From getting all of your homework done to studying for finals, there are already a ton of moving pieces that go into being a student. Add healing from a painful breakup to the mix, and it can be natural to feel a little (read: a lot) stressed. Of course, if you have a class with your ex, your stress level may go viral faster than an adorable puppy video.
"Regardless if you miss your ex, were heartbroken, are ticked off, seeing your ex when they are no longer a part of your life is like in some ways seeing a ghost," Dr. Joshua Klapow, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist and Host of 'The Kurre and Klapow Show,' tells Elite Daily. "They are there in your presence but not in your life, and that can be extremely uncomfortable."
If you have a class with your ex and you're literally contemplating moving out of the country, here are some tricks to keep you studious, stellar, and a little less stressed.
Try not to sweat it.
You're in school for you. You're going to learn lots of amazing things and grow and explore, and no one, especially not your trashcan ex, can take that away from you.
If you're not sure how to interact with your ex in class, it may be helpful to pretend they're not even there and act like you normally would. "You shouldn’t feel obligated to speak to them if you wouldn’t normally," Demetrius Figueroa, dating and relationship writer and host of "A Mighty Love" podcast, tells Elite Daily. "If you wouldn’t normally be polite to them, maybe you had a really bitter breakup, then don’t feel like you need to be cordial just because you’re in the same room."
Clear the air if you feel up for it.
While you may want to pretend that they moved to Paraguay (which is totally fair), Figueroa notes that you may feel better clearing the air. In this case, consider talking to them before or after class. "If you had an amicable breakup, and you feel OK staying in polite contact with your ex, head over to them after class and chat them up," Figueroa says. "They might be feeling uncertain about seeing an ex in class too, so if you’re on good terms and want to stay that way, feel free to chat them up politely." If you're totally over the breakup or just feeling friendly, breaking the ice may be a great way to cut out any potential awkwardness.
"State the obvious, 'We're going to be taking the same class, and I want us both to feel comfortable. I just wanted to reach out in advance so that everything is cool,'" Susan Winter, NYC relationship expert, love coach, and author of Breakup Triage: The Cure for Heartache, "This kind of statement isn't excusing bad behavior. It's establishing a template for civil interaction."
Of course, if the breakup ended badly or you have no interest in being friends or even friendly with your ex, Figueroa shares that you don't have to (Ariana Grande-style) fake smile. "Be polite only if you want to be," Figueroa says.
It may help to be professional and diplomatic.
Shula Melamed, MA, MPH, and well-being coach, notes that because school is a professional environment, it may be helpful to try to be as diplomatic as possible. Though you may want to scream, "You're trash, and I hate you!" every morning, it may be more productive for you to privately ask your teacher if you could switch seats or be on a different group project.
For Winter, it can be helpful to remember your school and career goals. "[Your ex] may not deserve civil behavior, but there's a bigger issue at hand: your success in class," Winter says. "For that reason, alone taking the high road is normally the best approach."
You can 100% dodge them like a dodgeball.
Of course, if you would rather wax your whole body than talk to your ex, Figueroa adds that it's totally OK to dodge them intentionally. "If your relationship was bad, and especially if the breakup was bad, don’t feel like you need to be polite to them," Figueroa says. "It’s OK to ignore terrible exes when you see them." If your class is tiny or you have to do a ton of group projects, it may not always be possible to have the distance you want. Even if you're physically near your ex, you don't need to pretend you like them or that you're at all interested in hearing about their life.
"Do whatever it takes to make going to the class bearable for you," Melamed says. "If you are in a place where limited contact and communication is preferred, create the opportunities to avoid any significant interaction."
Set some boundaries.
"If there is a way that you would prefer that your interactions would be limited, it is totally reasonable to set boundaries with this person," Melamed said. "As it is with anyone else in your life." Whether you let your ex know that you don't want to talk to them, or suggest that you develop a friendly rapport, you get to decide what type of interactions (if any!) feel right for you, and how you'd like to move forward.
"Of course, your boundaries have to be reasonable," Figueroa says. "You can’t expect your ex to not be in class if you’re in class, but if you just don’t want your ex communicating with you in class, then that’s appropriate."
If you're feeling up to clear the air, setting some boundaries with your ex may help you feel more comfortable. Of course, if you're not feeling talking to them, you don't need to feel pressure to be polite. Being the same class as your ex can be a total bummer, but you are a genius angel, and you're going to do your best work no matter who else is there.
Dr. Joshua Klapow, Ph.D. Clinical Psychologist and Host of 'The Kurre and Klapow Show,'
Shula Melamed, MA, MPH, and well-being coach tells Elite Daily.