually, people fall in love at a slower pace. And things like Girl Codes usually keep these events from happening -- especially if the girl has disclosed personal information about painful events that happened in the relationship to her friend. To use my own life as an example, usually, my girlfriends don't like my ex-boyfriends at all because they are on Team Blondie. F*ck that guy. He doesn't know what he had. He's an a$$hat. I don't need everyone to be on Team Blondie, but it feels good to know who my real friends are.
There are other factors to consider, such as time lapsed, physical proximity, and that lovely thing I like to call the Moral Compass. When you factor in a whole bunch of things, you can come up with some random algebraic equation to justify or not justify any actions. But many times, it's much more black and white: That's my ex-boyfriend and you are one of my best friends. WTF?
I've been accused more than once of being:
A.) a monster
B.) a goody-two-shoes
Since I've been told both of these things, it's often hard for me to gauge whether or not my "call" is right about certain topics, such as the Girl Code. Things that I think are obvious yes or no situations are sometimes the complete opposite of what other people are thinking. Usually, I don't care what other people think about my opinion of a topic. I get to own my opinion, and you can own yours. Amen. But I'm extremely curious as to what other people think about this, so I'm going for it.
The most amazing women I've met in the last 5 years have all come from the Internet. I value your opinions and enjoy hashing things over with you. So tell me your opinion on this one. Is it OK to hook up with your friend's ex-boyfriend? Hook up can mean either thing -- having random sex with him or going for a long-term relationship. What makes it OK or not OK? And what do you do if it happens?
Blondie writes at Tales From Clark Street.