Ethics of dating

I need some help here please, and I also need to know that other people worry about things like this.

Short version: Is it ethical to date a friend of one’s ex when one is definietely not over the ex yet?

Background: My boyfriend dropped me about ten months ago. It was shattering, and I’ve just now started to get my feet back under me. I dated a little, but only people who weren’t even remotely in the same social circle.

But this week, I saw him for the first time in nine months, unfortunately at a funeral. He gave me mixed signals (we met before it and went together) which made it excruciatingly clear to me that I’m not over him at all and cast doubts on the thought that he’s over me.

Also at this funeral, I ran into a friend of his. Not a really close friend, but definitely someone from his crowd and that I’d met through him, although we’d always gotten along well. And I’d always had the feeling that this guy liked me. Which was confirmed when he dug me out of the phone book and asked me out last night.

I went and kept it a platonic date, but he’s made his interest clear. Now the question: is it right to keep it up with this guy? I was up all night thinking about this. It’s one thing to go out with people in a different circle, but if I were to go out with this guy, the associations with my ex would be strong. And I’m still broken; not the same person that I was when he met me. Is it fair to him to let him take his chances with someone as screwed up as I know myself to be? If we all end up at a rodeo together, I know I would have a really hard time with it.

Do I jump in with full disclosure to this guy and let him make the call? That could really be jumping the gun - he may not be interested in more than a casual date or two, and I’m not a huge one for revealing myself so soon anyway.

I don’t trust my own motives here. This is a really good man and I don’t want to hurt him uneccesarily, but on the other hand, he’s a grown man and can look out for himself. I could really appreciate a kind man at this point too, but the sparks aren’t there yet either (although I am willing to give them time to show up if I decide to continue this.)

So, help? What have you all done in such situations? I know there are more than a few here who aren’t the “look out for number one” types, and what is your perspective on dating ethically? I don’t care to use people, even (especially?) emotionally - how have you run into dating dilemmas? How do I do this whole dating thing morally?

That’s a tough one. I ended up marrying my ex’s brother-in-law, so I know it can, but doesn’t have to be, awkward. Many years passed before I began dating Mr. Kalhoun. I think the bigger issue is that you know you’re not over your ex yet. That can really mess it up with the new guy. If I were you, I’d be straight with him and tell him you’re simply not ready for a serious relationship, particularly with someone so close to the ex. It’s an understandable problem, and if he’s truly interested in a relationship rather than getting laid, he can look you up in six months or a year and see how it’s going. Good luck!

It isn’t ethical to date anyone when one is not over an ex. It is unfair to all involved.

I’m definitely leaning that way with this guy, but was it unethical to see someone for a couple of months earlier this year when we both knew that it was going to be short term? That was geographically driven, as we both knew that his job would take him away (as it did, with no hard feelings.) And I did disclose my state of upheaval to that one, and he did the same and we were both fine with it. That relationship actually went a long way towards healing me, just not as long as I’d thought.

A friend of mine has pointed out that I’m all in a tizzy about the ex because I’ve just seen him, and that it will wear back off in a few weeks, and I’m inclined to believe that she’s right. So asking this guy to give me time and giving him the short version of why seems like the honorable thing to do.

I’d still welcome stories of how others have dealt with similar situations.

By the way…there’s nothing wrong with casual dating, as long as everyone’s on the same page. If you want to pal around with this guy (even sleep with him if you want to), there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s all about honesty with yourself and him. The ex’s feelings don’t really play a part in it if isn’t pivotal to either of you.

I would agree that there is no harm in casual dating. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I’ve always found it helpful in the healing process to go out with other people, as a distraction and a way of remembering there are other fish in the sea.

And having FUN!!!

I strongly disagree. I think dating can often be the best way to finally get over someone completely. After ten months, it’s definitely time to start moving on, and it’s hard to sit home and pick at emotional scabs when you’re excited about a new relationship.

Cowgirl Jules, I’d say go for it. Go out with him a few times and see what happens. Don’t lay out all these concerns right away – if things seem to be taking off, mention that you dated a friend of his for a while and still feel a little weird about it.

