Sunday, May 26, 2013
By JANN BLACKSTONE-FORD and SHARYL JUPE
Q: While looking at Facebook, I just found out that my so-called best friend is "with" my ex. I can see photos of them having a great time together at a party last weekend that I could not go to. I'm sick. It's only been weeks and my friends all know how our breakup has hurt me. I can't believe my absolute best friend has betrayed me in this way. What's good ex-etiquette for dating your best friend's ex?
A: "Don't date your best friend's ex" is one of the unwritten rules of good ex-etiquette, but we all know it happens and it's often the end of a beautiful friendship. Sometimes "friends" don't even wait until your ex is an ex, so from that standpoint it sounds like you are ahead of the game.
Be careful that you're not jumping to conclusions: Even though you've seen provocative pictures on Facebook, it's really easy to take pictures that suggest something is going on when it really isn't. If there's kissing and groping, then that's an issue to scream about, but if it's just suggestive mugging for the camera, although "uncool" in concept, it may not be what it seems.
There's a red flag here, though. If days have gone by, it's sketchy that a best friend hasn't told you she saw your ex at the party. To us, that could mean one of two things: Either they are fooling around and she's afraid to say something, or they aren't fooling around and the mugging was so insignificant she didn't think it was important to mention. But, knowing women the way we do, we think if your best friend saw your ex at a party it wouldn't be uncommon for her to go as far as to call you on the phone in the bathroom to tell you he's there. Or, at least call the next morning with a, "Guess who I saw last night?"
So, based on that, it's time to have a conversation with your friend -- not your ex -- about what's going on. That's the relationship you want to salvage, so that's who you talk to. Don't use this as an excuse to talk to your ex -- he's your past. Before you ask your friend the question, figure out what it means to you if the answer is yes. Do you really care if they're seeing each other? If you do, consider using the Ten Rules of Good Ex-etiquette for Dating as your guide. They can be found on the Bonus Families website and include: "Be true to yourself," "Stay calm when confronted (or confronting someone else)," and "Set clear boundaries."
Finally, you have to ask yourself how good a friend she really is if she's dating someone you're still in love with so soon after your breakup. If she put the pictures on Facebook, she wanted you to see them.
East Bay residents Jann Blackstone-Ford, Ph.D., and her husband's ex-wife, Sharyl Jupe, authors of "Exetiquette for Parents," are the founders of Bonus Families (www.bonusfamilies.com).