How to Handle Running Into an Ex

A spur-of-the-moment run-in with your ex can often be an awkward experience, whether or not it’s something you wanted to happen.
Sometimes you’re so caught off-guard that you say or do something you end kicking yourself for after he walks away. Here are some tips for how you can better handle running into your ex.

Be kind.
Even if your ex cheated on you or hurt you very badly, you should display a good attitude. You may completely dislike your ex, but be the bigger person and be nice. It may be difficult, but you’ll feel much better about yourself than if you had flipped out and started screaming about how your heart was broken. If you take the high road, you’ll likely leave your ex completely confused and/or missing what she's lost.
Don’t bring up old issues.
There’s no point to it; leave the past in the past. Even if you have lingering questions you'd like answered, you’re probably standing in a place where they're inappropriate to discuss anyway. Asking questions and bringing up past issues will only make the run-in more awkward.
Bring up something good about your own life.
You don’t need to brag or throw your new significant other in your ex’s face, but you can mention something positive that’s going on. For example, if your ex asks how your life is going, respond with, “It’s going great; I just got a new job, or something along those lines. Just make sure it’s true; otherwise, if you get caught in a lie, it will only make you look foolish.
Keep it short and sweet.
Prolonging the conversation may only bring up past feelings and sadness.
Don’t cry, tear up or try to get back with your ex.
Not only could you come across as weak, but your ex will know that you’re not over him, and could end up feeling as if he has power over you. As difficult as it may be, stand firm and hold your ground. Don’t give your ex the satisfaction. If you have to cry afterward, do it when you’re in the privacy of your own home.

Warning

  • Avoid any sort of touch. As silly as it may seem, brushing against your ex’s skin could trigger butterflies and bring up past feelings. You want to make sure you stay in the present and don't get dragged back to the past.

About the Author

Lauren Romano became a freelance writer in 2007. Her work appears on various websites and in print. Romano specializes in a variety of topics including dating, travel, New York City, decorating and budget living.

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