As I write this at four in the morning, I attempt to ease my mind from the unbearable anxiety I am experiencing. Tomorrow is the day I confront my ex-boyfriend for the first time since our month-old breakup. I could go on a rant about this for days, but I won’t. To put it short and sweet, he loved me and I loved him, but he hurt me repeatedly, broke my heart, cheated on me, and moved on.
Now I’m stuck with his crappy old sweater that he demands I drop off at his house, also so that he can return the several pairs of panties I’ve left there. Oh well, c’est la vie, right? And in “la vie,” it is only realistic to have that extremely uncomfortable and unsettling encounter at least once after the breakup with the man or woman that was the love of your life not so long ago. Even when you think you’re totally over them, are you really? Is seeing the face you used to admire, the body you used to hold and be held by, and the eyes that used to peer into your soul going to trip you right back into their spell? Yes, probably. “It will most likely always sting like a bitch,” is what my mother told me. I’ve come up with some tips of my own to make the process as quick and painless and possible.
1. Plan ahead.
It would probably be best to have an image of the future situation already in mind. If you’ve planned on the confrontation knowing it’s going to happen as I have, think of what you want to say. If I chose my words in the moment of standing in front of my ex-boyfriend, it would either be a long string of curse words or just a pathetic stutter. I have planned my script for this nerve-wracking part; I know exactly what attitude I will have and what I will say. I feel prepared and I know I will not be caught off-guard by a brain malfunction due to overwhelming emotion.
If by an unfortunate chance you stumble upon your ex-lover unexpectedly, such as bumping into them at the grocery store or spotting them at your local bar, there is obviously nothing you can do but go with it. Although I highly suggest you do carry a couple of words in mind, telling yourself this is how you would act/what you would say to them if you ever saw them again. This way, if you do run into them, you’re semi-prepared.
2. Short and sweet, people—short and sweet.
It is probably a scientific fact that once you’re in love with somebody, they will always have a piece of you. That’s why it is important to keep the process short, simple, and elegant. The last thing you’d want to do is end up asking them to come in for a bit, to grab a coffee with you, to catch up. For those not planning on getting back with an ex that has hurt you, why reignite painful old flames? It will send a rush of memories back, and when farewells come you will feel the pain of the breakup from scratch. Uh, hell no. A quick hello should suffice, maybe a question or two about the family, about the dog you bought him for his birthday (bastard kept it!), then a genuine “have a good day.” In some cases it will be more of a “Have a good life.” Not only will that hit them hard with the shock of seeing you again, they’ll think “Has their ass always looked that good in those jeans?” and realize it’s probably one of the last times you two will ever speak again, and I can’t wait to see the expression on my ex’s face when those four words strike him in his cold heart. Can you tell I’m bitter?
3. Get closure.
Keep it in your head that this is your closure. Maybe your breakup ended in a heated fight where horrid things were exchanged, maybe there was cheating, maybe it was a flame that burned out. Whatever it is, a lot of the time we do not feel as if we got the closure we needed, and so we end up asking ourselves, “After a whole year this is it? They’re gone just like that?” It’s a sucky thing to feel, so when confronting your ex, your mind should be in a very standard, final state. When you look at them, do not be harsh and do not let the hate burn through you as much as it wants to. Keep in mind this is the last conversation you will ever have with someone who once meant the world to you. Make your goodbye very clear to them and wish them the best of luck. If you’ve been hurt by this person, you do not have to forgive; just accept and let go. Standing in front of them, telling yourself this is where you release is probably the most liberating and relieving feeling in the world. You’re free. They’ll always be a part of you, but this is where you turn the page to the next chapter. Enjoy it.