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Monday, April 8, 2013

SL Letter of the Day: Breaking the Code

Posted by Dan Savage on Mon, Apr 8, 2013 at 10:29 AM

Originally published September 1, 2005:

I went to a friend's wedding, a friend whom five years ago I would have called a "best friend." I don't know how to describe our friendship now because we don't talk or see each other much. I was reacquainted with her ex-boyfriend (she dated him for three months three years ago) at her wedding and now I'm dating him. She's pissed and claims that I am breaking the "Code"—the unwritten code of not dating your friends' exes. I assumed that ended if you got married. I have polled quite a few girlfriends to see what they think and most say the code is over when you marry, but some say it isn't. I am curious what you or your readers think.

Ending The Code

My response after the jump...

Where I come from, you're considered a model of self-restraint if you refrain from fucking your friends' current boyfriends. Exes are entirely fair game. So maybe I'm not the best judge, ETC, but for what it's worth here's my take:

If your friend had been traumatized by her relationship with this man and if the two of you were still so close that she would be forced to interact with him if you were dating him, then you should have refused to date her ex. But she clearly wasn't traumatized by her relationship with this man—she invited him to her wedding!—and you guys don't hang out much anymore. Any friends-don't-date-friends'-exes fatwa would have to be considered inoperative under these circumstances. Your buddy has no right to make you feel guilty about going after her ex.

Finally, I suspect something else is going on here. Your friendship isn't what it used to be: She's not making time to see you, you're not calling. Your friend may be, consciously or subconsciously, latching on to this supposed violation of some ridiculous code as cause to officially break with you. Some people find drifting apart harder to accept than blowing apart, hence your soon-to-be-ex-friend's manufactured outrage. She wants to make herself feel better—heck, feel superior—about the end of your friendship, and your supposed violation of this goofy code is the best she can come up with.

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