It's a small world, even in the big city
April 3, 2011 8:10 PM   Subscribe

I just found out a guy I have been corresponding with on OKC works at the same law firm as my ex. The new guy seems like someone I might want to get to know. How should I handle this situation?

My boyfriend of 2 years and I broke up in January. I have been trying to get back into dating and have been meeting some nice men. For the past week, I have been corresponding with a guy who really struck my fancy. He asked me to meet and I am excited, but in our correspondence since, I realized he works in the same small office as my ex. The office is a satellite branch of a BigLaw firm (if that matters). There are only about 40 people who work there including the staff, partners and associates. My ex and this guy are both associates. My ex didn't talk much about his coworkers and didn't spend time with them outside of work. He was friendly with everyone, but not friends with anyone.

Anyway, I am torn about whether to pursue this. I have no contact with the ex and don't want contact of any kind. I am not into badmouthing former partners, so I can't see myself saying anything negative about the ex. I believe the ex is a good person, but we weren't a good fit. I don't think my ex would badmouth me either, but I don't know for sure.

If I do decide to meet this guy, when should I tell him that I dated one of his coworkers? Do you think I should just drop it since it might create an uncomfortable situation for the new guy? I am not sure how I would react if the roles were reversed. Have you ever been in a situation like this? If so, what happened?

(Lastly, if it matters, I am a straight woman in my mid-30s.)
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (14 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I think this is one of those situations where everything will probably be okay as long as you don't make a big production of how you tell him. Just don't make it a Big Weird Thing.
posted by easy, lucky, free at 8:19 PM on April 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

Go for it.

Just say, "oh, you work at Law Firm? I used to date a guy who works at Law Firm." He'll say something like, "oh yeah, who?" And you'll say, "Ex McEx." If he's fine with it, he'll say, "oh, yeah, Ex, I know him." If, for some reason, like bro-code, he's not cool with it, he can say so then. But barring some problem he has with it, I see no reason at all for this to be an issue.
posted by phunniemee at 8:22 PM on April 3, 2011 [7 favorites]

It would be weirder not to tell him. Just be like, "oh you work at Firm? My ex-boyfriend actually works there. It shouldn't be a big deal, but I thought I should let you know." Still meet him, though. It's a big enough office that if everyone acts adult about it, it really shouldn't be a big deal.
posted by elpea at 8:23 PM on April 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

Haha, or what phunniemee said.
posted by elpea at 8:23 PM on April 3, 2011

Thirding phunniemee.
posted by grapesaresour at 9:15 PM on April 3, 2011

If you want some perspective for how truly UNfreaked out you should be, consider the following: Statistically, there just aren't that many folks in the gayborhood. So once you've dated a couple people this starts happening with frightening regularity. Only, we've got the added twist that the person we're thinking about dating has probably dated someone we have dated. Seriously.
posted by jph at 9:21 PM on April 3, 2011 [3 favorites]

So long as you are not interested in contact with Ex McEx, I wouldn't worry one bit about how it might be weird for him. If it is weird for him then that is his problem, which he accepted when he dated an autonomous human being to begin with. This doesn't seem like it is weird for you, why should it be?

That leaves the only other person who could possibly be relevant, the new guy. He deserves a chance to decide if it is something he feels weird about, or if he feels it carries an unacceptable risk to a business relationship that would undoubtedly be very important to him.
posted by Blasdelb at 9:23 PM on April 3, 2011

I think it might be ok, depending on a few things. Is your ex still in love with you? Did you break it off, or did he? If your ex is still pining for you, it would be a not particularly kind thing to date someone he has to interact with every day. It would then depend on whether you care about being kind. If everything was truly mutual and amicable (or if he broke up with you), then knock yourself out.
posted by the jam at 10:44 PM on April 3, 2011

Yeah, phunniemee's got it...although I am not aware of any Bro-code that would change his relationship with you. Maybe thats some kind of girl-code...definitely no bro-code I heard of.

The only potential code violation would be if you wanted to date your ex's friend or something...but in order for that to violate bro-code he would have to known YOU beforehand.
Thats obviously not the case here.

Bro-code. HA!
posted by hal_c_on at 4:03 AM on April 4, 2011

I think it's worth mentioning, if only because it's clearly on your mind, and if you feel like you're hiding it from him then it'll be that much harder to keep from treating it like it's a Big Deal (which it most certainly doesn't need to be). That said, I don't see any reason why you need to bring it up before meeting him unless you really want to.

I believe the ex is a good person, but we weren't a good fit.

For what it's worth, this is a great attitude, and one that your prospective guy should recognize as the sign of maturity and confidence that it really is.
posted by Dr. Eigenvariable at 5:09 AM on April 4, 2011

Associate-code says it's 100% OK. Do they work for the same partner(s)? If not, their only relationship to each is, at just about every BigLaw satellite office I've ever seen, that of two people who smile politely at each other and chat about the weather if if they are ever unfortunate enough to get stuck in the same elevator together. And then feverishly check their Blackberries to avoid having to talk any further.
posted by joyceanmachine at 5:40 AM on April 4, 2011

Tell him, and laugh while you're telling him. You want to present this as a funny coincidence, not as a Big Problem.
posted by Ragged Richard at 7:05 AM on April 4, 2011

I have no contact with the ex and don't want contact of any kind.

Then you might think about what you would do if New Boyfriend invites you to the company Christmas party. Would you go to a party where you look across the room and see Old Boyfriend?
posted by exphysicist345 at 6:46 PM on April 4, 2011

Exactly, the company holiday party. That's why you want this to come out really early so that it is on the table while the stakes on everyone are low and long before it could be a problem.
posted by salvia at 8:49 PM on April 4, 2011

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