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Dating a friend s ex boyfriend

The problem is he is my best friend’s ex. She and I were soul sisters, spoke on the phone for hours, had sleepovers all the time. She was my rock. She started to date this guy and four months after they broke up we started to see each other. She was not impressed at all, and I don’t blame her. But I’m also glad I’ve met such a great person. It’s starting to come between me and my partner because I can’t forgive myself. I’d love some advice on how to move on from this situation.

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Mariella replies Move on, or backpedal a bit? We are alert to anything that tries to buffet us backwards. But it’s simply not possible to keep moving relentlessly up, up and away. Too much focus on distant and elusive peaks, and it can get pretty messy on your path. You can find yourself with little to cling to when the occasional downward slide occurs.

All too often our mistakes do lie behind us. Now and again, revisiting the scene of the crime, rather than marching resolutely in the opposite direction, makes a lot of sense. If you’ve told the truth, your friend doesn’t have the right to be angry. We don’t own the rights to our old loversYou say you are wracked by guilt for what you’ve done to your friend and want advice on how to move on. How about some advice on how to make amends?

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If you’ve told me the whole truth then you may be guilty of handling things badly, but certainly not of wholly unreasonable behaviour. I’ve never understood why we aren’t more generous with past lovers. Your friend doesn’t have the right to be angry because you are dating her ex. We don’t own the rights to our old lovers. Only if she was deceived or betrayed when they were dating should you have major misgivings.

As you describe it you’ve done neither so it’s all down to how you’ve handled what is a situation fraught with sensitivities and issues of pride and discretion. The tone of your letter suggests you have done her a great wrong so if that’s not the case your unnecessary guilt could be fuelling her misplaced sense of injustice. They’re often more valuable than romantic ones. I wonder how many people have hooked up with a new, exciting lover only to miss the mundanity of their ex, or married and had kids only to hanker after their singleton days, or even moved to a better paid job and felt nostalgic for the camaraderie of the less lucrative one. Once you start questioning our exhausting focus on upward mobility you can’t help but wonder if we’ve invested a little too much in escalation and advance, simply mountaineering our way though life without pausing to take in the view.

We humans have the ability to travel between our own two ears, come up with new ideas, imagine alternative worlds and encounter imaginary people. There’s a whole universe on offer and by always “moving on”, we’re speeding past nourishing riches in the present. I’d stop thinking of putting distance between you and your problem friend and actively engage with her instead. Insist on a rendezvous and listen sympathetically to what your friend has to say, explain how bad the situation has left you feeling and try to establish new and workable ground rules for how you can return to being soul mates. Men on the other hand do like a cat fight, so it could be your boyfriend who’s next to be annoyed if you and his ex are reconciled.

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