When I was younger, I remember watching shows like One Tree Hill and the occasional rerun of Beverly Hills, 90210. In all the drama of those shows, the one thing that always perplexed me, was how a group of friends felt so comfortable dating within the same circle. For example, in the first show, the main character Lucas dated both Brooke and her best friend Peyton. And not only did this Lucas date both women, he went back and forth between the two. Then there is the infamous Brenda, Dylan, and Kelly love triangle from Beverly Hills, 90210. Dylan bounced between the two women whenever he felt like it. Not to mention, Kelly dated two of Dylan’s best friends. I say all that to make the point, I thought scenarios like that only happened in Hollywood fiction. But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve shockingly come to realize that dating in the same circle happens more frequently than I thought.
Me personally, I’ve never been a fan of dating in the same circle. I feel like it’s a gross violation of a friend code of some sort. There is something so awkward about dating someone my best friend, my close associate, or coworker has been with. It’s just a “no-go” for me. I don’t want to be in a situation where people I know have firsthand knowledge of what my boo looks like naked, and what his strengths and weakness are in the bedroom.
And it’s not just about scooping someone’s “leftovers” that bugs me. I’d be annoyed knowing a friend is messing with one of my exes. There are too many men single and ready to mingle, for a friend to start dating a former flame of mine. Let’s look at the numbers. Across the U.S., there are approximately 151,800,000 men. Of that number, experts estimate that at least 10% of them are gay. That’s roughly 15.2 million homosexual men. Given I can count the number of people I consider an ex on one hand, I just think there is no need for any of my friends to hook-up with a guy I’ve been with. The math is on my side here too.
Now I understand the arguments for why people don’t see the harm in dating a friend’s former flame. For starters, there is the old saying, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” While no person is trash, an ex for you may be the perfect match for someone else. And that someone else could very well be your BFF. So how dare you ever attempt to stand in the way of true love. You should swallow your feelings of discomfort and get over it.
Then there is the question, “why should you care?” Numerous men and women will argue that once you put a man back on the market, he’s back on the market for anyone’s taking. If a friend scoops him up after you, then you shouldn’t care because you didn’t want him. If you do care and get upset, then you must be jealous, and that’s your personal problem to work through.
While the two points from the other side are valid, I just can’t agree. Exes are like underwear that you don’t wear anymore because they’re uncomfortable. If your friend ask to borrow them, you’d look at him like he’s crazy for asking. And you’d look even crazier if you found out he was wearing the draws you no longer wanted without even asking you first. You would be perplexed as to why he just doesn’t go get some fresh underwear of his own. It has nothing to do with jealousy, and everything to do with protocol in my book.
The moral of the story here, is dating within the same circle of friends is a fail of epic proportion in most instances. It often causes more tension on friendship bonds than necessary. A good rule of thumb to follow, is if a person is saved in your cellphone and you’ve contacted them more than three times in a year, their exes are off limits. Now this rule is applicable to friends’ exes, not one night stands. However, I often apply it to folks’ one night stands as well. I’d rather not go there either.