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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Sexcapades: My best friend’s ex-boyfriend?

Published: March 25, 2011
Section: Opinions

Recently someone mentioned to me that they noticed I was writing more theoretical pieces these days, whereas before I was much more sexually focused. I explained that while I hadn’t thought of it before, it has something to do with the fact that I’ve been in a monogamous relationship since August, making the crazy stories few and far between, and making me reluctant to spill all the private details. This is perhaps unfair to my readers, however, and since there are only about five weeks more before I graduate, I’d love to hear from people and answer their questions.

To get on topic, however, recently I’ve been thinking about the complexities involved when friends or roommates have interests that overlap or collide. My roommate and I have completely different tastes in guys. On the rare occasions when the same guy happens to be interested in both of us (even if it’s at different times), there’s pretty much a zero percent chance that if one of us is interested, the other will be too. The reason I say these times are rare is because we too are very different, and I’m more the short and dark type, while my roommate is tall and bright, and so a guy pretty much has to have no type to be interested in both of us. We’ve been lucky because the fact that we have distinctly different types has meant we have never needed to fight over a guy. It is true, however, that, sometimes, the guy one of us likes is actually into the other one. We’ve also been lucky that we’ve never simultaneously dated guys who were friends or roommates, tying each of our relationships to the other’s.

But this isn’t true for everyone. When I was but a lowly first-year, returning single from winter break, my friend endeavored to introduce me to a senior she knew, whom she thought I would like. I actually met the guy on my own at a party, we hit it off and the next day we went on the first of many dates.

Things eventually stalled, however, and I discovered that his roommate and best friend was also interested in me, making it difficult for him to take things further with me. For him, this may have been a moral dilemma (or a sudden lack of interest), but for his roommate, it certainly was not. No sooner were we done with the dates than did the roommate swoop in, eventually convincing me to carry on a sexual relationship that lasted long after he graduated.

Another common situation is one where a guy starts dating a girl and she starts bringing her friends around so that her new beau gets to meet them. Eventually, his roommate(s) find that they might have a good chance with some of her single friends, and we all know what happens from there. But what happens when one of the relationships ends? Do they all have to end or can some remain while others fall by the wayside? Obviously, this probably depends on the maturity levels of all parties involved, but it can be difficult for people (guys or girls) to maintain relationships that are not amenable to their closest friends and/or roommates.

So how complicated is too complicated? At what point are our friendships allowed to interfere with our relationships and vice-a-versa? In college, everything risks being temporary—both friendships and relationships—making it difficult to examine fully the trade-offs we have to make in tough situations. The truth is, however, that college is filled with all of these little traps. Especially at a school as small as Brandeis, eventually you’ll meet a friend’s ex and think he’s cute, something will start up, and then you’re all faced with the problem of “is this OK?”

Personally, I’ve always been kind of easygoing, as long as enough time has passed, I’m not about to stop any of my friends from dating my ex, even if I’m still into him.

And I would want my friends to do the same for me—just because things didn’t work out for us doesn’t mean that my ex and my friend don’t have a chance at some sort of lasting happiness.