Q: My ex and I were together for 10 years, but broke up a few months ago. Very few know that we are getting back together. We wanted to keep it a secret until we were sure. Yesterday my boyfriend showed me his Facebook page because my lifelong best friend from high school just requested him as a friend. Is that good ex-etiquette? I think it’s a little strange since she listened to me bad-mouth him for months after our break-up. Makes me think she may be interested in him and that would be very uncool.

A: There is an unwritten rule of good ex-etiquette: You don’t date your best friend’s ex. So, it would be “uncool” unless she ran it by you first and you gave her your blessing.

You see, there are a few who simply don’t care if you date their ex – but most feel like you, very bad ex-etiquette, so it’s a good rule of thumb to check before you go forward.

If the answer is “No, stay away,” then you have to weigh how important the friendship is, because dating a best friend’s ex against their wishes probably means the end of the friendship.

Have to say, if she didn’t say anything to you before sending the friend request, it does look a little fishy. I can think of two reasons why she might have skipped asking you how you felt. She’s a gossip and likes to have her finger on the pulse of all the good stuff, or she’s after him – or both.

It could be innocent, but I doubt it. She would have said something first.


The only way to figure this one out is to ask her. Ex-etiquette rule No. 7 is “Be honest and straight forward,” which means it’s time to come clean about your reconciliation and tell her you know about the friend request. Don’t lie or even hedge a little. Tell her the truth – you don’t think it was a cool thing to do – and ask her what she was thinking.

If she gives you an answer that you can accept or at least understand, then things are fine. But if she hems and haws and stumbles all over herself, that will tell you her motives were not “friendly.” Then you have some choices to make.

Truth is, she didn’t go after him in person and this could all be about nothing. However, social media has become a preface to dating, so nobody would be shocked if she was putting feelers out there through Facebook. Unfortunately, because you know someone for a lifetime doesn’t mean they are a lifetime friend. Odds are if she’s sneaking around behind your back this time, it’s not the first time.

So you have to examine whether this is really a friendship you want to cultivate. If you want to stay friends, there are quite a few ex-etiquette rules that will help you get your friendship back on track.

For example, Rule No. 5, “Don’t be spiteful” and No. 6, “Don’t hold grudges.” And No. 3, “Don’t bad-mouth,” really applies if you truly want to cut the gossip potential to a minimum. The final outcome is really up to you. You can be honest and straightforward or perpetuate the drama.

Dr. Jann Blackstone is the author of “Ex-etiquette for Parents: Good Behavior After Divorce or Separation,” and the founder of Bonus Families, www.bonusfamilies.com. Reach her at:


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.