Is Dating Your Friend’s Ex Ever Acceptable?

A couple years ago, we heard the news about Simon Cowell getting it on with his good friend’s wife – or estranged wife, depending on who you to talk to. At the time, it sparked a great debate, one which has never really gone away. Under what circumstances is it acceptable to pursue your friend’s former love interest? I would say never, because I just don’t see why, of all the people in the world, you need to choose to put yourself in such a complicated situation. But that’s just me.

Simon Cowell sparked some scandalous headlines when it emerged that he is set to become a father – with the wife of his close friend. Some reports indicated the relationship between the married couple was already over by the time Cowell moved in, but others claim the opposite was true.

All of this raises an interesting question: Is your friend’s ex always off-limits?

“If your friend is totally over his ex, has no romantic feelings for her, and wouldn’t mind being around the two of you socially, that could work,” muses Nina Atwood, author of “Temptations of the Single Girl”, “but look at all the conditions that have to be met! The reality is that it’s just too weird and uncomfortable for most people to want to deal with.”

Therapist Karen Sherman agrees. “The only time it might be okay is if your friend has moved on to another relationship,” she says. “Even if the two of them have split, emotions take a while to heal, so it’s unlikely that the friend is going to be okay with it.”

But not all relationship experts see it this way. “It’s okay to move in if they are estranged and no longer in love and divorcing,” says matchmaker Marla Martenson. “You never know where you will find love. It could be right under your nose, and circumstances have to shift for things to evolve.” As Martenson points out, ‘It’s a delicate situation, but why let a potential love match get away? If it’s a great match, it’s a great match.”

Still, it’s best to proceed with caution. Martenson advises “letting things dissipate a bit” before making your move. If you do decide to pursue a friends’ ex, be prepared for the potential for some major fall-out. “You should avoid this whole scenario unless you feel very strongly that your friend’s ex is your ultimate soul mate,” says Atwood. “If you decide to pursue the ex, you should be prepared to lose the friendship. “Most people are highly uncomfortable with these situations, so it’s best to look for love somewhere else,” she adds.

So we would love to know from you, the reader – what do you think? Is it ever acceptable to date a friend’s ex? Have you been in this situation before?