Surviving a first encounter with an ex – featuring sweat and sass

It’s like the modern day gladiator sport – two enter, only one can emerge victorious. Considering that we’re likely never going to give birth, running into an ex is probably the most painful thing us queers do. Even though running into someone you’ve slept with is way less intense than it is for our straight counterparts, often marked only by a wink and a crooked smile, running into an ex is just as world-muddling. Running into someone who’s seen your bits? Meh, who cares. Running into the man you trusted implicitly and loved so much that you were willing to lay your life down before his? Yeah…different story.  

One of you will leave knowing you got off better than they did, that’s the laws of physics, whether it’s hot new man candy, a banging new bod, or simply just being happy. Life isn’t a rom-com, so just being content with where you both are in your lives and moving on as friends is not where this is going to end up. It’s going to be uncomfortable, and every word’s going to strike a very raw nerve. Leave that Julia Roberts fantasy at the door, sister. Here’s our guide to surviving the encounter without feeling like you’ve been run over by a rubbish truck full of regret and remorse.

AVOID it if possible

These encounters aren’t for the faint of heart, they can go haywire damn quickly. One minute you’re casually talking about who you’re dating, then all of the sudden they mention who they are dating and you lose control of your tear ducts and the river Nile starts issuing from your face. Not a good look. Certain places are off limits post-breakups, from the neighbourhood around their place of work to the place that does the bagels he likes. You might also like those bagels, but it’s really not worth the risk. 

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Look like a hot damn piece of ass.

If an occasion arises that you know that both you and your ex are attending, and there’s no way of getting out of it, then care must be taken with how you look. There should be at least a few hours cast aside to making sure that you look like the perfect boyfriend he’s missing out on, fresh out of the plastic. A haircut a few days before is a good idea, and maybe a facial or two. If you haven’t the time to get yourself looking like a muscled teenage heart-throb then just call in sick, your colleagues will understand. 

If it’s a chance encounter as you’re running around town then there’s really nothing you can do. There’s a lot to be said about the old adage: Dress every day like you’re going to run into an ex. Seems like a lot but you’re going to be damned glad when it’s actually happened and you’re in that top that’s tight and right on the arms, and hides that sticky sweet muffin top.

Underhanded bragging is an art form.

To flaunt your wears without making it look intentional is tricky, but it can be done. Overt bragging of whatever you have going on is tacky and makes you seem a little desperate, so if you’re not confident in your subtlety then don’t attempt. A simple way is to make a strenuous yet seemingly natural link between what they’re saying and what you want to brag about. EXAMPLE:

Him: Oh, so how are things with you?

You: Yeah, actually pretty good actually. You?

Him: Yeah good, I’ve just come from grabbing a coffee for the boss.

You: Oh, that’s so funny! That coffee shop is exactly where my ASSISTANT gets my coffee actually. 

Okay, maybe not so subtle. But who cares, he turned as white as your cafe latte after hearing that you’ve gotten that promotion.

Rush off mid-sentence.

You’d love to stay and chat (we mean, you’d actually really love to stay because every moment you spend in his company you’ve felt that warm glow that has been missing from your empty, empty life ever since he left you in a stinking puddle of your own despair), but you have to run off. If you stick around for the conversation to teeter out then things can get very awkward, so better to leave at the height of the conversation. You don’t really need an excuse, just start talking about something and start walking off. Example:

Him: So I take it you got that promotion?

You: Yeah, I mean it was a long time coming. Having said that, I actually have to, yeah, sorry…

NEVER look back after leaving

No matter how well it went, looking back is admitting crushing defeat. You walked off with a smile on your face, pretending to be in a rush, so looking back at him is not only making it seem that you’re not really in a rush and that the smile faded away the moment he left your sight, just like that warm glow we mentioned before…eyes forward, head up, strut ON. You can wait until you’ve turned a corner to brush away those tears and whipping out your phone to Google Maps the nearest wine bar that does 2-litre bottles. Just like the Lot’s wife, if you turn around and watch the relationship you had crumbling behind you, you’re going to become very salty. 

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