The One Thing You Must Do After You Bump Into Your Ex

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My Ex was everywhere.

I saw her face in the crowd, on advertisement posters…even on the TV. But it was never her.

My mind was just playing tricks on me – I was being haunted by my imagination and fear.

The very thought that I might have to face her again, that I might accidentally bump into her, terrified and paralyzed me whenever I left the house.

What would I do when it happened? What would I say to her? What would SHE say?

In the end, everything went completely different than I had imagined.

How To Prepare Yourself For An Accidental Bump-In

One of the golden rules of 60 days of No-Contact, is to avoid places where you could bump into your Ex. Places they used to go to, mutual social circles, etc.

The reason for this is not to jeopardize the progress you’ve made so far.

But you cannot isolate yourself forever … and you shouldn’t.

You must understand that you have no control over your Ex or the circumstances of an accidental meeting. You can minimize the risk, but that’s about all you can do.

What you CAN do, is prepare yourself for potential run-ins, so you don’t have to restrict yourself to staying home.

I want you to try a simple technique that doesn’t take much time but will help you deal with the fear.

Find a quiet place, sit down, relax and close your eyes. Now imagine a situation, (like you would see it on a movie screen behind your eyes), where you run into your Ex – let’s say at a coffee shop.

How would that scene go off in the most positive way for you?

In other words, what would be your best performance that you could live with?

A good example would certainly be the following:

You run into them; you are a little surprised, you firmly look them into the eye and smile. You say “Hi,” and your gaze lingers a moment. You are calm and your smile confident, the situation is under your control.

Then you turn your head and go, giving them no chance for a conversation.

That way, you appear confident and polite without undermining the No-Contact Rule, (you’ll still have to start from day 1, even if it wasn’t your fault).

This is, in my experience, by far the best way to act on accidental bump-ins with your Ex.  (I’ll tell you in a minute how to NOT do it, how I did it back then).

You find YOUR perfect way of handling this, and you play it over and over again in your he until you know it by heart.

You do this for a few days, for about 10 minutes, and each time the fear of bumping into them gets a hold of you, (or before you go to “dangerous” places).

This will give you confidence and some peace of mind.

How I Bumped Into My Ex – What NOT To Do

Approximately six months after the break-up, (about two months of No-Contact), I was walking through the town carrying some groceries when suddenly she appeared right in front of me. Just like that. She lived in another town, and the chances of running into her were very slim.

But nonetheless … there she was right in front of me, no chance of turning around, no chance to bail.

She hadn’t seen me yet, and since there was no possibility that she wouldn’t, I walked right towards her.

She looked surprised when she saw me, almost shocked. Then she smiled her smile that always made me helpless before and said “hi.”

Ages passed where we only looked at each other; my smile was broken, helpless.

Then I watched myself suddenly doing something idiotic, and I hated myself for it a long time after that. But I was helpless.

I went towards her and hugged her. And if that weren’t enough, I whispered into her ear, “I missed you so much.”

It was an outcry for help, an extended arm to be pulled out from a world of pain.

She said nothing.

Everything after that was just a blur, and I don’t remember much. Eventually, we said “bye, ” and we walked away from each other. I never turned around.

Today still, I have difficulties describing what happened inside of me. It was an emotional turmoil, my stomach knotted.

Somehow I got home and just fell into the bed.

Then something happened that pretty much saved me.

The ONE Thing That Saved Me After Bumping Into My Ex

There I was lying on my bed, thinking about jumping from a bridge, if I only had the strength to get up and go to that bridge, when suddenly the doorbell rang. And it rang persistently, for minutes, (felt like hours).

I somehow got up – I just wanted this ringing to stop – and opened the door.

In front of me stood my younger brother with a big smile on his face.

He started babbling like a waterfall about this “thing” we had to go to immediately, life and death depended on it, he demanded that I come with him right now.

He pulled me out of the door right into his car.

Before I even knew what happened, I found myself in a bowling center.

I am not a big fan of bowling, and he knew that, so I really couldn’t understand what was happening.

Little by little, all our friends came by, and after that we spent HOURS bowling, competing, talking, laughing and drinking.

And you know what happened? I didn’t think ONCE about my Ex or the unpleasant encounter.

Not ONCE.

I just didn’t have the time for it.

And the next day it all felt like a far away dream.

What had happened?

The Worst Thing You Could Do After

I was forced to NOT think of the event. I was forced to NOT obsess over what happened… what I had said, what she said  – or didn’t say – what it all meant… in hundreds of different variations.

I was saved from overthinking.

And compulsive overthinking is the demon that destroys your recovery.Click To Tweet

I was saved from destroying all the progress I had made in my healing until then by coercive distraction.

And that was all it took.

What To Do Should You Run Into Your Ex?

Should it happen to you, should your ever accidentally bump into your Ex, I recommend that you try your best to “play your role” according to the mind-movie you’ve created in your head before.

Do your BEST to be confident and strong.

Here are a few guidelines:

1. Do NOT engage in a conversation

A conversation is the last thing you want. It would mess with you and open up a wound. Maybe you would fall into old relationship patterns, maybe even have a fight.

Don’t risk it.

2. Take CONTROL of the situation

YOU are in control. YOU dictate what is happening. You DON’T react, you lead.

3. If a meeting is inevitable, don’t run away

Bailing out, and letting them see it, will only make you look bad, not necessarily in their eyes, but worse – in your own. You HAVE to be able to respect yourself after this.

Walk up to them, say hi, smile, and walk away.

4. Resist the urge to tell them how you feel

They know that you are going through hell, and they WILL ask you anyways. Tell them you are doing good, anything else will just lead into something you will regret later.