Just my opinion, but I’d say this is exactly it.

Your ex is your EX. It’s over, it’s done with. He is not on your radar screen, so do what you want. Screw him, it’s done.

OTOH, if you are not over this, then I would suggest evaluating your position as you said in your OP. That’s a different subject, and you certainly do need to take the potential date’s feelings & situation into consideration.

Just to reiterate: You owe nothing to your ex. Beyond that, you need to evaluate (as you are obviously doing [/thumbs-up]) your feelings towards this potential new relationship.

Best of luck, and may good karma be with you!

None of the three of you are committed to anyone else, right?

I’ll come at this from a different angle. A million years ago I had a girlfriend who would cheat on me like clockwork. Eventually (I’ve never had a lot of self-respect) I called bullshit and told her to get lost. Couple years later she seemd different, more mature and ready to settle down so we got married. Know what? She has turned out to be much the same as she was back then: unable to stay committed to a monogamous relationship. Your ex, for whatever reason, has decided that he’s not so into you after all. He can definitely return to that place once any rekindled passions burn down. Discard him. Cry about it & miss him when he was good, and move on. The only way to get over him is to mix with other people who can and will value you in ways he simply did/does not.

I’m not saying to get serious with the new guy, but no matter how far you two take things, every step will be away from a relationship that didn’t work, and would likely fail again. You say the new guy is a good man? We’re a limited breed, give him a chance.

Perhaps a casual relationship almost a year after the fact will help the healing process, but dating someone while still hung up on someone else is unfair to that person.

We may be disagreeing on simple semantics over the exact definition of “dating”, so perhaps I should restate my case by saying that becoming emotionally involved with someone while still emotionally attached to someone else is unethical.

I disagree. I think it’s theeasiest goddamn thing in the world to sit home and pick those scabs and nurse grudges. That’s why it’s important to get out of the house. Let the friend know you’re still conflicted, but willing to spend some time with him. See what he wants to do.

Yes, you and I are meaning the same thing here, at least in this instance. Previously I went out with a guy but it was pretty casual and we were in agreement to keep most emotional involvement out of it. I wasn’t worried about ethics in that case. It’s the potential for involvement here that has me concerned, because I don’t want to be an ass to this guy.

And I may be overthinking (it’s one of those things that I do.) If he doesn’t turn out to be that interested after all, then no harm, no foul. But if he does, I think I’ve decided on a course of action in which I tell him that I’m not ready and briefly go into why without getting into detail. He already knows some of it.

Oh, and for once I’m not really worried about the ex’s feelings in this case. It isn’t his business. But it’s a different ball game seeing someone in the same set, and I’m afraid that if I react badly to running into him, it won’t be very pleasant for the new guy.

And YES, it’s time to move on, but doing so isn’t quite as easy as thinking so sometimes.

I’ve always operated under the opinion that you shouldn’t date friends of your exes. Assuming that everyone is still on good terms, it’s probably going to create some hurt feelings.

Nothing is absolute, and there’s exceptions to everything, but I wouldn’t want to do anything to hurt an ex who doesn’t deserve it. I wouldn’t want to be the one to start a chain of events that could ultimately lead to a series of friendships ending.

You could have a casual thing with this new guy, and it could turn out to be nothing more than a short term thing. There’s nothing wrong with casual, but would that be worth creating possible animosity between him and his friend that could outlast your relationship with him?

If you do consider it, I think all three people have a right to fair warning. It’d be awful to find something out like this through the grapevine.

I’ve discussed this with other friends, and theres by no means a consensus. Most of my female friends and exes tended to not think it was so bad. Of course they also ended up in the middle of ugly drama over and over so perhaps their opinions should be taken with a grain of salt.
To me, dating someone when you’re not yet over the ex is no big deal. At some point he needs to know, though not right off the bat, so that he doesn’t get too emotionally connected if you;re unavailable. I have more of an issue with dating someone the ex knows, both of you over the relationship or not. If you both were over the relationship and no feelings at all for one another I still would think it’s a bad idea, but at least in that case it’s possibly worth discussing.