As the Kindergarten saying goes, "sharing is caring," which might be why dating a friend's ex can be surprisingly beneficial. Although this scenario is more common for non-monogamous folks, that doesn't mean it can't work for classic one-on-one monogamists either.
Recently, a high profile example of partner swapping made headlines when actresses Kate Beckinsale and Sarah Silverman discussed maintaining their friendship despite the fact that Silverman is in a relationship with Beckinsale's ex. While it's normal and healthy for jealousy to arise in any arrangement, the pair seemed to embrace the sharing and move past whatever weirdness that might have been.
This all sounded pretty sweet and legit to me, particularly as someone who has dated a friend's ex. No, I didn't plan it that way, but it makes sense that since you're drawn to certain people, you might also be attracted to the people they're drawn to as well. There are, of course, certain friends whose exes you wouldn't dare touch with a 10,000 foot pole, because they would view that as betrayal. Others, I have found, actually want to set you up with their former partners because they still see some good in them, even though it didn't work out. So if you're thinking of taking the plunge, here are five reasons dating your friend's ex can be a positive experience. But first, check out the latest episode of Bustle's Sex and Relationships podcast, I Want It That Way:
1. Your Partner Comes With A Time-Tested Seal Of Approval
There's a far lower chance your new partner will turn out to be a lying, abusive scumbag if you get to vet them through one of their former partners. On top of this dating seal of approval, when you date a friend's ex, you also get gifted reviews of their relationship behaviors. It should go without saying to proceed with caution regardless, because chemistry, personalities, and circumstances do vary.
2. You Have A Built-In Friend Circle
Introducing a fresh prospect to your friends can be a high stakes moment. Will they get along, will they fight about pop music and/or politics, will one of them say something horribly embarrassing about you? When you have a shared friend in common with your fresh prospect, however, much of this worry melts away, and you have a mini friend circle already in the making.
3. You Have An Insider Perspective From The Outside
Every person on the planet should come with their own dating manual. Unfortunately, they do not, so the next best thing is asking someone who put up with their ass in a relationship before how they did it. Again, every couple is different, but if you're wondering how to handle your S.O.'s unique fighting style, why your new GF gets weird around 4 p.m. (low blood sugar!) or why your BF needs quiet when he comes home from work (secret introvert!), sometimes an insider perspective from the outside can be a major plus.
4. It Challenges Traditional Relationship Ideals
There are a lot of culturally-imposed rules in monogamous relationships. Some might work for you, others might not. Having an S.O. that your friend once had is a unique way to challenge some of the relationship ideals about trust, jealousy, and sharing that you might not otherwise have a chance to. And it's kinda fun to have other friends ask incredulously how you all hang out without it being uber awkward (or dissolving into a threeway).
5. It Can Improve Your Friendships
Whether you and your new partner work out or not, dating a friend's ex can spark all kinds of closeness that wasn't there before. While you're dating, you have your dish sessions with your friend, and when the three of you hang out, you have a new kind of friendship based on shared experiences. If it doesn't work out, that will bring you and your friend even closer, since you've both handled a breakup with the same person — possibly with the same issues at play, too. In a way, if the circumstances align, even the worst case scenario can be a win-win.
Images: Fotolia; Giphy