June 07, 2005

Old Flames and The Friends Who Date Them

Yep. Another week has passed and Tuesday is here once again. And you know what that means, kids! It's another electrifying installment of The Demystifying Divas. Our topic this week is one that I'm sure y'all will have an opinion about because it poses a rather interesting ethical question: when you break up with someone, is it ever ok for any of your friends to date your ex?

I would have to say that the answer to this one is no. It is NEVER ok for this to happen. Others might be more enlightened and are able to keep their emotions in check, and can pull the "yeah, sure, he's a great guy, it just didn't work out with us, so go for it" thing off. I'm sure those people are out there. It's just that, in reality, I've never known this to work out, no matter how 21st Century someone purports to be. I'm very much like Dr. House on this issue: everyone lies. If someone says they're over their ex, just assume they're lying. If someone says that they're mostly over their ex, just assume they're lying. If someone says they're not over their ex, well, just assume they're lying, but that they'll still be jealous if you date their ex.

To explain my thoughts on this one, I have to lay out a bit of my ancient history. You see, I have never been the type of girl who turns guys' heads. They don't walk up to me and start chatting me up. It just doesn't happen. I'm just not that chick. I have brown hair and I wear glasses. Go figure. I am, however, the girl who can chat on all sorts of subjects and will "intrigue" a man once she starts talking to him. I have no idea why this happens, but it's always been this way. Now, this was a very uncomfortable experience when I was coming of age, because my friends would gain a guy, I'd get to know them because the socially acceptable thing to do is to get to know the people your friends date, and then this is when it would get interesting. For some strange reason I always wound up fending off advances from my friends' boyfriends. God, talk about awkward.

One glaring example from my youth: my best friend from high school was dating this goombah. And there's really no other way to describe him: he was a goombah. He was Italian-American; he was born and raised in Nebraska, but for some strange reason thought he should have a Brooklyn accent; he wore gold chains around his neck and---I swear to God---wore a pinky ring, and drove a Bitchin' Camaro. He pretty much fit the "goombah" definition. He was an "ok" guy, and we got along all right, but I was having a hard time understanding why Julie thought the sun rose and set with him. The first time I met him was the first weekend I was home from college after my freshman year. We went to a party, I was introduced, I chatted with him, and before then end of that night he'd grabbed my ass TWICE. When Julie was right next to him, no less. I'd removed his hand both times, and added a painful twist to his finger to make sure he got the message that he shouldn't be trying that on, and shot him nasty looks to back up the message.

Now, I told Julie about this the next day. And, of course, she took it under advisement, but while I thought she was being rational about it, she was simply filing this information away. Not to use against him, but rather to use against me. She broke up with him a few weeks later. This was fine and dandy with me. No hassles. About six months later, I was home from school from Christmas break, and she was dodging me and pretty much not wanting to have anything to do with me. I didn't understand what was going on, she wouldn't stay on the phone long enough with me for me to suss it out, and so, when I got back to school, I sent her a letter, wondering what was up. Well, she sent one back saying we shouldn't be friends anymore. Because I was "always trying to steal her boyfriends away." And she listed out this boyfriend, even though she'd dumped him, as just one of the many examples of my being a bad friend.

I was stunned. Here I'd practically broken the guy's finger---twice---in an effort to be faithful to my friend, I'd told her what he'd done, and who was the one who had to pay the ferryman? Not him, that's for sure. A couple of years later, Julie and reconciled, but it was short lived. Think you can guess why? Her fiancee---yep, that's right, the man she was engaged to be married to---kept sending me these soulful glances across the room when I first met him. I was dating the husband by this point in time, and the boyfriend knew this, but the minute Julie got up to go to the bathroom, well, he started running his finger along my hand, saying how cool I was and that we should get together sometime. Oy.

Of course, I ran the other way. I didn't want to get blamed, again, for the fact she kept picking out losers. This happened many more times, with many more girlfriends and the objects of their affection. I have no idea why it happened. It's not like I went looking to steal their boyfriends away. I just talked to the guys. That's it. I hate homewreckers, yet I constantly got lumped in with their lot. It's something that baffles me to this day. Yet, this is why I've never thought it would be ok, under any circumstances, to even think about having warm and friendly thoughts towards a friend's ex. I just wouldn't do it. It's not worth the hassle, because, in my humble opinion, no matter how much your friend says they're over their ex, there are still going to be little rumblings of jealousy that could, conceivably, ruin your friendship. It's just not worth the trouble.

Now run along and see what Sadie, Silk and Chrissy have to say on the subject. Please also go over and give Kelley at Suburban Blight, one of our fine Divaesque Ladies, a warm welcome and read what she has to say.

For the male perspective, as always The Wiz, Phin, Stiggy have spoken up. As has the I-can't-bring-myself-to-shoot-raccoons-Smallholder at Naked Villainy.

Posted by Kathy at June 7, 2005 09:53 AM

Ahhhhh yes. Very well said, Goddess of Snark. It seems we are of the same sentiment this week;-)

Next week...who knows? That's why this is so interesting, eh?

Posted by: sadie at June 7, 2005 11:13 AM

Chicks are stupid. [I refer to your aforementioned "friend" who took her stupid choices of dates out on YOU.]

I have always eschewed that sort of childish behavior (or tried to) and I've always been a bit -- shall we say -- emotionally disengaged from relationships I have had in the past. I've always passed it off by saying "I'm just not the jealous type."

And then I met my darling husband.

Now, in the words of my dear friend Kelley -- ". . .just stay away from my husband or I'll cut you."

As I said: Chicks are stupid.


Posted by: Margi at June 7, 2005 02:34 PM

Okay, it's offical. Apparently, I have been living under a rock for years.

No wonder this topic left me with a blank.


Well done, Kathy.

; )

Posted by: Chrissy at June 7, 2005 05:46 PM

No question about it; there is The Code amongst the sisterhood. Once you break up with your flame, her friends are off-limits for the foreseeable future. The good news is there is a statute of limitations on that one. The bad news is it will be at least five years and the old flame has to have been married for nearly that long and the friend has to have had no contact since being a bridesmaid in the wedding where the old flame married the philandering dope-smoker you warned her about.

Posted by: LMC at June 7, 2005 08:58 PM
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