Is it offside to hang out with your friend’s ex-girlfriend?

Question for you, Finishing School. My friend and his girlfriend were together forever. I was close with both of them as a couple over the years, though my friendship with him predates their relationship. They broke up a few months ago and now I bump into her all the time. She invited me out with some friends, purely socially, and I’d kind of like to go. We got along well. Is it offside of me to hang out with my buddy’s ex-girlfriend?

That’s a tough call….but ostensibly a manageable one. When some couples split, it’s explicitly divided who gets the couch, the cat and the friends. Other breakups aren’t so clean and the ripple effect is felt most on the social front. Two important considerations…

1. Did this couple break up because she did something caustic? If yes, walk away. You cannot be friends with your buddy’s ex if she was being greasy/sleeping around/waving her crazy flag.

2. If you accept her invitation, are you comfortable telling your friend that you’re hanging out (purely as friends, natch) with his ex? In the spirit of putting your longstanding friendship first, his feelings trump.

If either of those questions make you feel icky, then you know this friendship isn’t going to be an easy or fruitful one to maintain. Sure, if you’re comfortable with putting all cards on the table, by all means, keep the friendship going — but keep a lid on it. Your friend doesn’t need a recap of how fun of a time you had with his ex.

Lastly, remember that you can be friendly without being friends. A warm hello and a promise to keep in touch once the dust settles might buy you (and the ex’s) some time to temper emotions.

~ Karen Cleveland
Questions, comments and conundrums are most welcome at www.twitter.com/schoolfinishing

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