Relationships

In Which I Ran Into My Ex-Boyfriend

In Which I Ran Into My Ex-Boyfriend

Soooooo, last week, I was walking out of a restaurant, minding my own business…

In Which I Ran Into My Ex-Boyfriend

It was a beautiful Brooklyn evening, with birds chirping and cars rumbling down the street. Alex and I had just eaten dinner at a little Italian restaurant, Frankies Spuntino, where we’d shared a tuna sandwich and two tomato salads that tasted like summer on a plate.

Now walking home, we were chatting about this and that, when I heard a voice behind me say: “Joanna Goddard.” Even as I was turning the two-minute-long, slow-motion turn from front to back, I knew who it would be: my ex-boyfriend, whom I had dated, on and off, for five years in my twenties. Our final breakup had actually been the impetus for starting Cup of Jo, as a way to distract myself in the evenings from all the complicated feelings. It had been a decade, a marriage and two children since I’d seen him. Riding his bike, he pulled up to the sidewalk to say hello.

(Side note: If you saw your ex but they didn’t see you, would you stop and say hello? Personally, I would keep biking like my life depended on it. Or duck behind a car? Maybe it depends on your personality. I’m curious to hear what you would do…)

So, on with the story: My face turned bright red and I gave him the most awkward one-armed hug in hug history. Alex shook his hand. I couldn’t figure out what to say or exactly how to move or position my mouth. A catalog of thoughts ran through my brain: How do I look? What is Alex thinking? Is my smile remotely normal? My ex said he was heading to Frankies. I managed to pronounce some words about how we had just been. There was an awkward silence while we all stood around and I imagined sinking slowly into the ground. Then he said goodbye and headed off.

What is it about ex run-ins that turns you from a normal, reasonably articulate adult into a bumbling, sweaty non-person? Even when you’re happily married, there’s something about how well this other person knows you, how much time you’ve spent together, how deeply important they once were to you, how the ghost ship is sailing by with them drinking a beer on the deck, that makes you slightly stunned and paralyzed in that moment.

In the end, the weirdness lasted only 30 seconds, and we all went back to our lives. Alex and I headed home, hand in hand, to have salted caramel ice cream and read in bed and debate whether he should stop moving his toes. And that, my friends, was that.

So! Now, you share: When’s the last time you ran into your ex? How was it? Where were you? I want to hear everything!

P.S. My sister’s awesome dating tip, and 10 great reader comments on breakups.

  1. Lauren says...

    My partner (of almost 20 years) and I are still friends with our/each other’s exes, and we’ve never understood why this strikes people as so strange. Lol.

  2. Ramona says...

    There’s an article in today’s Washington Post about how married people who put up “digital fences” (don’t text or email exes, don’t follow exes on social media) have happier and more committed relationships. Maybe the same rule applies to physical fences! I don’t think I’d approach an ex who appeared to be with a new partner because I wouldn’t want to trigger any jealousy or insecurity in his new relationship (unless it was someone I hated, haha).

  3. Alexis says...

    Katy Perry’s new song Small Talk is about exactly this…it’s cute, give it a listen if you haven’t heard it.

  4. Angie says...

    I have a more lighthearted version of this, though still awkward. Ran into a very casual ex (think acquaintances with benefits) at a summer festival with my boyfriend (now husband). He recognized me and called me over, where we had 30 seconds of stilted chitchat and my boyfriend just smirked, as he figured out really quickly what was going on.
    I said goodbye as quickly as possible and we turned to go. The. My boyfriend turned around and said “wait.” First words he had spoken the whole conversation. He dug into his pockets and dug out a handful of drink tickets for Ex, who thanked us.
    As we were walking away, he couldn’t stop smirking. “What’s so funny?” I asked finally. And he answered “I just tipped him.”

  5. My name says...

    My husband and I are probably married because he was the ex-boyfriend I kept running into (in our small city). In other stories, my sister invited one of my exes (from across the country) to her destination wedding (she was the one who introduced us many years before). When we saw each other at the wedding he said he’d seen me from a distance not long ago while in the city where we’d both once lived. I said, half-joking, “It probably wasn’t me – how did you know it was me?” And he just gave me a look like “(my name), I’d know you anywhere.”

  6. Steph says...

    I just interviewed a babysitter while my ex husband and his new wife sat at the table next to us at a local coffee shop. (!!!) The baby is not his so I was whispering the whole time knowing they were likely ease-dropping. It could have been a scene in a movie. It’s time to move!

  7. Jessica says...

    If I saw an ex and he didn’t see me, I’d DEFINITELY keep going.

    I recently “ran into” (ran the other way) an ex-friend. Eight years ago, he told me not to get involved with his best friend because his best friend didn’t treat women well. I did anyway. It blew up as I’m sure he’d predicted, he said he was furious that I hadn’t listened to him in the first place, and he then declared that he didn’t care if I lived or died (his exact words).

    Fast forward to a few months ago: I moved to a new neighborhood and quickly realized that he and his wife live in this exact same neighborhood, near my exact subway stop (HOW is this possible?!).

    I was recently walking toward an intersection with my toddler in my arms. I saw them walking toward me pushing a stroller. I saw on their faces that they recognized me and were about to approach me — they seemed excited!

    I made a hard left and crossed the intersection at a diagonal to avoid them. My daughter and I were walking toward the bus stop, so we stood at the stop and became VERY INTERESTED in the trees and anything that was not in their direction. I melted from awkwardness.

    It got worse: We hopped on the next bus, I immediately realized we were on the wrong bus, got off at the next stop, and found ourselves ACROSS THE INTERSECTION from my ex-friend/wife/stroller. ACROSS THE INTERSECTION. WALKING TOWARD ME. AGAIN.

    I panicked, turned away, turned back, imagined how I could possibly recover from this and then, blessedly, realized that they hadn’t noticed me because they were trying to settle the baby in the stroller.

    I’d run into him one other time in the intervening years — I pretended not to see him, he got my attention, and he apologized for saying he didn’t care if I lived or died. But I suppose I’m just not interested in this acquaintance-ship, even with the apology. Now if I could only convince him to PLEASEFORTHELOVEOFGOD JUST KEEP WALKING next time.

    Well, now that I’ve typed here for half an hour, I no longer need to go to therapy today. =)

    • Alexis says...

      Thank you for making me laugh today. You poor thing. We all have moments like these that just seem to keep getting worse and worse. LOL.

  8. kimberly says...

    wait, all i got from this story is ALEX SHARES PLATES NOW?!!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      hahahha, he did that night, i honestly couldn’t believe it! :)

    • Fel says...

      Oh my gosh I was thinking the same thing! I even read the sentence twice.

  9. Emma says...

    If I see any of my exes I’d probably greet them… because I am looking fab these days! Gotta show it off while I got it. Greeting them also makes it seem like I’m unaffected by seeing them. The possibility of them seeing me and knowing that I saw them and avoided them, well, I shouldn’t like that. Even if I feel just like Joanna did, I’d like to seem like a cool cat.

  10. Jessica says...

    I saw my ex this weekend…We were camping with our spouses and kids.

    We met and had a steamy short relationship prior to us both moving away from LA (to different places). Eventually, after some on-and-off long distance business, I convinced him to move to Portland where things didn’t work out, he fell in love with my good friend and I ended up as a bridesmaid in his wedding. [insert “shruggie” emoji here]

    Now we’re both married with 3 y.o. little boys that really enjoy playing with each other and my husband likes him better than the other dudes in “your group of friends” (as he still refers to them, even though he has basically forgotten how to keep in touch with his).

    He was never an a-hole. He was honest about his feelings and a friend in a real way even after things didn’t work. Did it hurt to watch him falling in love with someone else? Yup. Was it worth it to play it off and maintain my friendship with his now-wife and him? Yeah. Especially because I can listen to her gripe about all the things about him that I’m sure I would have hated!

  11. Eileen says...

    I ran into my ex, we were together for more than 2 years. he called me by the wrong name!!! I could not believe it, I was so hurt and so angry and certain that my “squad” would be as angered as I was and we would immediately begin plotting our collective revenge. I marched into our Saturday morning coffee collective with my justified anger to tell my story and the girls laughed, so hard, coffee spitting, howling uproarious laughter. I had no choice but to laugh too and be grateful that he is an ex!

    • Kerry says...

      I love your friends. That was the exact perfect response. You got the last laugh.

    • Hilde says...

      My husband actually sometimes uses the name of his best friend’s girlfriend when he is supposed to say mine. I find it so strange! Our names are kind of similar sounding, but still.

  12. janine says...

    I’m on pretty good terms with most people I dated, but I dated one guy and the relationship ended badly – plus he was good friends with all his exes, and I didn’t feel like being part of that club, so we stopped talking after we broke up. I’ve run into him a few times over the years, and I’m civil – but cool – to him.

    I ran into him once when I was in a restaurant with some friends. I politely said hello and introduced him to my friends and made polite small talk for a few minutes. After he left, one of my friends said to me, “Wow, you clearly HATE that guy!” He said he could tell because normally I would have jumped up and hugged the person saying hello and gone on effusively about how great they were and how wonderful it was to see them, etc.

  13. Tabs says...

    About 5 years ago, just a few months shy of my 30th birthday, I returned back to the UK from living abroad in Japan for a number of years. I had moved back to my parents house in the place I had grew up in while I contemplated my next move. I had been back literally 3 days and was at the supermarket with my Dad when out of nowhere the boy I had lost my virginity to at 17 suddenly appeared next to me. It wasn’t some big love affair at the time, we dated casually for on a few months and I hadn’t seen him since that summer, but there he was stood next to me. It was such a disorientating situation, I was so jetlagged, still in Japanese mannerism mode ( I think I bowed at him during goodbyes) and just totally unprepared to see him. I can’t begin to remember what I said but I know I did not enjoy it haha.
    The ‘ex-encounter’ is such a big mash up of emotions and memories that hit you square in the face, I really don’t think you can ever be prepared for that!

  14. shopgirl says...

    On side note; personally, I wouldn’t.
    But also, since my adulthood I’m expecting gentlemanly behavior, which means that a man should greet a woman first- if he sees her. If not, I just look at him, but I don’t react. It’s up to him…

  15. Rachel says...

    After breaking up with my serious live in boyfriend of 4 years almost 10 years ago now, I have only ever run into him one time. It was a few months before my wedding to my now husband, in the always packed Union Square Trader Joe’s. I was trying to pour myself a tiny cup of coffee when he said my name and I remember feeling like my
    whole body froze. I promptly spilt my tiny coffee and we stood SO awkwardly in front of the tasting table (likely pissing off many a TJ’s shopper that day) saying our hello’s. It was so painfully uncomfortable standing there with this person who once was MY person and now felt like a complete stranger. We said goodbye, I left my cart mid store, and called my mom on the corner of 14th street to tell her what happened. I was so shaky for hours after! I followed up the encounter with an email, in which I could gracefully articulate all the nice things I wanted to say. He responded with a beautiful email back, and it actually ended up bringing some closure that I didn’t even realize I needed before I got married. I’ve been happily married 6 years this weekend and have never seen him again!

  16. Aileen says...

    I was on my way to try on a wedding dress (this was a long time ago as Ive been married 15 years on Wednesday) and I bumped into this bloke. He was so excited to see me, gave me a hug and a whole “what have you been up to” “Havent seen you in ages”. I had absolutely no clue who he was so had to ask him. Turns out not only was he an ex boyfriend, he was also the boyfriend I had lost my virginity too. Whoops!! Must have been memorable haha :)

  17. My Husband and I go to the same Junior High School, He’s my senior, so I know most of his friends and so as He. One day we met my ex-bf at a wedding party and he’s the kind of bf that friendly enough when we met (that’s not the first time). I was trying so hard to look normal when I feel really nervous knowing my husband and my ex meeting for the first time. But then, He totally ignored me and make the whole conversation with my husband, ONLY my husband like I didn’t exist. So that went well, but it’s weird enough to start questioning my own existence. Oh wait, it’s not my me! He’s the one who’s rude and lucky me I didn’t end up marrying him. LOL

  18. Nina says...

    I dated this guy for 6 years, and I broke up with him, for no apparently reason – I just didn’t like him anymore. Two weeks after that, I met a guy online and three years later, (around two years ago) we were married. So my ex used to love açai, I hated it and I would make fun of him because of the stereotype that people that eat acai has here. But now I love it, I have to have it every week. So a month ago I went to my favorite açai store in town, and I saw this really handsome guy in the back, totally different than the usual people in that place, and I kept thinking (and staring at him) how handsome and unusual that guy was for over a minute. And then I realized it was him, my ex. I canceled my order, told them I didn’t have cash or a card and I needed to go to the bank. I ran away from that store as fast as I could. I felt so stupid but happy that he still looks amazing and because it reminded me of that thing he has that got my attention. Just to make it clear, I’m married, he is married, and I think we’re both happier this way. It was an embarrassing and good moment though!

