Lesbianing With AE! Should you pursue a friend’s ex?

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Dear AfterEllen,

I find myself in a pickle. I’ve been single for a year since my girlfriend and I broke things off mutually. I’ve gone out with a few girls in that time but no one I really clicked with. I ran into a friend’s former girlfriend while at a July 4 BBQ and we really hit it off. Truth be told I never liked her much when she was with my friend. She was always kind of unhappy and critical about everything. However she seems much better off without my friend, honestly like a different person altogether! I find myself continuing to think about her. So is there any hope for this to go somewhere or is it off limits ethically for me to pursue her, given that she is my friend’s ex? While my friend was upset when things ended she had admitted the relationship was toxic.

-What to do

Dear What to do,

There are many schools of thought on the topic of dating friends’ exes.

There’s the fair game since we’re a small community school, where reasonable women understand the lesbian dating pool is only so large, and dating someone can’t possibly render them off-market for every other lesbian they know.

It sounds like your friend is over this ex, and that the relationship wasn’t a super love match anyway, so it’s pretty possible that if you let her know you ran into Belinda at a party and hit it off, she will give you her blessing.

It sounds like your friend is over this ex, and that the relationship wasn’t a super love match anyway, so it’s pretty possible that if you let her know you ran into Belinda at a party and hit it off, she will give you her blessing.

Then there’s the other school where exes are totally sacred and you’re basically killing the friendship if you even think about dating your pal’s ex.

This isn’t the school I subscribe to, but if your friend or then even telling her what you wrote me will warrant a fight or the cold shoulder and actually going out with Belinda will get you banned from the social circle.

You would know best if your friend is going to lose it if you pursue something with your crush, and this gives you the power to decide if the spark was strong enough that you’d like to see if there’s something there or if it’s best left alone.

If your friend is going to have a meltdown because you flirted with her not-very-recent ex, then it sounds like she may be the sort of attention-grabbing friend we all eventually grow out of, in which case, you may be on your way there.

If your friend is going to have a meltdown because you flirted with her not-very-recent ex, then it sounds like she may be the sort of attention-grabbing friend we all eventually grow out of, in which case, you may be on your way there.

There are infinite shades of gray in between these poles, and it all comes down to getting clear what you actually want to do, talking with your friend about this new development, and moving forward in a way that respects your friend — you can ask her ex out, even if she makes it clear she’d prefer you don’t, but don’t be insensitive and take her somewhere your friend will see you out together.

Give your friend some space to get used to your news if you two get together, and be prepared to walk away from the friendship if your pal can’t be happy that you’ve found someone.