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0565 Dating a Friend’s Ex

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Welcome to English as a Second Language Podcast number 565: Dating a Friend’s Ex.

This is English as a Second Language Podcast episode 565. I’m your host, Dr. Jeff McQuillan, coming to you from the Center for Educational Development in beautiful Los Angeles, California.

Visit our website at eslpod.com. Download this episode’s Learning Guide, an 8- to 10-page guide we provide for all of our current episodes that gives you some additional help in improving your English.

This episode is called “Dating a Friend’s Ex (ex).” The term “ex” can refer to your former boyfriend, your former girlfriend; it could also refer to your former husband or wife. Sounds interesting, let’s get started.

[start of dialogue]

Fareed: Where are you going?

Amber: I’m going to meet Peter.

Fareed: When are you going to tell Lily?

Amber: Tell her what?

Fareed: You know what – that you’re dating her ex. She’s not going to take it well.

Amber: I don’t know why she would object. They broke up over a year ago and they’ve both moved on.

Fareed: Peter has moved on, but Lily still has a thing for him. You know that as well as I do.

Amber: She never said that he was off-limits. It’s not like we’re sneaking around behind her back.

Fareed: Aren’t you? She’s one of your best friends and you haven’t clued her in on the two of you yet. If you don’t tell her soon, when she finds out, all hell is going to break loose.

Amber: That’s not fair. If there were a statute of limitations on ex-boyfriends, then we’re well past that. He’s fair game.

Fareed: That’s not how she’s going to see it. If you ask me, you have two options: break it off with Peter or tell Lily now, before she finds out from someone else. Tell her the truth and let the chips fall where they may.

Amber: That’s easy for you to say. You’re not facing Lily’s wrath. I think I’ll keep this under wraps for now, thank you very much.

Fareed: Fine, but it’s your funeral.

[end of dialogue]

Our dialogue begins with Fareed saying to Amber, “Where are you going?” Amber says, “I’m going to meet Peter.” Fareed says, “When are you going to tell Lily?” Lily’s a girl – a woman. Amber says, “Tell her what?” Fareed says, “You know what (you know what I am talking about) – that you’re dating her ex.” So to review, Fareed, the man, is a friend with Amber, the woman in the dialogue. Amber is dating – is going on a romantic evening or afternoon with Peter. Peter used be the boyfriend of Lily, another women, who is not in the dialogue. So, we would say Amber is dating Lily’s ex. Here, I think, her ex-boyfriend – her previous or former boyfriend.

Fareed says that Lily is not going to take it well. “To take (something) well” means to handle or manage a negative situation calmly, positively, without getting angry or upset. Usually when you tell someone bad news, if they say, “Oh, okay,” they may be very disappointed but they don’t show it – they take it well. Well, Fareed says that Lily is not going to take the news that Amber is dating her ex well. Amber says, “I don’t know why (Lily) would object,” there’s no reason for her to object. “To object” means to oppose something, to do or say something that shows that you don’t agree with this, that you think it’s a bad idea. The word “object” has a couple of different meanings in English however; make sure you look at the Learning Guide for some additional explanations of that word.

Amber says, “I don’t know why she would object. They (meaning Lily and Peter) broke up over a year ago and they’ve both moved on.” “To break up” in this dialogue means to end a romantic relationship. You’re boyfriend and girlfriend for a year – six months, and then she says to you, “I don’t love you anymore,” or “I found someone who’s better looking and makes more money, and I am leaving you. I’m going to break up with you.” I think that’s which she said to me, I’m not sure, something like that! Well, Amber is saying that Peter and Lily broke up over a year ago, a long time ago, and that they’ve both moved on. “To move on” is a phrasal verb meaning that you’ve stopped thinking about something in the past and you are living your normal life again. If your girlfriend leaves you, you may be very upset for a week or two weeks, or a month or two months, but eventually you have to move on. You have to get over it, forget about it; find another fish in the sea, as we say. The word “move” has many different meanings in English; please take a look at our Learning Guide, again, for more explanations.