  19. Grace says...

    I ran into my ex in the grocery store. He saw me hiding awkwardly by the elevator, having tried to run away from him, and I saw him ditch his cart by the door and head to the parking garage, having tried to run away from me. Somehow, the fact that we both had the exact same reaction made it feel less terrible.

  20. Katie says...

    Reading these comments made me remember a run-in I had a year or so ago. I was shopping with my current boyfriend of five years, when I turned the corner and was looking straight into the eyes of an ex whom I hadn’t seen in over six years. Being the completely normal person that I am, I simply pretended that I didn’t see him, and acted the same way when we ran into him AGAIN in a different store after dinner. In hindsight, I should have just said a simple, “hello!” But alas, my brain decided otherwise.

  21. Lisa says...

    I had the worst high school breakup and I was DEVASTATED for years and my journal proved this in very long and dramatic entries. We always talk about this journal so for my bachelorette party my twin sister had my mom overnight it to the house where we were staying at. During some wine sipping (gulping) at a Sonoma vineyard, we all took turns reading my journal entries, crying laughing. I haven’t seen this ex in oh, 13 years? But he became famous with my friends after this.

    Literally 2 weeks later my twin sister ran into him at the airport – and all of my friends (and myself) treated it like a celeb sighting, we wished she had gotten a selfie LOL.

    PS – high school journal entry readings should be mandatory readings at bachelorette parties, it’s so hilarious. Haha.

    • Owl says...

      OMG this made me laugh!!! 😂

    • Clara Roethe says...

      ahaha, i love this story

  22. Sarah says...

    A friend saw my ex (four year relationship, live in) in a cafe on Thursday. His text was perfect: I saw ex in a cafe today. He’s really porked it on. (ie got fat).

    It was perfect – info, and clear support of me…! I have not seen the ex in three years since we split.

  23. Leigh says...

    I dated a guy for almost 8 years and 2 weeks before my 30th birthday, he packed up his things one morning and moved out, unannounced. Fast forward a year, and I am at an outdoor Ray Lamontagne concert on a Friday night. Its a decent sized venue, but I had this weird feeling that he would possibly be there, because it was an artist we had both loved while dating.

    I get seated with my friend and upon doing a quick scan of the audience, I breathe a sigh of relief after he’s nowhere in sight. A few songs in, just as Ray Lamontagne starts belting out his song, “you are the best thing,” I notice some people filing in late a few rows in front of me. I immediately spot a couple and since it’s getting dark, I can’t fully see their faces, but begin questioning whether it is him and his new girlfriend. Then the guy puts his hand on the small of her back to guide her to their seats, and just seeing that, I knew it was him. It all came rushing back to me, how he had always placed his hand on the small of my back in the same way to prevent losing each other in crowds. The kicker was that they walked in during the song that we had always planned to have as our first dance at our wedding. OUCH.

    The universe was kinder to me a year later when I found myself in a happy relationship and heard through the grapevine that my ex and his fiancee (the gf I had seen him with), were calling off their engagement.

  24. Libby says...

    Many years ago as I was nursing a very fresh and painful breakup with my long-term boyfriend I visited “my” coffee shop (we get so possessive after breakups!) one morning on my way to work. Totally unexpectedly.. there he was, a couple people up in line. Trying to pretend that I was in no way the pile of emotional jelly I was, I waved to him. Not only did he turn my way but so did his new lady (fun story: his now wife). I forgot how to breathe, think, function. I turned on my heels, walked around the corner and had and epic ugly cry, right there on a Brooklyn street. There was something so freeing about sobbing in the middle of NYC. Passerby’s gave me space rather than consolation, which made me feel like what I was doing was needed and ok, rather than something that I should be hiding (which I had been doing up until then because I was “soooo over it!”). Probably my best cry ever but damn was that a painful sight I endured.

  25. Lynea Wilson says...

    I’ve only had one vicious breakup, and I’ve only seen him since then once. I was headed to a formal event in college, dressed to kill, with a very attractive date’s leather jacket around my shoulders. Ex was taking out his trash in gym clothes. He had spent over a year making me feel so small, and in that moment with his eyes wide I just smirked like a goddess. I don’t know what I did to deserve such grace but when I have a bad day I think about that moment still! And it’s been 6 years!

  26. Marie says...

    Thank you a gazillion times over for posting this story. I had an encounter with my ex, from over 10 years (and one happy marriage and baby ago) last month. It threw me off like nothing I would’ve expected, and that quote about ghost ships became my mantra afterward. It’s so good to know it’s not uncommon to become a bit disoriented by such an experience.

  27. Kris says...

    On the other side of this meeting is usually another person usually feeling all the exact same things … use the occasion to put aside any baggage and remind yourself the feelings are probably about the ghost ship, not the person!

  28. Kelly says...

    The boy I dated in high school keeps looking at my LinkedIn, which is under my married name. I wonder if he clicked it because it was me, or if it came up by accident and he didn’t recognize me? It’s always in a cluster of other people from high school viewing my profile, and I look very different now. It’s made me feel squirmy and cringey in a way I can’t articulate.

  29. Ari says...

    For a while, my exes had a funny habit of reaching out to me (after not having spoken in years) right after they had gone through a break up. Why I indulged them in conversation is something I should discuss with a therapist, but we usually stopped speaking again after a few attempts at reconnection, during which time I quickly remembered why they were “exes.”

  30. B says...

    This thread is so comforting right now – my boyfriend of almost 2 years and I just broke up this weekend and I’m bound to run into him as we go to the same gym. While it ended fairly well, the thought of running into him, at least before I feel together, gives me anxiety.

  31. kelly says...

    So relatable! It reminds me of that Sex & the City episode where Miranda sees an ex (Steve?) out on the streets with a new girlfriend. :)

  32. Hadilly says...

    A friend’s 50th birthday party is coming up in October. She just let me know that my ex has been invited too. I feel nervous about seeing him. We had a tumultuous, on and off relationship from ages 23-28. Neither of us could communicate well, so while we were both incredibly well matched intellectually and in our common interests, it was one of those impossible pairings even in though everything seemed to line up.

    We had stayed friends, but after I started getting serious with my current husband, I sent him an email saying I didn’t want to be in contact anymore. I needed this compelling person, with whom I had such a complicated history out of my life, but email wasn’t the best way obviously.

    Anyway, haven’t seen or heard from him since. I know he married and has kids. It is going to be very WEIRD to go to this party with my three kids and husband and see him and his family.

    After reading all of these stories, I wonder if it’s better or worse to have forewarning in running into an ex!

  33. CC says...

    I was reading this yesterday and started sweating at the thought of running into my ex. I went to work last night (I work at a restaurant) and was casually chatting with the host as she looked theough reservations and I said, “I am always so scared my ex will come in for dinner some night.” We chatted about that and then I inquired about the private event we were hosting that night. She clicked on the event and MY EXES NAME POPPED up. We hosted his rehearsal dinner last night. So much shaking and sweating, I asked my current beau to bring my CBD oil. I texted my best friend, she showed up and sat at the bar. I didn’t have to serve him or anything but saw him from a distance. Soooo, fast forward a few hours and I went to a karaoke dive bar after work w my friend. I was hesitant to go to the bar for lots of reasons and had her check out the scene as we walked in but then was like, “there’s no way he’s here at midnight the night before his wedding.” He wasn’t there so we sat and did our thing. Around 1 I noticed a familiar looking dude and was like, “Oh, thats his best friend, shit, maybe he’s just here alone.” I tell my friend, she scans the room for ex and gives me the clear. So I keep bobbing my head to whomever was singing Party in the USA. Given the clear, I look around the room and my goddamn garbage man ex is belting Party in the USA on the stage. We bolted so fast bc he is so terrible. Weird, so weird. Can you believe it? Last night. Universe……

  34. Kay says...

    I only have 2 exes but both those breakups were absolute doozies, even though they were both initiated by me. So I would not be keen to run into either of them again!

    I did have to cross paths with Ex #1 though, at my college roommate’s wedding a few years after the breakup. The backstory is that my roommate’s husband was (and still is to this day, some 20 odd years later) best friends with my ex — that was how we met actually; she was the one who introduced us. So there was no way to not invite my college ex-boyfriend. She did give me a heads up that he AND his parents would be in attendance but seated at a different table, so I was prepared for that. What I wasn’t prepared for was how his mum glared daggers at me throughout the whole dinner! Luckily even though I was single then I was surrounded by my group of girlfriends so I was well insulated/protected. His dad later half jokingly told me that they were worried his son was going to jump off a roof after I dumped him; it was that devastating for him, so to his mother I “ruined his life”. I knew of course that he didn’t take us splitting up well (there were many many MANY weepy calls/emails/texts trying to persuade me to get back together until I finally blocked his number) but that sheer volume of drama was exactly what I was happy to be free of. In any event shortly after that he met another girl online whom he got married to and is ostensibly still married to, so clearly his life was not ruined. It may sound callous but I just could not be held responsible for his happiness anymore, which was a big part of what prompted me to break up with him. No one person can be solely responsible for another’s happiness, and nor should they be — it’s too big a burden.

    As for Ex #2, I have so far managed not to run into him and the universe has been very kind to me in that regard. But I would totally hide or bike/drive/sprint in the opposite direction if I ever spotted either of them again!

    There is luckily a happy ending — I’m very happily married now to my awesome hubby (bf #3) so I concur with some of the other commenters here that the old had to make way for the new — we had to experience the ones who were wrong for us so that we’d know when we found the right one. 😊

  35. Jean says...

    Wow, this is so timely. I made a phone call in work to another department and the other person’s name flashed up on the screen, which was the same name of one of my exes. We’d had a very passionate but short relationship about 25 years ago, and I hadn’t seen him since. Then he asked if it was me, I said yes so we proceeded to have a very polite chat for a couple of minutes before talking business.
    A few days later I was on my way to a business meeting, and he suddenly appeared before me in the foyer of the conference centre, first time I’d seen him in all of those years. There was a familiar frisson that happened, which I wasn’t expecting but it was clear that the old chemistry was still there. Later, as I was leaving the venue I looked over in his direction and we locked eyes for a few seconds. He’s married, but I’ve been single for 16 years, and let me tell you, that look sustained me for a while.

  36. MJ says...

    So. I went to England as an exchange student (I’m from Denmark). A quite small town in the north. I had been there for a month and was finally beginning to feel ownership of the place. I was waiting at the hairdressers to get a haircut, when all of the sudden my heart stops, my ex-boyfriend is standing outside on the sidewalk with his current girlfriend. I did not say hello, but was having a heart attack the hour it took to cut my hair. Apparently his girlfriend was on exchange in the same bloody town as me. And the weird thing is, I had imagined that scenario all along as a worst possible scenario. I might never find out, whether they saw me and share my insane experience.

  37. Kat says...

    Oh man. I was devastated when my first love broke up with me (over the phone… right before my birthday, but whatevs). I was sad for MONTHS, but after a while I agreed to ‘try to be friends’. We had, after all, been an important part of each other’s lives for many years. We lived in different cities by then, so the next time I was in town I agreed to meet him, and his new girlfriend, at a bar with some mutual friends. When I arrived at the bar, it was gratifying to see that he was super nervous. And no wonder! His new girlfriend was very nice (much nicer than him, tbh) but she not only looked, but was actually dressed EXACTLY LIKE ME. Standing next to her was that weird feeling you get when you walk by a mirror unexpectedly. It was super weird, and only got weirder when one of her drunk friends got us confused, and hung around my neck for a while. The most awkward evening of my life, and now I avoid that SOB like the plague, which includes the occasional FB search to monitor his whereabouts. Side note: he’s now married to someone who looks nothing like me, but has my same name. WEIRD.

  38. IC says...

    I like to run into my exes when I’m well dressed, combed and a few pounds lighter.
    If not, I run!

    • Julia says...

      So true!

  39. Kayleigh says...

    For at least 5 years after my ex broke up with me (over text I might add) I would see him once a year. It wouldn’t have been so bad but after he broke up with me I found out he had 3 other relationships with women who thought he was single so I was harbouring some pretty venomous unspoken feelings.
    The first 2 times I was visiting people in the shopping centre he worked. So, fair enough right?
    The third time was when I was having anniversary drinks with my new boyfriend, this time he was in my new town and I was furious that I felt I had to leave the bar we had gone to.
    The fourth time, was on an airplane to Croatia where I was meeting a friend. Not only did we see each other but we had to squeeze past each other to get to our seats. He was with a new girlfriend and a group of friends and I looked like a loner. It was the worst.
    Fifth time was in east London when I had moved jobs, he came into my bar and swiftly exited when I stared him down. It’s been a few years now thank goodness because it was getting ridiculous. Although looking back I think the universe was just giving me opportunities to gut punch him haha

  40. Robin says...

    My most significant ex is my college boyfriend. We see him every few years because I’m still close friends with his brother and sister in law. The first time he met my husband I was a tongue tied mess, but subsequent times were better. The most recent run in just made me feel old, my son and I were going into a medical building to pick up my husband who was there for a colonoscopy when we ran into my ex who was there for his 5 years post cancer visit. So strange!

