Redditor ThrowRAexFexH is a single mother whose best friend “Ana” left her husband to move in with her affair partner and gave full custody to her ex-husband, “Ben.”
The Original Poster (OP) is also the godmother to the separated couple’s two boys, who get along well with her son in a situation she acknowledged as a “weird set up” that worked well.
When a new romantic relationship began developing, she became confused as to what the next steps should be moving forward.
She sought advice from the Relationship Advice subReddit and asked strangers on the internet:
“Should I (33 f[emale]) tell my ‘best friend’ (33 f[emale]) that I’m going to start dating her ex husband (34 m[ale])?”
“I was best friends with Ana since we were 18 in college. She married her now ex when she was 24 but left him 3 years ago to move in with her affair partner a few states away.”
“They have 2 boys together (8 m[ale] and 6 m[ale]). Her ex, who I’ll call Ben, got full custody and Ana didn’t really fight for it and was happy to just pay child support. She’s only seen her boys less than 5 times since the divorce.”
“I’m a full time single mom with a son of my own (6 m[ale]). I’m a trust fund baby so that’s what supports us.”
“I’m the godmother to both of Ana’s boys and we all live in the same neighborhood and their home is just a 5 minute walk away from ours. Ben works full time and sometimes has to work late in the office so I usually babysit the boys.”
“I’ve been in their life since they were born so they’ve always been comfortable around me. My son and his sons are really close too since they grew up together and are pretty much brothers at this point. It’s a weird set up but it works for us.”
“I’ve had feelings for Ben for the longest time but didn’t act on it cause I didn’t want to ruin what we currently have. The divorce was hard on him too and I didn’t want to make things even more difficult.”
“I don’t do what I do for his family cause I have feeling for him or anything… I genuinely love those two little boys.”
“Last night (technically just a few hours ago) I dropped my son off at his house for a sleepover and [Ben] insisted he walk me home. His mother was staying for a couple of weeks so the boys had someone to watch over them.”
“We took the longer (15 minute) route and ended up talking and he told me he’s had feelings for me but was too afraid to say anything too. Well, long story short we kissed and we’re now going on a date next Friday. It was magic.”
“Now, my question is… Should I tell Ana? While the split hurt our friendship, I’m still in contact with her and we talk about 2 times a month or so. She’s told me that she still loves Ben and misses her kids and how much she regrets leaving for a richer man.”
“Then she posts pictures all lovey dovey with him somewhere overseas. She’s been unstable for the last couple of years which is why I remained in contact with her as her support system but I sometimes consider cutting her off cause she’s toxic.”
“Ben knows he still communicate but has told me he didn’t want to know anything about her and what she’s up to.”
“Should I give Ana a heads up and talk to her about it? Is she even owed an explanation? I’m just afraid that she might go nuclear if she finds out and somehow involve the kids.”
“Advice would be helpful, thank you very much.”
Redditors weighed in with their input, with many questioning her loyalty to Ana.
“Why are you friends with her again? She cheated on her husband, left him for richer AP, pretty much ditched her children, and then has the audacity to say she loves her ex and misses her kids?”
“How many times have you seen her in the last three years? She doesn’t have any right to know just yet. Wait and see what develops with Ben, then tell her. She will most likely try to sabotage your budding relationship when she finds out. You and Ben should be prepared for that.”
“Good luck!” – MaverickWildcat
Those quick to slam Ana were cautioned to withhold their animosity without knowing the full story.
“There’s a big lack of empathy and consideration here. You should keep in mind that Ana is a human being with her own story as well, and condemning her this hard is a bit much.”
“We don’t know her part of the story. What we do know however is that she told OP about her feelings and that they consider each other friends. Since everything else is subjective, I’d say all we can determine is that there’s good reason to assume Ana might want to be informed and equally good reason to actually do so.”
“So, OP, IMO you should tell her. You don’t need to take sh*t and you can react to her reaction however you feel appropriate. But from what we know it seems like you should tell her that.” – RedFlashyKitten
The OP responded:
“I sometimes ask my self the same question. I guess it’s the history? I don’t know. She’s lost friends over the years and I’ve pretty much been the only constant in her life.”
“And I’m not exactly sure about her logic but I do have a feeling she’s being somwhat honest about still being in love with Ben in her own twisted way. I’ve seen her about as many times as she’s seen her kids. Like I said, Im around a lot and I see her boys pretty much every day.”
When another Redditor insinuated that the OP’s friendship was one-sided, she said:
“It does feel like she wants me to be a part of her life, but doesn’t want to be part of mine if that makes sense. Like I’m a safety net or a constant presence of some sorts.”
“And yeah, I’ve always wanted someone who would be a father figure to my son. Ben is already that to him.”
As far as telling Ana about the OP’s budding relationship, people suggested she give it time.
“I would say see how it goes with Ben and in a couple of months, if you’re a couple, you can let her know. But it’s not your concern if she’s unstable.”
“She’s walked away from her marriage and her kids. And if she goes nuclear, get a restraining order against her and call the cops if she tries anything with you.” – DanZeeRelationships
“Date Ben, but I think you both should discuss what will happen when she finds out. She will use everything she knows about you to try to destroy your relationship with him.”
“You’ve been friends since college – any youthful indiscretions, wild parties, drug/alcohol use, relationships gone bad – she will dredge it all up and use it against you.”
“Never mind if she was there with you, behaving the same, as college kids do everywhere. And never mind that you are now an adult with adult responsibilities and have left that all behind.”
“So, talk to Ben about keeping this on the down low until you decide it is serious. Once it is, HE should let the ex know and be prepared for the vitriol.”
“Knowing it is coming should help you prepare to ignore it. Hopefully she won’t try to change the custody arrangements out of spite, but those typically don’t change unless there is a change in circumstances of the parent(s).”
“IMPORTANT: Both you and Ben should save any angry or threatening texts, e-mails, or voicemails in case you need to get a restraining order.”
“Best of luck!” – saranes
“She is no longer your best friend. It is really Ben’s place to decide if and when Ana should be notified. I think the two of you decide when is appropriate, provided it gets serious.”
“I think you should also prepare with Ben what both of you should say. I doubt Ana cares, as she is in her new relationship.” – Oh_Wiseone
To date, she and Ben have not told anyone about their relationship but suspect his mother―who the OP said was “really nice” and treats her son “kindly”―knows what is going on.