Fareed says to Amber, “Peter has moved on (Peter is no longer thinking about his ex-girlfriend Lily), but Lily still has a thing for him (for Peter).” The expression “to have a thing for (someone)” means that you are romantically attracted to that person. You’re interested in that person romantically: “He has a thing for his boss’s daughter.” Probably not a good idea – unless, of course, you want to take over the company, and then you should probably pursue that – go ahead with that! Lily still has a thing for Peter, and Fareed says, “You know that as well as I do.” He’s saying to Amber you already know that Lily has not moved on.

Amber says, “She (Lily) never said that he (Peter) was off-limits.” “To be off-limits” means to be not allowed, prohibited, forbidden. It could be a thing, it could be a place that is off-limits; you cannot go there. Amber says, “It’s not like we’re sneaking around behind her back.” “It’s not like” means it is not the case, or it is not true that we’re sneaking around behind her back. “To sneak (sneak) around behind (someone’s) back” – notice it’s “around” and “behind” together – “to sneak around behind (someone’s) back” means to do something without another person knowing, to hide what you are doing, to try not to let someone know what you are doing.

So, they’re not sneaking around behind Lily’s back. Fareed says, “Aren’t you? She’s one of your best friends and you haven’t clued her in on the two of you yet.” “To clue (someone) in” is a phrasal verb meaning to give someone a little bit of information about something, to tell someone what is happening. Fareed is saying that Amber has not told Lily that she, Amber, is dating Lily’s ex-boyfriend Peter – she hasn’t clued her in. He says, “If you don’t tell her soon, when she finds out, all hell is going to break loose.” So, if Amber does not tell Lily about her dating Peter, Fareed is saying that when Lily finds out on her own all hell is going to break loose. The phrase “all hell is going to break loose” is an informal one. The word “hell” is usually not used in formal or polite conversation, unless you are talking about the place hell, where in the Christian religion you go if you have been bad in this life. But as a general rule, we don’t say “hell” in polite conversation. So this is an informal phrase; it’s used to mean that there will be a major or very big problem, and people are going to get very angry, very upset when this thing happens. “All hell is going to break loose” means once people find out they’re going to be angry, they’re going to be mad, they’re going to do something about it.

Amber says, “That’s not fair (that’s not just or right). If there were a statute of limitations on ex-boyfriends, then we’re well past that. He’s fair game.” A “statute of limitations” is a legal term – an official term that describes the maximum amount of time during which you can take some legal action. For example, if you steal someone’s car and the police do not find you – do not catch you, they have only a certain number of years to find you. If after, let’s say, five years they don’t find you, there may be a statute – which is another word for a law – a statute of limitations that says after five years, if the police don’t catch you and don’t try to put you in jail, then they cannot try to catch you and put you in jail after it. You are basically free. Here, Amber is using the expression to mean that there isn’t a time limit on when you can date someone’s ex-boyfriend, and if there were – if one did exist – it has been a long time and therefore we are well past that; we are past the time when I have to wait before I can date this ex-boyfriend. “He’s fair game.” “Fair game” means that something is allowed; something can be had or used by anyone, not just one person. When you say something is “fair game” you mean anybody can take it; in this case, anybody can date Peter.

Fareed says, “That’s not how (Lily’s) going to see it. If you ask me (if you ask my advice), you have two options (two things you can do): break it off with Peter or tell Lily now, before she finds out from someone else.” “To break (something) off” is a phrasal verb meaning to end a relationship or to end an agreement that you have with someone else. In this case, Fareed is saying either Amber should break up with Peter or she should tell Lily about it now. “Tell her the truth,” Fareed says, “and let the chips fall where they may.” This is a common expression: “to let the chips (chips) fall where they may.” This means to accept the consequences, the results of your actions; to see what happens especially when the results – the consequences may be negative. This expression comes from card playing like they do in Las Vegas. When you are betting money – when you are putting your money down saying that you’re going to win, for example, a game of poker. The “chips” are round, usually plastic, colored disks that represent money. So you don’t actually put a hundred dollars on the table in Las Vegas if you are gambling, you would have a chip that would be worth a hundred dollars – would be a symbol for the 100 dollars. But the expression is used generally, “let the chips fall where they may,” to mean that you have to accept the consequences of your actions, even though they are negative.

