Sunday, January 17, 2010

Dating your Exe's friend.

For its smooth running, any organized human activity must have rules and norms which its participants are expected to conform to. And since romantic relationships between two (or more) humans fall under the definition of 'Organized Human Activity,' then they too need to have their own rules and norms.

In romantic interaction, these rules are always unwritten and often are subject to modification depending on the prevailing circumstances. But although of the most part logical consideration inspires the creation and adoption of a majority of these rules, sometimes certain norms occur which make about as much sense as Arsene Wenger's transfer policy.

And a good example of such a norm is the incredibly absurd 'Thou shalt not date thy exes' friend.'

When Stephan met Julia, he was convinced that his debauched bachelor existence had just entered its home stretch. She was stunning, cultured and fun to be around, qualities which although independently common in most of the women he had dated, had never manifested themselves to him together in the same woman.

The situation however wasn't exactly straightforward. For a girl of her caliber, Julia unfortunately had other suitors apart from Stephané, and like any female between the ages of 18 and 28, she was as yet unversed in the intricacies of making up her mind.

Obviously, she needed time to learn this vital art and apply it, so in the meantime, she engaged the help of her childhood friend and roommate Sally to keep Stephan deceived whenever she was checking out another suitor. Sally's brief when such discretions took place was to engage Stephani in conversation and defer his attention until Julia got back from her escapades, or whenever it became apparent that Julia wouldn't be able to make it back, lie her behind off until Stephan was convinced.

But although he couldn't precisely boast headache-inducing IQ, Stephan had nevertheless been somewhere near the front row when brains were being handed out, and thus it didn't take him long to figure out that his chances of walking Julia up the aisle in this lifetime were just a few notches below non-existent. So being a pragmatic man, he decided to cut his losses and cast his eyes further afield in his quest for the bone of his rib.

Only he didn't have to cast them that much farther afield. During the course of his interaction with Sally while Julia was out playing him, Stephan had come to like Sally very, very much, while Sally, who wasn't seeing anyone at the time, had all along disliked the way her friend was dogging this earnest, sincere man whom any girl in her right mind would fall hopelessly head over heels she herself had.

Thus it came to pass that almost two years later; Stephan crossed the finishing line of bachelorhood with Sally in his arms. And as would be expected because of the 'Thou shalt not date thy exes' friend' rule, Julia never attended her erstwhile bosom friend's wedding because she felt Sally had committed the unforgivable sin of snatching her man.

Emotions are instinctive, and everybody knows that instinct cannot be controlled. So although it wouldn't be right for a person like Julia to feel aggrieved when her friend claims what she considers rightfully hers, it is perfectly understandable that she would feel aggrieved when it happens. However, going on to deliberately make that into an unwritten rule that criminalizes what was in fact a natural, logical progression of events under the circumstances would in my opinion be stretching the limits of reason to frankly unacceptable extremes.

Why should real love and genuine foundation for a lifelong relationship be stillborn because a person's soul mate was once in a relationship with the said soul mate's friend? That is of course both unfair and unreasonable, but among women, a former flame is permanently sealed and off limits to any of her friends for life, and breaching that seal is considered the ultimate betrayal.

It must be said, men aren't immune to such ravages of jealousy when such instances arise, but at least we make allowances for exceptional circumstances. With men, exes are basically off limits to friends, but when a friend is truly into your ex, he is expected to ask your permission to date her. You, in turn, must grant him this permission.

An unconventional rule, yes, and even a little unreasonable. But let's face it. It is much better than the blanket ban on opportunity that women have with their 'Thou shalt not date thy friend's ex' rule, and one they would do well to adopt.

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