Dear Mistress Maeve,
Is there any acceptable way to ask one of my ex-wife's friends out on a date, or is it just not OK? My wife and I separated and divorced about three years ago. The split was amicable, and her idea, if that matters. Although I have dated since, I have not found anyone as compelling as this friend. She and my ex are not close, but I have not called her because I didn't think it was appropriate. I am asking for some help in understanding the female perspective on this situation, and what is the most respectful way to approach the conversation? She is a beautiful, intelligent person with a great sense of humor - should I make the call?
The Ex Factor
Dear Ex Factor,
If people in Vermont refused to ask out potential mates because of social crossover, we'd all be in forced celibacy. If you feel as strongly about this woman as you claim, you must make a move - otherwise, you'll be left with a lingering "What if...?"
You say your divorce was amicable. Have you considered giving your ex-wife a heads-up on your attraction to her acquaintance? While you certainly do not need your ex's permission to pursue your love interest (especially because the split was her idea), a courtesy forewarning could go a long way toward keeping the peace. Plus, if your new lady is apprehensive about what your ex may think, you can assure her you've already addressed the issue.
You mention calling your love interest, which is admirable in this technological age (wooing a mate over the phone is a lost art form). However, given the potential for discomfort, you might be better served by tracking down her email address. Express yourself in writing, letting her know you're aware of the sticky social situation you're putting her in. Also tell her how compelling you find her and that you could not let it go until you asked her out. At the very least, you'll be paying her a huge compliment - ex factor or not.
Exes and Ohs,