Dear Stavroula

Ask Stavroula: I Started Dating My Best Friend’s Ex

Dear Stavroula,

I have been best friends with my girlfriend since high school and I have always considered her to be in my corner. I trusted her completely and every time she had a problem I supported her and believed that she did the same for me. But unfortunately, she disappointed me very much. Our relationship broke down when I told her that I was dating her ex-boyfriend – but she had broken up with him about a year ago. I thought it right to let her know that I was going out with him, so that she would not find out from someone else, and I was sure that it would not upset her, since she has been in another relationship for a few months now. Her reaction left me speechless.

As soon as I told her, she became furious and started accusing me in front of her family that I had wanted him since the time she was in a relationship with him and that I always envied her and wanted everything she had and I did not have. I left feeling very sad, because my relationship with her is a life relationship for me and I really feel that her behavior is very unfair. Since then I tried to talk to her and explain that I did not come between her and her boyfriend, I just happened to have meet him through her and then I continued to hang out with him. But she does not answer my messages or my calls. Maybe I should write her off and get her out of my life but it’s hard for me. Besides, we share a lot of friends in common and we will definitely meet at some point. I do not know why she reacted like that and I do not know what to do… Do you think there is a chance that we will be friends again?



Dear Christina,

Having a relationship with your friend’s ex-boyfriend or girlfriend is a complex issue as everyone involved is emotionally connected to each other. Whether or not friendships will break down depends on many factors, such as the type of relationship that preceded the break up, the feelings that continue or not, and whether the friend has moved on in his life.

In your case it seems that you really had reason to believe that your girlfriend will not be hurt by your relationship with her ex, since a reasonable period of time had passed and she had already moved on with her life. The only mistake you may have made is that you did not talk to her from the beginning when you realized that you had feelings for him, since she was your friend. That way she might not feel that something pre-existed behind her back.

Her reaction may be due to the fact that she still has feelings for her ex-boyfriend that she herself may have refused to admit until the moment she learned that he is about to re-enter her life, this time in a different role, as her close friend’s boyfriend. If this is indeed the case then it will be difficult for you to regain balance in your relationship, since honesty and communication will no longer be what it used to be. How will you share with her how happy you are with him or how well he treats you, when she still wants him. How you will tell her about a problem you have with him without you thinking that she can be deeply relieved or even happy about it? After all, if you know that she still wants him, it will be difficult for the three of you to be together and for everyone to feel comfortable and familiar.

However, your girlfriend’s reaction may be due to reasons that have to do with your relationship or even her character.

If you think that there is even a small dose of truth in what she accused you of, that is, that you compared yourself to her, or what you have to what she had and you feel that you are missing something, then you may need to look deeper inside yourself and find the reasons why you felt or feel that way. Behind the feeling of jealousy is often hidden the feeling of inadequacy, doubt about the value of the self. In this case it might help to look for the reasons why you feel attracted to and chose to date your friend’s ex-boyfriend. You will probably understand your feelings for him better this way, but you may also understand yourself better.

If you still think it’s unfair to blame you for something like this, it might be helpful to talk to a mutual friend you trust and ask for their opinion on it. There is a chance that your girlfriend feels exactly what she blamed you for and she projected her feelings onto you.

Finally, give it some time and in a calmer phase seek to speak honestly with her. Maybe then your communication will work.


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