11 Reasons It’s So Awkward To Run Into Your Ex

Regardless of who did the dumping, breakups are hard. You have to separate your life from someone who meant a great deal to you. Then, just when you’re starting to wrap your head around the idea that you’re not a couple anymore, you bump into your ex and the moment overwhelms you. All of a sudden, you feel uncomfortable and you can’t seem to string coherent sentences together. Here’s why it’s so awkward.

  1. The breakup is still fresh in your mind. If the relationship ended recently, the wound might still be a little raw and seeing them just makes it start bleeding all over again. A wave of hurt and anger washes over you and you can’t figure out where to put it at that moment. That’s normal. You’re still in the process of healing. Take comfort in the fact that you’ll eventually get over it.
  2. You’re worried about how you look. We all hope that the universe is merciful enough to send an ex our way on a day when we’re killing it in the looks department. If you’re shabbily dressed or you look like you’ve been going through hell, you might feel disappointed in yourself. You can’t help worrying over what they must think of your appearance because you can’t give them the satisfaction of seeing you at a low point.
  3. Seeing them triggers the feeling of abandonment. When you haven’t completed the uncoupling process, running into an ex can dredge up those feelings of betrayal, loss, and hurt that you felt when things ended. Allow yourself to feel what you’re feeling, but don’t let it crush you. Engage in banal chitchat and keep it moving.
  4. You’re not as over them as you imagined. Sometimes you don’t realize how much you still care about your ex until you see them again. Depending on the intensity of your emotions, you can either nod and move away or try to connect in a purely platonic way. Go back to grieving and working on letting them go.
  5. There’s always a fear of having to face someone you hurt. If you’re the one who orchestrated the breakup, the awkwardness you feel upon running into your ex might be because you feel crappy. You may not be proud of the way you handled things and you’re trying to avoid confronting that. Or maybe you ended things amicably but you just hate that they got hurt anyway, especially because there’s not much you can do to make them feel better.
  6. You’re afraid they’ll see what a mess you’ve been without them. Even if you spend every night sleeping in their old t-shirts, crying loudly over the phone to your friends, and complaining about how much you miss them, the last thing you want is for your ex to know that. You’re anxious but determined to hold back your emotions no matter what.
  7. You haven’t gotten closure. Maybe your ex still hasn’t told you why they broke up with you and not knowing is killing you. You feel vulnerable, weak, and angry that they still have this power over you. All the work that you’ve put into getting over them since the relationship went south feels like a waste of time. Try not to sweat it—closure is something you can give to yourself.
  8. You realize you don’t know them anymore. This is a person you shared your life with for a while, and now seeing them makes you wonder if you made it all up. Maybe they’ve got a new hairstyle or a different air about them. For some reason, they’re just unrecognizable to you. It’s sad to realize that someone who was once your whole world is just a stranger now.
  9. You hate that they’re doing fine without you. Running into an ex can be a bittersweet moment. You’re happy and relieved to see them doing okay, but you can’t help being a little jealous about it. Seeing them flourishing and living the life you both wanted might sting a little. That’s totally normal.
  10. You’re secretly hoping you get back together. Blame it on the hundreds of romantic comedies you’ve watched over the years, but an unanticipated rendezvous with your ex can send butterflies fluttering again. You’re wishing it’s fate’s way of intervening and giving you both another shot at romance.
  11. You don’t regret the breakup even a little. This just means you’re completely over it. You don’t love or hate them anymore. You’ve made peace with their absence from your life and you’re just glad you don’t have to deal with their bullshit any longer. Whatever is going on in their life is not your problem. Hooray!
A girl preoccupied with living her best life even when it's uncomfortable to do so. She spends a lot of time with her thoughts. She hopes you enjoy reading the results of those thoughts.