Amber says, “That’s easy for you to say. You’re not facing Lily’s wrath.” “Wrath” (wrath) is anger, someone who is very upset. She’s saying that Lily will be very upset when she tells her. Amber says, “I think I’ll keep this under wraps for now, thank you very much.” “Thank you very much” means I don’t want your opinion, or I am not going to follow your advice. “To keep (something) under wraps” (wraps) means to keep something secret, not to let anyone else know about it: “I’m going to keep this under wraps.” Usually it’s a bad idea to have secrets, especially with your friends, girlfriends, wives, and so forth. It’s a very bad idea; trust me when I tell you!

Fareed says, “Fine (okay), but it’s your funeral.” A “funeral” is a ceremony you have when someone dies; to remember them you all get together and you have this funeral, this sort of meeting where you remember the person who died. The expression “it’s your funeral” is an informal one meaning that you think the other person’s actions are going to cause a lot of problems, not necessarily death, but you’re not going to interfere with their decision. When someone says “it’s your funeral,” they’re saying to you something bad is going to happen to you but it’s none of my business, I’m not going to interfere, I’m not going to try to stop you.

Now let’s listen to the dialogue, this time at a normal speed.

[start of dialogue]

Fareed: Where are you going?

Amber: I’m going to meet Peter.

Fareed: When are you going to tell Lily?

Amber: Tell her what?

Fareed: You know what – that you’re dating her ex. She’s not going to take it well.

Amber: I don’t know why she would object. They broke up over a year ago and they’ve both moved on.

Fareed: Peter has moved on, but Lily still has a thing for him. You know that as well as I do.

Amber: She never said that he was off-limits. It’s not like we’re sneaking around behind her back.

Fareed: Aren’t you? She’s one of your best friends and you haven’t clued her in on the two of you yet. If you don’t tell her soon, when she finds out, all hell is going to break loose.

Amber: That’s not fair. If there were a statute of limitations on ex-boyfriends, then we’re well past that. He’s fair game.

Fareed: That’s not how she’s going to see it. If you ask me, you have two options: break it off with Peter or tell Lily now, before she finds out from someone else. Tell her the truth and let the chips fall where they may.

Amber: That’s easy for you to say. You’re not facing Lily’s wrath. I think I’ll keep this under wraps for now, thank you very much.

Fareed: Fine, but it’s your funeral.

[end of dialogue]

I don’t think anyone will object if I thank the writer of the script for this episode, Dr. Lucy Tse. Thank you, Lucy.

From Los Angeles, California, I’m Jeff McQuillan. Thank you for listening. Come back and listen to us next time on ESL Podcast.

English as a Second Language Podcast is written and produced by Dr. Lucy Tse, hosted by Dr. Jeff McQuillan, copyright 2010 by the Center for Educational Development.

Glossary
ex – a former boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, or wife

* Was it really awkward when you ran into your ex at the store?

to take (something) well – to handle a negative situation very calmly and positively, without becoming upset

* Francesco was scared to tell his parents that he’d crashed their car, but they surprised him by taking the news very well.

to object – to oppose something; to do or say something to show that one does not agree with what is happening or that one thinks it is a bad idea

* If no one objects, I think we should end this meeting early today.

to break up – to end a romantic relationship; to decide that two people will no longer be each other’s boyfriend or girlfriend

* Paolo broke up with his girlfriend more than three months ago, but he still thinks about her all the time.

to move on – to stop thinking about something that happened in the past and to begin to live one’s normal life again

* Yes, the accident was a tragic event, but most people who were involved have moved on with their life.

to have a thing for (someone) – to be attracted to someone; to be interested in someone romantically; to want to have a romantic relationship with someone

* Have you always had a thing for red-haired women?

off-limits – forbidden; prohibited; not allowed

* The Gees are trying to lose weight, so ice cream, cake, and other desserts are off-limits in their home.

to sneak around behind (someone’s) back – to do something without another person’s knowledge; to hide what one is doing; to try not to let someone know what one is doing

* You could have just told me what you were doing. You didn’t have to sneak around behind my back.

to clue (someone) in – to give someone a little bit of information about something; to let someone know what is happening

* How is it possible that our competitors always know what we’re doing? Someone must be clueing them in.

all hell is going to break loose – an informal phrase used to mean that there will be a major problem and people will be very upset once something happens

