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Is It Ever OK to Date a Friend's Ex?

Is It Ever OK to Date a Friend's Ex?

Reuters

Simon Cowell recently sparked some scandalous headlines when it emerged that he is set to become a father — with the wife of his close friend.

Some reports indicate the relationship between the married couple was already over by the time Cowell moved in. Others claim the opposite was true. 

READ: Friend or More? The Affair You Don't Realize You're Having

While many details remain unknown, this revelation raises a question: Is your friend’s ex always off-limits?

"If your friend is totally over his ex, has no romantic feelings for her, and wouldn’t mind being around the two of you socially, that could work," muses Nina Atwood, author of "Temptations of the Single Girl." "But look at all the conditions that have to be met! The reality is that it’s just too weird and uncomfortable for most people to want to deal with."

Therapist Karen Sherman agrees.

"The only time it might be okay is if your friend has moved on to another relationship," she says. "Even if the two of them have split, emotions take a while to heal, so it's unlikely that the friend is going to be okay with it."

But not all relationship experts agree.

"It’s ok to move in if they are estranged and no longer in love and divorcing," says matchmaker Marla Martenson. "You never know where you will find love. It could be right under your nose, and circumstances have to shift for things to evolve."

READ: What Counts as Cheating?

As Martenson points out, "it’s a delicate situation, but why let a potential love match get away? If it’s a great match, it’s a great match."

Still, it’s best to proceed with caution. Martenson advises "letting things dissipate a bit" before making your move.

If you do decide to pursue a friends’ ex, be prepared for the potential for some major fall-out.

"You should avoid this whole scenario unless you feel very strongly that your friend’s ex is your ultimate soul mate," says Atwood. "If you decide to pursue the ex, you should be prepared to lose the friendship.

"Most people are highly uncomfortable with these situations, so it’s best to look for love somewhere else," she adds.

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