  41. L says...

    I ran into the ex (with a Facebook message warning) at an open house for my class’s bachelor thesis projects. I distinctly remember him telling me all sorts of things and me not asking a single question. Definitely felt a bit cornered, since I had to be there at my booth.

    Have since moved countries, so don’t expect to run into him anytime soon. One of his best friends does live in my new city, but still not so concerned! Plus, I’m infinitely happier with my new guy, who gets me in all the ways the ex didn’t, and connects so effortlessly with my family and friends. I couldn’t ask for better.

  42. writergirl10 says...

    Love this post. I saw my high school ex at my husband’s 20th high school reunion mixer. They were in the same graduating class. I prepared myself ahead of time and tried to be cool, but the first words out of my mouth were, “hi___I totally wasn’t trying to ignore you, I definitely saw you.” He replied, “I wasn’t ignoring you either, good to see you!” So yeah, uh, awkward AF. But I’m glad I got up the gumption to say hello at least. With age comes more confidence maybe? We are both happily married with multiple kids now, but seeing him was a blast from the past and definitely had me thinking what if?

  43. Erin says...

    My small collection of ex-boyfriends all live too far away for me to run into them. My ex-husband lives less than a mile from me, and because we have two small kids, I see him at least once a week. And you know what? It’s great! He is constantly doing idiotic things that remind me I really, really needed the divorce and really, really dodged a bullet by getting out of my marriage when I did. It makes me so happy to say goodbye and go home to my own house.

  44. Krysta Lin says...

    I saw my ex at a restaurant once on my way to the restroom. We didn’t say hi and while I was in the restroom, I decided I would definitely say hi on my way back to my table. When I walked out, he immediately put his head down on his table (forehead straight down) and did not lift until I passed. I glanced back once I got to my table and the person he was with was confused and asking him what was wrong.

    • Rachel says...

      Oh my goodness, this cracks me up!!!! How do you come back from Face on the Table?

  45. Anna in Colorado says...

    My breakup with my ex was a long time coming. To me, it felt impossible to stay together. For years I had wanted him to love in a way he wouldn’t or, more likely, couldn’t. So I don’t fear running into him so much as I fear running into the community and place built around that relationship. I was in my early to mid twenties during the bulk of the relationship and I utterly adored his family, friends, and hometown. I loved them and wanted them as my family, friends, and town. Although I’m married with two beautiful children–in a relationship that makes me feel loved and makes it so easy to be happy I still think about that world. I actually dream of being seated on a plane next to his sister or mother (without my kids to distract me) so I could fully explain how much they meant to me. I’d love to explain my side of the story and have them say they understand why I broke up with him but that might be too much to ask. I just want them to know the relationship wasn’t right but I miss them all and am thankful for them. Hopefully, in some part of their heart, they’re thankful for me.

  46. Cynthia says...

    I ran into my ex of 8 years in the supermarket. He called out my name, and like you, i knew it was him… i didn’t turn around. When he approached me, i said he must have me confused with someone else, and walked away

    • Molly K says...

      😂

    • Verónica says...

      😂 This is awesome!

    • Jessica says...

      HA! I would like this to now be my go-to move. “I’m sorry, you’ve confused me with someone else.”

  47. Kelsey says...

    An ex from college who cheated on me moved to the city I live a year ago (with his girlfriend of a few years). I’ve played the scene over and over in my mind… strolling down the streets of San Francisco and seeing him and saying, “Hey, stranger! You’ve been in my town this whole time and haven’t said hi yet?” and being cool as a cucumber. In reality, I know if I saw him I would duck and hide as quickly as I could.

  48. Two weeks ago at a funeral. I’d lived with him over a year. When I left him I gave him a wild cat. Like see ya, but here’s a nice kitty to keep you company. … eighteen years later didn’t even recognize him and I swear he was inches shorter and gray. All I could spit out was “oh hi” and gave him a back patting weird hug. Then my husband shakes his hand calls him “Phill” which was not even his name and says he’s my “significant other” Ugh, really!?

    I would have pretended not to see him or avoided the area had I recognized him. Too awkward. Unless you are having the best hair day and look fab, turn tail and run!

  49. Elizabeth says...

    I was once working late after a big change at work. An IT team had to come in and take out all our old equipment and put in a new system. Who was leading that team? My ex. Who I had a horrible, awkward break up with. I spent the rest of the night hiding from him in my boss’s office in a blind panic. Because my ex was our new IT guy he got my email and wrote to me the next day asking to go out for drinks. I blocked him. Very adult.

  50. Tara says...

    I had an ex whom I lived with during and after college. Our break up was rough (I kept our 2 cats), he didn’t take it well, and he moved across the country. He tried to get back together a few times and ultimately wrote me a letter saying I had turned into an “ice queen”. I started dating my husband very shortly after our breakup. We were together for about 8 years before we got engaged, and for some reason (nostalgia maybe?) I decided to google my ex. I found his obituary! He had died about 6 months before of some kind of bone cancer. It hit me really hard. Very surreal to be celebrating my engagement and learning of his death. I looked at my 2 cats who were still thriving and realized that if I had married him I would have been a widow at 31. Dark stuff.

  51. Chantsy says...

    When I was 20 years old and freshly heart broken by a mere WEEK I was returning to university downtown when I spotted my ex boyfriend walking towards me at a crosswalk…with another girl (she wasn’t even good looking!)…hand in hand!! Other than wanting to vomit I gave nothing more than a glance before running back to school, a shaky mess, and (being the art student that I was) found refuge in my dance class. I’m pretty sure I poured my heart out to a classmate I didn’t know very well. How the universe could so badly time that situation I will never know. What I do know is that fifteen years later I am sooooo grateful that loser broke up with me and open the doors for my awesome husband to come along. Maybe the universe knew exactly what to do.

  52. Emily R Hylden says...

    KEEP BIKING. RUN AWAY. DO NOT STOP.

    There’s a kind of integrity to saying hello, but I DO NOT HAVE THAT INTEGRITY.

    I have moved and moved and moved since being married, so I don’t live in the same city — nor have I for several years — as any ex. I sort of wish I’d run into one of them though, just ‘cuz I’m curious about how I’d feel, and because I think I’ve gotten better with age (why not show myself off?!).

  53. M says...

    I was having drinks with a friend in a very small neighborhood bar in the first floor of a narrow rowhouse building. In (through the only door!) walks my ex, with whom I had a terrible, protracted, months-long breakup that was pretty awful. He is standing with his friends at a table right next to the entrance, and there is no way I could escape without him seeing me and I am not feeling mature or healed enough to cope with saying hello. My friend is amazing: she leaps into action, tells the bartender I need to sneak out through the kitchen, and she pays the bill. I flash a grateful smile to the surprised staff in the tiny kitchen and say, “I’m avoiding an ex,” and get lots of knowing nods in response. I sneak out the kitchen door, and my friend meets me out front.

    Friends are the best. Chit chat with exes is the worst.

    • Roxana says...

      I love this story.

      Also, I feel you with the “terrible, protracted, months-long breakup. . .” It’s the absolute worst. I went back and forth for over a year with my ex before my husband. Friends ARE the best, though. One of my girlfriends at the time became my absolute best friend as a result of walking with me through that whole ordeal :).

    • Laura says...

      Awesome

    • Robin says...

      I need your friend to be my friend because…wow. She’s a good sport and so was that restaurant!

  54. Loesie says...

    Last time I ran into my ex was years and years ago. Let’s just say we reconnected for the night ☺️
    Never seen him after that.

    PS: Anyone else out there google-ing their exes from time to time to see what they’re up to? 😊

  55. Amanda says...

    I felt like I was living in Seinfeld for half a year or so after I went on a handful of dates with a sweet doctor. We’ll call him Alex…because that’s his real name. I wasn’t into it and a few weeks after parting ways, I met my friend at her new apartment and literally bumped into Alex in the stairwell. He lived one floor below my friend. #awkward

    Then a few months later, I was flying to Raleigh-Durham with my parents and guess who sat in front of me on the plane? Alex, again. #deeplyawkward

    With some near run-ins with other more significant exes, I fall back on Uma Thurman’s strategy of avoidance: “I still love the people I’ve loved, even if I cross the street to avoid them.”

  56. Mary says...

    New favorite quote for all future awkward conversations: “I managed to pronounce some words…”

    I’m dying at that line because, my word, if that’s not exactly how it feels.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      hahahaha i was like “are these words normal? is my mouth moving like a person?” lolol

    • Jessica says...

      Haha yes, so true! I’m saving that line too!

  57. Jana says...

    My ex and I, from two different countries, were living in a third country. We split amicably enough. I met my husband, moved to another country. 4 years later, my husband and I moved back to that third country. One day, we arrived at the airport and joined the long zig-zag security queue. I turned around when I heard people join behind us. It was my ex, his wife, toddler and baby! We went through the usual exclamations of surprise and pleasantries, which were quickly exhausted. We then had to shuffle through the security queue together. It took a while. Bit awkward, especially as my husband and I were desperate to comment that my ex’s wife was formally his best mate’s girlfriend! Oh, fun times!

  58. Jules says...

    I married my ex-boyfriend’s best friend, so… I sure see him often!

  59. Monika says...

    I ran into my ex-boyfriend several times over the years after we’d broken up, had an affair with him (not proud of that) and then ended up marrying him and having 3 kids together. And it was the best decision I ever made; he is my best friend and my rock. Sometimes I think it’s a case of the right person at the wrong time. As for awkward run-ins with exes, yes, several. But sometimes it worked to my advantage; when I had a lovely fellow on my arm, or when my hair looked dynamite and I was feeling pretty okay about myself. Gads, dating is hard!

    • Poppy says...

      just chiming in to say, my ex-husband and i live quite close to each other (unless he’s moved, i wouldn’t know) but we stay on our own sides of the neighborhood and i’ve only run into him twice. once was on the bus, we had a perfectly nice conversation. the second time he was so my side, so that’s on him! i was walking to my bestie’s house with my current bf who i cheated on him with 😬 BUT HE’S MY PERSON! IT’S BEEN THIRTEEN YEARS! best friend, rock, etc. actually you know that song because of you i stay on the sidewalk, my song is ️🎤 BEEECAUSE OF YOU I DON’T CARE IF I RUN INTO MY EXES ️🎶

  60. MMEM says...

    Has anyone had your ex marry your sister? While you’re out of the country? Well, that happened to me. It was really awkward at the beginning but we (or was it just me?) got over it eventually. They’re still happily married, after 30 years.

    • Magali says...

      No, but I married the brother of my ex :-) . So I see my ex at all family gatherings!

  61. AG says...

    So….the guy I married was friends and once roommates with a guy I had a fun, but not serious, fling with six months before now husband and I met. They were not living together at the time I was seeing either of them (thankfully!!) but the ex and I did attend each other’s weddings! ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

  62. S says...

    I was in a pilates class at a studio I regularly attend but at an atypical time, for me. There was a guy on the machine in front of me and I didn’t think anything about it. After the class, I was putting on my shoes, and a friend of a friend, whom I regularly see at parties and whom I dated briefly a few years ago, materialized in front of me and said my name. I sputtered but launched (I think) seamlessly into OH HI and some small talk, oh yes, I went to Norway, too, earlier this year. We ran out of the usual small talk topics (INCLUDING HIS GIRLFRIEND WHO I HAVE MET)(WHY ARE WE STILL TALKING) and so he inquired How is dating going? I was incensed but managed a ‘Quiet, but I’m not lonely.” Did I mention we then faced a half-mile walk home together? I ditched him for an ‘errand’ ASAP. GEEZ.

  63. Mara McGeever says...

    I have never had an issue running into exes. They were all such a huge part of my life and everything always ended on good terms, thats probably why they are always pleasant. My husband is actually bff’s with my ex who we still hang out with. I think it def depends on the type of relationship you had and the type of break up. if everything went smoothly, why be awkward about it?

    • I’m reading all these comments thinking THE EXACT SAME THING. Maybe I’m weird? Two of my exes have come visit my husband and baby, bringing gifts and generally being wonderful friends. They’re not in my life frequently but I loved them then and I love them now.

