Lots of people have told me unequivocally that they would never date a friend's ex.They wholeheartedly believe that it's wrong, disrespectful, and if a friend did that to them, they'd never talk to that person again.They believe this is something everybody knows, that they're just following the rules.

Even if you meet someone to whom you think you have no previous connection, a 10-minute conversation almost always reveals that she went to high school with your college roommate, used to be on a volleyball team with that girl from your book club, and had a six-month stand with your favorite barista.

Queers don't tend to expect our dates to come into our lives completely free of prior complication.

We know our backstories will be tangled and intertwined.

I can count the degrees of hookup separation between my closest friends and myself, and usually come up with no more than two or three.

In fact, when we met, my now-partner was on a date with my best friend.

They dated casually for a few weeks before they split up and we got together, and three years later the same friend gave one of the readings at our wedding.Whether you're gay, straight, bi, or not into labels, dating a friend's ex can absolutely be done without sacrificing your friendship — you just have to follow a few simple guidelines.1. It's common to assume that anything shared with you is by default shared with your partner as well; however, your friend might be much less comfortable speaking to you in confidence if she thought the details of her personal life were going to be relayed to someone who used to share her toothbrush.This rule is almost never stated or enforced among queer communities.If you're gay, you will almost inevitably date a friend's ex at some point.Queer communities are often small and insular, and once you've found one, you tend to hold on to it for dear life.It's difficult to meet people you're romantically interested in beyond an already-defined circle, and outside of your city's queer scene, most people you run into are likely to be straight.