Monday, December 21, 2015

The Friend Code

“How do you know him?” I asked.

I was attending the funeral of a college classmate and ran into one of my ex-boyfriend’s friends. Now
ladies, it didn't help that this was the friend that I was initially attracted to when I first met my then boyfriend. He and his friend, along with some other brothers, were hanging out one night; we met coming out of an evening worship service. I was secretly praying that his friend would step up and ask for my number, but God saw otherwise. I dated my ex-boyfriend for two years and grew tremendously as a person. Needless to say, I actually appreciated God for his choice, but was this a fresh and new opportunity??

I remember him being the friend who didn’t have it all together. He was in between jobs, not necessarily a church goer, and his family responsibilities seemed to be overwhelming and taxing to say the least. My boyfriend at the time was the one encouraging and pushing him to stay involved in church and pushing him toward excellence in his walk with Christ.   

As I left the sanctuary after the funeral, I greeted him and we began to talk.  I was infatuated with the sprinkle of gray hairs that graced his chin and lip so perfectly. Lined to perfection!  He was dressed in a nice black suit and looked amazing! Maybe even better than the first day I met him a few years ago! I was stuck. The Lord knows how to package a gift!

He shared that he was actually the cousin of my classmates wife. Can we say small world...I mean, six degrees of separation? More like two!

Later that evening the family of my classmate decided to have a gathering at a restaurant as the repast. When I arrived to the restaurant I saw him again! This time I was going to wait for him to come to me. As I laughed and joked with my friends, I kept him in the corner of my eye.  He slowly made his way over to me and we chatted again.

He didn’t seem like the same guy from a few years ago, which he shouldn’t have.  I detected an increase in maturity, economic status, and a decrease in the family load. I was intrigued, but conflicted. Is it ok to “talk” to or date your ex’s close friend?

Now, mind you, my ex is happily engaged and getting married in less than 90 days (knowledge courtesy of Facebook).  I honestly don't know the status of he and his friend's current relationship, but I can only assume that they are still tight. They grew up together and I can almost accurately assume that he will definitely be a groomsman in the wedding, if not, one of the best men. Yes, I mapped it all out in my head as we talked! And maybe he did too because he didn't ask for my number, but my mind still wandered...and here’s the question...

Is there a girl/guy code that says you can't date the close friend of your ex, even if your ex has moved on? He's getting married. He seems very happy, and we haven't talked in over a year. I don't want him back and I'm sure he feels the same toward me. We served a purpose in each other's life which wasn't until marriage.

His friend and I are two consenting, mature, single (I am assuming he was), adults, right? But somewhere deep down inside it just doesn't feel right. I flipped it. If one of my friends decided to date someone that I've dated or even liked, I wouldn't be a happy camper. Even if I wasn't interested anymore I felt there was a code, let alone a million other dudes in the world to choose from!

Honestly speaking there would be a slight emotion of jealousy, but it would be more a principle of respect.  A person that you have been intimate with, shared intimate moments with, and know their family in and out, now becomes intimate with your close friend? It's too much! It would be quite awkward and uncomfortable to then have your friend engage in what was once yours.  It's also a matter of boundaries.

I'm reminded of a scene from Love Jones when Nia Long began to date Bill Bellamy after she broke up with Larenz Tate. That awkward moment where he brings her to the party, knowing Larenz was going to be there, wrong on so many levels! Nia knew better and so did Bill.  I am also reminded of an episode of Living Single when Max began to date one of Regine ex-boyfriends. Again, another step out of bounds.

But what was clear to me in each of those situations and in my own as well, is friendship. It really depends on how strong of a friendship you and the person have as well as the communication that takes place. A real friend would know who is off limits. Someone I've dated more than a year and discussed marriage with is not someone I expect my friend to come around and date. But if I have moved on and/or am pursuing another relationship, there is a conversation that can be had and a mutual decision that can be made.

Communication, respect, and boundaries really do make the world go round, and decrease the risk of losing a friendship. At the end of the day, the old saying goes, "bros before H*@s", and I say, "sisters before misters!"

As far as his friend is concerned, I was ok with walking away, but a sister can take a sneak peek every once and awhile! Ain't nothing wrong with that! LOL