If one fancies someone’s ex girlfriend, who was unpleasantly dumped by her ex boyfriend, but the boy in question is a friend of yours, is it wrong to ask her out after a shortish period..?
Interesting question! I can’t tell you what is right or wrong but I’ll try and help.
Lots of people have concerns over this kind of situation. In ‘Friends’ it’s referred to as one of the ‘rules’ of friendship that you don’t go out with a sibling or an ex of a friend (Chandler and Ross and Monica). I think a lot of this is down to a misguided and old fashioned view about relationships which are based on an idea of ‘ownership’.
One could argue that she is single, you fancy her, you can ask her out: no harm no foul. Your friend (her ex) no longer has any say over whom she can go out with, so go for it.
However this might affect your relationship with your friend. If your friend had a difficult relationship with this woman or ended things badly then that is his problem. However if going out with her is going to make life difficult for him then you both should go into this with open eyes, cos this could make life difficult for you.
He might have an anxiety about you learning more about their relationship from her for instance. Or he might be concerned that she or he may still have feelings for each other. Or they might need to give each other space so they can get over each other. Or there might be some residual bad feelings between them that might still be there (this could then affect any relationship you might then have with this woman).
You might want to think about asking him how he would feel about it. Not so much asking him for permission but just finding out whether this would make things very difficult. If it would and he wouldn’t be very happy or comfortable about it then you would have to make a decision about whether you put this above your own feelings for this woman.
Also this woman may not want to go out with you. She may also be anxious about your friendship and this ex. However if she does want to go out with you and your friend is ok about it (or he’s not ok but you’re seeing her anyway) then you may need to set some boundaries. This could include whether they spend any time together (in a group for example), whether you talk about their previous relationship etc.
You could put your friendship at risk, this could also affect any relationship with this woman. So take care and tread carefully. Easier said than done when you fancy someone I realise.
Hope this helps