8 Ways to Get Yourself as Prepared as Possible for Stumbling Into an Ex

By: Neda Ahmed

Post a breakup, the thought of running into an ex probably crossed your mind at least once, especially now that it’s summer – how will it go down? Should I acknowledge them? Do I pretend not to see them? Overthinking it means you fall down a spiral of extreme anxiety and get lost in the one thousand scenarios jumping around your head. Bottom line is, friends, that it’ll hurt. Thing is though, it can hurt like a bitch or it can be like a needle stab, we can choose(-ish) if we prepare ourselves for it. 

Affirmations to Repeat:

  • I am releasing the past. 
  • I know that I will be okay.
  • I forgive myself.
  • I do not need a person or relationship to feel whole or heal.
  • I am loved and I am capable of loving,
  • I deserve love, in all its forms.

Delete Their Number

If you break up, and it ended badly for whatever reason, especially if that relationship was toxic or that partner abusive – delete their number. If you experience a run-in, some feelings (or phantom pains) may resurface so you may be tempted to pick up a conversation over text.

If their number is deleted, great, you won’t be able to do that.

If you have it memorized:

Please, don’t.

Acknowledge Your Feelings

Four things are reported to be felt in such situations: you may feel forgiving, calm, stronger, or even feel butterflies. If that person was abusive or the relationship toxic, you’ll probably be anxious, if not outright terrified. It’s important to process these feelings and not to bury them. Maybe a reminder of why the breakup took place would be what you’re looking for in the former situation. But the latter? Honestly, if you want to run, run. If you feel like your safety could be threatened, leave, walk out, find some excuse or the other (parents are always a brilliant excuse) to get away. But please, acknowledge your feelings, so you can process them and have them not hurt you anymore. 

Keep It Short

A casual ‘how are you doing?’ with non-personal details will suffice. You don’t want to make it awkward, but you don’t want to be rude, either. There might be a tonne of things you’d like to say; closure you’re looking for, or confusion you wish to diffuse, but a casual run-in doesn’t satisfy the criteria of time nor place. 

Don’t Try to Make Them Jealous

It’s tempting, to flaunt a new partner or a recent achievement/success, but it’s not worth it. Most of the time, it’s just petty and will only cause you problems you don’t want to deal with. 

Be Graceful

For those of you looking to seem ‘over it’ (even if you’re not), you have to pretend that you just don’t care without a taint of any negativity (i.e. anger, defensiveness, rudeness or coldness). This one is not for your ex, this one’s for you: you’ll walk out of this situation having adopted some of those feelings for the mind is easily fooled.

No Sudden Decisions

A decision that is taken at the summit of flaring feelings, whether positive or negative, has a high chance of being something you will regret later. Wait until these feelings are calmer then take a mindful decision. Never make a commitment when you’re happy and never make a decision when you’re angry. 

Ask Your Friends to Be Polite

Not for your partner’s sake, rather for your own. Again, if that ex was harmful or toxic, they may want to hurt you. Your friends probably hate your ex if they were toxic and/or abusive to you, which is valid. But this is a situation where you’re better safe than sorry. Be polite but short, your safety is paramount. 

Remember, you can miss something but not want it back.

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