Staying friends with your ex is one thing, but becoming friends with your ex’s ex is a whole other ballgame. This week, it would appear that Taylor Swift and Sophie Turner are taking a swing at it as they were pictured hanging out.
The pair, who share a mutual ex-partner in the form of Joe Jonas, were spotted linking arms as they went to have dinner together in New York on Tuesday.
It comes shortly after Turner and Jonas, who share two children, confirmed they are divorcing after four years of marriage. The Jonas Brothers singer filed for divorce from the Game of Thrones star on 5 September, citing "irreconcilable differences".
Read more: Joe Jonas files for divorce from Sophie Turner: A look back at their romance (Yahoo Entertainment, 5-min read)
Fans were delighted by the prospect of Swift and Turner becoming fast friends and bonding over their relationship with Jonas. Swift dated Jonas for three months in 2008 and has previously claimed that he broke up with her in a phone call that lasted just 25 seconds.
While it might seem like an awkward situation, becoming mates with your ex's ex, it may in fact have some unexpected benefits. However, there are some potentially messy feelings to consider before pursuing such a friendship.
Is it weird to be friends with your ex’s ex?
It may be an unconventional set-up, but becoming friends with an ex-partner's ex might be a bit less surprising than you think. Chantelle Dyson, a love and life coach for single people, explains that you may find each other in the same social circles or even workplace. In addition, you may find you have a lot in common.
"Your ex dated both of you and maybe there were some similarities that ultimately made them attracted to the both of you, and it might just be that [that] puts you in a good position to get along with one another," she says. "Plus, the fact you both dated the same person means you already have a starting point for your conversation."
However, it's not a common phenomenon and can get complicated if certain feelings are involved. Dyson adds: "If either of you has a desire to try and get back with the mutual ex, this could be awkward for you both. If you achieve it, you might find it awkward to discuss the developing relationship, and you might worry about mixing together if you have both people in your lives. If you both still have an attachment to the mutual ex, this could spell jealousy."
Should you seek out your ex’s ex to make friends with them?
Noor Hibbert, a transformation coach and author of Sunday Times Bestseller You Only Live Once, advises examining the reasons why you might want to become friends with your ex's ex before reaching out.
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"I feel that the intention behind this could be to subconsciously feel a connection to your ex through that person," she says. "Additionally, if you have had a traumatic experience with your ex, sometimes it can bring you solace to know it wasn't just you.
"Otherwise, I don't think there’s really a reason to seek out an ex's ex - sometimes people might do it because they feel it's going to give them peace of mind. They could also feel it gives them answers to unanswered questions they have by seeking out someone who has been through the same experience. And who better to get those answers from than an ex’s ex?"
Dyson adds: "Your friendship can flourish so long as trust is built over time. Being open and upfront about intentions for the friendship is one element to start on, and being honest about the situation each of you has with an ex can ensure that any early concerns are dealt with."
If you want your newfound friendship with your ex's ex to work out, Dyson also recommends making sure your conversations do not revolve around the ex. Instead, seek out topics that you are both interested in and go out and do things together as you would with any other friend.
How can I deal with it if I’m the mutual ex?
It can be awkward to be watching two of your ex-partners become friends, but it doesn't have to be. Hibbert says: "It may not be easy, but it’s important to find peace in that situation and see the positives from that. The discomfort of exes coming together can bring up fear of being judged - which is quite a natural reaction for a lot of people.
"What's really important is to do the work to remove that kind of nervous system reaction of them being friends as a threat."
Adopting a different perspective can help you come to terms with the friendship. Dyson suggests being optimistic that you "dated two amazing people that happen to have something in common".
"It can be easy to worry that all they’re doing is trying to make you jealous, or worry that they're always talking about you," she says. "As much as they both had their experience dating you, most people have better things to talk about if they're genuinely forging a friendship and they'll soon have more to talk about and do than keep discussion you and the relationships."
Read more: My girlfriend snuck her ex out of the front door while oblivious me was making a cuppa (Yahoo Life UK, 5-min read)