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How to Handle a Confrontation With Your Ex Boyfriend or Girlfriend

Updated on March 15, 2013

The Reason for Confrontation

All confrontations are based on some kind of emotion. When a past relationship is involved in the confrontation it could be due to anger, jealousy, sadness or bitterness. Keep in mind that everyone is entitled to have feelings and opinions and that the best way for you to navigate the confrontation is to mediate it as much as humanly possible.

Remain Calm at All Times

Despite how angry or enraged your ex may be, it is imperative that you stay calm during the confrontation.


1. Take a step back. Staying out of "arms reach" will put both you and your ex in your own "zones".

2. Take a deep breath and think through responses.

3. Allow the other party to "vent" without interruption. If you attempt to yell over or interrupt your ex, it will likely increase the emotions and not get you any closer to resolution.

Be Understanding of Feelings

Just like in the "customer service industry", the best way to resolve conflict is to be understanding in regard to the frustration felt by the opposing party.

After listening to your ex, apologize for what deserves an apology. Being understanding of their feelings is highly important.


"I am very sorry I caused you to feel like that"

"I can see you are very upset / hurt / frustrated"

"Its clear that this situation has you very hurt. Let's work to resolve it."

"I did not intend to make you feel this way"

"You have the right to feel (insert emotion)"

Agree With What is Accurate

Part of dealing with conflict is admitting to / agreeing with accurate statements. This not only shows you are genuinely listening, but also that you are not trying to "fight back". Even if you disagree with the overall point of the argument / confrontation, there should still be a few valid points within the argument that you CAN agree with.

Keep the Topic to the Point

Often during the course of a confrontation, the angered party will attempt to steer the conversation to other topics. When you realize that the conversation is going in a direction other than the basis for the confrontation, redirect the conversation back to the main point.

If the ex continues to steer off-topic, then inform the ex that you are going to end the conversation if they do not stay on-topic.

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"Indoor Voices Only"

If your ex begins to raise his or her voice, use the same method as outlined previously. Insist he or she lowers their voice and if they refuse to do so then you will not participate in the conversation.

Offering to sit down instead of standing can also help relax the situation overall.

Address Each Issue Individually

Does your ex deserve "answers"? Perhaps you broke-up for reasons which they are still confused over and they seek closure. If this is the case, then address each question or issue with a professional attitude.

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Do Not Provide False Hope

If there is absolutely no way that you would ever consider rekindling a relationship with your ex, yet they are begging for your return, be polite yet firm.


"(Persons name), you are very nice, but at this time I am not interested in a relationship"

"I appreciate you taking the time to speak to me about your feelings, but I am not going to peruse our past relationship"

"I do not wish to discuss rekindling a relationship with you, although I do value the good times we had together. I must go now."


"Let me think about it"

"I will call you this week" (when you plan to never call again)

"I miss you too" (when you do not)

"Maybe we can get dinner tomorrow and talk more" (when you plan to ignore their calls)

False hope only leads to more anger, frustration and hurt feelings. Avoid it.

Avoid the Irrelevant

Do not participate in irrelevant conversations. The reality is, it does not matter if you made a mistake in 2004. It doesn't matter if he/she spent too much time at work. It doesn't matter if you lost the television remote last year.... you are now broken up, meaning the relationship is over and debating who was right (or wrong) does nothing but waste time and energy.

Who Is More Confrontational?

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    • profile image

      Tori 3 years ago

      Slam dunkin like Shaquille O'Neal, if he wrote inafmrotive articles.

    • spiritualpaths profile image

      spiritualpaths 5 years ago from Michigan, USA

      I like your suggestion for:

      "If your ex begins to raise his or her voice, use the same method as outlined previously. Insist he or she lowers their voice and if they refuse to do so then you will not participate in the conversation."

      In my experience, one raised voice leads to two raised voices and then neither person listening to the other.

    • Poshbytori profile image

      POSH by tori boutique 5 years ago from 1545 Union Lake Road, Commerce, MI, 48382

      I absolutely agree with you! The ultimate way to *try* to avoid confrontations is to, as you said "reduce to stranger status". Cease taking phone calls, responding to text messages or emails, etc.

    • dashingscorpio profile image

      dashingscorpio 5 years ago

      "Anger is the mask that Hurt wears"

      Most arguments and fights have to do with setting boundaries or reacting to a perceived slight or act of disrespect. Having said that unless there are children involved there is not much of a reason to be around an ex much less have arguments with them! Don't deal with exes.

      People who fight still harbor feelings or emotions towards one another. Some believe hate is the opposite of love. However they are wrong.

      "The opposite of love is indifference"

      When you no longer care about what someone thinks, does, or says reducing them practically to "stranger status" that is when you know there will not be any fights or confrontations.