Here's Exactly How To Handle Running Into Your Ex
Dear Nice Guy and Fuck Boy,
I actually can't believe I'm taking time out of my workday to write to you about this moron, but here we are.
I met this guy — let's call him Fred — almost four years ago through mutual friends. We ended up hooking up on and off for the next two years or so.
Fast forward to this past February, we ended up going out and started seeing each other regularly. It was great, and I thought for sure we would end up dating exclusively.
In August 2016, I finally brought up the “what are we?" conversation, which totally freaked Fred out. He used the “I like you too much, but I don't think I can commit to you or give you what you want” line (zero points for creativity there).
To be honest, I was pretty upset and heartbroken. I told him, I did not want to be some casual fling, but I appreciated him letting me know where he stands. I thought this was it.
About a month-and-a-half ago, we saw each other at a friend's birthday party, and it was incredibly awkward.
For the first three hours of the party, neither of us would even look at one another, let alone talk to each other. But with a little liquid courage from my friend Jose Cuervo, I finally started a conversation with him at the bar, and we ended up talking about how we left things.
Then, Fred initiated a hangout later that week.
I agreed because I was still hoping it might workout, but what did he do? The guy BAILED on me to hang out with his bros.
It only took me three years, but I finally realized that this guy was a complete and utter douche, who does not deserve another second of my time. I sent him a sassy, albeit respectful, text message explaining that I couldn't do whatever this was anymore.
He responded with the all-too-classic “I hope we can still be friends" line. This guy really needs to get some new material.
Given our extended groups of mutual friends, I know avoiding him forever will not be realistic. I don't want to stop seeing my friends just so I won't have to see him, but I am still quite angry, frustrated and, frankly, have no intention of being his “friend.”
I feel like he played me this entire time, and I don't think he ever wanted a relationship with me. But he continued to string me along because he knew how much I liked him and wanted to date him.
I was just a boost for his ego or something to occupy his time when he was bored. It still stings to think about it, given that the strong feelings I had toward him were not reciprocated.
I am super anxious for another awkward run-in like last time. Can you please give me some advice on how to go about getting over this while looking like I have already moved on and am over the entire situation?
I know, deep down, I'm not 100 percent over it, but I really don't want to be that drunk, angry bitch yelling at some idiot in the corner of a bar. I know I'm better than that, but sometimes, vodka gets the best of us.
First off, I applaud you for recognizing what an incredible douche this guy is. It seems like you've got him all figured out, yet you're still reluctantly wrapped around his non-committal finger.
Actually, it wasn't too long ago that I was in a similar situation -- well, it was, like, six years ago. Regardless, I can tell you I handled it in the worst possible way. This situation actually resulted in me throwing my best friend up against a wall at a bar because a girl I was hooking up with was trying to get a rise out of me by flirting with him... which obviously worked.
Me and my buddy had never even had tiny arguments until that point, so I should add that I must agree vodka (my beverage of choice as well) can absolutely get the best of you.
This aforementioned woman (let's call her Voldemort) and I had been going along at the same rate you and Fred had, though it had only been going on for about three or four months.
So I want to let you know the best practices, based on my own mistakes:
1. Don't try to make him jealous.
Making him jealous is the most obvious thing you can do to let a dude know you have unresolved feelings for him.
Don't try to dance with another guy in front of him or anything petty like that. Guys know exactly what you're trying to do, and honestly, we find it more pathetic than we do envy-inducing.
Don't try to dance with another guy in front of him or anything petty like that.
Be the bigger person, Dani. I know it's hard, but you'll be a better person for it.
2. Don't drink too much.
I know this one sounds obvious, but if you're in this man's company, you know, with each drink, the walls you so passionately built will suddenly come crashing down.
Before long, you're spilling your guts to him, saying everything you swore you wouldn't. Your anger is a flame that can be ignited with alcohol.
So my advice to you is drink enough to get your ass on the dance floor, but not too much that you're stumbling over your words.
3. Stick with your bestie.
A close friend is crucial in situations like these. If this guy's presence is really getting to you, head to the bathroom with your best friend to chat about it.
