We all know the story; boy meets girl, boy dates girl, boy and girl break up, then the boy’s friend starts dating the girl… I say we all know this story because it’s safe to say that we have all either experienced or at least known about this happening. When a relationship fails, what are the guidelines, the protocol if you will, when a friend wants what you had?
This comes from a question posed to me recently. A man was seeing a woman for a short period of time, (a fling) after they stopped dating his friend then began dating her. The kicker, he made sure to go where and when he wouldn’t run into his friend. Now the fact that he has to duck and hide shows his obvious guilt, but is he wrong? Do we really get to plant a flag on someone?
It’s easy to make claims of disloyalty, but do those claims stand up if he was mistreating or abusing her? If there was cheating, disrespect and neglect going on do we have the same right because we were there first? How about if she just flat out didn’t want him? How much weight is given to her wishes? I pose these questions because it’s not always so black and white. Many of us go through a string of flings and bad relationships we throw away quality men and women frankly because we or they weren’t ready. Does that mean that everyone we call a friend can never have the opportunity that we passed on?
Women are a little different in this department. A woman will take her “friend’s” current man if his market value is high enough. (See “What’s Your Number?”) If he’s got a high score, even her sister better watch her back. That’s right, she better take him to the bathroom with her like he was pork chop in a room full of starving orphans. If you don’t agree find any woman with a man she values and ask her how many of her girlfriends would she trust alone with him? Let me know when you find one. Don’t worry I’ll wait…
When it comes to women and their old flames there is a certain degree of possessiveness. She can have a great man now and will still stake her claim on a prior. Primarily because so many women go back to old flames in some capacity that they don’t want to share him with another woman they know if even only on booty call status. (See “Ignorance Is Bliss”) To women’s credit, that’s often not a friendship deal-breaker. If one of her girlfriends gets with her ex she may call her all 31 flavors of a hoe but in the end they can be friends again. (That is only if the relationship doesn’t work out) If they get married, she’s a backstabbing hoe for life!
Men, we handle things differently. Since a man is nearly never allowed to have deep expressions of emotions we have to take a different stance. A man’s response is really based on the way that his “friend” goes about it. If the friend approaches him like a man and informs him of his intentions, the man will often acknowledge the respect and say okay. The woman herself is not really the issue it’s the respect shown to the man. The male ego sets precedence over almost everything. As long as he doesn’t feel lied to or disrespected most men don’t care. Many have babies by the same woman, can compare notes because they’ve all had the same girl, pretty much men “share the wealth”.
There are of course exceptions to every rule; if the man truly has feelings for the woman then he will do what we affectionately call, “hate”. (See “A Cold Cup Of Coffee: Haters”) He will harbor feelings of resentment and hurt. Everything from name calling to a fist fight can be the result. This is when his emotions get the best of him (something frowned upon when speaking on male behavior) which can lead to verbal and physical outbursts. Usually something immature will happen then the two men can move on.
In the end we are all free to do what and be with whom we choose. Friendships are wonderful, but so is love. We have to make the decision if our friend’s pain is greater than our pleasure.
If you are the one calling out your friend or labeling them as disloyal because they want what you had, you might want to ask yourself why? You had a chance and every opportunity to be with that person, it didn’t work out…it’s over. They may be the match that you and him/her weren’t. We need to ask ourselves, “Are we the ones being the bad friend, trying to keep our friend from potentially finding true love just because we’re uncomfortable with it?” If you are interested in a friend’s ex, are you showing the proper respect to the friendship? If you have to sneak, hide or lie to your friend there are problems that go way deeper than this man/woman.
Dating after a friend rarely goes smoothly, there’s a lot of emotions and feelings involved, step wisely. Relationships end for a reason, hopefully you took notes.The last thing you want is to risk a friendship just to find out what they already learned.
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