  64. Jamie says...

    Have you all heard Katy Perry’s new song Small Talk? So relevant to this!

  65. kathy says...

    2 weeks before i got married, my fiancee was out of town for his bachelor party and i was having dinner with my best friend at a neighborhood restaurant. who gets seated right next to me but the last guy i dated with the girl he cheated on me with. he was not someone i had residual feelings for but nonetheless, so awkward. my best friend told him triumphantly, she is getting married to the BEST guy! the ex and his girlfriend ate quickly and left and my best friend was like, you totally won that one. ha! if you have to run into an ex, it’s best to do it with your best friend. ;)

    • Megan says...

      You definitely win that Ex Encounter!! Lol

  66. N says...

    I crossed paths with an ex while running a marathon, at mile 23 of 26. I probably looked like death, but had thankfully just put my music on and found a second wind about a half mile prior. I was powering through Demi Lovato singing “Sorry Not Sorry”, when I noticed he was standing there with his wife and baby. I have no idea if he even recognized me, but I’m glad I was running at that point (since I had been mostly walking with short bursts of running up until then). I booked it past them and made sure I was well out of sight before I stopped for my next walk break…

  67. Callie says...

    I ran into my high school boyfriend at my bachelorette party! So funny and kind of awkward (I was dressed in a sash and a crown.)

  68. maywyn says...

    The last and final ex-fiance…after bragging about his wonderful life…he then asks me, “Aren’t you sorry you didn’t marry me?”
    Without a second of hesitation I replied firmly, “No.”

    • Colleen says...

      Oh my GAWD

  69. Alyssa says...

    I have many an ex through my 20’s though most of them lived in different towns. One relationship though ended badly (he checked himself into the hospital after I broke up with him because he felt mentally unstable.)

    Months later, I saw him on my morning trip the farmer’s market. He was across the street so I just kept on walking down the side I was on, hoping he wouldn’t see me. He ended up following me almost all the way to my apartment to say hello. Talk about an awkward conversation. He asked if I hadn’t seen him. I didn’t feel great saying “well yes, but I didn’t want to talk to you.” so I just said “no, I was very focused.”

    When in doubt “focused” is a good word.

  70. Marie says...

    I know that I’ve been very lucky with past boyfriends – never been abused, some breakups were just about feelings just dying over time and other due to immature mistakes (on both sides). Many were heartbreaking but I’ve never felt betrayed or disrespected… so maybe that’s why the idea of bumping into an ex doesn’t scare me one bit. In general, I don’t understand the “your exes should be strangers to you” philosophy – I mean, we pour SO MUCH energy, time and attention into our relationships (sometimes at the expense of our friendships!) and we all know that odds are not in favour of a given relationship lasting forever. If someone is going to be the person I see the most often during my free time, if I’m going to spend holidays with them, learn every single little detail of their past and hopes for the future, get to know their family, it’s not for all of that to vanish into thin air! Because then what would even be the point of dating people in the first place???
    I’m still good friends with my exes who haven’t erased me from their lives and my current boyfriend of 3 years Skypes his ex every other month. They know and care for each other so much – why would these feelings stop just because they don’t love each other anymore?
    Sorry, rant over – this is just something I feel quite strongly about…

  71. I am “friends” with my college Ex – friends in that we do see each other at college reunion type of things and it’s fine and we have mutual college friends and occasionally if he came to my town he would call and I would see him (with my husband) for a drink. I recently moved to his town and thought I would run into him but never did. However my husband and I had a big 25th wedding anniversary party and since college friends were flying in, I invited him and his wife (who I became friends with on Facebook, I don’t know how or why) because I knew it would be fun for all my friends. It was fine, we all had a good reunion time. HOWEVER, he did break up with me – and while we were in London after college graduation. That was pretty devastating but guess what I wrote a screenplay about it so ha!

  72. Louise says...

    I quite often run into an old ex with whom I had a goofy Summer fling. I literally pretend like I have no idea who he is. A few years ago his wife friended me on Facebook to try to sell me MLM products. I have no feelings for him except cringe. He now dresses like Dwight Shrute.

    • B says...

      A+

  73. lauren says...

    I have always been grateful to my first love for having the good manners to leave New York City and move to Beijing shortly before I arrived in the former.

  74. Kim says...

    I was walking down the street once and a taxi pulled up with some friends inside. They told me to get in, they were going to a party! I was about 22 and in college, and had been planning on going out that night and assumed it was the same party my friends and roommates were going to.

    It was an intimate party at my ex flings new apartment! The worst part was, he thought I was really into him, and I honestly was not. So he immediately probably though I’d creepily invited myself over.
    I had no cellphone or anything with me, I couldn’t figure out how to walk back home because it was an area of the city I’d not frequented. He ended up having sex with his new gf loudly in his room while the eight other people and I uncomfortably sat in the barely furnished living room. I ended up getting pretty drunk and there may have been spray paint used on his new air hockey table. Oops!

  75. Danielle says...

    I had a similar situation were I’d dated a guy for nearly 7 years in my twenties and we broke up over the issue of marriage (I wanted to get married; he said he did but wouldn’t act on it). After years of waiting/arguing/therapy, I ended things. The breakup was messy but such a relief. Two years later, I met the most wonderful man, moved to a nearby city with him, and got married. My ex and I lived several states apart, so I assumed we’d never see each other again.
    I was at an outdoor concert with my husband and some friends last summer and we were heading to the main stage between bands. The lawn had gotten pretty crowded and I stopped to crane my neck around to see if I could spot an opening ahead when I heard a familiar voice. I looked down and spotted my ex and his new girlfriend sitting LITERALLY RIGHT NEXT TO ME. Like inches away. I’d long imagined what running into my ex would be like. Would I say something? Turns out I did the same thing I do when I spy a bug in the house: I let out a tiny gasp, diverted my eyes, and ran away. I think I moved before he saw me, and I tried to increase the distance between us my leading my friends into the crowd ahead.
    After the show, a friend in our group took a picture of all of us and I liked the picture so much that I had it developed. It wasn’t until I picked up the print that I noticed how the crowd of people standing behind us had parted in just such a way that who should be visible sitting in the distant background but MY FREAKING EX?!? Turns out the picture wasn’t a framer after all :)

    • Mandy says...

      I haven’t run into my ex but I’ve imagined it many times, usually at an airport when I have my two toddlers in tow and I’m a mess. I did google him though, and I found an article where he was arrested for stalking a woman!! I couldn’t believe it. I felt so much relief that I didn’t marry him in that moment.

  76. Rose says...

    Why is it so hard?

    I was traveling with my sister to see a friend in another town when the weather got too bad for us to continue. We pulled off the next exit and got the closest hotel— in a town my ex (just) happened to live in.
    I’m not proud of this, but I text him to tell him we were “stranded” and that it was weird being in the same town as him at that exact moment. My sister and I both knew I wanted to see him without it being any more obvious than it already was by texting him. He was never one to fear a snow storm, so he texted and said that he was actually close by with a few of his friends and that he would pick us up to go have a drink.

    He was my first love and he was older than me, so he was the first to leave town for a job while I was finishing my degree. We made it a point to see each other but we also agreed to go on dates with other people. Well, I fell hard for a date and we ended up pregnant very early on in our relationship. I crushed my ex’s heart by doing so as we both figured we would end up together, and our relationship turned into forced friendship because neither of us wanted to say good-bye.

    So he picked us up and we ended up having a nice time reconnecting and getting to know his new friends. There was definitely chemistry fizzling between us the whole evening and when he offered to walk us up I declined for fear of what might happen. I was engaged and had a baby at home, the whole night wasn’t even fair to my fiance to begin with, it was something I felt needed to happen. My sister got out of his car first and my ex and I hugged a nice long hug that we both knew was “goodbye” for good. *tear* Haven’t seen him since.

    I’m happily married to the date I fell hard for, but my ex will always have that first love spot in my heart. I wish him all the happiness in the world.

  77. Chantal Roberts says...

    This is my personal nightmare ha. As I (a native New Yorker) always say — New York City is the biggest small town there is. It’s not if you’ll run into them, it’s when. :)

  78. K says...

    My college ex still lives in the same small town we grew up in. I do not. I have to admit that whenever I go home to visit family I get a little thrill imagining running into him at the farmer’s market or a coffee shop. It’s yet to happen, but I do put a little more thought into my appearance when I’m home than I think I would otherwise.

    I have seen him occasionally over the years at mutual friends’ weddings. It’s funny, every time we see each other our conversations are so light and effervescent that it’s almost unsettling, because we never acted like that toward each other during our relationship. But then I’ll think, no, he’s putting up the same weird front I am. Somehow the fact that we’re both so deeply uncomfortable is comforting. I can leave knowing the relationship meant the same to thing to him as it did to me.

  79. Lisa says...

    I have one significant ex. We dated in my last few years of university, talked about marriage and children, but broke up a few months after I graduated and moved city for law school (which I see now was bound to make the relationship doomed). A few years later I met my husband, we got married and so on, and when our son was 3 months old we went to Israel for a wedding (which is where exes family live). One afternoon (I can’t for the life of my remember where my husband was), I went out for coffee with the baby. The whole time I’d been wondering how parents there manage the heat, so was checking out buggies to see if they had special covers or something. I was looking at a buggy, and then looked at the parent pushing it, and it was my ex. It was a bizarre moment. I did think about going and saying hello, but the whole logistics of getting the baby and getting up and so on made me think the better of it

    • rach says...

      what!!! The world is SO big and SO small all at the same time!! in another country! just wild.

  80. MJ says...

    #1 This spring I ran into my ex’s wife and children at a playspace in my city, after a decade of zero contact – social media or otherwise. I laid eyes first on an unfamiliar yet familiar 2 year-old, and immediately knew who that little boy was – confirmed then by the wife nearby, who I have met. I did hide in a literal corner with my heart pounding. And then I left with an ambush of complicated thoughts and feelings. Because, in all honesty, I laid eyes on that toddler, and I loved that toddler. He was to me, the distilled essence of a person I once loved so very deeply. He represented all the good things, without the rot. He was also the same age as my own son, for goodness sake. It goes without saying, I am very happy in my life and without regrets, it’s just…it was almost haunting, that sighting.

    #2 Here’s the last time I saw that ex-boyfriend: My husband proposed to me on a hilltop in Rome in 2010. Yes, it was fucking magical. We went out after we got home. I would probably dub this night as our coming-out social event as an engaged couple. The evening started at a friend’s art opening and it was celebratory night with many congratulations. And because one doesn’t always get away clean without overlapping friend circles, my ex was also at this opening. Oof. (Brief awkward exchange, etc.) I have 1 other ex – that makes 2 in total. The other ex, I RAN INTO ON THE STREET THE SAME NIGHT. Not kidding! I hadn’t seen either of these people in more than a year, and then only that frequently because we lived in the same city. So that’s my crazy coincidental ex story. Fun times!

  81. Allison says...

    This isn’t exactly a run in, but I think it fits with the vein of the story. I dated a guy, he met my parents and all that, and we ended up breaking up. About ten years later, he was murdered in Thailand while working for an NGO and it was in my hometown newspaper. My mom proceeded to TEXT ME that he was MURDERED. Really mom?? I didn’t feel a personal loss exactly, but was devastated for his wife. What an awful thing to endure.

  82. Alexa says...

    This happened not once but twice when I was with my husband. The first, and more awkward, was running into the former love of my life who had left me for another woman. He was with her and their two children. We were in a park that they lived far away from and we were biking past. He clearly saw me and I am not sure why I stopped to talk, but his wife congratulated me on my visible pregnancy, and it was painfully uncomfortable, seemingly for everyone. The other time was exiting a department store a few years later with my two children, and opening the door to walk directly toward a guy I had been on a few dates with and his wife, pushing their new baby in a stroller. We fumbled through a few words and even standing there I couldn’t make out just why it felt so awkward but it did.

    • H says...

      Alexa: slightly deviating from your story but I really wanted to thank you for using the term “former love of my life”. I have such a person in my life as well but have struggled to figure out how appropriate it is to use that phrase for someone in the past, when I am happily moving forward and with a new partner (too soon to tell whether it’s on the LOML trajectory yet, but still). Your words and story helped me to feel at peace with the fact that yes, we have had former lives and in those lives are people who once held a significant place in them, and it’s okay to acknowledge that while respecting your current life. Thank you

      Oh, and wishing you less awkward ex encounters ;)

  83. NN says...

    HOLY SMOKES YES.

