I Thought I Was Doing OK Without My Ex… Until I Ran Into Him

It’s so weird how seeing someone can make you realize you miss them even though you never knew you were feeling that way. When I bumped into my ex, it released a volcano of emotions I never saw coming and it was a total disaster.

  1. I dumped him and didn’t regret it. He was a toxic guy who never stepped up in our relationship. After a few months of dating, I’d had enough so I ended our relationship. Instead of feeling sad, I felt liberated. That feeling continued for a long time. I was doing great without him!
  2. Then I bumped into him. I like dating guys I don’t live close by to as it makes the breakups so much better. There’s no risk of running into them at the nearby mall. This guy lived far away so I figure I’d never see him… but I still bumped into him. Ugh, what are the chances?
  3. It should’ve been no problem. I don’t know why I got that horrible fight-or-flight feeling when I saw him at a nearby restaurant. I mean, I was totally over the guy. I’d checked out his social media accounts quite a few times since our breakup (which had been two months previously) and felt nothing, not even when I saw him dating another woman.
  4. What didn’t help was that I couldn’t dodge him. I normally would’ve dodged him to get away but he was right in front of me. There was no way out. If there’s one rule I learned from this guy, it’s that you shouldn’t look your ex directly in the eye. He looked so sweet and kind that it started to eat away at me. It also didn’t help that he wanted to make conversation. By staring into his eyes, I found myself swept up into the past. I tried to tell myself that I’d only stay with him for an hour at the most, but that was a lie.
  5. We ended up staying there for three hours. We got a table at the restaurant since we were both there on our own and we had a chat that became a full-blown catchup session which lasted three hours. It was insane. I didn’t want to get away from him. He was so addictive that I wanted to spend the entire day with him. What was happening?
  6. I felt empty afterward. When I walked away to leave our meeting or hangout session or whatever you could call it, I felt really empty and a bit broken, to be honest. It was just too much nostalgia and had made me feel like we were back together. Ugh. I hated that feeling. Worse, soon that emptiness filled up with regret.
  7. I shouldn’t have had a taste. I wanted to kick myself for spending time with him again. It was like I gave up a toxic food and now that I’d tasted it, I wanted to eat it again even though I cut it out of my diet because it was so bad for me. There’s a reason that making a clean break after a relationship is so beneficial: not talking to or seeing an ex helps one to move on and forget all about them. I should’ve said hello and then skedaddled.
  8. I went through a real breakup this time. The first time we’d parted ways, I was OK. Sure, I was a bit sad, but I didn’t really miss the guy in the way I’d missed previous boyfriends at the end of our relationships. However, now that I’d seen my ex and spent time with him again, it was a totally different story. I felt actual aches from missing him.
  9. There was no chance of a relationship do-over. I didn’t want to fall for him. I didn’t want to wait around and get another chance with him only to be disappointed because the same old issues would crop up in our relationship. I didn’t have time for that. So what was I supposed to do with all my feelings?
  10. I had to go into breakup mode. It sucked, but there was no way around this. I had to suck it up and deal with my feelings—my frustration, my sadness, my emptiness, all of it. I had to deal with them head-on by writing in a journal and crying them out to sad Adele songs so that I could get over my feelings. The funny thing is that I still believed I was over my ex.
  11. I eventually worked through it. After some soul-searching, I realized I didn’t actually want to get back together with my ex. I was crying over the loss of love, not really the loss of him. I also missed the good times, but those times were just a short-term experience that gave way to a toxic relationship. Really, I was missing something that didn’t really exist. The good thing is that I didn’t need him to give me closure. I could give that to myself, and I eventually managed to by dealing with my feelings instead of running away from them.
Giulia Simolo is a writer from Johannesburg, South Africa with a degree in English Language and Literature. She has been working as a journalist for more than a decade, writing for sites including AskMen, Native Interiors, and Live Eco. You can find out more about her on Facebook and LinkedIn, or follow her on Twitter @GiuliaSimolo.