Accidently running into your ex after divorce can produce quite a bit of anxiety. Use these five tips to navigate the uncomfortable situation.
I realized once my divorce was final in May 2015 that my chances were great that I would run into my ex while out and about. Especially considering we both live in the same town. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that if I showed up at places he frequented, the more likely I’d see him. And, at first, that is what I wanted, to run into him. After his affair I still wanted him to want me so I would purposely be at places to ‘accidentally’ run into him. It took a few months for me to stop needing that.
Who would have thought when a local gym opened and I joined, this would be the place I would run into him and her. It had been almost a year since I’d seen him and three months since we had an angry email exchange. I had basically told him, at that time, to go fuck himself. Now here I was with a chance face to face meeting with not just him but his strumpet. I pulled in and saw his work truck in the parking lot so I knew he was there. I walked in as I felt my heart racing and about to leap from my chest. I almost got in my car and left. What do I say? How do I act? Do I talk to him?
For about 15 minutes I froze then I saw their class ending and I knew they would be walking out. I turned my back and acted as though I was on my cell. I saw her walk out from the corner of my eye. He was not with her, he was still in the building. I turned around and there he was about 50 feet away and we met eye to eye. I quickly turned back around and ignored him. At first thought about giving up my gym membership so that I could avoid him and them. Then I realized I am better than that and this gym is a public place. Let them leave!
It has been since March of this year that I have been at that gym and proud to say I work out 4 days a week. there are days that they are there in the class before me. They walk out together all the time. That was very difficult for me in the beginning but now I just smile and walk with my head held high as I check in for my class. I am also very competitive and she has problems keeping up with the class. I make it my mission to score the most “splat points” in the class. I have watched them work out and it’s comical to me. It hurt in the beginning because he would never do things like that with me but I have a new life now and he is not in it. I love that and my new life. A week ago she scrambled to get out of the gym by herself as I was standing at the door. She ran smack into the door. I was laughing because she did it right beside me. Karma?
My advice to anyone who fears running into an ex:
1. Don’t stop going to places you love even if you run into him. If it is a place you enjoy and go often, continue going, live your life!
2. Don’t allow him to intimidate you. Intimidation is exactly what he want you to feel. Especially in my case. He wanted me to see him with her to prove a point, that I no longer have him. The woman he is with is his coworker and still married. If that is his prize, good for him. It took me months to say this, I don’t want him. I have a much better life without him. And in time, if you don’t yet realize that for yourself, you will!
3. This thought has run through my head a thousand times, what do I say if he approaches me? In my case, no one I know at the gym except my friend who works out the same time they do; knows my story. I would like to keep it that way. My life is private at that gym and everyone knows me by my maiden name which I took back at the time of my divorce. I have no children or ties with my ex. If he tried to communicate with me, I would ask him politely to please continue acting like we don’t know each other at the gym and in public and possibly flip him my middle finger as I walk out the door. This might be a good strategy for you, also.
4. Even if your insides are crumbling, don’t let it show. “Never let em see you sweat” my best friend used to tell me. This is so true. Go to your car and cry, beat the steering wheel for a minute but then pull yourself together and hide your crazy.
5. Remember an ex is an ex for a reason. The biggest mistake I made was making him feel that I needed him. I begged and cried and pleaded. By ignoring him now he knows I am not approachable and I certainly don’t want him back in my life. Quite possibly my fear of running into him was his same fear seeing me that first day. Like all of us, you, your ex, me, my ex, we are dealing with the same anxiety that comes with the idea of running into each other.
Be brave, be strong, be you. And smile, most of all smile and turn and walk away.