    The last time i saw my ex, it was 1 week after my mom had passed. My dad and I were in a coffee house, writing thank you notes to those who helped us during her time in hospice. In lopes my ex, all gangly 6’4″ of him, with a record in his hand. He does not even live in the same state–he was just passing through and wanted coffee. He stopped at our table to say hello and I had to leave to the bathroom so I wouldn’t cry–not because of him, per se, but because MY MOM HAD JUST DIED and my emotions were right at the surface. I came back out and he asked if he could speak to me. He told me he was sorry for my loss and I started crying again and he asked what was wrong and I blurted out “Well this isn’t easy!” I think he thought I meant that it was simply too devastating to see his face or something (it had been a hard breakup for me, it’s true) but that’s not really what I meant. I just meant “what the fuck, can you leave?” Ugh.

  84. Roxana says...

    Over the last 12 years I’ve often run into the douche-bag ex-boyfriend I thought I was going to marry (I promise I’m not bitter. I just tell it like it is ;). Initially, I’d have that awful stomach drop, panicked feeling with my mind racing, wondering how I looked. As the years have passed and I’ve gained perspective, I’ve become downright bold. Like “Hey! How are you?! Here I am! A million times better and happier than I ever would’ve been with you!” The last time I saw him I could tell that he was totally uncomfortable while we struggled to make conversation IN AN ELEVATOR. I almost felt badly for him, but his discomfort only made me more comfortable with myself. It was delightful. It was confirmation of how far I’ve come. He’d treated me terribly, BUT I am so thankful for the whole heart-break with him because it forced me to get my head out of my ass. Had it not been for my experience with him, I don’t know that I would’ve ended-up with my wonderful husband. So, I’m kind of grateful :).

  85. J says...

    My ex-BF from highschool was sexually abusive. It was over 15 years ago when I didn’t know how to place words on my experiences, but looking back I realize how horrible it was. This was not a relationship where no meant no. I shiver to think of it. Anyway, I run into him from time-to-time being that we are from a small town and I only live 30 minutes away. I have physical reactions when I see him and want to throw up. He tries to be polite and friendly. In turn, I am a total stone-cold bitch. He’s reached out to me and I have shut it down. I will not engage in a relationship with him. I always feel a little silly treating someone from HS so rudely, it has nothing to do with the awkwardness of growing up and being over HS, it’s purely protection mode. I want him to know that I am not the same child I was 15 years ago. I am a woman that would kick his ass to Idaho dare he touch me again. What I wish I’d known then….

    • Jeanne says...

      I don’t think that’s rude at all. This person doesn’t deserve your time. You don’t owe him anything and it’s most likely safer not to engage in contact.

    • Megan says...

      J — I don’t know you but I’m both sorry you had to go through that AND proud at the strong kickass woman you became after that experience. You go, girl! I’m in a somewhat similar position — too young and inexperienced then to know that one needn’t justify not being into something sexually with a partner and that my giving into pushy behavior does not actually constitute my giving active, informed consent. I too wish it hadn’t taken me so long to realize that.

  86. A says...

    I know being friends with your ex is considered taboo, but the relationship I now have with mine is so special to me. We were really young when we dated, and it took a while for me to realize how wrong we were (are) for each other. But he ultimately taught me what I really wanted from life and love, which is how I came to marry my current husband. Now he and I are friends — he and my husband get along swimmingly — and I think our relationship is a testament to how much stronger a heart can become after it’s broken. We saw each other recently (on purpose). No drama, no secret pining. Just genuine admiration for each other, where we’ve been, and how we managed to survive it all.

  87. Aria says...

    Oh my god.

  88. JP says...

    OMG such a Nora Ephron post :)

  89. Nikki says...

    Don’t know what you talking about, I LOVe bumping into exes!!! Makes me feel young, giddy, flirty but also makes me realize I ended up exactly where I supposed to. Maybe that’s because all my exes are really awesome guys…

  90. Hannah says...

    I dated a guy for almost four years before I moved and we broke up shortly after. We stayed in touch a bit but ultimately had to cut ties. A year and a half later, I moved back to the same city. I thought all the time about running into him or his family in the city, or crossing paths in the airport. Sometimes I’d see a face and think it was him–I felt like I was looking for him! I didn’t understand why I was thinking this way–I had moved on from the relationship and was doing great. I think I was just missing feeling ‘seen’ and desired. After I started dating someone new (still in the same city), I stopped ‘looking’ for him. In lonely moments I had someone I could text haha. If I actually did run into the ex, I’m sure I’d react the same as Joanna! It’s just a super weird thing!

  91. teacup says...

    Is it possible that running into your ex’s friends is worse than running into your actual ex? There’s something knowing that you are (1) being judged by (2) someone who doesn’t have all the information that makes you feel even more vulnerable… (“he sure dodged a bullet!”)

    • Julie says...

      Eek, yes. I still have to work with my soon-to-be-ex-husband’s close friend (with whom he moved in when we separated). Knowing he has only one “side” of the (albeit fairly amicable) story is unsettling. It’s good practice for me to let go of trying to control others’ perceptions, I suppose!

  92. Anne says...

    On the night my husband and I got engaged, we went to the restaurant where we met to celebrate with friends and not one, but two of my recent exes were sitting at the bar when we arrived. Only one made his way over to give us an unconvincing “congrats!” and it was pretty awkward for everyone. While I’d been happily dating my now-husband for a few years, there was a small part of me (ahem, my pride) that was still hung up on how abruptly he’d ended things and how bad I’d felt (and acted) for months afterward. But seeing him there, still sitting at the same bar night after night while I’d moved on to find a new love, a new career, and thankfully a new sense of self-worth, was quite satisfying!

  93. Cat says...

    My now-husband/then-boyfriend and I were making a visit to my hometown, and I almost literally bumped into my ex-boyfriend walking out of a building. It had been years since we had last seen each other, maybe 5 or 6. We both seemed like deer in headlights and each managed to say “Hey!?!” to each other in a weirdly higher pitched, I’m-not-really-trying-to-ask-a-question-despite-there-being-a-not-so-silent-question-mark tone. We looked at each other for a beat, then we both VERY quickly walked off! It was an awkward, but mercifully brief exchange that is sort of funny when I think back on it.

    Also, I love that Cheryl Strayed quote. :)

  94. Meredith says...

    My ex and his new wife of five months started attending my church (that I had been attending for four years) less than a year after he and I broke up. I stared daggers into the backs of their heads during service. I wanted so badly to introduce myself to her and ask if she knew she was attending the same church as her husband’s recent ex-girlfriend. Eventually, I confronted him about it over text and asked him to find another place to attend. The church had become my safe place, and it immediately felt unsafe the moment he showed up with his new family.

  95. Cyn says...

    LOL
    …debate whether he should stop moving his toes.
    I love you Joanna!

  96. Meghan says...

    I was once waiting at the airport for a friend who was coming to visit me from the US (I lived abroad at the time). It was an 8am flight arriving from Paris.

    Out comes my ex-boyfriend. He thought I was waiting for him – at the airport, like a stalker, half a year after I dumped him. It took a long time to explain.

    Bless him, and anyone who has the misfortune to run into an ex! I usually just try and move entirely out of the country to avoid it.

    • Genevieve M says...

      hahaha no that’s AWFUL. Thank god you were able to explain and he didn’t just run

    • Jen Collins says...

      That made me LOL, thanks.

  97. Elizabeth says...

    Oh yes, been there….

    1) At the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas, gazing at some lions behind plexiglass. I feel a looming presence next to me (he was very, very tall) and realize it’s my college ex. I was with my then-fiance. All cordial — just a very random set of circumstances.

    2) Less than a block from my home, where a high school flame was volunteering at a nearby community garden. He had previously lived OUT OF THE COUNTRY having recently relocated to Chicago–a large city, mind you–and just happened to randomly end up in front of my house. I was walking the dog.

    3) This one brings up the most feels and is probably too nuanced and complex to accurately depict. I was attending a speaking engagement at which my then-boyfriend (now husband) was a panelist.

    Who was standing in line to check in other than…my ex-husband (the then-fiance from the lion story-ha!) One might think, oh, ex knew that then-boyfriend was speaking, but no. His name was not advertised. It was, once again, completely random. (You can’t make this stuff up!)

    Awkwardness of the situation aside, there were a lot of unresolved feelings and wounds between ex and me that hadn’t healed. It was just too much to be sitting in a room watching my current boyfriend with my ex. there. We stepped out and went to get a coffee. I cried. He cried. We laughed at the randomness of it all. And then we said goodbye and I returned to the venue. I did tell my boyfriend (now husband) at the time about the chance encounter, and he was very understanding. I have since seen my ex-husband at a few weddings, as we have mutual friends. We have both moved on, with new spouses and kids. But the memory of that first run-in post divorce is still very poignant.

    • AB says...

      My son and husband were with me at a kid party at the Playground. I felt someone staring at me from about 100 feet away. I looked and thought wow, could this be him? I avoided eye contact until he finally made his way to me. I don’t know why I avoided him. It is such a strange feeling-someone from your past looking into your very present world. I guess he was my first long relationship from my 20’s and we were off and on a lot but ended on good terms about 10 years prior to this encounter, but I made it awkward. He said “hey, you don’t remember me?!” I said, “ oh of course I do!” We introduced our families to one another and it was cool. My son even found an extra balloon for his kid who wasn’t there for the party.

  98. T says...

    I was engaged and in New York visiting a best friend, and I knew that one of my ex’s (THE ex) lived somewhat nearby. We’d casually text now and again, basics like “how are you doing? how’s the new job? what’s your mom’s spaghetti sauce recipe again?,” things that, in hindsight, are totally inappropriate and unhelpful while being committed to someone else. He saw an Instagram post of mine (that I purposefully tagged with my location) and asked me if I was in the area. I was, and he said that his cousin was in town and they’d be in Brooklyn. When my friend (randomly) suggested that we head to Brooklyn, my heart stopped and pounded at the same time. I saw on Instagram where my ex and his cousin were, and my friend and I were just a couple bars down. I broke into a cold sweat, and went to the bathroom, checked my hair, applied some chapstick and “casually recommended” to my friend that we go to another bar down the street I’d heard about. When we got there, I saw him in the reflection of a mirror, but he didn’t see me. It was such a spacey feeling to watch someone who I hadn’t seen in 8 years, someone who impacted my world so profoundly, being so natural and so, himself. I texted him that I was at [insert bar name here]. I watched his entire body change as he read it. He looked around quickly, and my heart either stopped or maybe it didn’t I don’t know. I watched them walk around the bar and finally I saw him in front of me. His cousin instantly gave me a big hug and I hugged my ex and we stared into each other’s eyes for a really long time (he was shorter than I remember), smiling. We talked for a bit, and then it was time to go. He’s my ex from college that, had I more self-respect at the time, would never have stuck around for. But I did. He changed schools, ended up repeatedly broke my heart in more ways than I thought I could allow or manage, and then we never saw each other for almost a decade until that night (though we did speak on and off via text). Things never felt “closed” for me until I saw him that night. I haven’t talked to him in years since, nor have I wanted to.

    Phew, it feels good to tell someone that.

  99. Julie says...

    I could feel this entire post deep down. All the feels.
    I also had an ex that I dated for 5 years in my twenties. it didn’t end well at all, but after a couple more years and some time and a couple other people he asked to get coffee a day. It was seriously weird and I don’t know why I did it, but honestly we had a great conversation that lasted hours – neither of us interested romantically anymore. We caught up, cleared some air and I am really glad that happened. Before that day I didn’t know how I felt about everything (bc emotions) but now I just wish him well.

  100. Carrie says...

    I would literally set off into a dead sprint to get away from my ex.

    Luckily we live on opposite sides of the United States.

    • Absolutely “Hell No” to my ex that is a nightmare I don’t want to relieve.

    • Audrey says...

      Ohhhh me too, Carrie. My ex and I both still live in San Francisco, which is a surprisingly small city. Thankfully, I haven’t seen him in two years, but sometimes I think I see him and my palms start sweating, and I just want to run. It’s the worst feeling!

  101. Robin says...

    The Cheryl Strayed “ghost ship” quote is so beautiful!

  102. Liz says...

    I honestly have no idea what I would talk about with many of the people I’ve dated in the past! What a journey, hah!

    I would be interested in a post about how people deal with their current partners’ past relationships. While I am 0% threatened by my partner’s ex, I do find myself wondering about her and wish I could make those thoughts go away! I would be interested in whether others feel anxiety about exes and how they manage it.

    • josie says...

      The way I see it: had it not been for the women before, my husband wouldn’t be who he is. Each of the women he loved, dated, romped with before we met taught him something about love and himself and ultimately led him to me. I hope he’s grateful to each of them for the time they spent in his life because I sure am.

    • Kate says...

      Um, yes. I think it is a real thing. Especially when they seem to be ever present.

    • Kristen says...

