->''"There should be a set of rules to govern how bros comport themselves among other bros." ''
-->-- '''Creator/BenjaminFranklin''', ''Series/HowIMetYourMother''

Just punched your best friend in the face? Put some ice on it and he'll be fine. Just wrecked his car? No prob, he's got insurance. Slept with his ex-wife/girlfriend? Whoah ''momma'', you're in for a world of hurt!

Even among the closest HeterosexualLifePartners, there are some lines you just do not cross, and one of them's dating, sleeping with, or otherwise getting involved with a woman your bro has broken up with. If a guy breaks this rule, expect it to lead to incredible hostility in the friendship, lasting ... oh, [[StatusQuoIsGod about thirty minutes or so]].

A TruthInTelevision, as dating/sleeping with/any romantic involvement with a friend's ex (without asking first) can be interpreted as a disrespectful stab to the back (as well as [[LoveHurts to the heart]]).

See its sub-trope BrosBeforeHoes. Compare to MySisterIsOffLimits, when the conflict is over dating a bro's sibling.


[[folder: Advertising ]]
* In a Miller Lite series of commercials called [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8RLCD-PpWqU "Man Law"]] delved in many other important subjects like "is a person allowed to stick a finger in a beer bottle to carry it" and "how many beer cans can you take home from a friend's party", and in one a panel of men debate how long you have to wait before making a move on a friend's ex-girlfriend. Opinions range from "forever" to "two Saturdays, or a new hair-do, whichever comes first." Just for the record, the final word given in said argument is "six months".

* In ''[[ComicBook/UltimateFantasticFour Ultimate Enemy]]'', Ben Grimm confesses to Sue that he's fallen for her, but had refused to act on or acknowledge those feelings because she was with Reed. After some consideration, Sue realizes that [[LoveEpiphany she felt the same way]]. Though we never get to see how this might have affected Ben's friendship with Reed, since [[spoiler:the team had already dissolved]] by the time Ben confessed, and by the time Sue and Ben [[spoiler:got together, Reed was trapped in the N-Zone, apparently presumed dead]].

[[folder: Film]]
* Directly referenced in ''[[Film/{{Neighbors 2014}} Neighbors]]'', and the attempt to [[AvertedTrope avert this]] ends up being one of the strikes against the frat.
* ''Film/TeamAmericaWorldPolice'' has a sort of GenderFlipped version--Sarah tells Lisa that she's attracted to Gary, and when Lisa winds up sleeping with Gary, Sarah feels hurt and betrayed.

[[folder: Literature ]]
* ''Literature/TheBible'' has two:
-->"Do not have sexual relations with your brother's wife; that would dishonor your brother."
--->--''Leviticus 18:16 (NIV)''

-->"If a man marries his brother's wife, it is an act of impurity; he has dishonored his brother. They will be childless."
--->--''Leviticus 20:21 (NIV)''
** Leviticus actually has more, such as prohibitions against sleeping with your father or uncle's wife.
* Male socializing is a hallmark of Creator/DaveBarry's work, especially in Literature/DaveBarrysGuideToGuys.
* In an amusing example of defictionalization (see the ''Series/HowIMetYourMother'' example below), Barney's 'The Bro Code' has been published as an actual book.
* In ''Literature/HarryPotterAndTheHalfBloodPrince'', Harry gets a big crush on Ron's sister Ginny, and spends a lot of time worrying about how he'll react. [[spoiler: Not only is Ron fine with it, he trusts him far more than any of the other boys she dated]].

