Sunday, January 21 , 2018, 9:57 am | Fair 50º


Louise Palanker: Dating the Friend of an Ex, Three’s a Crowd, Relationship Uncertainty

Question from Sean

So there’s this girl who said she would date me. But she can’t cause she is a friend of my ex’s and she thinks my ex will have a problem with it. She does not know that I know that she said she would date me. I wanna date her but I’m not sure if my ex will be a problem or not and neither does the girl, but she’s not gonna ask. What should I do?


If you have a decent friendship with your ex you can say, “How would it make you feel if I dated Sally?” See how she reacts. If she seems fine, go a little further. As you take her temperature on this development, remember that your main concern here is not your relationship with your ex. It is her relationship with Sally. Romantic relationships should attempt to steer clear of destroying friendships.

You will probably all be doing things together so you want to do a thorough accounting of the potential for awkward. Both of you should play this out in your minds and imagine how it will be. If all systems are go, then ask Sally if she would like to hang out. When the two of you are together you can let her know that your ex is going to be OK with you two dating.

Time is your friend here. If you broke up with your ex this morning, then you do not need to be dating Sally by this afternoon. Give it a few months at least.

You first need to be respectful to the relationship that ended. Give everything a chance to heal and breathe. Then check in with your ex’s feelings. Gather information and then decide if now is the right time to move forward and date Sally.

You do have to be ready to accept the consequences, whatever they may be. Even if your ex says she is perfectly fine, this WILL effect your friendships. When dynamics shift, we often don’t know the full extent of how everyone will feel until we hit play on a new scenario. Be prepared for that.

Sometimes the person you are dating is not the right match and she may instead lead you to a better fit. That could very well be what is happening here. A few seasons of Friends will teach you that romantic relationships do tend to spin in and out of social circles.

As long as you are being clear and kind and you are ready to face the fallout, you get to go for the girl.

Just be careful. Curt Richy agrees that it can be tricky:

(CurtRichy video)

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Question from Mariah

So I know this guy. Our parents are friends and we used to be pretty good friends, and then he went to a different elementary school and met another girl. So I know they’re tight, and I know he likes her because he’s told me all this before.

Now all three of us are in the same high school. Me and him are on the track team together, and we hang out a lot. But I think he hangs out with her more.

I don’t know why, but I feel SO jealous of the other girl. I think I like him but I don’t know. It’s weird. I don’t wanna have a sexual relationship with him or anything ... but ... he WOULD make a preeeeetyyyy great boyfriend. He’s super caring, funny adorable, and nothing like any guy I’ve ever met before.

I don’t know how I feel. I think I’m just really scared to lose him as a friend ... What do you think? And please help me out ... I really need advice :/


My view is that nobody in high school is ready for a sexual relationship so don’t let anyone put that kind of pressure on you. Dating should come far before sex.

OK, on to this guy. First, know this: The moment you start liking someone romantically, the friendship is knocked out of balance. Any relationship is based on two people understanding the terms. Whether it’s mother and daughter, teacher and student, friend and friend. You both grasp how this is going to function and you may struggle a little within that framework, but you don’t walk into school one day and start teaching a class.

So, if you start yearning for romance while he is continuing to think of you as a buddy, that is not going to work long term. So you need more information. What we do know is that you want more than friendship. That’s why you are feeling jealousy toward a girl you may have otherwise liked.

You are also probably reading everything you hope to see into anything he says or does. Maybe you scribble his name in your desk and sketch his face in your pudding cup. That is all perfectly understandable. Especially if you are a skilled pudding sketch artist. But you do need to accept that your agenda regarding this guy has shifted. And so your quest is to find out if his shifted, too. If it has not, you may need to step back for a bit.

But don’t step back until you step bravely forward to gain the information that you need to inform your next move. Knowing that an unbalanced friendship is unsustainable may actually embolden you to just go for it and say something.

You can suggest hanging out after school. See how he responds. Say flirty things. Touch his hand or arm when he says something funny. Look into his eyes and give him a big smile. Compliment him. Tell him he’s really good at something. Sit a little closer to him. He may like that other girl. He may not like anyone or he may like you. Your step forward could shift this friendship into a dating relationship very easily. Or it may help you understand that you need some space for your heart to heal.

Either way, information is your friend. Guys can be nervous and hard to read, so my vote is for you to just come right out and say, “I think I’m starting to like you.”

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Question from Liz

So there’s this guy (He’s 18 and I’m a little younger) I’ve been talking to for close to a month and I’m not sure how to interpret our current state. No. 1, we don’t text. Whatsoever. Like maybe a few sentences here and there, but he’s so tough to talk to because I’m always left with close-ended answers, plus he’s constantly with his friends, which makes it harder to talk to him. Other than that, we Snapchat with 20ish minutes delayed responses. The conversations don’t mean much at all /:

It is completely different when we are around each other. When we hang out, which usually happens at least once or twice a week, we have the greatest times and he talks about himself like he’s never done over text, and we totally hit it off.

We’ve already kissed and I guess reached second base? I stopped it there because of the whole thing when we’re not in arm’s reach. The weird distance when we’re not together makes me feel like he may be using me or might just not like me as much but despite that, from the many times I’ve spent with him in person, he’s caring and altogether sweet. All our mutual friends know him as very sweet and caring, too, so it’s just strange to me why he’s being like this /:

He apparently hasn’t been in a real relationship before and I might have told him in the very beginning of that I’m not looking for a relationship either. But at this point, I feel like it should be obvious that I do, right? Shouldn’t it? I don’t know ... it’s just the way he is when we aren’t face to face that throws me off. Any ideas?


When you are face to face with this guy, have a conversation. First, find out if this is an exclusive dating relationship. You have been sharing physical intimacy with him and so you get to tell him what that means to you and find out what it means to him.

You don’t have to put a lot a pressure on him. You can simply say, “So, I’m just wondering, are we a thing?” That may give him a chance to say that he didn’t think you wanted a relationship. Then you can be clear about what you do want. Don’t assume that someone knows something you haven’t told him. Once you express what you are thinking and you learn what’s on his mind you can decide if you would like to move on to your next line of questioning.

If he does see the two of you as a couple go ahead and say, “OK, I have another question. You may have noticed that I like to communicate when we are not face to face. How much is comfortable for you?” See what he says. Take the conversation from there.

Within any relationship, expectations need to be managed. Things that you feel should be obvious may not be obvious to him. Ask for the information you need to make your next decision. State what would make you happy and find a place where both of you can be comfortable and feel loved and supported by one another.

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Got a question for Weezy? Email her at [email protected] and it may be answered in a subsequent column.

Louise Palanker is a co-founder of Premiere Radio Networks, the author of a semi-autobiographical coming-of-age novel called Journals, a comedian, a filmmaker (click here to view her documentary, Family Band: The Cowsills Story), a teacher and a mentor. She also hosts a weekly video podcast called Things I Found Online, and teaches a free stand-up comedy class for teens at the Jewish Federation of Greater Santa Barbara. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

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