      Josie! What an incredible way of thinking about it. I really appreciate your insight. Thanks for sharing :)

      My (now ex) boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend recently blocked me on Instagram and I’ve been ever so curious as to why; I never met her or really knew anything about her.

  103. Megan Lec says...

    Ex run-ins are never what we imagine they might be. I am definitely the type to duck and cover if I have the opportunity to. The perfect example of this happened earlier this year. My mom was interested in buying a house near us and had set up to see one with a real estate agent. My brother and I met her for dinner and as we walked to our cars to meet at the house I happened to ask, “Oh, what is the agents name?” Cue my mom shuffling through her texts to tell me it was a frequent fling from my college years. With my brother laughing at me I uncomfortably tried to explain why I would not be tagging along to this showing with my college hookup. Later my brother texted me that my mom found him to be disappointing, to which I responded “Could have told her that.”

  104. Sarah says...

    I have this story that you could. not. write. I almost don’t want to write it because WHAT WOULD BE THE POINT WHEN IT SOUNDS SO MADE UP. It’s long. Stick with it. Huge payoff.

    So I was never a girl who got asked out a lot, and yet when I was 24, I went to a friend’s birthday party and was asked out by the guy who is now my husband. Then the next morning I took my university philosophy homework to a cafe and sat down at the only free table which happened to be next to these two men. The tables are close together and as I’m reading my notes (Aristotle- The Poetics) notice that, bizarrely, they are both discussing philosophy too. At some point, the younger one glances at the pages on my table and notices what it is. He whispers to his friend loudly enough that I can hear “She’s reading The Poetics. Aristotle.” It was so mortifying. I just pretended not to hear. They had a whole discussion breaking down what I was reading, and I just kept up this act pretending I couldn’t hear – which must have seemed insane, but it was just SO. WEIRD.

    As they go to leave, the younger of the two stands and says (wait for it…) “I see you’re reading Aristotle” … “Um, yep” … “It’s tough going! Do you study philosophy?” … “No. I study Theatre” …. “Well I’m actually a Philosophy professor. And if you ever need a hand with your homework…” and he slips me his card. I thanked him then went WHAT THE HELL JUST HAPPENED. Did I just get asked out twice in 24 hours?!

    I went home to my sharehouse and told my awesome house mate. “What do I do?! Do I date both of them?!” She was like “You don’t owe either of them anything! Date them both and see which one is better!”

    I went in a date with my (now) husband first. He was hilarious and so lovely, but the weirdness of the situation and not wanting to close off any options saw me email the Philosophy professor the next week. We arranged to meet up, and VERY soon into the first date, alarm bells were ringing.

    I loathed his taste in music, and he’d never heard the bands I listened to (which was ridiculous, they’re awesome, obviously) and he named this one band that I hated more than any other band on earth as his favourite. It was a small thing but I just couldn’t envision dating him after hearing it. That and he bagged out his parents WHO HE LIVED WITH which was very off-putting.

    Weirdly, I remember finding out his birthday and it was a day after my (now) husband’s IN THE SAME YEAR, which happened to be a decade older than me. Totally bonkers.

    Anyway, I told him I wasn’t interested and he said he understood and yet he called, texted, and emailed over and over to catch up as “just friends” well into the new year. Thankfully all of this made my (now) husband appear even more incredible and the other guy pretty creepy. My husband and I were engaged the next year and then married the next.

    So here’s where things get unbelievably bizarre. Stay with me.

    For my husband’s 40th I decided to go big. I booked surprise plane tickets to a small island in the Great Barrier Reef (we’re from Australia) and whisked him away for the weekend to celebrate. We enjoyed one day of perfection before deciding to check in with the island info centre to see if there was anything in particular happening that weekend.

    The info lady told us about this sunset cruise where you go and have dinner and sail around the islands. “Wow awesome!” We both said. “Let’s book it!”. As we’re booking she notices something. “Oh! You know what…the boat actually has this private table up on its top deck and no one has booked it yet. Would you like it?” HELL YES! I said. WE’LL TAKE IT! She very casually added that sometimes the other table up there gets booked, but it’s rare, and as the cruise was leaving so soon and it was off-season it would most likely just be us. GREAT!

    We dress up, walk down to the pier and get on the dinner boat. There are cocktails on the top deck and it’s magical, the sun is setting, the breeze is balmy and best of all my husband is just so happy. I ask if he wants another drink. He does. I get up to go fetch him one, and as I do this JAW attached to this GUY flashes past me. WHY DID I RECOGNISE THAT JAW?!

    Oh.

    My.

    God.

    It’s the freaking philosophy professor. I’m certain of it. I start freaking out.

    I AM TRAPPED ON A BOAT IN THE GREAT BARRIER REEF WITH THE GUY WHO TOTALLY CREEPED ME OUT.

    I grab my husband his drink then casually drop into conversation “Remember that guy I dated the same time as you? He’s on the boat”. My husband, bless him, was like “AS IF IT’S HIM! WHY WOULD HE BE IN THE GREAT BARRIER REEF THE SAME TIME AS US?!” (We live two whole states away. The odds, he said, were so unbelievably slim. It must be a guy who just LOOKS REMARKABLY LIKE HIM. I calm, thinking “Yes. This is crazy. It must just be his twin”. But inside I’m not so sure. I gave my entire body away from him just in case.

    The captain then welcomes us all in to sit for dinner. He announces it by saying that all those who booked the lower deck dining room will be seated first. Then those who booked the private dining option stay back to be seated separately.

    Well GUESS WHO STAYS BACK. Us and THE JAW. I was losing it. Totally freaking out. My husband is laughing at me just saying over and over “IT’S NOT HIM!”

    In what felt like the longest 5 mins of my life trapped on the deck with my back turned to this other couple, they finally invite us in.

    I’m virtually frozen. The worst Private Dining Deck guest ever. I could barely speak to my husband when he all of a sudden says to me “Oh…That’s a bad sign…” I hissed WHAT?! He says “Umm, so you know that band you hate that he really loved? He’s showing his date one of their videos ON HIS PHONE” I was like “Ha ha! Very funny!” He’s like “No. Really.”

    I turn slowly around and his date had the same bored expression I had on my face when he told me about them. IT WAS HIM. I knew it. Then we heard him say something about another professor. Oh god. It was him. Then I said “But WHY would he be here?!!!” And that’s when it clicked.

    The birthdays!!! It was the OTHER GUY’S 40TH BIRTHDAY WEEKEND TOO. OH. MY. GOD.

    There had been a huge sale on flights to this island for that weekend. YES. This is what it was. Oh my god. I just froze. FROZE. I was stuck on the upper level of a boat’s private dining deck in the middle of the ocean with two men I had once dated, and one who I owed it to to make the night special.

    As soon as our waiter came up to the table I explained the situation. She was nothing short of AMAZING. She pretended she’d asked us to go downstairs for something, adding “I’ll bring your handbag for you” as we FLED Döen the teeny tiny very narrow staircase.

    We ate dinner downstairs with everyone else, which was, despite the situation we’d just experienced WAY more boisterous and awesome and honestly ALWAYS CHOOSE TO SIT WITH EVERYONE ELSE PRIVATE DINING DECKS ARE DUMB!

    For the rest of the weekend we were going round this island like ninjas, spying around corners, hiding in bushes and generally having a highly agonising time/blast.

    Sometimes I forget that this ever happened and then when I remember and think of all the coincidences and weird parallels I just ask “WHY!?” It does my head in.

    I do tell my husband that it was like being in Sliding Doors as we were stuck up on those two dining tables together. Seeing how your life could have turned out, had you been willing to overlook a terrible taste in music and numerous other turn-offs… but somehow ending up on the same boat nonetheless.

    • Bridget says...

      Holy cow! That’s amazing!

    • Rachel says...

      This is an amazing story!

    • Kate says...

      This story is insane!! Thank you for sharing, seriously!!!

    • stu says...

      Oh my gosh!!! I was literally at the edge of my seat reading this! Go YOU for making it a special night anyways…here’s hoping you never get stuck on a boat in the middle of the ocean with an ex ever again!

    • Anna says...

      Omg, this is so funny & crazy!!

    • nora says...

      This is crazy! (but also a very good read, thank you).

    • You’re a fun writer! This was a good read!

    • C says...

      I just want to know what the band was. Was it Nickelback? ‘Fess up!

      This is an incredible story, Sarah. Thanks for taking the time to write it out. Kudos to the waitress! Hysterical!!!!

    • Ali says...

      I’ve got to know who the band is!

    • t says...

      @C it HAS to be nickleback. hahahahaha

    • Sarah says...

      Aw, thank you everyone!! It felt good to write it out after all these years haha.

      Let’s just say the band is my Nickelback equivalent ;) They’re a fairly well known Australian indie band who I feel too bad to name.

  105. Silken says...

    Eight years after our relationship ended I saw him in the crowd. I called him and when he turned back I realised that he was with his wife and kids. It was super awkward! He was VERY uncomfortable (even more than me, the epitome of social awkwardness) but the wife was so relaxed and oblivious! I always wondered if she asked him anything about me afterwards.

    Well, it’s been four years since that encounter, and my ex and I have recently rekindled our relationship :) I asked him what happened that day and he said that the wife didn’t make any comments (I think he had introduced me as a former coworker – which was true, btw).

  106. m says...

    I literally ran in to an ex at one of my best friend’s wedding. I was a bridesmaid and the priest had come in to give us a 10 minute reminder so I went out to use the restroom really quick and walked right in to my ex’s chest. He was escorting his new girlfriend to the bathroom, which was an instant reminder of why things couldn’t have ever worked out between us. We had ended on fairly warm terms until I learned he had wanted to end things so he could get back together with an ex [not the girl he was bringing to the wedding] which stung pretty bad and caused very complicated feelings on my end. It’s been ten years, I am happily married to seriously the best person I have ever met, understand in hindsight why it never [never, NEVER] could have worked long term with this college boyfriend, but I can still distinctly remember his cologne and his gait and how he drove me totally crazy.

  107. ST says...

    So funny!! But I want to know more! How did he look after all these years? Did Alex KNOW just by the awkwardness? Did you and Alex laugh about it after? :)

  108. Amanda says...

    My one ex and I are friendly on social media and have been even since we broke up. (We’ve known each other since I was 11 and he was 16, although we weren’t a thing until we were both well into adulthood.) The last time I saw him in person was right before he got married and he was selling books to the used bookstore where I worked. It was mildly uncomfortable, but I think we both got over it.

    Anyway, he’s happily married with two little girls and turned out to have some political views I now find problematic, and I am still single and turned out to have some political views he finds problematic, so…that worked out, I guess? :)

  109. Lisa says...

    definitely just keep riding! and try to make sure they don’t indeed see me too!

    if we both see each other an awkward hello is in store. if not, i would NEVER call out their name.

  110. Tiernae says...

    At the beginning of the year my ex from high school/early college (my first love and the boy I at once thought I would marry… turns out I went to college, did not date anyone until the last semester and 7 years later have been dating a female I went to art school… anyway…) My ex reached out to me after deciding he was getting a divorce. We met up for coffee when I was visiting my hometown for christmas. It was the most bizarre feeling, walking into a coffee shop to see him sitting there after all these years, knowing how different I am now and wondering who he sees when he looked at me.
    We chatted for about an hour, awkward mumblings about what our lives look like now. I told him I was now dating a woman and had been for 7 years, he told me that it made sense but in the way he said it, it almost sounded like an insult. He kindly said he would hire me to photograph his children, I knew it was an empty promise, and I was okay with that. We awkwardly hugged and then went on our separate ways. I got in my car and a song was on the radio about letting go or something incredibly cliche but exactly perfect at the same time. From that moment on I have been so glad to be where I am in life now and not where I wanted to be 12 years ago. I think the universe knew that we both needed that moment to finally let go of what once was.

    End ramble.

  111. Alexis says...

    I’m actually friends with my first serious boyfriend. And we make plans to have play dates when we’re in each other’s cities. Our partner/spouse are okay with it (his more than mine) and our sons get along well. It took us over 10 years to get here though. It’s hard to cut someone out of your life who you basically grew up with.

    The boyfriend after that, our relationship did not end well. He had a lot of problems and after we broke up was diagnosed with some mental issues. He got a tattoo based on one that I had that had absolutely nothing to do with him. He snuck into my computer to read chats/emails/etc. He created a dating profile that included all of my interests (a friend of a friend connected with him and she recognized him). It was bad. I cut off all contact. But alas, one of our friends is also all our friends’ eye doc. I had a visit one day and saw him in the waiting room. There was no way to avoid him, so I said hi after my appointment and he proceeded to try to bombard me with his typical pity party. I quickly extricated myself because dammit, that’s not my job anymore. I tried really hard with him and in the end, I could not handle another teenage-era tantrum. Thinking about it still enrages me!