[[folder: Live Action TV ]]
* On ''Series/{{Arrow}}'', this is a standing problem between childhood best friends Oliver Queen and Tommy Merlyn, both of whom are in love with Laurel Lance. [[spoiler: Recognizing that Laurel is still in love with Oliver, Tommy breaks up with her. Oliver then entreats Tommy to reconsider and get back with her, since his own life as the Hood would make having a relationship with Laurel very difficult. Immediately after having this conversation, Oliver violates the Bro Code and betrays Tommy by seeking out Laurel and having sex with her. Tommy, on his way to come see her, observes through the window. Then he dies trying to save Laurel...]]
* GenderFlipped in ''Series/DropDeadDiva'', Jane is upset when she sees Owen and Stacy on a date, saying Stacy violated the Girl Code.
* ''Series/HowIMetYourMother'' is the TropeNamer. Barney has a long list of rules governing how male friends (or "bros") are to act towards each other when there's a woman involved, which he claims was created by his 18th century ancestor Barnabus. (It's worth noting that The Bro Code has subsequently been [[{{Defictionalization}} defictionalized]]; it's available at bookstores around the world, with the e-book read by Creator/NeilPatrickHarris.) This particular rule is only one of many (specifically, Article 150), but it forms the focus for the episode "The Goat" and several episodes that follow, after Barney sleeps with Robin, Ted's ex-girlfriend.
* Alluded to several times in ''Series/{{Friends}}''.
** PlayedForLaughs when Ross dates Chandler's ex-girlfriend Janice, and is worried he'll be angry. Chandler initially laughs enthusiastically, but then makes a big deal of forgiving him in an attempt to secure Ross' eventual forgiveness when he finds out Chandler and Monica are secretly dating.
*** They had a similar issue before, when Ross kisses Chandler's ''mother''.
** Played more seriously when Joey falls in love with Rachel and agonizes over Ross's reaction.
** Chandler falls hard for Joey's girlfriend Kathy. Would be normally ok, but Joey is serious about her too...
* In ''Series/TwoAndAHalfMen'', Charlie definitely ''did'' mind when Alan was seeing Chelsea (mainly because he is still hung up about her). Charlie initially forced Alan to not go anywhere near Chelsea's birthday party, he changed his mind later but he felt that he had to out of fear that Chelsea will get mad at him for knowing why Alan didn't show up to her party.
* In ''Series/PowerRangersOperationOverdrive'', Will makes a [[spoiler:[[FakeDefector fake]]]] FaceHeelTurn and joins Kamdor and Miratrix. Dax is especially upset... that Will's with his ex. (Miratrix and Dax dated before she revealed she was running a HoneyTrap.) While the girls exchange a look, Dax and Mack explain with "Man law!" (check the Miller Light commertial above)
* Wilder talks about this in Series/TheLatestBuzz, calling it one of the 'guy rules,' specifically the rule 'pals before gals.'
* In ''Series/That70sShow'', Kelso was quite upset when he found out that his best friend, Hyde, started seeing his ex-girlfriend, Jackie.
** Though he more than compensates for this by generally annoying the hell out of Hyde with reminders that he (Kelso) slept with her first.
** Hyde and Kelso are later reversed in this respect when [[spoiler: Kelso starts sleeping with (and dating) Hyde's sister later in the series.]] Averted in season eight when [[spoiler: Fez starts dating Jackie and Hyde and Kelso have no problem with it. Or the entire season of [[WillTheyOrWontThey]] ]]
* A couple of examples from ''Series/{{Psych}}'':
** In "High Top Fade Out", Shawn, Gus, Henry, Tony, and Joon throw out different definitions of "The Code", (almost?) all of which relate to sleeping with your friend's girlfriend or relative.
** In "American Duos", Nigel St. Nigel (Creator/TimCurry) has to hide out at Henry Spencer's house and steals Henry's robe, which seriously offends Henry as he takes it as a violation of the "Robe Code". Shawn sympathizes but tells his father to deal with it.
* In the ''Series/{{Seinfeld}}'' episode "The Ex-Girlfriend", Jerry starts dating George's ex-girlfriend, Marlene, and worries that he'll be upset. However, when he eventually tells it to George, it turns out that he doesn't care.
** The backwards episode involved a variation with Jerry setting George up with an ex had never actually slept with. Unfortunately, Jerry ends up sleeping with her just before actually setting them up. He tries to keep it from George, but its gets out and he's pretty upset over it.
* ''Series/SaturdayNightLive'' parodied this in a sketch involving two bros who get into an argument over a woman, hash things out, and manage to reconcile, all by using nothing but various inflections of the word "bro".
* In ''Series/{{Neighbours}}'' when Todd started dating Josh's ex Phoebe.
* An episode of ''Series/SavedByTheBell'' had Slater convince Zack to go out with one of his [[ChildhoodFriendRomance old flames]] in order to convince his current girlfriends that he was over her. Slater then gets jealous when said Old Flame and Zack really hit it off.
** There was also the episode where Zack kissed Lisa, the object of Screech's affections. That didn't go over well either.
* ''Series/{{Smallville}}'': Clark and [[JerkJock Whitney]] start off as enemies, but at the end of season one, they reconcile their differences and parted on friendly terms. Clark refuses to go after Lana until after she formally breaks things off with Whitney.
** In season five, [[spoiler:Lex gets involved with Lana very quickly after she broke up with Clark, and soon progressed to sex and then marriage. It destroyed what is left of Clark and Lex's friendship.]]
** In season six, it's lampshaded when, in an effort to start up a friendship with him, Jimmy affirms to Clark that he is his "bro", not his "foe".
* In ''Series/TrueBlood'', Jason and Jessica start sleeping together after she breaks up with Hoyt. Hoyt angrily says Jason broke the "Bro Code".
* In the ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'' episode [[Recap/SupernaturalS02E20WhatIsAndWhatShouldNeverBe "What Is And What Should Never Be" (S02, Ep20)]], Wishverse!Dean violates the code when he hooked up with Rachel Nave, Wishverse!Sam's prom date, ''on prom night''.