Odds are, she'll drag you out to the dance floor, and you can both dance to whatever bass-heavy Drake single currently making the rounds. Use her as your support system because that's what friends are for.
4. Talk to him casually.
You don't have to go out of your way to speak with him or anything, but try your best to treat him the way you treat everybody else in the group.
Not only does this behavior make it seem like you're over him, but he'll probably work harder for your conversation if you're no longer giving him the attention he's grown accustomed to.
He says he wants to be “just friends,” but he doesn't. Trust me on this. He has enough friends. This guy just wants to keep you on a short leash, so he can continue to feed off your attention.
5. Give your phone to your friend.
Do not text him. I repeat, DO. NOT. TEXT. HIM.
Is he talking to another girl at the bar? Good, let him. Don't text him, “You're ducking unbleievable” (you know autocorrect always happens at the worst possible time) just because you're hammered and livid.
Besides, if anything does happen with this girl, it'll probably be the same BS he put you through.
Having your phone during these instances makes it too easy to screw things up, so before you start drinking, pass the phone over to a friend for the night.
Is he talking to another girl at the bar? Good, let him.
Let her know why you're doing this, and tell her under no circumstances (within reason) should you get that phone back. You cannot be trusted.
Like I said before, you know this guy's no good for you, Dani. You've dissected the relationship as much as you can, and you know what you need to do. Hopefully, you'll find what I've written helpful for the next time you see him. He's not worth it.
Best of luck!
Dear Dani XO,
Don't "hugs and kisses" me, coming from a place of spite and warped vindication like you are.
I can't believe you've convinced me to advise you on how to manipulate this man into mistakenly believing he still had you… even though you could imagine I'm probably on his side and generally against convincing single people they're unhappy just because they're single…
But fuck it. I've done worse.
For the record, I'm proceeding with this only because I feel I have actual insight into how you can win this mini war of the sexes — not because I condone fighting on moral or logical grounds.
Now, let's get on with it.
What most people — and probably your instincts — will tell you is to fight fire with fire. They'll tell you to make this guy jealous with another guy.
They'll tell you, if you see Old Guy, grab a new guy and smash your face into his, make it look like losing Old Guy was the best thing that could have happened because this new one is better, and look how in love you two are.
That's easy. Binary. One for one. A new guy will make Old Guy jealous and send him spiraling to win you back via some animalistic, mating-ground reflex, right?
Not exactly. This would be a rudimentary approach. It might make sense on the surface, but in reality, it ignores all nuance and assumes every dude is a jealous, reactionary ape. I'd advise you not to ignore that nuance.
Yes, you need to make Old Guy jealous.
Yes, you need to make Old Guy jealous. That's the “win” here you're looking for. But simply getting with another guy in front of Old Guy isn't going to push his buttons, when he's the one who didn't want you in the first place.
To make Old Guy jealous, you have to show off something with a new guy that you and Old Guy never had.
It can't be blatant passion. You two already had that, and he got bored.
I can't tell you what you should show off to Old Guy. Only you know what that should be. And because you two never materialized in a substantial way, I'm guessing there were quite a few areas you two were lacking in.
If you were timid around Old Guy, show him a new guy you're confident around. If you were a drunken mess around Old Guy, be that sober, stable type around a new guy. If Old Guy didn't love The Strokes, and you love The Strokes, introduce him to a new guy and make sure he talks about The fucking Strokes.
It's those little things that will really piss Old Guy off — those points of connection he couldn't achieve. He may even reconsider his position. Don't count on it, but you never know.
There needs to be a new guy in all these scenarios. That goes without saying. But it can be anyone — it doesn't have to be real thing. As long as Old Guy doesn't know and thinks it's a real thing. Some of the best wars were won with decoys.
What? Don't think you could stoop to that level? Don't get mad at me, now. You started this whole thing and asked me for advice.
The fighting may get dirty. It may make you uncomfortable. But you want to win, don't you?
Well, that means you may need to sacrifice some pride or self-respect. And now that you've made me complicit in the whole thing, I'm not going to feel so bad if you do.