    • Alexis says...

      In a reverse plot twist, I ran into my partner’s ex at a cafe while I was with our son. I didn’t know she was there, but she came up to introduce herself to me. I still can’t figure out the point of her doing that? They’d broken up more than 8 or so years earlier. To make it worse, after she sat back down my son kept turning around and pointing to her asking “MOMMY WHO IS THAT? IS SHE YOUR FRIEND??”

      Oh and! When my partner and I first started dating we ran into tantrum ex boyfriend at a friend’s party. He later wrote me a scathing email scolding me for parading my “corny new boyfriend” around in front of everyone. I’ve deleted everything he ever sent/gave me because I just can’t have any reminders of that toxic time in my life.

  112. Bridget says...

    I saw my live-in ex for the first time in about a decade a few weeks ago. I was interviewing for a job. He emailed me a few days before the interview to let me know he worked there and the position I was interviewing for supervised him. He suggested grabbing coffee after my interview. The interview went reasonable well but I don’t think I blew anyone away. The people who interviewed me then walked me through the office (which has all glass walls) to his office where everyone (including the sea of interns on the other side of the glass wall) got to witness the awkward hello hug. To make matters worse, he looked great and I JUST had twins! Nothing like seeing an ex boyfriend to take the edge off of a job interview!

  113. Katharina says...

    I’m heading to my Ex’s wedding tomorrow. With all my family in tow (log day party with sleepover etc.) and it’s not going to be awkward.
    We were together for a bit more than four years until 15 years ago and we have been very good friends since then.

  114. Ann says...

    My high school ex (and the only person I dated besides my husband) married one of my best college friends (she was one of my bridesmaids in my wedding). My ex and I were a part of the same church all throughout college (along with my friend, his now-wife) and so I have seen him regularly almost every week since college. So starting a few months after we broke up and continuing even now because we now all go to church together in a different city and are part of the same friend group. It’s definitely not weird anymore we had to get past the weirdness a long time ago. Luckily he is a good guy and we just broke up because we weren’t right for each other, not because of anything awful that happened or any toxic behavior from him.

  115. Kate says...

    I’ve never run into an ex, and, for better or for worse, probably never will.

    But ex-bosses, I’ve had. Some of these have been very amicable – one who is a mentor, who I’m still aiming to prove my worth to, but have also competed for the same position with. Others have been more traumatic (everyone has a bad boss story, right?) where if I see someone who even remotely looks like this person, I duck down the closest alleyway, with a pit in my stomach.

    Whether it’s a professional breakup or a romantic uncoupling, people who have built us up and then let us go make us feel vulnerable.

  116. Caroline says...

    While I definitely don’t enjoy running into an ex and going through those anxious moments of fake nothings, my bigger struggle has been with running into exes of a sibling or close friend. What would my sibling/friend want me to do? What is the least amount of acceptable civility I can show to discourage long catch-ups? How do I address the elephant in our conversation (i.e. my friend/sibling)? I once saw my sister’s ex of many years and his absolute dedication to acting like nothing had changed was excruciating to experience. As we’re saying goodbye and walking away he yells out “BYE! GREAT SEEING YOU! LOVE YOU!” and scurries away in tangle of horror at his obvious need to just say something/anything to fill the void. All I could say was OK THANKS! Eeeekkk…

    • Jess says...

      This! Tough to navigate when you’re firmly on Team Sibling/Friend, but also have memories with their ex and had built a friendship with them as part of your life for a season… it seems that either way, my friendships with their exes need to be over once they break up – right?

    • KP says...

      I have the reserve problem – the sisters of my ex are darlings! I work in the wedding industry and one of his sister’s recently booked a consultation with me for her own wedding. Thank God she decided to DIY it rather than hire me because I would’ve died if I had seen him and his beautiful wife at the wedding. The sister is so wonderful and I loved catching up with her at our consultation, but I would’ve been a wreck stressing about seeing him in the lead up.

  117. Allie says...

    Lucky for me, I don’t live in the same city as any of my exes, but back in college I briefly dated a guy who wanted to get really serious right away – I felt smothered and ended it, and he told our mutual friends I cheated on him! We dated for maybe two weeks! So it ended up being kind of an awkward situation. About a year and a half later I was at a Halloween masquerade party thrown by my boyfriend’s coworker. I didn’t really know anyone there, so I thought… halfway through the party we all unmasked, and who was standing next to me but that ex! I handled it really well by pretending to receive a phone call and hiding outside until my boyfriend took me home.

  118. Amanda says...

    I ran into an ex two days before my wedding at a NFL Thursday night game; we hadn’t seen each other in 4+ years. Let me set the stage – I had just left my spray tan appointment so imagine a blonde Oompa Loompa in a Bengals Orange jersey. His facial reaction could have been a meme… It gets better though – the next night after my rehearsal dinner, I ran into another ex (on/off for about 3 years) in the grocery store. Luckily I looked amazing for that one and I got away with just a wave. I could have done without the parade of dating past though right before my wedding day.

  119. Annie says...

    I have a funny story about running into my fiance’s ex! They had dated for about four years (they broke up at least three years prior to when my fiance and I got together) and had a very messy break up. She cheated on him with her now husband. I also grew up with her and we did. not. get along. Well, my fiance and I live in a very small town and a band was playing at the local bar so we went with some friends. We walked in, and his ex was there sitting with my fiance’s mother (they had stayed in touch… they rarely spoke, but when the ex was in town apparently sometimes they’d hang out). It was soooo awkward! His mom kinda waited to see if we’d come over and join them and when she realized we wouldn’t, she came and stood with us for a while. Luckily the ex was respectful and kept her distance! I’ve never wanted to disappear so badly in my life. haha

  120. Carolyn says...

    I have an ex from college who I refer to as “the life ruiner”. It was truly a gutting heartbreak that took me YEARS to recover from. A few years after graduation, I was walking near Union Square on a Summer Friday and he walked directly in front of me. He was on the phone and didn’t see me so I, being the cool, totally over it person that I was at the time, starting slowly backing away down the sidewalk with a look of horror on my face. I turned around and ran away, as if seeing me bolting away from him would have been preferred to the awkward exchange I was avoiding. Luckily, he moved to LA soon after that and I have never seen him again. I’m now happily married with a baby girl on the way and would probably react just as ridiculously if I were to run into him now.

  121. Lori says...

    Um, YES! You tell yourself you aren’t going to be awkward… I ran into my ex at a mutual friends wedding. I knew he would be there. We didn’t have a bad break up but his new girlfriend (now wife) was a mutual friend and she wasn’t very nice to me after they started dating. 15+ years later, both married, multiple kids and she still makes it awkward. It makes me sad because he and I were such good friends. The best part is (*eye roll*), we have mutual friends so typically are at the same event a couple times of the year… young love… :)

  122. AR says...

    I was out to lunch with my mother and great-aunt when suddenly I felt a hand on the back of my chair. Lo and behold, it was my ex who was dining in the same restaurant and thought it would be lovely to come over and say a big, cheerful hello like he was the mayor.

    When I turned around — mystified, jumbled, stomach in knots — to see where exactly he had apparated from, turns out he had LEFT HIS DATE sitting alone at their table while he came and did his little song and dance for us.

    To this day I wonder: *Who does that????*

  123. Eleni says...

    Last summer I actually ran into my best friend’s ex (as I was picking up food to take to her place) a couple months after they had broken up and, being the horrifically awkward person I am, one of the first things I said to him was, “Long time, no see!” As if he wasn’t still licking the wounds from an unexpected breakup. The conversation lasted about two painful minutes before I could sprint out of the store and send her an SOS text. It was so uncomfortable, and now I can only imagine how I’ll act if I ever happen to run into one of my own exes…

  124. Sarah says...

    I only have one significant ex, and one time my then-boyfriend, now husband, and I stopped into a bar to grab a drink before a movie, and I recognized my ex-bf from behind. He was in town temporarily and was there with some of our mutual friends. I’ll never forget muttering under my breath to my now-husband who we were about to have to mingle with. Luckily, my husband took it in stride and seeing them next to each other really reinforced for me how much I traded up! Unfortunately, one of the mutual friends then roped both of them into playing D&D with him, and at one point during that game, everyone else went outside to smoke, leaving my ex and my now-husband alone to make awkward small talk for 10 minutes…
    The ex is now married and lives in another country, but if I did run into him I’d be fine. The person I actually stress about running into, though I haven’t yet even though we still live in the same city, is a former friend with whom I had a nasty breakup. I hate how much space she still takes up in my head, though it’s less and less over time. Romantic relationships aren’t the only ones that can be toxic!

  125. Meg says...

    I ran into an ex at the pool a couple months ago. My boyfriend and I went on a whim — which meant I hadn’t put on makeup or shaved my legs or any of that. So mortifying! Anyway, my ex was training for some insane swim race in the Caribbean, whereas my boyfriend and I were mainly there to go down the water slides. After excruciating small talk, his new girlfriend goes, “Have fun on the slides!” in the most patronizing way you can imagine. BLERG.

    • celeste says...

      Ew, I’m sorry!

  126. T says...

    About 10 years ago I had this horrible breakup. My boyfriend had a businesstrip to Italy and asked whether I wanted to join him the last couple of days. Friends were talking about how he’d propose, etc. And although I did not think so, it made me wonder. One day before flying, I got mail. He told me he found the love of his life in Rome and it was beter to end things. I still don’t know where I got that level of maturity that day, but I responded with my best wishes for them and hoping he was right. We never spoke again.

    Last year, during the schoolyear, I got an expatstudent in my class. Because he was really shy, I asked the parents to meet and discuss his first weeks. When his parents got in, I almost lost it. My ex and wife came in… To lighten things my ex thought it was smart to say something like: ‘My son is shy because he has this hugh crush on you. Looks like his dad, I guess!’ Which was so inappropriate on so many levels. We had a very civil conversation after that, but it was so incredibly weird. After that talks were always with the mother.

    This year they moved back to Italy. I must admit it felt like such a relief!

    • Mari says...

      OMG!

    • Kelly Libby says...

      what??!!! I’d relocate. You were very, very brave and mature. :)

    • Sarah says...

      Wow! Stranger than fiction!

    • Kate says...

      WOAH. This is one for the books!!

    • Jessica says...

      OMG! That is nuts!

    • Caro says...

      This is nightmarish. Bless you.

    • Jeanne says...

      What the heck!! Crazy! I’m so curious about his wife’s reaction when he made the comment about having a huge crush on you. What a terrible thing to say in front of both of you. I guess the wife had enough of the situation as they are back in Italy.

  127. Liz says...

    I am so terrified of running into an ex that I was so desperately in love with that anytime I see someone who even remotely looks like him I pull the hide behind a car move or run in the other direction, all while trying not to throw up :)

  128. Christina T says...

    YES TO THIS. I just ran into my ex at a wedding and I was an awkward mess!! It has been years and years, and marriage and children have happened to us both, and yet….I yet again felt 18 and deeply uncool. There’s just something about the ex run-ins. Maybe we just need to accept the awkwardness and lean in?

  129. megs283 says...

    Luckily, all my exes are in a different city. It pays to be a late bloomer, move away to college and sow my oats in my mid-20s, and then come back home to settle down. ;-)

  130. This is too funny! I recently bumped into an Ex while out with my current boyfriend on Thanksgiving Eve. I hadn’t seen him in 5 or so years and it wasn’t a particularly great breakup. Luckily, he was friendly and introduced himself to my current boyfriend. (Whom I don’t think realized I had once dated this guy in front of us). We said goodbyes and walked away and that was it. So much awkwardness for 30 seconds of my life.

  131. Summer says...

    Okay, I haven’t had time to read through all the comments yet, but

    1) Is this the ex that you were heartbroken about so decided to start a blog (I think it was something like that, but don’t recall – I’m a looong time reader)? If so, thanks, dude. Also….man, I can taste that sweet revenge from here. ;)

    2) I wish when he said Joanna Goddard, you responded with, “I’m THE Joanna Goddard now, b!tch.”

    3) Yes to all the feelings. I’m not on bad terms with any of my exes, but there’s one in particular I….I don’t particularly wish good things for him. First love, I was 22 he was 32, took the best yeeeeaaaars of my life, ya know. I think to answer your question about whether I’d stop or not 100% depends on how I look. Dumb, I know. Odds tell me I would definitely run/hide behind car. But, assuming I look amazing, approaching him also puts me in control because I’ve had time to rehearse lines whereas he’d be shock and awed, which sounds like what homeboy did to you.

