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Bumping Into Your Ex

Updated on September 19, 2008

When you're with your new beau

You know how it is when you bump into an ex when you're out someplace. You want him to eat his heart out. You want her to know what she's missing. You want him to regret ever losing you.

But when you bump into your ex when you are with your new partner, your focus needs to be different. You need to think about how this new person in your life feels, not what that old person from your life is thinking. The way you handle this could make or break your new relationship. Which is more important? What you have, or what you had?

No Drama

No matter how bad the break up was, no matter what you didn't get a chance to voice, no matter what you need to say, now is not the time. It waited this long, it can wait longer. Your best bet is to introduce your new partner immediately, politely, and calmly. You don't want to lay it on thick, but you don't want to be too cavalier or nonchalant.

Introduce your current partner with a title. "This is my girlfriend, Kate." Not quite there yet, then say, "This is my date, David."

The odds are good that your current partner doesn't want to see you insult your ex. It reflects badly on you. Here's your chance to show her you're mature and kind.

The flipside of that, is that your current partner also doesn't want to see any flicker of hope between you and the ex. Don't stare. Don't offer a compliment, even if it is sincere. Don't ask about things going on in her life. Don't speak about things that exclude your date. Don't ask your ex about his work, a mutual friend, his family, or anything else. If you have a sincere need to inquire about something, call them later. Now is not the time to demonstrate that you two have history together.

Whatever you do, do not ask your ex to join you. If I have to explain this one, you really shouldn't be allowed to date.

Keep the bumping short and sweet. Say hi, do the introduction, then say, "We have some plans so we're going to get going. Take care of yourself." You don't want to end things too abruptly; that could be perceived as your trying to hide something. Speak slowly and calmly. Smile. Pay attention to your current partner, with your eyes or your hand. And end the little meeting as quickly as possible.

Be careful not to say anything like, "It was good to see you." Believe me, that will be festered upon and come back to bite you in the ass.

If it's anything to ya, this will come across to your ex as a little aloof, but kind, and clearly it seems that you have moved on. Nothing bad can be drawn. And there is no room for imagination to read more into it than occurred.

As soon as you step away, begin the dialogue with your date. Don't wait until they ask. Start offering. It shows respect for their curiosity, and it shows you have nothing to hide.

"That was Jeff. I dated him years ago." You don't have to dive head first into details and emotions. But you could offer a few sentences of summary and then wait to see if any questions are asked.

The Exceptions

If you follow the smooth and preferred plan, you'll be fine. But there are two other people involved here, each with their own thoughts and free will.

If your ex insists on more - talking, grabbing, stepping in front of you, asking you questions - remain calm and polite. Keep your tone soft and accessible. Smile. Repeat yourself. "We have plans. We have to go. We're leaving, you take care. OK, we really need to go, so you take care of yourself, OK?"

If anything negative can be seen in that, it will be reflected on your ex. Anytime someone is being emotional or needy, and you're being calm and polite, you are not the one that has to be worried about perception. If your current date thinks your ex is a little pushy or crazy, you're no worse for wear or tear.

If your current date is the one that throws a wrench into your plans, your best bet is to go with it. If you can, politely nudge them away from their wrench throwing, but if that doesn't work, accept it.

For example, if your date tries to start a dialogue with your ex, you could politely say, "Honey we should leave now if we're going to beat the traffic." If that's waved off and your date continues to try to talk to your ex, be quiet. Let them talk. There isn't too much more you can do without looking like you're hiding something.

If your current partner asks questions, offers information, or even invites your ex to join you, be gracious and basically quiet. If she wants to take control, let her. Maybe he wants to show your ex how he rules the roost. Who cares? Let him. Maybe she wants to show you how she's not jealous. Enjoy that. Maybe its just general curiosity to learn more about you.

And you know what? It's also possible that your date got a positive impression of your ex and genuinely wants to hang out with them for the night. You saw something in this person too at one time.

Maybe you are one of those people that remains friends with all your ex's. And maybe you're dating someone that is not jealous, is secure and open and friendly. Maybe you all have things in common and mutual interests.

The thing is, don't bank on that. The odds of that happening are slim. If that is what happens, that's great. But when you bump into an ex, don't think everybody's gonna play nice together. Try to execute that short and sweet preferred plan. Keep your focus on your current partner.

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All text is original content by Veronica.

All photos are used with permission.

All videos are used courtesy of Youtube.


Submit a Comment

  • Sun-Girl profile image

    Sun-Girl 6 years ago from Nigeria

    Nice article but is not always a funny incident to bump into your Ex.

  • Veronica profile image

    Veronica 6 years ago from NY

    This isn't a rant, this is an awesome contribution to the article. Thanks so much. It's a fine line, finding that place in between "succinct, appropriate information" and in dumping way too much personal and unnecessary information. It's probably reflective of the emotions that are behind the conversation. Plus, since each person and each relationship is different, you have to find that place that makes you comfortable as well as making sure the other person is, too.

    It all comes down to communication, doesn't it.

    Thanks for your comments Janellelk. I am really enjoying them.

  • profile image

    janellelk 6 years ago

    "As soon as you step away, begin the dialogue with your date. Don't wait until they ask. Start offering. It shows respect for their curiosity, and it shows you have nothing to hide.

    "That was Jeff. I dated him years ago." You don't have to dive head first into details and emotions. But you could offer a few sentences of summary and then wait to see if any questions are asked."

    THIS is so absolutely necessary, in my opinion, especially if you're become more serious with your date. People do not seem to realize that volunteering information is a way to include the other person in their life. History, exes, break ups, etc. happen; it's how you present it to your SO in the future that matters. I had an ex who would never talk to me about his romantic past, even 7 months into dating. I'm a big believer in not dwelling in the past and I especially appreciate succinct, appropriate information (sex positions, holidays, vacations -- I don't need to know about it). However, it's nice to know something -- a brief history ("Yeah, we dated for 5 months.") so you have even a clue about who this person is. Even if there's no reason for suspicion, withhold information and the paranoia starts flying.

    Sorry, I know this was kind of a rant as well, but I just think it's so important to be honest and straight forward in all matters of your life, especially your romantic life.

  • profile image

    stephen 6 years ago

    drunk or sober... always look good in front of your ex- it's law

  • Veronica profile image

    Veronica 7 years ago from NY


    I moved your comment to here:

    And responded to you in your own Hub. I hope you will read it and let me know what you think in comments. Thanks for writing.


  • mcstir profile image

    mcstir 8 years ago

    Yeah, you don't want to bump into your ex when you have recently put on 25 pounds... LOL

  • Stacie L profile image

    Stacie L 9 years ago

    The problem with bumping into an ex is; you always look your worst and they always look great!

    Murphy's Law?hmmm

    nice hub