The Do’s and Don’ts of Meeting the Ex

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The start of a relationship is usually filled with all the warm and fuzzies. You haven’t been dating long enough to have things to fight about and everything you do together is new and exciting. There’s the first kiss, the first date, the first time you sleep together…oh and there’s the first time you meet his or her ex. Awkward.

In a college relationship running into the ex is pretty inevitable, especially if you all live on campus. You can’t control when or where it happens, but you can control how you’ll handle the situation. Here’s a few do’s and don’ts of meeting the ex for the first time.

DO act natural. The fact that your boyfriend or girlfriend is on your arm and not the ex’s is proof that you’ve already won. There’s no need to amp up your love for each other. You’ll be tempted to play up the hand holding or kissing to show the ex how into each other you both are, but resist the urge. The ex will see right through it and you’ll end up looking stupid. Just be as normal as possible with your significant other and if you’re truly happy together it’ll show.

DON'T make fun of the ex. When we’re in tense situations like this one, it’s easy for your evil side to come about. Phrases like, “Well you’ve definitely moved up the ladder with me,” or “God what is wrong with her face? Did you notice her face looked like that when you asked her out?” start coming up left and right as a defense mechanism. Just stop. Remember that you’ve had your share of unsavory exes and putting his or her ex down won’t help anything, it’ll just make your boyfriend or girlfriend uncomfortable.

DO be friendly. Yes, you hate him or her and would feel perfectly comfortable punting them off a rooftop, but reign it in. An important step in meeting the ex is making sure you look like the better person. So be civil, smile, shake hands and make the awkward small talk. Your boyfriend or girlfriend will appreciate you putting in the effort and everyone else will think you’re being really mature.

DON'T be overly friendly. Chitchat is one thing, friending them on Facebook is something else entirely. The rule keep your friends close and your enemies closer does not apply here. Do the obligatory nice thing and wave when you pass each other on campus but go no further. You wanting to be besties with his or her ex is just weird. Your significant other has left him or her in the past and you need to do the same.

DO look your best. Let’s be realistic, you can still be the bigger person while looking hot. If you know you’re going to see the ex beforehand (for instance if you find out you’re going to be at the same party), go all out with your appearance. Girls, this is the time to break out that new dress and guys it wouldn’t hurt to shave for this particular outing. And if you run into the ex by chance when your outfit hasn’t been carefully selected, just own the situation by being confident – a better look on you than you could ever imagine.   

 Meeting the ex is never comfortable and sometimes it won’t go smoothly, but the most important thing is for you to know that you’re in a happy relationship and the ex isn’t in the picture anymore. Keep repeating that to yourself in your head and you’ll get through the encounter without a problem.   

Senior > English and Communications > Boston College

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