Is it okay to date your friend's ex? Absolutely, says this woman who's glad she broke the 'girl code'

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Poppy Louw and Kabelo Molepo got together even though he used to date a friend of hers.
Poppy Louw and Kabelo Molepo got together even though he used to date a friend of hers.

There's an undeniable chemistry that's always existed between you and your friend's now ex-boyfriend or ex-husband.

It's a thought you barely ever even allowed yourself to fully entertain: "Is he better suited to me than her?"

The sizzle of electricity that passed between you the first time you met and shook hands, the way you felt you could talk to him for hours, the inside jokes you shared . . . there's definitely "something" there.

But actually ever acting on that "something?" Well, that would be an atrocious crime, according to the rules of the "girl code"; the idea that there are certain standards of behaviour that women need to abide by to demonstrate loyalty to their gal pals.

Poppy Louw, however, tossed the girl code out the window when she found herself falling for a man who used to date her friend.

One of the rules in girl code is that you cannot be with a guy that used to date your friend, but that's a myth, says Poppy.

“When it comes to issues of the heart, girl code does not enter. Once you’re grown, you don’t focus on those things."

When she met her partner, Kabelo Molepo, in 2008 it was through a mutual friend whom he had dated in high school. Together with other acquaintances, they soon became a group of friends.

Fast forward five years later and Kabelo and one of the girls in their circle of friends started dating. But it did not last long.

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“In 2013, my mom collapsed at a work function and the guy I was seeing was not as supportive as I would have liked a partner to be," says Poppy, recalling how she began to see Kabelo differently.

"I was in Joburg, and he was in Kimberly where my mom was but I did not get the support I needed. But Kabelo really came through for me and from then I saw him in a different light.

“Even though I had feelings for him I did not pursue anything with him because at the time he was preparing to move to Cape Town, and I did not want to start a long-distance relationship. Then Cape Town did not work out for him, and he told me that he had moved to Pretoria."

In no time, she took the Gautrain and went to visit him and they realised they were meant to be together.

“He told me from the beginning that he was not interested in playing around, he wanted a serious relationship. It was so refreshing for someone to just make their intentions clear from the beginning. He then posted poems on Facebook, and he also posted the poppy flower, and I knew he was talking about me.”

The woman Kabelo had dated briefly all those months ago was someone Poppy had been friends with since she was in primary school.

“Even her sister is friends with my sister. They live a street away from my mom’s house in Kimberly, so it was a friendship that I valued and did not want to lose. There was a mutual friend who tried to be spicy about it, but it did not work. I spoke to my friend and told her about what was happening between Kabelo and I.

"She gave us her blessing and said she would not want to get in the way of what could potentially have. Now years later we are still friends, she was even at Kabelo’s birthday party last year, we genuinely have no issues."

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She's glad she was upfront and honest about the potentially awkward situation from the jump.

“Imagine missing out on the love of your life because of some silly girl code? Oh no! We experience people differently and we grow. I am a different person to the person I was back in varsity.

"Being with Kabelo is the best decision I ever made. He is the same gentleman he was when we first started dating.”

Almost eight years later, they are engaged and have a son together.

Drum reader Ntando Makhubu agrees that people cannot still abide by the same rules they did when they were teens. “We are grown now, and a lot of those things were childish,” she says.

“You know how girl code dictates that you cannot be friends with someone who does not like your friend? Come on now! We cannot inherit beef.

"And for those who want to ask, 'then, what do you talk about?', my answer is simply that my friendships with people are not based on discussing other people. We do not have to talk about someone else in order to have a friendship.

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