I guess my thoughts are, when you refuse to give up proprietorship, how can you REALLY move on? And if you've moved on why should you really care? There are some other elements to this as well. 1. Why would I want to date a friend's ex? 2. What type of relationship do those two have? 3. How will/could this relationship effect my friendship? 4. How long should one wait before dating a friend's ex? 5. Should you converse with that friend (get permission or bring to their attention)?
So, journey with me through these five elements.
1. Why would I want to date a friend's ex?
For a number of reasons. You could be or could have always been attracted to that person. You may find that you and that person have things about yourselves that work well together. Familiarity. There are plenty of reasons why one might want to. And it's not necessarily that you're thinking "this is my friend's ex," it may be more like: "this person has all the characteristics I'm looking for in a mate ...BUT they're such-n-such's ex."
2.What type of relationship do those two have?
It matters. ESPECIALLY if you're trying to maintain both relationships. Now if you've decided the relationships are interchangeable (meaning you are only doing one: keeping the friendship OR dating the ex) then this may not matter to you. If you're dating the ex, the decision is made. So, their relationship matters because it determines how you dating this ex is going to make your friend feel. I think people would be much more likely to let a friend date an ex if the relationship ended amicably; nobody's feelings were hurt, there was no bloodshed, broken tail-lights, scratched up vehicles. etc., or even if all those things happened, if they somehow moved to a place where they'd forgiven one another and are civil. They don't have to be best friends, but your dating the ex won't bring up any bad feelings. If your friend goes from 0-10 when "ex's" name is brought up...s/he is not in a place to be okay with you dating their ex. It's obvious. Now if there's maturity and healing present s/he may have no issues with the situation. Like I said, if it's your intention to maintain both relationships, it's pertinent that you examine how the two deal with each other (collectively, individually).
3. How will/could this relationship effect my friendship?
Remember, this is only for those trying to maintain both relationships. How will dating your friend's ex affect y'all's relationship, really all depends on point 2. I will say that even if they are completely over their ex, there will probably be certain things you all just can't talk about...sex life is probably gonna be one of those things. Lol. Something about that is just in the 'off-limits' category. Now, if friend is not over the ex, then your friendship doesn't exist. This is where "S/he's so trifling," and "I can't believe s/he did this to me," comes in. If they still feel like they have the rights to this person, or they haven't gotten over the fact that 'Ex' cheated, lied, or moved on, then they damn sure won't want to see the two of you working out. That affects both of you, because friendship just isn't friendship if you don't want to see the other person happy; no conditions. Also, if they are one of the many people set on "friends don't date each other's exes" then the same applies.
4. How long should one wait before dating a friend's ex?
This is important because you definitely don't want to move too soon. It kinda gives that 'you were just waiting for us to break up' feel and you can pretty much kiss that friendship goodbye. In addition, their ability to move on is important and for the purposes of maintaining friendship you don't want to become part of the recovery. Meaning, you don't want your friend to have to get over whatever reason s/he and their ex broke up AND get over the fact that 'friend' jumped right in and started dating 'Ex.' This will essentially be wrapped up in point 5.
5. Should you converse with that friend (get permission or bring to their attention)?
I think you should. Now, I don't think you should get "permission" per se, you're grown or your own person so you can do WHATEVER you want. I think you should bring it to their attention, 'cause trust, someone else is. Not to mention, being upfront about it takes away the 'backhandedness' that is usually associated with this entire idea. Plus, that's how you find out about points 2 and 3. Additionally, it gives you a clear idea about what your friendship is going to be like. The worse thing you can do is assume that your friend is not going to be okay with it, because if you chose to move into that relationship anyway, then you're giving up the friendship when it may not have been necessary. And you don't want to assume they will be fine with it because if they are not, oh buddy... I think there's a certain maturity in talking about it: it shows that there is no malice aforethought. Basically, you think this relationship would be good for you and you're not trying to ruin a friendship in the process. You're saying, to you, there's a difference; your friendship and relationship are two separate entities and both are important to you. Once again, the news will get back to your friend, so it's better if you've already briefed him or her so that the 'news' is well received.
Things to know:
It's going to be pretty hard for your relationship to establish it's own identity, especially around the people who know all three of you.
It doesn't have to be a big deal, especially, if as the friend, you're over your ex, and as the other friend you've been honest and upfront.
As for me:
Would I date a friend's ex? Probably not. Especially someone they've dated seriously or someone who's done them wrong. It's a loyalty thing. Note: sometimes loyalty can be taken too far.
However, I feel that God connects us all for a reason: not for me to hold proprietorship on God's creation: that person does NOT belong to me, but that we can get what we need. I've gotten what I needed from my old relationships ,so they're up for grabs. I think we're all looking for the same things (happiness, love, companionship, etc) so if you can or have it in a person that I was unable to find it in...congratulations, that's what it's about.