Girl Code: Dating a Friend’s Ex 

Girl code: a set of unwritten rules women live by, especially in dating, so as to not offend, disrespect or hurt another woman. Seems easy enough. However, girl code is becoming dated and women are throwing the old rules out and creating a new rulebook for love.  


Dating a friend’s ex beau is not a new concept. While some woman leave exes in the past, others believe in the age-old adage “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” However, when it comes to your friends, what are the boundaries? Does girl code exist when it comes to matters of the heart? 


“When it comes to girl code and dating, as long as we aren’t dating the same person or I break up with him today and they are together tomorrow or even a month, then go for it,” says Chalisa Clark.  


In 2016, singer Teyana Taylor and then-boyfriend Brandon Jennings caught the attention of blogs and headlines when Taylor’s best friend and actress Tae Heckard began dating Jennings behind the singer’s back. Later conceiving a child, Heckard and Taylor’s relationship would disintegrate and the ill-formed relationship fizzled as quickly as it heated.  


Recently, reality TV’s Porsha Williams also found herself in hot water when it was reported she is engaged to former “Real Housewives of Atlanta” cast mate and friend Falynn Guobadia’s ex-husband Simon. Social media was ablaze for days and comments filtered in about who was right or wrong. While some comments chastised the reality star, others praised her for finding love, despite its source.  


“My opinion is simple: do it! Who am I to keep you from someone that I didn’t work out with? It’s over and he may be your soulmate,” says Clark.  


Girl code is still strictly enforced for women who believe dating a friend’s ex goes against the friendship. Dating is already hard enough without adding the extra baggage of dating a friend’s previous crush.  


“I would never consider dating my friend’s ex. Personally, it would be pointless because I would know too many things about the man,” say Brittany Powell, owner of Edgy Sips. “My real friends don’t hold water with me and I’m too aware of the many mess-ups that involved him that would subconsciously interfere with the relationship being successful.” 


Sometimes, girl code extends beyond friends and reaches to the closest female relationships. Sisters have also been known to date the same man.  


“My sister dated someone in high school — this was about 14 years ago. About five years ago, I meet him at my job. We start talking then we remember what happened. Now, they never had intercourse, just teenage puppy love. I actually liked him,” says Clark. “According to girl code, that’s a no-no. My sister is happily married with two kids, a dog, a nice house and a great husband. Why should she care about a guy she dated in high school? She has her soulmate.” 


As communication is the center of any relationship, having a conversation before becoming public can help ease what could be a crushing blow.  


“Should a conversation be had? Yes, when I’m telling you about us. Other than that, it’s my personal life,” says Clark.  


The unwritten rules involved in creating the girl code extend beyond just relationships. However, dating and the push to respect boundaries in female friendships is considered to be the first and most important of the cardinal rules.  


“When it comes to the exes, girl code is more like common sense and in itself should tell you that they are off limits. You spent this energy helping your friend through those rough moments, encouraging your friend and making sure she knew she was more than enough,” says Powell. 


No matter the stance, the dating pool is full of options, but there is bound to be some overlap. Potentially sacrificing a friendship in the name of love could be the move of a lifetime or not.  

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