Trust me, there is no positive outcome for you by telling them how you suffer, how you still love and miss them, etc.

Remember, self-respect is what you have to preserve.Click To Tweet

So resist the urge.

5. Immediately after, you want to look for distraction

The goal is to avoid the harmful, compulsive overthinking. The best thing you can do is some competitive sport involving friends, family, etc. (I’ve heard many other variations, but this one proved to be most beneficial).

Conclusion

Those of you who must have “reduced” contact with your Ex during the 60 days, (kids together, working partners, etc. ), must deal with them on almost daily basis.

All others can prepare themselves by re-playing the best possible outcome in your head, and by following the guideline, I’ve posted once the dreaded scenario plays out.

There are two ways this can harm your recovery – If you allow 1. negative conversations with them and 2. overthinking what happened over and over again.

If you manage to avoid these two things, then this event could actually bring you forward.

I was glad and lucky that it turned out positively for me after I ran into her. I later found out that my brother saw me with my Ex that day and immediately developed a “rescue plan” that ultimately saved me.

What I wish for you is that this potential “scary event” loses its power over you a little, and that – should it ever come to this – you will be able to hold on to your self-respect.

And… that there’s someone out there, who does for you what my brother did for me back then.

Because sometimes we just need a kick in the right direction.

Your friend,
Eddie Corbano

  • I ran into my ex about a month ago. I was attending a job fair that he was working. I saw him and panicked, but he did not see me. So naturally I went back to my car and thought about not going back in and locked my keys in the car. Idiot move! Lol Now I had to go back in. Ugh! I hadn’t spoken to him in 3 months and had no Idea what to say. So I just walked past and said hi. When I left he was asking everyone for exit interviews so I was forced to talk with him. I was so happy to be in his presence again, but had no clue what to say. So we just exchanged small talk and I went on my way.
    It was so hard for me not to text him later, but I stayed strong.
    Remembering our very wonderful but highly confusing on and off affair. He was never able to decide that he wanted to be with me and make things work and it took me a long time to figure out that I wanted and deserved something more. I was always waiting for more from him, but it never came around. Even though our Love was greatny I had to step away so I can find the relationship I deserve.

  • liberttymaximus99 says:

    I have been reading these blogs and find the no-contact rule critical. I was the odd person out in a relationship gone bad (for me). She tried to make it up to me and maintained contact for a long time and now rarely does and I have to see her at work on occasion. I want to finish this without bitterness. i will have to change jobs to do this and need to anyhow. I was attached to seeing her for a while and now realize that I have to say good bye for good. I had thoughts of taking her back and now realize that it would be a bad idea to even think about it. She is the fourth real break up I have gone through, but the first where I put steps in place to deal with it and by doing so actually discovered this website trying to regain my power as a person so I can love again with a partner that treats me better than this past one (in the best of ways). I wish I had managed this process before like this. I am still hurting, but know this situation needs to end. I already did the visualization of meeting her again even before reading it here. I will follow Eddie’s prescription.

  • Hey, This is cool advice! Thanks!
    This is the first site that advices NOT to engage in a conversation!
    This is the ONLY way to handle it.

    It is amazing how much bad advice there is on the internet- most other sites say you should walk up to them, greet them and make small talk- what BS! This is an Ex, not a friend. An ex is never a “friend” or a colleague and you must question the intention of any ex to walk over and engage in any type of conversation. What is it that they (or you, if you initate contact) want?- No matter HOW you play this, once you say hi you seem desperate to get them back.

    Not talking to them is the safest and sanest, and COOLEST way to play this everytime. :)! Regardless of how the breakup was. There is nothing that looks more desperate than people that initiate contact with an ex, regardless of the situation.

    I have exes that I broke up with amicable, but why would we greet each other when we accidentally run into each other? Saying HI means I still care about them, while I dont, I moved on and so did they and that is cool! The relationship is over, there is a reason it didnt work out and I am not stuck up on them and they are not stuck up on me.

    NEVER initate contact or engage in conversations with an ex, no matter how you do it it just makes you look desperate to get them back!

    Not greeting an ex ist totally fine, acceptable and actually the only sophisticated, classy way to handle such a situation with class and style 🙂 Everybody will understand and respect you for ignoring them. Your life is yours, you moved on and if you like it or not: that person has become a stranger. That is reality.

    So unless you want that girl/guy back, NEVER initate contact or engage in conversation. Initating contact and engaging in converstation shows you are not over the relationship, while the person that is ignoring you has moved on. This makes the person that initates contact seem like the most desperate looser..LOL

    You are not in each others life anymore. Any contact would mean you have not moved on with your life. Even worse, it seems like you are trying to hit on that person. That is the message you are sending. You seem desperate, not cool!

    If you are a girl,like the one posting here, dont ever do this! There is nothing worse than acting “desperate” as a woman/girl. Ladies that makes you seem like total loosers.. If you want to be respected be cool , do not initate contact or engage in conversation, it makes you look desperate. Guys will disrespect you for it.

    It is amazing how many girls always talk about how totaly over they are a guy and than they walk over to say hi and engage in conversation to show “how totaly over the guy” they are. In reality girls/woman, it makes guys think you are totaly “hot for them”! This is what guys (your ex) think when you initate contact or engage in conversation.- period.

    • You remarks are about a woman “looking bad” because she is acting in a socially acceptable matter with a man who she has had an intimate relationship with. Acting like a civilized human being does not make you a “loser”. I guess your ex would be a gracious person if she spoke to you because you sound like a very superficial and unappreciative guy. Count yourself lucky if she says “hello”.

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