“Sloppy” Seconds – Is It Okay to Date Your Friend’s Ex and Other Related Questions

image.jpegThe term sloppy seconds can have a very vulgar meaning of having sex with someone (usually a woman) who has just had sex with someone else. In the general dating terminology, however, it is used to describe a person you dated who someone else dates after you (usually a friend or an acquaintance). Inspired by the film “Miss Peregrine’s House for Peculiar Children” where a guy takes sloppy seconds after his grandfather (!), I decided to write a post about the matter.

You’d think that thanks to Internet dating the circle of people that are potential matches in the dating pool significantly increases. Maybe so, in a place like New York but Cape Town is a very small and divided world that despite its potential variety limits you to a finite number of possible partners. From my perspective of a married woman, it translates into bumping into into my husband’s and mine exes which is unpleasant as it is. Imagine, however, how annoying it would be to have someone in your immediate circle dating your ex and therefore taking sloppy seconds after you or to be a sloppy second yourself and be constantly around your ex. Doesn’t sound amazing!

The first question with dating someone who used to date someone close to us, is whether it’ll hurt our friend. I know that people these days love to pretend how MATURE they are and how much they don’t care about having their ex around or even are totally fine double dating (which can be true but from my experience only when the relationship didn’t end up in people being hurt and drama or when a long time has passed). I also know that most of these people prefer to cry in the pillow than to admit that something is hurting them. This is precisely why if we ask someone whether it’s okay if we go out with their ex, they may try to put a brave face on and say yes. In other words, even if someone tells us it’s okay, we should try to figure out whether it really is and not just conveniently accept the answer.

It’s up to a person that’s going after the sloppy seconds to weight the pros and cons. If we’re really into someone we may be prone to go for it and be willing to accept the consequences if our friend decided at some point he or she is actually not okay with us dating their ex. On the other hand, if we know that the person caused our friend a lot of pain and we’re just attracted to them, maybe a better idea is just to let it go. I’m referring here to a relationship which ended. What is the right thing to do if it’s still on and we’re into someone’s partner?

As a default, I don’t think it’s decent to show interest in a partner of our friend, be it a short or long relationship. If we’re interested in them before the break-up happens and showing it, less or more subconsciously trying to lure the person out of a relationship, we’re not being loyal to our friend and we become a frenemy. We cannot foresee where the relationship will go and a taken person is a taken person. We would like others to respect such boundaries so we should respect them ourselves. If a break-up does happen it’s also not the nicest thing to do to pat our heartbroken friend’s back with one hand and with the other stroke her ex’s hair (or something else wink wink) trying to start a relation with him or her. Even if the loyalty argument isn’t convincing, there’s always the self-preservation instinct one shouldn’t forget. Namely, a guy or girl just out of a serious relationship may not be the best dating material and we may end up losing a friend and respect for ourselves over a hook-up.

To sum up, there’s no good answer to a question on whether it’s okay to date your friend’s ex. I think they should be untouchable in principle but I’m aware that there are various situations. If a friend just had a fling with someone and we’re madly in love with the person, I don’t think it’s comparable to a scenario when someone is trying to destroy another person’s marriage. In the latter case, the chances are that the partner so easily lured out of one relationship will do the same to his next better half.

Dear Rinsers, what do you think? Is it okay to take sloppy seconds? Are our friends exes untouchable? The comments section is all yours!






  1. I had a rule in my first marriage that her sisters were hands off meaning if anything happened to us I would not go fishing in the family pond again. It didn’t matter how good they looked. I wasn’t going in that direction. When I dated my ex girlfriend same deal I wouldn’t date her friends after we broke up and now married again …not that I am looking forward to it but if I was single again …nope I would not date her friends, sister , cousin etc. Bad karma all the way around.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Agreed. I’m sure there are exceptions and I don’t think one should miss out on a Prince Charming just because someone we know dated them for a bit but in terms of serious relationships hands off is a good attitude.


  2. I personally wouldn’t date any of my friends’ exes, but I don’t really see the harmful implications behind doing so. If any of my exes and a friend of mine ended up being a perfect match, then I would be happy for them; granted, this is coming from the girl who has been the heart-breaker in all but one of her past relationships… What I don’t agree with is the 2 respective parties ‘hooking up’ out of spite. Such was the case when my current boyfriend and his now ex wife split; she slept with his best friend’s roommate (whom my boyfriend was friends with as well) only days after the initial separation. That’s not okay.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think the perspective of a”heartbreaker” is part of why it seems harmless. If someone broke your heart the last thing you want to see is them around and holding hands with someone else. It also depends on how you take break-ups in general. Some people bounce right back regardless of whether they broke up with someone or were broken up with. Many people like a clean break too. Loyalty would have a person considering the friend’s needs and feelings before entering such a relationship. It all depends on many factors of course. And yes, being spiteful like this is the worst also because you treat the person you sleep with as an object of revenge.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Ok so I read your blog with pleasure but this time I was actually triggered to comment 😉
    My partner would be so-called ‘sloppy seconds’ (oh how I hate this term!)
    He is my ex-friend’s ex. Our story is slightly more complicated than what you covered in the text:
    They were together for a long-ish time and I never even considered him attractive as in what’s the point of looking at your friend’s boyfriend as a MAN, right? Later on she cheated on him, left him, got back to him and dumped him again – her explanation being that she’s no longer attracted to his body. Ok then. All the best to you and good luck.
    The guy contacted me 2yrs later as he needed something work related and he remembered about me. We kind of clicked. He was still brokenhearted and wasn’t looking for a hook-up or anithing. But we really could TALK. Like we managed to find a really good friend we never considered before. The perfect friend that I was trying to be – I asked my friend if it was OK with her that we would continue to be friends. I thought she could say ‘no’ and then I would have to do some serious thining in who should I care about more… But nothing like that. She said it was fine and she didn’t own him so I was free to stay in touch with him – mind you: we didn’t stay in touch behind her back – we started talking 2 yrs later.
    Remember when I said she’s an ex-friend now? One day I made a mistake of inviting them both as my friends to some celebration. And she phoned me screaming and shouting that she didn’t know we were such good friends that I would actually invite him to my party… Long story short she came, but it was the last time I saw her.
    Fast-forward 1 year later: we became perfect friends, we were there for each other in tough times, we met some of the other’s friends, we fell in love, we moved in together and we are happy.
    I really don’t know if I was a bad friend or anything. I didn’t steal her boyfriend nor did I go behind her back, I didn’t even pursue him romanticaly. If anything I picked up her ‘sloppy seconds’ and made him happy again. If not for her outburst I would have propably been to ‘loyal’ to get together with him so congrats! that backfired on her 😉
    Now please, do tell me, do you believe I should have done something differently?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your comment and I’m glad that you enjoy reading the blog. I don’t think you’ve done anything wrong. You didn’t do anything behind your ex-friend’s back and she also didn’t treat the guy in the right way. After a long period of time a person (you ex friend) should be able to move on. I wouldn’t say you should never date someone who used to date your friend. Your loyalties were in the right place. If your friend was upset with you I don’t really think it was about you. She may have been upset with her life and not want to be reminded that she used to date a nice guy and she destroyed what they had. To date someone three years after your friend is really not disrespectful in any way and isn’t similar to the scenarios I described. Good luck and don’t beat yourself up, because you did nothing wrong.


  4. Years ago I had a friend who had broken up with his girlfriend and they were still involved. One day, he gave me his blessing to date her without my asking. It’s easy to match make if you know you aren’t a match with someone you happen to be dating.

    Liked by 1 person

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