Dating my ex’s brother; bad idea?

Dear Guys,

This guy and I text often, but I’ve only spoken to him on the phone once and seen him once. He says he doesn’t really like talking on the phone when his kids are around and he has invited me over to his house on numerous occasions after his kids have gone to bed. With us working opposite schedules and both having kids—we don’t want them involved—it has never worked out for us to get together. I also feel kind of strange about the fact that he is inviting me over after 9pm, but I also realize that there isn’t any other choice at this point because his kids live with him. He asked me to meet him at a local bar when he was out for his brother’s birthday. (His brother, my ex, also invited me.) But I was unable to attend because I had my children that evening and no sitter.

Another thing I am unable to wrap my head around is that he got upset when I told him I mentioned to his brother, my ex, that he friended me on Facebook and messaged me a few times. His response was, “Damn, what did he say?” (He tells me he just doesn’t want anyone knowing his business and thinks his brother would be mad if he knew we were talking.) I told him his brother didn’t say much. But the truth is his brother said, “He’s still an A-hole you know? What’s he gotta message you for anyway?”

Then there was one whole week where he totally disappeared and ignored my texts, and didn’t respond until a week later. His explanation was, “I’m so sorry. I wasn’t myself this week. Please forgive me.” I asked what happened but he didn’t give me an answer other than he had very personal things to deal with. I wonder if it had to do with his ex but that’s just a guess. We have not known each other that long that I felt I could push for a better answer.

I’m 30 and he’s 28, so he’s not that much younger than me that he should be relying on texting so much. That’s just my opinion. On a few recent occasions we have exchanged sexy photos and had some sexy conversations about things we like and the such. Since then it seems like our conversations always head in that direction after we get through the the basics of how the day is going. I don’t mind actually. I just am unsure if this means that he’s just after sex or if he is just being a man and wanting to see some photos and talk dirty. (What I sent wasn’t anything X rated though, just sexy.)

I guess my question to you guys is: Is this guy into me or is he just keeping himself busy and want someone to talk to? The thing that complicates it for me is when I think he likes me I feel myself pulling back because I don’t want anything serious at this time (I’m not even divorced yet) but when I feel like he isn’t interested in me, it hurts my feelings.  Please give me your read on my situation.

Name Withheld

Dear NW,

Thanks for your question.

The thing that jumps out at us, is that you’re talking about dating your ex’s brother! And you don’t seem to be focusing on that fact, which strikes us as imprudent. (Maybe this is a guy thing.) However, the most likely reason this new guy—the brother—is giving you mixed signals, is because he knows that it’s not a great idea to date his brother’s ex-wife, or rather, wife, since you’re not yet divorced. There may be tension in their relationship now, but something like this could push that tension to the next level, and create a rift that’s unlikely to mend.

We think it’s important for you to know the facts. Guys have an unwritten code. We tend not to date our friends’ ex-girlfriends, or ex-wives. And we especially don’t date our brothers’ exes. Yes, it does happen, but only under special circumstances, and often after some time has passed. We don’t see any sort of special circumstance applying here, and in addition, it’s WAY too soon.

That said, we do think he’s into you, although he’s very conflicted, as he should be. That’s why his behavior is inconsistent and confusing. Our advice: Figure out if you’re truly going to get divorced, and then, if/when you do, try dating a guy outside your inner-circle. At least for a while, until everyone is able to be civil to one another again. Overall, we just don’t think you’ll be happy being in the middle of the conflict that will likely ensue, especially since you’re conflicted yourself.

Good luck,


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