[[folder: Newspaper Comics ]]
* ''ComicStrip/{{Dilbert}}'' had a doctor who subscribed to [[http://dilbert.com/strips/comic/2009-11-03/ a literal interpretation]] of the Guy Code.

[[folder: Video Games ]]
* Mentioned in ''VideoGame/{{Disgaea 4| A Promise Unforgotten}}''. Fuka briefly considers pursuing Valvatorez as a "reasonable compromise" to finding her KnightInShiningArmor, but decides against it because it would be a total violation of The Bro Code, and both Vulcanus and Fenrich would get all up in her face for it.
* One of the endings in ''VideoGame/{{Catherine}}'' has [[spoiler: Vincent breaking up with Katherine and Johnny deciding to make a move on her. He was upset at first but easily gets over it.]]

[[folder: Webcomics ]]
* Used in ''Webcomic/SluggyFreelance'' when [[http://sluggy.com/comics/archives/daily/991020 Torg goes on a date with Gwynn, Riff's ex-girlfriend.]]
** And later, when [[ItMakesSenseInContext Torg needs some underwear to cover up an alien's naughty bits]], he tries [[http://sluggy.com/comics/archives/daily/20071005 getting some from Monica,]] another of Riff's ex-girlfriends.
--->'''Riff:''' Does going after an ex-girlfriend's ''underwear'' count as "breaking best-bud rules" or "just creepy?" ... I guess it depends if it's on her.

[[folder: Western Animation ]]
* From ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons,'' in an episode [[NoodleIncident that has nothing else]] to do with this:
-->'''Lou:''' Well if you just wanna talk, why don't we talk about Eddie sleeping with my ex-wife?
-->'''Chief Wiggum:''' I thought the divorce was final.
-->'''Lou:''' When is a divorce ever final?!
* In ''[[ComicStrip/{{Peanuts}} Happy New Year, Charlie Brown!]]'' Linus ends up dancing with Charlie Brown's crush, The Little Red-haired Girl. Of course Linus claims he didn't know where Charlie went, never mind he saw him go outside to do his homework. And Linus wonders why the Great Pumpkin passes him by.
* On ''WesternAnimation/{{Daria}}'', [[DumbJock Kevin]] and [[DumbBlonde Brittany]] undergo one of their many break-ups two weeks before a school dance. Kevin gets all the other football players to agree not to date Brittany, and she gets the other cheerleaders to agree not to date him. However, one of the football players, [[NiceGuy Robert]], is out of town until right before the dance and doesn't know about the situation, so Brittany asks him out [[OperationJealousy to make Kevin jealous]]. Naturally, it leads to a huge fight in the school parking lot. Robert wins, but Brittany and Kevin reconcile as he's being loaded onto the ambulance.
* In the episode "Tails' Crush" of ''WesternAnimation/SonicBoom'', after Eggman sees Tails humiliate himself trying to win over Zooey, he steps in to help with this as his reason.
-->'''Eggman''': I can't watch this anymore! You got no game, kid! Let me help you!
-->'''Tails''': You? But you're our sworn enemy!
-->'''Eggman''': Nonetheless, in situations this dire, the bro code trumps the whole enemy thing.
* GenderInverted on ''WesternAnimation/GravityFalls,'' when [[CoolBigSis Wendy]] gets angry that her friend [[PhoneaholicTeenager Tambry]] is dating her ex-boyfriend, [[EmoTeen Robbie]]. To complicate things, they're only dating because [[TheMatchmaker Mabel]] used a LovePotion on them in a deliberate attempt to PairTheSpares. In the end, Mabel decides against using another potion to fix things (on the grounds that meddling more might just make things worse), and Wendy just decides to let it go since they seem happy together.

[[folder: Real Life ]]
* In real life, it's fairly concrete as "current significant other, mother and [[MySisterIsOffLimits sister]] off limits, exes are a complicated issue." Beyond that it gets pretty nebulous.
** Despite the name, the basic premise is applicable to ''both'' sexes. Breaking it is considered a taboo regardless of your sex, gender, or orientation.
* In the UK it's normally called "the Guy Code", and beyond "bros before hos" and not sleeping with your mate's girl, the rest comes off as more as a subconscious knowledge that men share and know automatically and without question when it has been violated.
** Its most famous violation and discussion came when footballer John Terry slept with national teammate Wayne Bridge's ex. John Terry was also married, so legally he committed adultery. While some would have ignored that, it was coupled with the fact it was his teammate's ex that got the attention (not to mention the fact most people were confused and thought that Bridge was in fact still seeing the woman in question, whereas they had indeed separated).