* When your parents find out that you got married without inviting them to the wedding, all hell is going to break loose

statue of limitations – the maximum period of time during which one can take legal action; the maximum period of time during which one can be punished for something that was done in the past

* Is there a statue of limitation for how long you might owe interest on unpaid taxes?

fair game – something that is allowed; something that can be had or used by anyone, and not by only one person

* When you left that dessert in the fridge without a note, it became fair game for anyone who wanted to eat it.

to break (something) off – to end a relationship, arrangement, or deal

* They’ve been roommates for years, but lately they have been fighting a lot, so they’ve decided to break it off and live separately.

to let the chips fall where they may – to accept the consequences of one’s actions and see what happens, especially when the result will probably be negative or unpleasant

* As they got deeper into debt, they decided to file for bankruptcy and let the chips fall where they may.

wrath – anger; rage

* In ancient times, people did many things to avoid the wrath of the gods.

to keep (something) under wraps – to keep something as a secret; to not let anyone know about something; to keep something hidden

* We’re planning a surprise birthday party for Marty. Do you think everyone will be able to keep it under wraps until next Saturday?

it’s your funeral – an informal phrase used when one believes that another’s actions are going to create very negative consequences, but one will not interfere with what the other person is doing

* If you want to ask you boss for a raise, it’s your funeral. Just don’t mention my name when you go into his office.

Comprehension Questions
1. What does Fareed mean when he says that Lily still has a thing for Peter?
a) Lily still has many of Peter’s belongings in her apartment.
b) Lily is still very angry with Peter.
c) Lily is still in love with Peter.

2. Why doesn’t Amber want to tell Lily about her relationship with Peter?
a) Because she thinks Lily will be angry.
b) Because she thinks Lily will laugh.
c) Because she thinks Lily will cry.

Answers at bottom.

What Else Does It Mean?
object

The verb “to object” in this podcast, means to oppose something, or to do or say something to show that one does not agree with what is happening or that one thinks it is a bad idea: “Only one person objected to the plan. Everyone else thought it was a good idea.” The formal phrase “I object” is often used by lawyers in court when they think the other lawyer is saying something that shouldn’t be allowed: “I object! These questions aren’t even related to the case.” The phrase “money is no object” is used to show that one plans to do something no matter how expensive it is: “She wants to buy a huge, beautiful home on the coast, and money is no object.”

to move on

In this podcast, the phrase “to move on” means to stop thinking about something that happened in the past and to begin to live one’s normal life again: “Kai didn’t think he’d ever be able to move on after the death of his daughter.” The informal phrase “to get a move on” is used to tell someone to hurry up: “If we’re going to go out tonight, let’s get a move on. The movie starts in just 20 minutes.” The phrase “to be on the move” means to be traveling: “They’ve been on the move for the past three years, living in 14 different cities in 10 states.” The phrase “to be on the move” also means to be very busy: “I’ve been on the move all day, so I’m looking forward to a quiet evening at home.”

Culture Note
Many Americans “are turning to” (are beginning to use) the internet for “matchmaking services” (help in finding romantic partners). These online dating websites “match” (put two people together) people based on their personality, interests, education, and other characteristics. Some sites are “general” (not specific; made for everyone), but other sites are “targeted” (aimed) at specific groups of people, such as people of a particular religion or people with a certain type of career.
Some online dating services are targeted at “pet” (an animal that lives in one’s home for fun and companionship) owners. Only people who love pets create accounts on those sites, and they describe their pets in their “profile” (information about a person). That way, they can be sure that any “potential” (possible) dating partners will love them and their pets. They don’t want to fall in love with someone on another website “only to find out that” (and then be disappointed by) he or she is allergic to the pet or doesn’t like animals. Some of these websites for pet owners include MustLovePets.com, PetPeopleMeet.com, DateMyPet.com, and others.

Other online dating services are even for the pets themselves – not just for the owners! The pet owners who “sign up” (create an account) on these websites are looking for other pet owners who have common interests and similar types of pets. These people want to introduce their pets to each other. The users of these websites may “arrange” (schedule; organize) “play dates” (opportunities to play together) for their pets, or “exchange” (trade) “pet-sitting” (caring for an animal) services while they are out of town. Depending on the particular website, the people themselves may or may not be looking for dates with other humans.

Comprehension Answers
1 - c

2 - a