    Anyway, thanks for putting this out there. It’s so awkward, and honestly, it’s so nice to know that other people apparently have these feelings, because it bothered me *that it bothered me* for a long time. “I’m happy with my life, there is no situation I could ever find myself in that would make me want him back in my life, so why do I care?” Glad it’s not just me!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Oh my gosh yes! This is the ex where the breakup inspired the start of cup of jo! I hadn’t thought about that but you’re so right!

    • JF says...

      OK, this makes mes feel like a total stalker but… I thought the same and, Jo, I remember reading a comment (can’t remember what post) that he wrote once. No kidding! I think it was along the lines of ‘what if…’. Imagine if he reads this one, haha!

    • JF says...

      Sorry – I should say a post that I thought your ex wrote. Obvs, I don’t really know for sure! It was just along the lines of regret or something, and that the poster (who was Anonymous) new you

  132. Rachel says...

    Literally last night, I dreamed an ex from high school and HIS MOM sent me birthday cards saying they missed me and we should all get together. The dream was as uncomfortable as it sounds.

  133. Maranda says...

    I have an embarrassing confession to make. I have never ran into an ex before, but sometimes while I’m out running and need to motivate myself to run a little faster/generally push myself harder, I’ll create little fantasies in my head about bumping into an ex on the run. I’ll imagine how great I’ll look as I effortlessly run by, he’ll call out to me and I’ll turn around looking all cute and toned in my running clothes, and we’ll chat while he thinks to himself how great I look, etc etc etc. In reality I would probably look sweaty and out of breath, but it totally gets me through a tough run and has pushed me to have some of my best times lol

    • Katie says...

      I totally do this!!!

  134. Ro says...

    I ran into my ex for the first time in five years while leaving a gym class, right when I couldn’t have possibly been more sweaty or red. Luckily, he was running on a treadmill and facing the other way, so I just froze and stared at the back of his head for the longest millisecond ever. I contemplated tapping him on the shoulder, saying hi, rekindling our romance… But chose to scurry away with my sweaty self, and speed off in my car instead. *shrug*

  135. Annonymous says...

    Here goes nothing. Many years ago I had an affair with a married man – we were both married. I feel deeply in love with him and as cliche as it sounds, thought the feeling was mutual. I left my marriage – he did not. We continued for a little while but since I was now single I started dating. Fast forward about 20 years and we were both single again. I thought for sure we would end up together. We saw each other for a little while but he “wasn’t ready” for a serious relationship. Heartbroken AGAIN, I moved on. It’s been another 20 years or so and he emails a couple of times a year to tell me how much he loves (loved?) me and regrets everything. I am married to the most adorable and loving man ever. Why do I still even listen to all this? And running in to him is beyond awkward. I have ex husbands (yes plural, ugh) that I am great friends with but this one is a tough one. Ghost Ship for absolute sure.

  136. Blair says...

    Oh I am from a small town where I have two ex (the rest are strung around the world and I’m not worried at all). The first I have ran into his mother (who adores me) several times and she always talks about “us” like we are still together even with my three children and husband in tow, awkward. The other gah, I would turn into a bumbling idiot if I ran into him. He was “The One” and distance and immaturity caused that one not to develop. To see him again would be both agonizing and wonderful at the same time! Especially now with my marriage on a downhill and him just so … but married with children himself. My sister still lives in our home town and has playdates with his wife and children. Knife to the heart!

  137. Sal Wood says...

    One sunday morning, when my second son was nine weeks old, I woke up feeling slightly hungover from my first few wines after babe. We’d gone out for dinner to celebrate my dearest friend’s return from ten years abroad and for our husbands to meet. That warrented a few wines. This was followed by a long night of babe and his one and a half year old brother waking me up. My husband felt and looked as equally scruffy and weary as I did upon waking early with the boys. We decided as we were already up, we would go early to do groceries together. We went to our local supermarket with both babes in their pjs, me in the sweat pants I had slept in that fitted me after having two babies in 19 months, bird’s nest hair and a bit of mascara panda eyes from remnants of the only make up I’d worn in months. Of course at the escalators I saw the man-who-i-wanted-to-marry-love-of-my-life-until-i-met-my-husband-and-got-over-him. He was impeccably dressed, looking super fit and the vision of former professional athlete turned lawyer. I was so very pleased to see him, for by now, a decade later, I had realised that by breaking my heart, he gave me such a gift – the gift of learning to be independent, exploration, the chance to find someone to have babies with, to have loved and lost, the gifts that come with soul shattering heartbreak. He was elder than I by a decade, and knew I had things I needed to learn, and babies I needed to have – some things he couldnt give me. I threw my arms around him and gave him such a hug. He seemed a bit shocked and nervous – told me he had re married and was happy. I was thrilled for him and so happy to have seen him. Although for at least seven years I had imagined how it would be when I ran into him – in my imaginings I had perfect hair, was skinny and glam – and here I was, looking a fright – but happier than I had ever been in my life – with my perfect for me husband and our two divine boys. So life – it works doesnt it?

    • Emmy says...

      Love this. Thank you for sharing!

    • A says...

      Love love love this! What a way to see and experience it. Beautiful.

  138. Rue says...

    Highs and lows: I gave myself digestive issues at a friend’s wedding because I was so stressed to see my ex there (we knew the other person would be there, but STILL), and after getting through that, we’re actually now solidly in “old friends who aren’t close anymore” territory. We have the same college friend group and it never made sense to me to pull one of those “Frank is no longer in this friend circle” moves. It gets a little weird sometimes to remember why we know each other so well, especially in group conversations where one of us is talking and we realize the other one is the only person in the group who gets what we’re saying. But it actually makes me so happy that this is where we’re at. He’s still one of my favorite people. I’ve made peace with why we’re not together, and that freed me to eventually find a partner who really fits me. And how lovely now, to know that the person I spent a decade with is not lost to me, not a mistake, not secretly a jerk, just another human who knows me and loves me and also won’t be my Person, and that’s ok/good.

    This relationship was essentially a marriage even though we didn’t make it official. Plenty of other exes of mine aren’t worth this level of consideration or emotional maturity, and are solidly in “sweaty palms/nausea” territory. That’s ok too — it means I figured out what I needed.

  139. Jessie says...

    I would like to think being in my 40’s now and not 20’s that I would be mature enough to say hello, but I think not in this situation. I would probably pull a Miranda and run and hide behind a tree. I did see a couple of them in my earlier 20’s. One I saw twice. I ignored him (he has brought is new girlfriend) and the other time I made out in front of him with my now husband. The other one I was on a first date and saw a guy I had slept and he came up to me and made some jerk comment.

  140. Tshego B says...

    I have one ex I run into all the time. High school boyfriend, nothing serious and pretty decent break up. We usually just have a quick chat and go about our separate ways, nothing too awkward…that was until the day I saw him with him wife and little baby boy. He completely ignored me and walked right past me.

    Compare that to a guy I used to hook-up with for a bit during my college days. I saw him at the mall a few years ago and I hid behind a pillar, made sure he was looking the other way and speed walked all the way to my car!

  141. Jimjam says...

    I’ve had my share of awkward ex run-ins but why does it always have to be so difficult? Surely as two adults who once loved each other we should be able to have a friendly brief catch up and go on our way?

  142. k says...

    A bunch of my friends ran into my ex after about 11 years of him being MIA – despite running in the same circle before the break-up. I got hell awkward text, incognito photos, and I’m pretty sure someone threw something at him. So apparently we all turn into bumbling idiots, even if it’s not your own ex!

  143. Nicole Parker says...

    Every time I fly (which is several times a year), I fantasize about seeing my high school ex – my first love – and I standing on moving walkways going opposite directions. And just smiling beautifully and waving a little wave. Now that I think about it, it’s probably a dang good metaphor for our lives.

  144. Anna says...

    I wouldn’t want to run into a few of my ex boyfriends but there’s one that I look forward to seeing by chance sometime. We don’t have any communication (no social media following) and live in different states with our own families but he really made an impact in my life. Specifically he changed the way I am able to now talk through a disagreement or upset instead of blowing up or shutting down. I would give him a hug for sure and then show off my kids and husband and hope he would feel comfortable to do the same.

    • Carla says...

      I’m wondering, how would you introduce your ex to your current boyfriend/husband when you ran into one?

  145. Beverly Something says...

    This isn’t in regards to an ex, but a really intense unrequited love that lasted basically from preschool to the first year of college. The weekend before we left for college, he came over to get some CD cases for all the pre-college CD burning he had to do and I slipped a 7 page handwritten love letter in the bag. It had EVERYTHING: drawn out analogies comparing our relationship to both Joey and Pacey AND Joey and Dawson from Dawson’s Creek, lyrics to a Ryan Cabrera (!!) song, a paragraph explaining what a b**** his newly-ex-girlfriend was. (ugh. i know.) Just typing this out is making me hot and nauseous from embarrassment. Shockingly, he did not respond well and we had a major falling out. AND the next summer he ended up dating my cousin who lived in a neighboring town and it befuddled all of our families. We eventually reconciled but were just never quite as close, which was undoubtedly for the best.

    I now have to sit with him and his wife (and sometimes a kid or two) at pretty much every mutual friends’ wedding. It’s so weird to me how hard it is to find something to talk about when he was such a big part of the first 20 years of my life. It’s like I don’t know him anymore, but I also don’t know the version of me that was SO infatuated with him. And why was I so obsessed? He use to pick his nose AND eat the boogers. Way into adolescence. And he self righteously wrote in a rando for president in 2016. I usually just sit through the dinner making a mental list of all guys i could have made out with instead of pining over him while I was earnestly listening to “All Or Nothing” by O-Town on repeat.

    There are a lot of lessons I want to pass on to the young people in my life, but Lucy’s advice (that should NOT have been revolutionary to me, a woman in her 30’s) will be at the top of that list: They either like you or they don’t.

    • Agnes says...

      Oh my gosh this is so hilarious!! Picking his nose.. you definitely dodged a bullet!!

  146. Melissa says...

    I bet that moment where you turned around to face your ex felt like the longest, most awkward thing ever!! Especially when you straight away knew it was his voice!

    I divorced my ex earlier this year. We were together for 6 years, married for 2 years of those years. I ended it because he’d been secretly spending time with another woman and had signed up to some weird sex websites (he even went to meet someone but insists nothing happened…). Anyway, I work in an office and we often get customers come in to buy products. Well one day, completely unexpected, in he walks! You wanna know the bizarre thing? I didn’t even recognise him straight away as his hair was much shorter (he rarely got hair cuts when we were together)! Obviously when I looked properly at the ‘customer’ I quickly realised it was him and there was that awkward exchange of “alright?”. It turns out he’d got a job working with one of our customers and he’d come to collect stuff they’d needed. He was polite and asked how I was but I didn’t make much conversation as inside I was thinking “how dare you act like everything’s cool when you did all that s**t to me?!”.

    Anyway, luckily he’s only come in once since then and I’m sure over time I won’t care as much. Besides, I have an AMAZING boyfriend now who completely ‘gets’ me and life feels so much more right with him in it :)

  147. Em says...

    At first I was thinking that I typically want to be friends with my exes, or at least friendly. So much time was spent together and I usually still love them as a person. But then I remembered that I was forgetting about one of my exes that I would definitely hide from, HA! Although I broke up with him, I would never want to put myself through the awkward small talk. There must be a reason I forgot about him hahah

  148. JE Hannon says...

    My ex is the biological father of my only child (who is now 30 with three kids of her own!), so we still see him from time to time. He absolutely loves my husband and the feeling is mutual. It wasn’t a great relationship, we were just kids really and he cheated A LOT! But I still care for him a great deal and am eternally grateful for the wonderful daughter he gave me, she is one of a kind and I am so proud of her. Her eldest daughter (9) is from a previous relationship and her partner and her ex also get on really well which is obviously great for the kids. I think it’s different when kids are involved though – some of my exes I would definitely cross the street from to avoid standing there looking like a guppy whilst I desperately rack my brain for something interesting to say!

  149. Martha Patterson says...

    Only happened to me once…my ex (and it was a very casual and quick relationship) was at the same party as me and my fiance ( now husband of 27 years!) It wasn’t really awkward…Introduced the two, ex said congratulations, that was that. Walking back to the car I complimented my fiac/band on how he handled the situation. He said, “Not big deal. I thought he was one of the more interesting people there!”

  150. A says...

    I have a manipulative, awful, emotionally abusive ex who works in the same industry as me. He CAME TO MY OFFICE for a meeting (my bosses weren’t to know!) and I saw him in the corridor, burst into tears, and had to hide in a meeting room until he’d gone. Not my most professional moment, but everyone was so kind about it!

    • Liz says...

      I ran into my ex outside of a department store fitting room with an armful of wedding night lingerie… Why was the men’s section so close to the lingerie fitting room!?