'Should I Let My Ex Know I Might Start Dating His Friend?'

Lindsay here, A Plus's resident relationship guru/columnist. While I may not know everything, I do know a lil something about love and our seemingly endless pursuit of it. Having written dozens of A Plus articles about dating, relationships, and sex, I'm ready and willing to investigate all of your romantically-inclined questions (submit here!) — because I've asked them myself. What I hope to bring to A Plus's readers is a sex-positive, body-positive, and most importantly, you-positive perspective on modern love. Consider Love, Lindsay your digital Cupid. 

Dear Lindsay,

I have been broken up with my ex-boyfriend for over a year. It was not the best breakup and we have had very minimal contact since, including when we have seen each other out, etc. Recently, I ran into his very close friend, who I hung out with numerous times when I was with my ex. He asked for my number and has been chatty, inviting me to come meet him and his friends out, asking what I am up to, etc.  

At first I thought he just wanted to be friendly (he recently moved very close to me) but it has become very apparent that he is interested in something more. I could definitely be interested in "the friend" but is that crossing the line? He doesn't seem to care at all (lol) and has mentioned to me that their friendship is not what it once was.

To make the situation even odder, my ex has texted me a few times in the last few weeks saying hi or some dumb drunken texts. I don't think he knows anything, but the timing is weird. If the situation was reversed, I would be livid, so maybe that is my answer. What would you suggest I do? And if I do go out with my ex's friend, should I tell him? I think I would want to know, but I worry that it just might make the whole situation even more awkward. HELP! 

Thanks, Shannon

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Go 👏 for 👏 it 👏. After more than a year, you don't owe your ex anything, nor does he owe anything to you. So much time has passed, with so little contact, since you were together that you probably know very little about each other's lives. Have you informed your ex of any of the other people you've dated since the breakup? I'm going to guess no. So why should this be any different? 

It's not, but if you still feel obligated to say something to your ex, you can give him a quick, courtesy heads-up. If you're not sure what to text, try something like, "Hey [Ex-Boyfriend], hope you're doing well. [Friend's Name] and I are starting to see each other, just thought you should know." No matter what you text, it should be clear that you're informing him of an existent situation, not asking for his permission. Aim for the same level of emotional detachment as someone reporting on traffic after they've been home for half an hour. 

To that end, it may be best to inform your ex only after you've gone on a first date with his friend and would like to see him again. This way, you'll know whether you and this guy have a romantic future that's worth mentioning to anyone. 

Generally speaking, the less an ex knows, the better. Of course there are exceptions, but for most people it takes a long time, if ever, to be on good terms with an ex. That often comes after both people have moved on to new, better relationships. Before that happens, however, many experience a specific brand of jealousy upon learning their ex is involved with someone else, even if they no longer have any interest in their ex and are actively dating, too.

So it makes tons of sense that you'd be "livid" if the situation were reversed, and you have a right to those feelings. You don't have a right to control your ex's love life because of those feelings — and the same, of course, goes for him. If you decide to tell him and he doesn't give you his blessing, that's not your problem. 

Bottom line: Don't let potential fallout from past relationships stop you from pursuing new ones. Your ex is your ex for a reason (or many), so there's no point in missing out on a potentially great guy because you're worried about hurting the last one's feelings. Follow your feelings, and they'll lead you wherever you're meant to go. 

Love, Lindsay 

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