Scenario: Your best friend Paulo and his girlfriend Maria have been a couple since high school. They decided to part ways just a week ago because they can't work out some issues in their relationship.
Though you see him smile and hear him say "I'm finally free," you know he is not okay. When you look into his eyes, you can still see the pain because obviously he loves that girl so much.
Then something happened, something you didn't expect: You developed feelings for Maria. What should you do now? Should you buy her a bouquet of roses and tell her right away that you love her? Hell no!
Here's what you have to do: Check out our list of rules for dating your friend's ex-girlfriend.
Rule #1: Analyze your feelings
Are you sure it's not just infatuation or lust? How sure are you? Is it okay to lose a friend? Are you ready to be judged by the people around you? Figure out if your decision is worth the drama that can and will unfold. If it's just infatuation, lust, or both, sweep it under the rug and pretend like it never happened. If it's real, listen to your heart and proceed to the next step.
Rule #2: Break the news to your friend
You need to let your friend know. He has the right to know. There's no need to seek for his permission. It's simply a sign of respect for him and your friendship. Don't sneak around. Get straight to the point. Expect that this won't come easy for him. He might even try to punch you in the face. But if he is really your friend, at some point he should be open to at least a conversation.
Rule #3: Confess your feelings for her
She is at the center of this and she might not even know it. Make sure you tell her exactly how you feel. Just talk to her and see what's up. If she also likes you, then it may be time to court her.
Rule #4: Give it some time
Sure you like the world to know you've finally found your #forever. But you might need to hold off on parading her at the parties you attend to. Your already-devastated friend will feel more miserable if he sees you together. Fine, you have your golden opportunity and you can't waste it. But please go slow. Let your pal recover a little first before flaunting.
Rule #5: Don't ever draw comparisons
No "Am I more handsome?" kind of questions. No matter what her answer is, it's going to make things weird and you'll probably end up arguing. You and your friend are not in competition so better zip it, Mr. Insecure.
Rule #6: Their love story is none of your business
It may be tempting to ask your bud for advice on your new relationship, but don't. Likewise, don't ask your girlfriend what went wrong in their relationship so you can avoid making the same mistake. If they share details with you voluntarily, that's fine. Otherwise, it's none of your business.
Rule #7: Don't be paranoid
If you go to a party and the exes talk, allow them. Don't assume your friend will ditch your friendship (or she'll leave you for him). They both love you. They won't do that. Wouldn't it be nice if everyone's in good terms? Just trust them.